See for an up-to-date online version with illustrations, music and links: http://bhagavata.org/
"The Story of the Fortunate One"
Third revised version 2012
CANTO 1: Creation
Chapter 1 Questions by the Sages
Chapter 2 Divinity and Divine Service
Chapter 3 Krishna is the Source of all Incarnations.
Chapter 4 The Appearance of S'rī Nārada.
Chapter 5 Nārada's Instructions on S'rīmad Bhāgavatam for Vyāsadeva
Chapter 6 The Conversation between Nārada and Vyāsadeva
Chapter 7 The Son of Drona Punished
Chapter 8 Parīkchit Saved and Prayers by Queen Kuntī
Chapter 9 The Passing Away of Bhīshmadeva in the Presence of Krishna
Chapter 10 The Departure of Krishna for Dvārakā
Chapter 11 S'rī Krishna's Entrance into Dvārakā
Chapter 12 The Birth of Emperor Parīkchit
Chapter 13 Dhritarāshthra Quits Home
Chapter 14 The Disappearance of Krishna
Chapter 15 The Pāndavas Retire
Chapter 16 How Parīkchit Received the Age of Kali
Chapter 17 Punishment and Reward of Kali
Chapter 18 Mahārāja Parīkchit Cursed by a Brahmin Boy
Chapter 19 The Appearance of S'ukadeva Gosvāmī
CANTO 2: The Cosmic Manifestation
Chapter 1 The First Step in God Realization.
Chapter 2 The Lord in the Heart.
Chapter 3 Pure Devotional Service - The Change in Heart.
Chapter 4 The Process of Creation
Chapter 5 The Cause of All Causes
Chapter 6 The Hymn of the Original Person Confirmed
Chapter 7 Brief Description of the Past and Coming Avatāras
Chapter 8 Questions by King Parīkchit
Chapter 9 Answering by Citing the Lords Version
Chapter 10 The Bhāgavatam is the Answer to All Questions
CANTO 3: The Status Quo
Chapter 1 Questions by Vidura
Chapter 2 Remembrance of Lord Krishna.
Chapter 3 The Lord's Pastimes Outside of Vrindāvana
Chapter 4 Vidura Approaches Maitreya
Chapter 5 Vidura Talks with Maitreya
Chapter 6 Manifestation of the Universal Form
Chapter 7 Further Inquiries by Vidura.
Chapter 8 Manifestation of Brahmā from Garbhodakas'āyī Vishnu.
Chapter 9 Brahmā's Prayers for Creative Energy.
Chapter 10 Divisions of the Creation.
Chapter 11 Division of time expanding from the atom.
Chapter 12 Creation of the Kumāras and Others
Chapter 13 The Appearance of Lord Varāha
Chapter 14 The Impregnation of Diti in the Evening
Chapter 15 Description of the Kingdom of God
Chapter 16 The Two Doorkeepers of Vaikunthha, Cursed by the Sages
Chapter 17 Victory of Hiranyāksha over All the Directions of the Universe
Chapter 18 The Battle Between Lord Boar and the Demon Hiranyāksha
Chapter 19 The Killing of the Demon Hiranyāksha
Chapter 20 The Beings Created by Brahmā
Chapter 21 The Conversation Between Manu and Kardama
Chapter 22 The Marriage of Kardama Muni and Devahūti
Chapter 23 Devahūti's Lamentation
Chapter 24 The Renunciation of Kardama Muni
Chapter 25 The Glories of Devotional Service
Chapter 26 Fundamental Principles of Material Nature
Chapter 27 Understanding Material Nature
Chapter 28 Kapila's Instructions on the Execution of Devotional Service
Chapter 29 Explanation of Devotional Service by Lord Kapila
Chapter 30 Lord Kapila Describes the Adverse Consequences of Fruitive Activities
Chapter 31 Lord Kapila's Instructions on the Wanderings of the Living Entities
Chapter 32 The Entanglement in Fruitive Activities
Chapter 33 The Renunciation of Devahūti
CANTO 4: The Creation of the Fourth Order, the Lord's Protection
Chapter 1 Genealogical Table of the Daughters of Manu
Chapter 2 Daksha Curses Lord S'iva
Chapter 3 The Talk Between Lord S'iva and Satī
Chapter 4 Satī Quits Her Body
Chapter 5 Frustration of the Sacrifice of Daksha
Chapter 6 Brahmā Satīsfies Lord S'iva
Chapter 7 The Sacrifice Performed by Daksha
Chapter 8 Dhruva Leaves Home for the Forest
Chapter 9 Dhruva Returns Home from the Forest
Chapter 10 Dhruva Mahārāja's Fight with the Yakshas
Chapter 11 Svāyambhuva Manu Advises Dhruva Mahārāja to Stop Fighting
Chapter 12 Dhruva Mahārāja Goes Back to Godhead
Chapter 13 Description of the Descendants of Dhruva Mahārāja
Chapter 14 The Story of King Vena
Chapter 15 King Prithu's Appearance and Coronation
Chapter 16 King Prithu extolled
Chapter 17 Prithu Mahārāja Gets Angry with the Earth
Chapter 18 Prithu Mahārāja Milks the Earth
Chapter 19 King Prithu's One Hundred Horse Sacrifices
Chapter 20 Lord Vishnu's Appearance in the Sacrificial Arena of Mahārāja Prithu
Chapter 21 Instructions by Mahārāja Prithu
Chapter 22 Prithu Mahārāja's Meeting with the Four Kumāras
Chapter 23 Prithu Mahārāja Returns Back Home
Chapter 24 The Song Sung by Lord S'iva
Chapter 25 About the Character of King Purańjana
Chapter 26 King Purańjana Goes Hunting and Finds His Morose Wife.
Chapter 27 Attack by Candavega on the City of King Purańjana; the Character of Kālakanyā.
Chapter 28 Purańjana Becomes a Woman in his Next Life.
Chapter 29 The Conversation of Nārada and King Prācīnabarhi
Chapter 30 The Activities of the Pracetās
Chapter 31 Nārada Instructs the Pracetās
CANTO 5: The Creative Impetus
Chapter 1 The Activities of Mahārāja Priyavrata
Chapter 2 The Activities of Mahārāja Āgnīdhra
Chapter 3 Rishabhadeva's Appearance in the Womb of Merudevī, the Wife of King Nābhi.
Chapter 4 The Characteristics of Rishabhadeva
Chapter 5 Lord Rishabhadeva's Teachings to His Sons
Chapter 6 Lord Rishabhadeva's Activities
Chapter 7 The Activities of King Bharata
Chapter 8 The Rebirth of Bharata Mahārāja
Chapter 9 The Supreme Character of Jada Bharata
Chapter 10 Jada Bharata Meets Mahārāja Rahūgana
Chapter 11 Jada Bharata Instructs King Rahūgana
Chapter 12 The Conversation between Mahārāja Rahūgana and Jada Bharata
Chapter 13 Further talks between Mahārāja Rahūgana and Jada Bharata
Chapter 14 The Material World as the Great Forest of Enjoyment
Chapter 15 The Glories of the Descendants of King Priyavrata
Chapter 16 How the Lord can be Comprehended as a Matter of Fact.
