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Verse 2.4.144

TEXT 2.4.144

sahasra-vaktrāḥ sūryendu-
vāyu-vahny-ādi-rūpiṇaḥ
catur-bhujādi-rūpāś ca
tat-tad-veśādi-rūpiṇaḥ

SYNONYMS

sahasra-vaktrāḥ—with thousands of faces; sūrya—of the sun; indu—moon; vāyu—wind; vahni—fire; ādi— and so on; rūpiṇaḥ—having forms; catuḥ-bhuja—four-armed; ādi—and so on; rūpāḥ—forms; ca—and; tat-tat—those various; veśa-ādi—with attire and so on; rūpiṇaḥ—having forms.

TRANSLATION

144. Some have assumed bodies with thousands of faces, or with features like such deities as the gods of air and fire. Some have four arms, or eight, or twelve or more, and various kinds of dress, ornaments, symbols, and other attributes.

PURPORT

Commentary: Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (2.9.11–12) describes the residents of Vaikuṇṭha as appearing similar to the Supreme Lord and having varied bodily colors:

śyāmāvadātāḥ śata-patra-locanāḥ piśaṅga-vastrāḥ su-rucaḥ su-peśasaḥ sarve catur-bāhava unmiṣan-maṇi-praveka-niṣkābharaṇāḥ su-varcasaḥ
pravāla-vaidūrya-mṛṇāla-varcasaḥ parisphurat-kuṇḍala-mauli-mālinaḥ

“The inhabitants of the Vaikuṇṭha planets have a glowing sky-bluish complexion. Their eyes resemble lotus flowers, their dress is of yellowish color, and their bodily features are very attractive. They are just the age of growing youths. They all have four hands, they are nicely decorated with pearl necklaces with ornamental medallions, and they all appear effulgent. Some are like coral, diamonds, or white lotus fibers in complexion. On their heads and necks they have garlands, and they wear shining earrings.”

In texts 144 through 147, Nārada depicts in some detail this variety of bodily form, dress, and so on. Some Vaikuṇṭha devotees appear as human beings because of having attained sārūpya—likeness in form—with such incarnations of the Lord as Śrī Raghunātha. Others appear as munis by sārūpya with sage incarnations like Śrī Kapiladeva, or as demigods by sārūpya with manvantara-avatāras like Lord Satyasena and Lord Vibhu. Others appear as ṛṣis by sārūpya with incarnations like Śrī Paraśurāma, or as fish by sārūpya with Lord Matsya, or tortoises with Lord Kūrma. Some, who worship Śiva or Brahmā as a representative of the Supreme, appear in bodies with three eyes or four heads. Some appear like Indra with a thousand eyes, like Ananta Śeṣa with thousands of heads, or like Sūrya or other demigods. Vedic scriptures like the aindra-śrutis, the mantras glorifying Indra, support such worship of demigods as representatives of the Supreme Lord. In the Fifth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam we also find demigods like Sūrya being worshiped as representatives of the Lord in Plakṣa-dvīpa and the other divisions of the Bhūr-loka planetary system.

The only means to achieve entrance into Vaikuṇṭha is pure, exclusive love for the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord. Ordinary demigod worshipers are never eligible to become residents of Vaikuṇṭha, but worshipers who regard Śiva and other demigods as nondifferent from Lord Viṣṇu achieve special Vaiṣṇava perfection. As the Vāmana Purāṇa and other scriptures describe, those devotees join the exalted associates of the Supreme Lord they worship, either on the respective planets of the demigod representatives of the Lord or, in some cases, on a Vaikuṇṭha planet, where the devotees are endowed with the special opulences of those demigods.

The Vaikuṇṭha-vāsīs whose bodies are just like the transcendental body of the Mahāpuruṣa, the first incarnation of Lord Viṣṇu for material creation, are those who have achieved sārūpya by worshiping Him. They have thousands of arms, legs, heads, and other limbs. In Text 144 the word ādi (“and so on”) occurs twice. The first time, it indicates that some devotees in Vaikuṇṭha assume bodies that resemble those of yet other demigods, like Yamarāja and Aryamā, who are material representatives of various personal powers of the Supreme Lord. The second time, ādi indicates that besides the usual four arms, some Vaikuṇṭha devotees have eight arms, twelve arms, or more.

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