Devotional Service Surpasses All Liberation

Nārada then said, "Yes, you shall become trees, arjuna trees, and you will stand at the courtyard of Nanda Mahārāj. But Kṛṣṇa Himself will appear in time as the foster son of Nanda, and He will deliver you."


The story behind the two sons of Kuvera, Manigriva, and Nalakuvera, is they were puffed up on account of the opulence of their father, and so once on a heavenly planet they were enjoying themselves in a lake with some naked damsels of heaven. At that time the great saint Nārada Muni was passing on the road and was sorry to see the behavior of the sons of Kuvera. Seeing Nārada passing by, the damsels of heaven covered their bodies with cloth, but the two sons, being drunkards, did not have this decency. Nārada became angry with their behavior and cursed them thusly: “You have no sense, so it is better if you become trees instead of the sons of Kuvera.” Upon hearing this, the boys came to their senses and begged Nārada to be pardoned for their offenses. Nārada then said, “Yes, you shall become trees, arjuna trees, and you will stand at the courtyard of Nanda Mahārāj. But Kṛṣṇa Himself will appear in time as the foster son of Nanda, and He will deliver you.” In other words, the curse of Nārada was a benediction to the sons of Kuvera because indirectly it was foretold that they would be able to receive the favor of Lord Kṛṣṇa. After that, Kuvera’s two sons stood as two big arjuna trees in the courtyard of Nanda Mahārāj until Lord Dāmodara, in order to fulfill the desire of Nārada, dragged the milling pestle to which He was tied and struck the two trees, violently causing them to fall down. From out of these fallen trees came Nalakūvara and Maṇigrīva, who had by then become great devotees of the Lord.

The Nectar of Devotion – 1970 Edition
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Chapter 4

Devotional Service Surpasses All Liberation

How much a devotee is seriously attached to the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead can be understood from the statement of Mahārāj Pṛthu (Ādirāja) which is described in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Fourth Canto, 20th Chapter, 21st verse. He prays to the Supreme Personality of Godhead thusly: “My dear Lord, if after taking liberation I have no chance of hearing the glories of Your Lordship, glories chanted by pure devotees from the core of their hearts in praise of Your lotus feet, and if I have no chance for this honey of transcendental bliss, then I shall never ask for liberation or this so-called spiritual emancipation. I shall simply always pray unto Your Lordship that You may give me millions of tongues and millions of ears so that I can constantly chant and hear of Your transcendental glories.”

The impersonalists desire to merge into the existence of the Supreme, but without keeping their individuality they have no chance of hearing and chanting the glories of the Supreme Lord. Because they have no idea of the transcendental form of the Supreme Lord there is no chance of their chanting and hearing of His transcendental activities. In other words, unless one is already beyond liberation, one cannot relish the transcendental glories of the Lord, nor can one understand the transcendental form of the Lord.

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Sri Damodarastakam as explained by Visnujana Swami / Verse Seven

You then freed the sons of Kuvera, Manigriva, and Nalakuvera, who were cursed to stand as trees, and You gave them the chance to become Your devotees.

kuverātmajau baddha-mūrtyaiva yadvat
tvayā mocitau bhakti-bhājau kṛtau ca
tathā prema-bhaktiḿ svakāḿ me prayaccha
na mokṣe graho me ‘sti dāmodareha

kuvera-ātmajau–the two sons of Kuvera (named Nalakūvara and Maṇigrīva); baddha-mūrtyā-eva–by He whose divine form was bound with ropes to the grinding mortar; yat-vat–since they were like that (cursed by Nārada to take birth as twin arjuna trees); tvayā–by You; mocitau–they who were liberated; bhakti-bhājau–the recipients of devotional service; kṛtau–You made them; ca–also; tathā–then; premabhaktim–loving devotion; svakām–Your own; me–unto me; prayaccha– please give; na mokṣe–not for liberation; grahaḥ–enthusiasm; me–my; asti–is; dāmodara–O Lord Dāmodara!; iha–this.

7) O Lord Damodara, in Your form as a baby, Mother Yasoda bound You to a grinding stone with a rope for tying cows, You then freed the sons of Kuvera, Manigriva, and Nalakuvera, who were cursed to stand as trees, and You gave them the chance to become Your devotees. Please bless me in this same way, I have no desire for liberation into Your effulgence.

Purport
This verse reveals deep truths about prema-visesa, pure ecstatic love for Krishna. Beginning with kuveratmajau, the two sons of Kuvera are introduced. They were able to obtain the direct vision of the Lord. But isn’t prema-bhakti the only means for seeing the Lord face to face? And having once seen the Lord, doesn’t the agony of separation set in upon losing that vision? This is the feature of prema-bhakti that brings the Lord under the sway of the pure devotee’s love.

How did the two reprobates get such mercy? The answer is that by the quality of Sri Krishna’s love, bhakta-vatsala, the impossible becomes possible. To honor the word of His pure devotee Narada Muni, who gave the benediction that they would see the Lord face to face, the Lord actually delivers these two brothers. Did they ever do anything to deserve this? No. It is simply causeless mercy!

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