Chapter 17: The Descent of the River Ganges
Chapter 18 Prayers to the Different Avatāras
Chapter 19 The Prayers of Hanumān and Nārada and the Glories of Bhārata-varsha
Chapter 20 The Structure of the Different Dvīpas and the Prayers by their Different People
Chapter 21 The Reality of the Sungod Sūrya
Chapter 22 The Movement of the Planets and their Considered Effects
Chapter 23 Description of the Stars of S'is'umāra, our Coiling Galaxy
Chapter 24 The Nether Worlds
Chapter 25 The Glories of Lord Ananta
Chapter 26 The Hellish Worlds or the Karmic Rebound
CANTO 6: Prescribed Duties for Mankind
Chapter 1 Dharma and Adharma: the Life of Ajāmila
Chapter 2 Ajāmila Delivered by the Vishnudūtas: the motivation for the Holy Name
Chapter 3 Yamarāja Instructs His Messengers
Chapter 4 The Hamsa-guhya Prayers Offered to the Lord by Prajāpati Daksha
Chapter 5 Nārada Muni Cursed by Prajāpati Daksha
Chapter 6 The Progeny of the Daughters of Daksha
Chapter 7 Indra Offends His Spiritual Master, Brihaspati
Chapter 8 The Armor of Mantras that Protected Indra
Chapter 9 Appearance of the Demon Vritrāsura
Chapter 10 The Battle Between the Demigods and Vritrāsura
Chapter 11 The Transcendental Qualities of Vritrāsura
Chapter 12 Vritrāsura's Glorious Death
Chapter 13 King Indra Afflicted by Sinful Reaction
Chapter 14 King Citraketu's Lamentation
Chapter 15 The Sages Nārada and Angirā Instruct King Citraketu
Chapter 16 King Citraketu Meets the Supreme Lord
Chapter 17 Mother Pārvatī Curses Citraketu
Chapter 18 Diti Vows to Kill King Indra
Chapter 19 Performing the Pumsavana Ritualistic Ceremony
CANTO 7: The Science of God
Chapter 1 The Supreme Lord is Equal unto Everyone
Chapter 2 Hiranyakas'ipu, the King of the Demons, on Bereavement
Chapter 3 Hiranyakas'ipu's Plan to Become Immortal
Chapter 4 Hiranyakas'ipu Terrorizes the Universe
Chapter 5 Prahlāda Mahārāja, the Saintly Son of Hiranyakas'ipu
Chapter 6 Prahlāda Instructs His Asura Schoolmates
Chapter 7 What Prahlāda Learned in the Womb
Chapter 8 Lord Nrisimhadeva Slays the King of the Demons
Chapter 9 Prahlāda Propitiates Lord Nrisimhadeva with Prayers
Chapter 10 About Prahlāda, the Best Among the Exalted Devotees and the fall of Tripura.
Chapter 11 The Perfect Society: About the Four Social Classes and the Woman
Chapter 12 The Four Ās'ramas and How to Leave the Body
Chapter 13 The Behavior of a Saintly Person
Chapter 14 The Supreme of the Householder's Life
Chapter 15 Nārada's Instructions on Vegetarian Sharing, Irreligion, Healing, Yoga and Advaita
CANTO 8: Withdrawal of the Cosmic Creations
Chapter 1 The Manus, Administrators of the Universe
Chapter 2 The Crisis of the Elephant Gajendra
Chapter 3 Gajendra's Prayers of Surrender
Chapter 4 Gajendra Returns to the Spiritual World
Chapter 5 The Fifth and Sixth Manu and the Prayers of Brahmā with the Suras.
Chapter 6 The Suras and Asuras Declare a Truce
Chapter 7 Lord S'iva Drinks the Poison Churned with the Mountain Mandara
Chapter 8 More Appears from the Churning: Mother Lakshmī and Dhanvantari
Chapter 9 The Lord Appears as a Beautiful Woman to Distribute the Nectar
Chapter 10 The Battle Between the Demigods and the Demons
Chapter 11 The Dānavas Annihilated and Revived
Chapter 12 Lord S'iva prays to see Mohinī Mūrti, gets bewildered and restores.
Chapter 13 Description of Future Manus
Chapter 14 The System of Universal Management
Chapter 15 Bali Mahārāja Conquers the Heavenly Places
Chapter 16 Aditi Initiated into the Payo-vrata Ceremony, the Best of All Sacrifices
Chapter 17: The Supreme Lord Agrees to Become Aditi's Son
Chapter 18 Lord Vāmanadeva, the Dwarf Incarnation
Chapter 19 Lord Vāmanadeva Begs Charity from Bali Mahārāja
Chapter 20 Lord Vāmanadeva Covers all Worlds
Chapter 21 Bali Mahārāja Arrested by the Lord
Chapter 22 Bali Mahārāja Surrenders His Life
Chapter 23 The Demigods Regain the Heavenly Places
Chapter 24 Matsya, the Lord's Fish Incarnation
CANTO 9: Liberation
Chapter 1 King Sudyumna Becomes a Woman
Chapter 2 The Dynasties of Six of the Sons of Manu
Chapter 3 The Marriage of S'ukanyā and Cyavana Muni
Chapter 4 Ambarīsha Mahārāja Offended by Durvāsā Muni
Chapter 5 Durvāsā Saved: the Cakra-prayers of Ambarīsha
Chapter 6 The Downfall of Saubhari Muni
Chapter 7 The Descendants of King Māndhātā
Chapter 8 The Sons of Sagara Meet Lord Kapiladeva
Chapter 9 The Dynasty of Ams'umān
Chapter 10 The Pastimes of Lord Rāmacandra
Chapter 11 Lord Rāmacandra Rules the World
Chapter 12 The Dynasty of Kus'a, the Son of Lord Rāmacandra
Chapter 13 The Story of Nimi and the Dynasty of his Son Mithila.
Chapter 14 King Purūravā Enchanted by Urvas'ī
Chapter 15 Paras'urāma, the Lord's Warrior Incarnation
Chapter 16 How Lord Paras'urāma Came to Destroy the Ruling Class Twenty-one Times
Chapter 17: The Dynasties of the Sons of Purūravā
Chapter 18 King Yayāti Regains his Youth
Chapter 19 King Yayāti Achieves Liberation: the Goats of Lust
Chapter 20 The Dynasty of Pūru up to Bharata
Chapter 21 The Dynasty of Bharata: the Story of Rantideva
Chapter 22 The Descendants of Ajamīdha: the Pāndavas and Kauravas
Chapter 23 The Dynasties of the Sons of Yayāti: the Appearance of Lord Krishna
Chapter 24 The Yadu and Vrishni Dynasties, Prithā and the Glory of Lord Krishna
CANTO 10: Summum Bonum
Chapter 1 The Advent of Lord Krishna: Introduction
Chapter 2 Prayers by the Demigods for Lord Krishna in the Womb
Chapter 3 The Birth of Lord Krishna
Chapter 4 The Atrocities of King Kamsa
Chapter 5 Krishna's Birth Ceremony and the Meeting of Nanda Mahārāja and Vasudeva
Chapter 6 The Killing of the Demoness Pūtanā
Chapter 7 Krishna Kicks the Cart, Defeats Trināvarta and Shows Yas'odā the Universe
Chapter 8 The Name Ceremony, His Pranks and Again the Universe Within His Mouth
Chapter 9 Mother Yas'odā Binds Lord Krishna
Chapter 10 The Deliverance of the Sons of Kuvera
Chapter 11 A New Residence, the Fruit Vendor and Vatsāsura and Bakāsura Defeated
Chapter 12 The Killing of the Demon Aghāsura
Chapter 13 Lord Brahmā Steals the Boys and Calves
Chapter 14 Brahmā's Prayers to Lord Krishna
Chapter 15 The Killing of Dhenuka, the Ass Demon and Poison in the River
Chapter 16 Krishna Chastises the Serpent Kāliya
Chapter 17: The History of Kāliya and Krishna Swallows a Forest Fire.
