Book 4: Chapter 22
Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana: Book 4: Chapter 22: Verses 1-16
Maitreya continued : While the people were thus extolling Prthu of great prowess, there came to that spot four sages, resplendent as the sun. Surrounded by his attendants, the king saw the lords of divine seers descending from the heavens. They were (easily) recognized (to be no other than Sanaka and his three brothers) through their splendour, which dispelled the sins of the spheres (through which they passed). King Prthu (instantly) rose with his courtiers and all others present there, as if eager to seize back his life-breath, that had shot forth (to meet those sages) at their very sight , even as the mind runs forth to meet the objects of sense-enjoyment. When they had accepted the Arghya (water offered for washing the hands of a distinguished guest) and taken their seat, the king, who was (most) urbane (in manners) and was overwhelmed by his esteem for them, worshipped them with due ceremony, his head bent low with modesty. He (then) sprinkled his tuft of hair with the hallowed drops of water wherewith he had washed their feet, thus duly following the ways of the virtuous, as if in order to evince his respect for the same. Endowed with reverence and self-discipline, and full of delight, he addressed those sages, the elder brothers (even) of Lord Siva-who, when installed on seats of gold, shone like the sacrificial fires in their proper places. Prthu said : Oh ,what meritorious acts have I performed, O abodes of auspiciousness, that I have been blessed with your sight, whom even Yogis (men possessed of mystic powers) find it difficult to perceive? There is nothing very difficult to attain in this world or the next for him with whom Brahmanas (like you) and Lord Siva and Visnu and their attendants are pleased. The world does not perceive you, even though you range through the various regions, just as the visible creation and Mahattattva (the principle of cosmic intelligence) etc., which are the causes of this world, are unable to perceive the all-seeing self. Though poor, those pious householders are (indeed) blessed, whose house contains water, (a mat of) straw or (bare) ground, the master himself and his servants etc., worthy of acceptance by venerable souls (like you). (Worthless) like the trees harbouring (venomous) serpents are those houses which, though replete with all kinds of riches, are not hallowed by the holy water washing the feet of the Lord's devotees. Welcome is your visit to this place, O exalted Brahmanas; for despite your juvenility you are ever self-controlled and reverently observe great vows (of perpetual celibacy and so on), following the ways of seekers after liberation. Is there (any hope of) good for us, who know the objects of senses to be the only thing worth coveting and have fallen, through our own doings, into this (whirlpool of) transmigration (which is a hotbed of miseries) ? It is out of place to make enquiries about your welfare inasmuch as you revel in your own self and no thoughts of good and evil (ever) arise in you. Therefore, reposing full faith in you, I (make bold to) enquire of you, the loving friends of the distressed, how salvation can be easily attained in this (very) birth. Surely the birthless Lord, who shines as the very self in (all) sages and reveals Himself (in the heart of His devotees) moves about on this earth in the guise of Siddhas (sages like you in order to shower His grace on His devotees.
- Our scriptures maintain that the life-breath of a young man goes forth to meet his elders when the latter pay him a visit and that it is only when he rises and bows to them that the life-breath returns