Chapter 18 Lord Balarāma Slays the Demon Pralamba
Chapter 19 Krishna Swallows Again a Forest Fire
Chapter 20 The Rainy Season and Autumn in Vrindāvana
Chapter 21 The Gopīs Glorify the Song of Krishna's Flute
Chapter 22 Krishna Steals the Garments of the Unmarried Gopīs
Chapter 23 The Brahmin Wives Blessed
Chapter 24 Krishna Defies Indra in Favor of the Brahmins, the Cows and Govardhana Hill
Chapter 25 Lord Krishna Lifts Govardhana Hill
Chapter 26 Lord Indra and Mother Surabhi Offer Prayers
Chapter 27 Nanda Recapitulates the words of Garga before the Puzzled Gopas
Chapter 28 Krishna Rescues Nanda Mahārāja from the Abode of Varuna
Chapter 29 The Rāsa Play: Krishna Meets and Escapes the Gopīs at Night
Chapter 30 The Gopīs Search for Krishna Who Disappeared with Rādhā
Chapter 31 The Songs of the Gopīs in Separation
Chapter 32 Krishna Returns to the Gopīs
Chapter 33 The Rāsa Dance
Chapter 34 Sudars'ana Delivered and S'ankhacūda Killed
Chapter 35 The Gopīs Sing about Krishna as He Wanders in the Forest
Chapter 36 The Bull Arishthāsura Defeated and Akrūra Sent by Kamsa
Chapter 37 Kes'ī and Vyoma Killed and Nārada Eulogizes Krishna's Future
Chapter 38 Akrūra's Musing and Reception in Gokula
Chapter 39 Krishna and Balarāma Leave for Mathurā
Chapter 40 Akrūra's Prayers
Chapter 41 The Lords' Arrival in Mathurā
Chapter 42 The Breaking of the Sacrificial Bow
Chapter 43 Krishna Kills the Elephant Kuvalayāpīda
Chapter 44 The Wrestling Match and the Killing of Kamsa
Chapter 45 Krishna Rescues His Teacher's Son
Chapter 46 Uddhava Spends the Night in Gokula Talking with Nanda
Chapter 47: The Gopī Reveals Her Emotions: The Song of the Bee
Chapter 48 Krishna Pleases His Devotees
Chapter 49 Akrūra's Mission in Hastināpura
Chapter 50 Krishna Uses Jarāsandha and Establishes the City of Dvārakā
Chapter 51 The Deliverance of Mucukunda
Chapter 52 The Lords Leap from a Mountain and Rukminī's Message to Lord Krishna
Chapter 53 Krishna Kidnaps Rukminī
Chapter 54 Rukmī's Defeat and Krishna Married
Chapter 55 The History of Pradyumna
Chapter 56 How the Syamantaka jewel Brought Krishna Jāmbavatī and Satyabhāmā
Chapter 57 Satrājit Murdered, the Jewel Stolen and Returned Again
Chapter 58 Krishna also Weds Kālindī, Mitravindā, Satyā, Lakshmanā and Bhadrā
Chapter 59 Mura and Bhauma Killed and the Prayers of Bhūmi
Chapter 60 Lord Krishna Teases Queen Rukminī
Chapter 61 Lord Balarāma Slays Rukmī at Aniruddha's Wedding
Chapter 62 Ūshā in Love and Aniruddha Apprehended
Chapter 63 The Fever in Conflict and Bāna Defeated
Chapter 64 On Stealing from a Brahmin: King Nriga a Chameleon
Chapter 65 Lord Balarāma in Vrindāvana and the Stream Divided
Chapter 66 The False Vāsudeva Paundraka and His Son Consumed by Their Own Fire
Chapter 67 Balarāma Slays the Ape Dvivida
Chapter 68 The Marriage of Sāmba and the Kuru City Dragged Trembling of His Anger
Chapter 69 Nārada Muni's Vision of Krishna in His Household Affairs
Chapter 70 Krishna's Routines, Troubles and Nārada Pays Another Visit
Chapter 71 The Lord Travels to Indraprastha on Advice of Uddhava
Chapter 72 Jarāsandha Killed by Bhīma and the Kings Freed
Chapter 73 Lord Krishna Blesses the Liberated Kings
Chapter 74 The Rājasūya: Krishna Number One and S'is'upāla Killed
Chapter 75 Concluding the Rājasūya and Duryodhana Laughed at
Chapter 76 The Battle Between S'ālva and the Vrishnis
Chapter 77 S'ālva and the Saubha fortress Finished
Chapter 78 Dantavakra Killed and Romaharshana Slain with a Blade of Grass
Chapter 79 Lord Balarāma Slays Balvala and Visits the Holy Places
Chapter 80 An Old Brahmin Friend Visits Krishna
Chapter 81 The Brahmin Honored: Lord Krishna the Godhead of the Brahmins
Chapter 82 All Kings and the Inhabitants of Vrindāvana on Pilgrimage Reunite with Krishna
Chapter 83 Draupadī Meets the Queens of Krishna
Chapter 84 Vasudeva of Sacrifice to the Sages at Kurukshetra Explaining the Path of Success
Chapter 85 Lord Krishna Instructs Vasudeva and Retrieves Devakī's Sons
Chapter 86 Arjuna Kidnaps Subhadrā, and Krishna Instructs Bahulas'va and S'rutadeva
Chapter 87: The Underlying Mystery: Prayers of the Personified Vedas
Chapter 88 Lord S'iva Saved from Vrikāsura
Chapter 89 Vishnu the Best of the Gods and the Krishnas Retrieve a brahmin's Sons
Chapter 90 The Queens Play and Speak and Lord Krishna's Glories Summarized
CANTO 11: Krishna's Final Instructions
Chapter 1 The Curse Upon the Yadu Dynasty
Chapter 2 Mahārāja Nimi Meets the Nine Yogendras
Chapter 3 Liberation from Māyā and Karma Knowing and Worshiping the Lord
Chapter 4 The Activities of Nara-Nārāyana and the other Avatāras described
Chapter 5 Nārada Concludes His Teachings to Vasudeva
Chapter 6 Retirement on the Advise of Brahmā and Uddhava Addressed in Private
Chapter 7 Krishna Speaks about the Masters of the Avadhūta and the Pigeon of Attachment
Chapter 8 What One Learns from Nature and the Story of Pingalā
Chapter 9 Detachment from All that is Material
Chapter 10 The Soul Free, the Soul Bound
Chapter 11 Bondage and Liberation Explained and the Devotional Service of the Saintly Person
Chapter 12 The Confidential Secret Beyond Renunciation and Knowledge
Chapter 13 The Hams'a-avatāra Answers the Questions of the Sons of Brahmā
Chapter 14 The Devotional Coherence of the Methods and the Meditation on Vishnu
Chapter 15 Mystical Perfection: the Siddhis
Chapter 16 The Lord's Opulence
Chapter 17: The Varnās'rama System and the Boat of Bhakti: the Students and the Householders
Chapter 18 The Varnās'rama System: the Withdrawn and the Renounced
Chapter 19 The Perfection of Spiritual Knowledge
Chapter 20 Trikānda Yoga: Bhakti Surpasses Knowledge and Detachment
Chapter 21 On Distinguishing between Good and Bad
Chapter 22 Prakriti and Purusha: Nature and the Enjoyer
Chapter 23 Forbearance: the Song of the Avantī Brāhmana
Chapter 24 Analytic Knowledge, Sānkhya, Summarized
Chapter 25 The Three modes of nature and Beyond
Chapter 26 The Song of Purūravā
Chapter 27 On Respecting the Form of the Lord
Chapter 28 Jńāna Yoga or the Denomination and the Real
Chapter 29 Bhakti Yoga: the Most Auspicious way to Conquer Death
Chapter 30 The Disappearance of the Yadu dynasty
Chapter 31 The Ascension of Lord Krishna
CANTO 12: The Age of Deterioration
Chapter 1 The Degraded Dynasties and Corrupt Nature of the Rulers of Kali-yuga
Chapter 2 Despair and Hope in the Age of Quarrel
Chapter 3 The Song of Mother Earth and Kali-yuga its Remedy
Chapter 4 Pralaya: The Four Types of Annihilation
Chapter 5 Final Instructions to Mahārāja Parīkchit
Chapter 6 Mahārāja Parīkchit Liberated and the Veda Handed Down in Four
Chapter 7 The Devotion in Samhitā Branches and the Ten Topics of the Purānas
Chapter 8 Mārkandeya Resists All Temptation and Prays to Nara-Nārāyana Rishi
Chapter 9 Mārkandeya is Shown the Lord's Bewildering Potency
Chapter 10 S'iva, Lord and Helper Glorifies Mārkandeya Rishi
Chapter 11 Vishnu's Attributes and the Order of the Month of Him as the Sun god
Chapter 12 The Topics of S'rīmad Bhāgavatam Summarized
Chapter 13 The Glories of S'rīmad Bhāgavatam
IntroductionThis book tells the story of the Lord and His incarnations since the earliest records of Vedic history, the history of the original culture of knowledge of India. It is verily the Krishna 'bible' [in Sanskrit called a samhitā] of the Hindu universe. The Bhagavad Gītā relates to this book like the sermon on the mountain by Lord Jesus relates to the full Bible. It has about 18.000 verses contained in 335 chapters and consists of 12 subdivisons of books that are called Cantos. These books together tell the complete history of the Vedic culture and cover the essence of the classical collections of stories called the Purānas. This specific collection of Vedic stories is considered the most important one of all the great eigtheen classical Purānas of India. It includes the cream of the Vedic knowledge compiled from all the Vedic literatures as also the story of the life of Lord Krishna in full (Canto 10). Lord Krishna constitutes a watershed in the history between the old Vedic culture and the 'modern' political culture in which the rule of state no longer automatically is led by the spiritual order. The book tells the story of His birth, His youth, all His wonderful proofs of His divine nature and His superhuman feats of defeating all kinds of demons up to the great Mahābhārat war at Kurukshetra. In this war the Vedic culture fell down to be replaced by the fragmented relighiosity we these days call Hinduism. This leading Purāna also called the 'perfect Purāna', is a brilliant story that has been brought to the West by S'rīla A.C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda, a Caitanya Vaishnava, a bhakti (devotional) monk of Lord Vishṇu [the name for the transcendental form of Lord Krishna]. He undertook the daring task of enlightening the materialist westerners, the advanced philosophers and theologians, in order to help them to overcome the perils and loneliness of impersonalism and the philosophy of emptiness.
For the translation the author of this internet version has consulted the translations of C.L Goswami. M.A., Sāstrī (from the Gītā Press, Gorakhpur), the paramparā [disciplic succession] version of S'rīla Vishvanātha Cakravarti Thhākura and the later version of this book by S'rīla A.C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda. The latter translators as ācāryas [guru teaching by example] of the age-old Indian Vaishnava tradition are representatives of a culture of reformation of the devotion for God or bhakti, the way it has been practiced in India since the 16th century. This reformation asserts that the false authority of the caste system and single dry book knowledge is to be rejected. S'rī Krishna Caitanya, also called Caitanya Mahāprabhu (1486-1534), the avatāra [an incarnation of the Lord] who heralded this reform, restored the original purpose of developing devotion unto the person of God and endeavored in particular for dissemination of the two main sacred scriptures expounding on that devotion in relation to Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. These scriptures are the Bhagavad Gītā and this Bhāgavata Purāna, that is also called the S'rīmad Bhāgavatam, from which all the Vaishnava ācāryas derived their wisdom for the purpose of instruction and the shaping of their devotion. The word for word translations as also the full text and commentaries of this book were studied within and without the Hare Krishna temples where the teaching of this culture takes place. The purpose of the translation is first of all to make this glorious text available to a wider audience over the Internet. Since the Bible, the Koran and numerous other holy texts are readily available, the translator meant that this book could not stay behind on the shelf of his own bookcase as a token of material possessiveness. When we started with this endeavor in the year 2000 there was no proper web presentation of this book. Knowledge not shared is knowledge lost, and certainly this type of knowledge, which stresses the yoga of non-possessiveness and devotion as one of its main values could not be left out. The version of Swami Prabhupāda is very extensive covering some 2400 pages of plain fine printed text including his commentaries. And that were only the first ten Cantos. The remaining two Cantos were posthumously published by his pupils in the full of his spirit. I thus was faced with two daring challenges: one was to concatenate the text or make a readable running narrative of the book that had been dissected and commented to the single word and the second challenge was to put it into a language that would befit the 21st century with all its modern and postmodern experience and digital progress of the present cultural order of the world, without losing anything of its original verses. Thus another verse to verse as-it-is translation came about in which Vishvanātha's, Prabhupāda's and Sāstrī's words were pruned, retranslated and set to the understanding and realization of today. This realization in my case originated directly from the disciplic line of succession of the Vaishnava line of ācāryas as also from a realization of the total field of indian philosophy of enlightenment and yoga discipline as was brought to the West by also non-Vaishnava gurus and maintained by their pupils. Therefore the author has to express his gratitude to all these great heroes who dared to face the adamantine of western philosophy with all its doubts, concreticism and skepticism. Especially the pupils of Prabhupāda, members of the renounced order (sannyāsīs) who instructed the author in the independence and maturity of the philosophy of the bhakti-yogis of Lord Caitanya need to be mentioned. I was already initiated in India by a non-Vaishnava guru and have been given the name of Swami Anand Aadhar ('teacher of the foundation of happiness'). That name the Krishna community converted into Anand Aadhar Prabhu ('master of the foundation of happiness') without further ceremonies of Vaishnava initiation (apart from a basic training). With the name Anand Aadhar I am a withdrawn devotee, a so-called vānaprashta, who does his devotional service independently in the silence and modesty of his local adaptations of the philosophy.
In most cases the word for word translations and grammatical directions of S'rīla A.C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda/ISKCON, Vishvanātha Cakravarti Thhākura and C.L. Goswami. M.A., Sāstrī have been followed as they were used in their translations and I have checked them with the help of the Monier-Williams Sanskrit Dictionary [see the file of the terms used]. In footnotes and between square brackets [ ] sometimes a little comment and extra info is given to accommodate the reader when the original text is drawing from a more experienced approach. On the internetsite bhagavata.org of this book, my version refers to the version of Prabhupāda that is linked up at each verse together with my own previous version so that it is possible to retrace at any moment what I have done with the text. This is in accordance with the scientific tradition of the Vaishnava community.
For the copyright on this translation the so-called Commons Attribution Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License has been chosen. This means that one is free to copy, distribute and alter the text on the condition of attribution (refer to the name of Anand Aadhar and to my website address bhagavata.org), that the resulting work can only be distributed under the same or similar license to this one and that one cannot use the text for commercial purposes. For all other usage one will have to contact the translator.
With love and devotion,
Anand Aadhar Prabhu,
Enschede, The Netherlands, April 17, 2012.
CANTO 1: Creation
Chapter 1: Questions by the Sages
(1) Let there be the salutation of the original appearance of Him, Vāsudeva, the Fortunate One, from whom, being present here and in the beyond, for the purpose of recollection and full independence, the Vedic knowledge was imparted in the heart of the first created being [Lord Brahmā]. About Him the enlightened [as surely also the ordinary] souls are, like with a mirage of water to the [fire of the] sun, in a state of illusion wherein, through the action and reaction of the modes of material nature, there is the [apparent] certainty of the factual. I meditate upon Him who is always self-sufficient and the transcendental [supreme and absolute] truth free from illusion.
(2) In this book deceitful religiosity [of ulterior motives] is rejected. One finds in it the highest that can be comprehended by selfless, truth-loving people. Herein that is offered what factually implies the well-being that uproots the threefold miseries [as caused by oneself, others and by nature]. What would be the need of other stories when one finds in this book the beautiful story of the Fortunate One that was compiled by the great sage [Vyāsadeva] which, with the help of the pious ones who are diligently of service, forthwith establishes the Controller in the heart. (3) It is the ripened fruit from the desire tree of the Vedic literatures that flowing from the lips of S'ukadeva manifested as sweet nectar perfect in every way. Oh you expert and thoughtful ones delighting in devotion, ever relish the home of the S'rīmad Bhāgavatam!
(4) In the forest of Naimishāranya, a spot favored by Vishnu, sages headed by the sage S'aunaka performed a thousand-year sacrifice for the Lord of heaven and the devotees on earth. (5) One morning, burning the sacrificial fire, the sages asked with due respect S'rīla Sūta Gosvāmī, who was offered a seat of honor, the following: (6) "You, free from all vice as you are and familiar with the stories and historical records, are said to be well versed in the religious scriptures that you explained as well. (7) As the eldest of the scholars of the Vedas you know Vyāsadeva, the Lord among them - and Sūta, you know also the other ones well versed in physical and metaphysical knowledge. (8) Pure and simple natured, you because of their grace are well-informed concerning all the matters in question; spiritual masters [after all] will confide to a submissive disciple all the secrets they know. (9) Being blessed therefore with a long life, please tell us in simple terms from your heart of goodness what you could ascertain to be the absolute and ultimate good that all people deserve. (10) In general, oh honorable one, the people in this age of Kali are lazy, misguided, unlucky and above all disturbed. (11) There are many scriptures with as many prescribed duties that each separately demand attention. Therefore, oh sage, tell us for the good of all living beings what, to the best of your knowledge, would be the essence that satisfies the soul. (12) You are blessed Sūta because you know the purpose for which the Supreme One, the protector of the devotees, appeared in the womb of Devakī as the son of Vasudeva. (13) Please Sūta you should, according to the tradition, tell us who are aching for it about His incarnation for the good and upliftment of all living beings. (14) Entangled in the complications of birth and death we will find liberation even if we are not fully aware engaged in respecting the name of the Lord who is feared by fear itself. (15) Oh Sūta, those who have taken shelter of the lotus feet of the great sages who are absorbed in devotion immediately find purification by simply associating with them, whereas such purification with the water of the Ganges is only achieved when one cultivates it. (16) Is there anyone eager for liberation who would not rather want to hear about the Lord's worshipable, virtuous deeds and glories as the sanctifier for the Age of Quarrel [Kali]? (17) He is hailed by the great souls for His transcendental glories. Please tell us, eager believers, about the pastimes of His descent in time. (18) Describe for that reason to us, oh sagacious one, the auspicious adventures and pastimes of the multiple incarnations of the Supreme Controller's personal energies. (19) We who know to appreciate the taste are never tired of continually praying and hearing about the adventures of the One Glorified that delight us time and again. (20) In the guise of a human being He with Balarāma [His elder brother] was of a superhuman performance. (21) Knowing of the onset of the Age of Kali, we for a longer period have assembled to sacrifice here at this place reserved for the devotees and take time to listen to the stories about the Lord. (22) We by providence have met your goodness who can help us, as a captain on a ship, through this insurmountable age of Kali that constitutes such a threat to one's good qualities. (23) Please tell us to whom we should turn to take shelter now the Lord of Yoga, S'rī Krishna, who is the Absolute Truth and the protector of the religion, has left for His abode."
Chapter 2: Divinity and Divine Service
(1) Delighted with the correct questions of the sages there, the son of Romaharshana [Sūta] began with his reply after thanking them for their words. (2) Sūta said: "He [S'ukadeva] who went away to live with the renounced order without the prescribed ceremony of reform of the sacred thread, made Vyāsadeva, being afraid of the separation exclaim: 'Oh my son!', and all the trees and all living beings responded sympathizing in the heart of the sage. (3) Let me offer my obeisances to him [the son of Vyāsa] who, as the only transcendental torchlight in desiring to overcome the darkness of material existence of materialistic men, assimilated the cream of the Vedas and out of his causeless mercy, as the master of the sages, conveyed this very confidential supplement to the Vedas, this Purāna. (4) After first offering one's obeisances to Nara-Nārāyana, the [Lord as the] super most human being, the goddess of learning [Sarasvatī] and Vyāsadeva, let then everything [contained in this book] be announced that is needed for conquering [māyā, the power of illusion].
(5) Oh sages, your questions for me about Krishna are of relevance for the welfare of the world because they satisfy the true self. (6) That duty no doubt is for mankind the highest, of which there is the causeless, uninterrupted devotional service unto Krishna as the One in the Beyond [Vishnu] that leads to the full satisfaction of the soul. (7) The practice of connecting oneself in devotion unto Vāsudeva, the Personality of Godhead, very soon leads to the detachment and spiritual knowledge that relies on its own power. (8) What people do according to their societal positions, is useless labor leading nowhere, if it does not lead to the message of Vishvaksena [Krishna as the highest authority]. (9) One's occupational activities are certainly meant for ultimate liberation and not for the end of material gain, neither is, according to the sages, the material progress of the dutiful ones in devotional service meant for the attainment of sense-gratification. (10) One should not long so much for sense-gratification, profit and livelihood, one's activities are there for no other purpose than inquiring after the Absolute Truth. (11) The learned souls say that the reality of nondual knowledge is known as Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān [the impersonal, localized and personal aspect]. (12) Sages [and devotees] well equipped with knowledge and detachment who are full of belief, will perceive within their heart and soul [that reality] according to their understanding of what they heard [or read about] in their devotion. (13) This is how the human being, oh best of the twice-born souls, by pleasing the Lord achieves the highest perfection with his own dutifulness according to the divisions of status and vocation [varnās'rama]. (14) One should therefore with a one-pointed mind constantly hear about, glorify, remember and worship the Supreme Lord, the protector of the devotees. (15) Who would not attend to this message of intelligently remembering the Lord that offers one the sword for cutting through the bonds of materially motivated labor [karma]? (16) One who attentively listens in rendering service to pure devotees dear scholars, will be purified from all vice and develop taste for the message of Vāsudeva. (17) Those who developed this hearing of Krishna's words will find virtue listening and singing and will certainly in their hearts see their desire to enjoy purified by the benefactor of the truthful souls. (18) By regularly being of service to the bhāgavata [the pure devotee] and the Bhāgavatam, as good as all that is inauspicious will be destroyed and thus serving the Supreme Lord with transcendental prayers, irrevocably loving service will come about. (19) Not being affected by the effects of passion and ignorance such as lust, greed and all of that, one's consciousness will be fixed in goodness and at that moment find happiness. (20) In touch with the devotional service of the Lord thus being cleared, the mind, liberated because of the association, then becomes effective in the knowledge of wisdom regarding the Fortunate One. (21) Seeing the [true] self that way as being the master, the knot in the heart is cut to pieces, all doubts end and the chain of materially motivated actions [karma] is terminated. (22) Therefore all transcendentalists have always delighted in the service of Krishna - it enlivens the soul. (23) The ultimate benefit of the Transcendental Personality, who is associated with the qualities of material nature of goodness, passion and ignorance and with the maintainer Vishnu, the creator Brahmā and the destroyer S'iva, the human being of course finds in the form of goodness [Vishnu]. (24) The way we have the firewood of sacrifices stemming from the earth producing smoke once being set afire, so we also have passion stemming from ignorance leading to the goodness from which the essential nature is realized.
(25) Whoever follows the sages who in the past thus rendered service to the transcendental Lord above the three modes of nature, deserves the same benefit. (26) It is the reason why those who desire liberation reject the less attractive forms of the demigods and without any envy worship the many forms of the all-blissful S'rī Vishnu [Nārāyana]. (27) Those who are ignorant and of passion, desire glory, power and progeny and are of worship for forefathers and other beings of cosmic control in the same category of their preference. (28-29) But Vāsudeva is the object of Vedic knowledge, the purpose of the sacrifices and the path of yoga, Vāsudeva is the controller of all material activity, the highest knowledge, the strictest austerity, the best quality, the supreme dharma and the ultimate goal of life. (30) From the beginning of the manifestation He, by His internal potency, has been the cause and effect of all forms and the transcendental Absolute of the modes of nature. (31) Although He, manifesting by the modes, having entered them, appears to be affected by the modes, He is the full manifestation of all wisdom. (32) He, as the Supersoul, pervades all living beings as the source of creation like fire does in wood and shines forth as different living entities, at the same time being the Absolute Person. (33) That Supersoul created the subtle senses influenced by the modes of nature by entering the living beings in His own creation, causing them to enjoy those modes. (34) Thus He maintains all of them in the mode of goodness, being incarnated Himself in the performance of His pastimes as the master of all the worlds of the divine, human and animalistic beings."
Chapter 3: Krishna is the Source of All Incarnations
*: The paramparā adds here that even though Lord Buddha rejected Vedic knowledge and the Supreme Lord, that was just an act of camouflage He engaged in because of those who were envious of the devotees. "Both Lord Buddha and Ācārya S'ankara paved the path of theism, and Vaishnava ācāryas, specifically Lord S'rī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, led the people on the path towards a realization of going back to Godhead."
(1) Sūta said: "In the beginning the Supreme Lord assumed, for the creation of the worlds, the form of the Original Person[: the integrity of the material realm] composed of the sixteen elements [of the ten knowing and working senses, the mind and the five elements] and the cosmic intelligence and such. (2) Resting in His meditative slumber in that water, out of the lotus that spread from the lake of His navel, Brahmā was manifested, the master of the progenitors in the universe. (3) One supposes the different worlds [as expansions] to be part of the form of the Fortunate One that constitutes the excellence of the purest existence. (4) In a perfect [spiritual] vision His form is seen as having numerous legs, thighs, arms and faces, with wonderful heads, ears, eyes and noses, all glowing with countless garlands, earrings and dresses. (5) This source of the multifarious incarnations is the imperishable seed from which the plenary portions originate as also the portions thereof, such as the gods, the human beings and the animals."
(6) "The first position the godhead [Nārāyaṇa] created was that 0f the sons of Brahmā [the Kumāras] who performed the most difficult discipline of continuous celibacy. (7) The Supreme Enjoyer secondly assumed the form of a boar for the welfare of the earth that had sunken to the lowest regions and lifted her up [from the ocean]. (8) Thirdly He accepted His presence among the seers [in the form of Nārada Muni] for the sake of evolving the Vedic knowledge concerning the performance of devotional service free from material motives. (9) Fourth born as the twin sons of [Mūrti] the wife of king Dharma He in the form of Nara-Nārāyaṇa subjected Himself to severe penances to attain control over the senses. (10) Fifth He, carrying the name of Kapila, gave an exposition to the brahmin Āsuri on the nature of metaphysics and the elements of creation, because in the course of time that knowledge had been lost. (11) Sixth as the son of Atri [named Dattātreya] being born from Anasūyā who prayed for Him, He lectured to Alarka, Prahlāda and others about transcendence. (12) Seventh being born from Ākūti as Yajńa, the son of Prajāpati Ruci, He together with His son Yama and other demigods, ruled during the period of Svāyambhuva Manu [and became the Indra]. (13) Eighth, from the wife of King Nābhi, Merudevī, the Almighty Lord took birth as King Rishabha and showed the path of perfection respected by people of all stages of life. (14) His ninth incarnation He accepted in response to the prayers of the sages, whereupon He [as Prithu] ruled the earth for the sake of collecting ['milking'] her produces, which made her most attractive. (15) Assuming the form of a fish [Mātsya], He after the period of Cākshusha Manu protected Vaivasvata Manu, keeping him in a boat afloat the waters when the world was deeply inundated. (16) Eleventh the mighty Lord in the form of a tortoise [Kurma] sustained the Mandarācala Hill of the theists and atheists that served as a pivot in the ocean. (17) Twelfth He appeared as Dhanvantari [Lord of medicine] and thirteenth He appeared before the atheists as an alluring beautiful woman and gave nectar to the demigods. (18) In His fourteenth incarnation He, half as a lion, appeared as Nrisimha, who with His nails on His lap tore apart the king of the atheists like a carpenter splitting cane. (19) Fifteenth He assumed the form of Vāmana [the dwarf brāhmana] who went to the arena of sacrifice of Mahārāja Bali to beg for only three steps of land, concealing His wish to regain the three worlds. (20) In His sixteenth incarnation He [as Bhrigupati or Paras'urāma] saw that the ruling class was hostile towards the brahmins and acted twenty-one times against them. (21) Seeing that the common people were less intelligent He, seventeenth, incarnated as Vyāsadeva taking birth from Satyavatī with Parās'ara Muni as His father, for the purpose of dividing the desire tree of the Veda into several branches. (22) Next He performed in a superhuman way having assumed the form of a divine human being [Rāma], by controlling the Indian Ocean and such, so that He could act for the sake of the godly souls. (23) Nineteenth as also twentieth Bhagavān took birth in the Vrishni family as Balarāma and Krishna and thus removed the burden from the world. (24) Thereafter at the beginning of the Age of Kali He shall appear in Gayā [Bihar] as the son of [mother] Ańjanā with the name Buddha for the purpose of deluding the ones envious of the theists [*]. (25) Next, at the conjunction of two yugas [this one and the next], when there is hardly a ruler to be found who is not a plunderer, the Lord of the Creation carrying the name of Kalki will take birth as the son of Vishnu Yas'ā." [**]
(26) "Dear brahmins, the incarnations of the Lord who appeared from the ocean of goodness are as innumerable as the thousands of streams we have from inexhaustible sources of water. (27) All the powerful sages, the godly souls, the Manus and their progeny as also the Prajāpatis [the founding fathers] are aspects of the Lord. (28) They are all part of - or plenary portions of - Krishna, the Supreme Lord [Bhagavān] in person who offers protection during all ages and in all worlds against disturbances because of the enemies of the king of heaven [Indra]. (29) Anyone who in the morning and the evening carefully recites these mysterious births of the Lord, will find relief from all miseries of life. (30) All these forms of the Lord that by the qualities of the material energy were created with the ingredients of the cosmic intelligence and other elements, originated from His Self-awareness that is without a form. (31) They are there for the less intelligent observer to be perceived the way one sees clouds in the sky or dust in the air. (32) This unmanifested Self in the beyond that cannot be seen or heard and has no form that is affected by the modes of nature, constitutes the reality of the subtle self [of the individual soul] who takes birth repeatedly. (33) As soon as one by self-knowledge arrives at the rejection of all these gross and subtle forms that impose themselves on the soul because of ignorance, one arrives at the realization of the Absolute Truth. (34) With the illusory energy subsided one is endowed with the full knowledge of enlightenment so that one thus being mindful will be situated in one's own glory. (35) This is how the scholars arrived at the description of the birth and activities of the actually unborn and non-engaged Lord of the Heart; it is the hidden meaning of the Vedas. (36) Residing within every living being He is the omnipotent master and witness of the six qualities [the six objects of the senses and the mind] and opulences [bhaga], whose play is spotless, who is independent and not affected by creation, destruction and maintenance. (37) Because of His expert manipulations His activities, names and forms cannot be understood by the speculations and speeches of those with a poor fund of knowledge, just like fools cannot understand an actor's performance. (38) Only he who renders unconditional, uninterrupted, favorable service to His fragrant lotus feet may know the transcendental glories of the all-powerful Creator with the wheel of the chariot in His hand. (39) When one in this world succeeds in thus being cognizant with the Personality of Godhead who embraces all His universes as their Lord and who inspires for the complete of the spirit of ecstasy, one will never again have to experience there the dreadful repetition [of births]."
(40) "This book called the Bhāgavatam about the activities of the One Hailed in the Verses [the Fortunate One, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krishna and His devotees] that as a supplement to the Vedas [a Purāna] was compiled by the seer of God [Vyāsadeva], is there for the ultimate good of bringing success, happiness and perfection to all people. (41) This story, that as the cream from all the Vedic literatures and histories was extracted by S'rīla Vyāsadeva, he delivered to his son who is the most respectable one among the self-realized souls. (42) He [S'uka] in his turn told it to emperor Parīkchit who, surrounded by the greatest sages, sat down at the Ganges to fast until his death. (43) Now that Krishna has left for His abode and with Him also proper conduct and spiritual insight have vanished, this Purāna bright as the sun has appeared at the horizon for the sake of everyone who in the Age of Quarrel [Kali-yuga] has lost his vision. (44) Oh brahmins, when the story was recited there by that powerful great sage, I, being perfectly attentive by his mercy, also managed to understand it, so that I will now relate it to you also, exactly as I learned it free from deviations by my own mind."
**: In canto 2 chapter 7 there is also a discussion of the avatāras of the Supreme Personality. In this abbreviated list in this chapter Vyāsadeva is mentioned as the seventeenth incarnation before the one of Rāma, while he is mentioned in 2.7 after the appearance of Krishna. The chronological order of the position of Vyāsa seems to be odd here, for, as a contemporary of Krishna, his incarnation would have taken place after the one of Rāma. But sometimes great incarnations are presented as eternal personalities appearing in different times and ages with the same name.
Chapter 4: The Appearance of S'rī Nārada(1) The elderly and learned S'aunaka, the head of the long-standing ceremony the sages were gathered for, congratulated Sūta Gosvāmī and said the following to him: (2) "Oh most fortunate one of those who are respected to speak, please tell us about the message of the Bhāgavatam the way it was discussed by S'ukadeva Gosvāmī. (3) When, where, on what ground and wherefrom inspired could this literature be compiled by sage Vyāsadeva? (4) His son, who, being equipoised and unwavering, always had his mind fixed on the One, was a great devotee and an awakened soul, but unexposed he appeared to be ignorant. (5) Naked bathing beauties covered their bodies out of shyness when they once saw sage Vyāsa in clothes following his son, whereas they astonishingly, by him being asked about his son, replied that [they did not feel ashamed before him because] he looked at them purely without any sexual discrimination. (6) How was he [S'uka], appearing like a retarded dumb madman as he wandered through the Kuru-jāngala provinces, recognized by the inhabitants of Hastināpura [now: Delhi] the moment he reached the city? (7) How could the discussion covering this Vedic truth [about Krishna], oh dear soul, take place between the saint and the descendant of Pāndu, the wise king? (8) He, as a pilgrim sanctifying the places he visits, stayed at the door of the householders only for the time it takes to milk a cow. (9) Please tell us about Parīkchit, the son of Abhimanyu, who is said to be a first-class devotee whose birth and activities are all wonderful. (10) For what reason did the emperor, who was an honor to the name of Pāndu, neglect the opulences of his kingdom and sat down at the Ganges to do penance until his death? (11) Oh why did he, at whose feet all enemies surrendered their wealth for their own sake, in the prime of his life give up his so difficult to relinquish life of royal riches? (12) Men devoted to the One Hailed in the Verses, live for the welfare, the affluence and prosperity of all living beings and not for any selfish purpose; for what reason relinquished he, freed from all attachment, his mortal body that was the shelter for others? (13) Explain to us clearly all that we asked you about this subject, for we consider you fully acquainted with all the meanings of the words in the scriptures, except for those of the Vedic hymns."
(14) Sūta Gosvāmī said: "When Dvāpara-yuga had entered its third [last] phase [*] and the age expired, the sage [Vyāsa], a partial expansion of the Lord, was begotten by Parās'ara in the womb of the daughter of Vasu [Satyavatī]. (15) One morning when the sun globe rose above the horizon he, after being cleansed by the water of his morning duties, sat down at the bank of the river Sarasvatī to focus his mind. (16) The rishi knowing the past and the future, saw that gradually irregularities were developing in the dharma of his time. It was something that can be observed more often in the different eras on earth as a consequence of unseen, irresistible forces. (17-18) The sage with his infallible eye of knowledge noticed that the common man was unlucky and short-lived and that, with the dullness and impatience of faithless people lacking in goodness, the natural capacity - the talent - of all types of men as also of other creatures was declining. Therefore the muni with his transcendental vision contemplated on what would benefit the welfare of all vocations and stages in life. (19) According to the insight that there were four sacrificial fires for purifying the work effort of the people, he divided the one original Veda into four divisions for the sake of the continuation of the sacrificial activities. (20) Rig, Yajuh, Sāma and Atharva were the names of the four separate Vedas while the Itihāsas [the single histories] and the Purānas [the collections of histories] were called the fifth Veda. (21) The Rig Veda thereupon was propagated by the rishi Paila, the Sāma Veda by the learned Jaimini, while Vais'ampāyana was the only one versed enough to qualify for the defense of the Yajur Veda. (22) Angirā - also called Sumantu Muni - in his formidable devotion took care of the Atharva Veda while the Itihāsas and the Purānas were defended by my father Romaharshana. (23) All these scholars in their turn distributed the knowledge entrusted to them to their disciples who did the same with their following who also did that with their pupils, and thus the different branches of followers of the Vedas came about. (24) In order to assure that the Veda would be assimilated as much by the less intellectual people, the great sage Vyāsa, the Lord in these matters, took care to edit it for the ignorant ones. (25) For the sake of the women [see 6.9: 6 & 9], the working class and the friends of the twice-born for whom, [in case] of a lesser intelligence, this knowledge is not accessible, the sage was as merciful to write down the story of the Mahābhārata so that they also could succeed in the performance of their duties.
(26) Dear brahmins, thus always being engaged in working for the welfare of all living beings, he in his heart nevertheless at that time by no means could be satisfied. (27) In seclusion being purified, residing at the bank of the Sarasvatī, he thought about it and, knowing the dharma, therefore from the dissatisfaction of his heart said to himself: (28-29) "Strictly adhering to my vows, I sincerely was of proper worship and also respected the spiritual masters in my performance of the sacrifices according to the traditional Vedic instructions. Even for women, the working class and others I, by compiling the Mahābhārata, have properly explained what according to the disciplic succession should be stated about the path of religion. (30) Despite, so it seems, having been complete in relation to the glory of the Absolute Truth in my discussion of the Supreme Soul as being situated in the body, and even having discussed my own self, I feel something is missing. (31) I might not have given sufficient directions about the devotional service so dear to the perfect souls and the Infallible One.'
(32) While Krishna Dvaipāyana Vyāsa thus regretfully thought about his shortcomings, Nārada, as I stated before, reached his cottage. (33) Seeing the great fortune of it, he quickly got up to honor him with the same respect the godly souls offer to Brahmājī, the creator."
*: S'rīla Vis'vanātha Cakravartī Thhakur remarks in his Sārārtha-dars'inī commentary here: "All yugas are divided into three parts: the beginning portion (sandhyā-rūpa), the middle portion (yuga-rūpa) and the end portion (sandhyāms'a-rūpa)."
Chapter 5: Nārada's Instructions on S'rīmad Bhāgavatam for Vyāsadeva
(1) Sūta said: "Then comfortably seated next to him, the rishi of God of great renown who has a vīnā in his hands, with a faint smile addressed the learned wise. (2) He said: 'Oh greatly fortunate son of Parās'ara, is it so that you find the satisfaction of your soul by identifying yourself with your body and mind? (3) You have done your full enquiries and being well versed, you have prepared the great and wonderful Mahābhārata to which you have added your extensive explanations. (4) Despite your investigations and the knowledge you acquired about the Absolute and Eternal, you, dear master, lament not having done enough for the purpose of the soul.'
(5) Vyāsa said: 'All you have said is certainly true, my heart is still not satisfied with it. What is the root I have missed, I ask you who originated from the self-born one [Brahmā] as a man of unlimited knowledge. (6) As a devotee of the Oldest Person, the Lord of the material and spiritual world, who from His mind only, elevated above the qualities of material nature, creates and destroys the universe, you have all-inclusive, confidential knowledge. (7) Just as the sun you travel the three worlds and thereby penetrate everyone's heart as the self-realized witness, like being the all-pervading ether. Can you please search out what the deficiency is in my, with discipline and vow being absorbed in the Absolute concerning matters of cause and effect, spirit and matter?'
(8) S'rī Nārada said: 'You hardly praised the glories of the Fortunate One who is spotless and who, I gather, is not really pleased by that lesser vision. (9) Although you, great sage, repeatedly have written for the sake of the four virtues of religion [dharma, artha, kāma, moksha or righteousness, economy, sense gratification and liberation], you have not been doing so for the sake of Vāsudeva. (10) Hardly using the flowery language that describes the glories of the Lord who sanctifies the universe, is something the saintly souls think of as an engagement for crows, not as something desirable appreciated by swans [those perfect in transcendence]. (11) That creation of words revolutionizing the sins of the people in which, although imperfectly composed, each verse depicts the names and glories of the unlimited Lord, is heard, sung and accepted by those who are purified and honest. (12) Despite self-realization free from material motives, transcendental knowledge of sufficient purity does not look good without any love for the Infallible One. What good will it bring to work time and again troublesome for a result when one fails to serve the Lord with it? That is inauspicious and leads nowhere! (13) You therefore as a highly fortunate, spotless and famous, perfect seer dedicated to the truth and fixed in vows, should, from your transcendental position, for the sake of liberation from universal bondage think about and describe Him whose actions are supernatural.
(14) Whatever perspective one describes separate from [Him], misses its purpose and will only lead to names and forms that agitate the mind, like a boat that is taken by the wind from its place. (15) Instructions for the sake of religion are disliked, they are most unreasonable in relation to the natural inclinations. By what you instructed about the dharma one became fixed on other matters, not giving thought to that what you like to prevent. (16) They who, having retired from material happiness, behave wisely with Him, deserve [though] to understand the unlimited transcendental, all-powerful Lord. Therefore please, your goodness, show to those who, being caught in the clutches of the natural qualities are estranged from the true self, the activities of the Almighty One.
(17) Someone who has forsaken his occupational duties in order to serve the Lord's lotus feet may fall down in that position because of a lack of experience. But what inauspiciousness would happen to someone who as a non-devotee is engaged in his occupational service and obtains nothing of his [real] interest? (18) The philosophically inclined should for that reason endeavor only for this [spiritual fulfillment] that is not so much found by searching from high to low, for material fulfillment - countered by miseries - is in the course of the time that operates so subtly, found anyhow as a result of one's actions. (19) Sooner or later inevitably failing someway, the devotee has a different experience than others: once he in his material life acquired the taste he, remembering the feet of the Lord of Liberation that he embraced, will never want to give it up. (20) From the goodness of your self you know that all of this cosmos is the Lord Himself, even though He differs from it. He constitutes the beginning, the existence and the end of creation; I am only summarizing it for you. (21) Please give a true-to-life description of the pastimes of Him who is the Greatest Mercy. From the perfect vision of your own soul, you are capable of searching out the Transcendent Personality of the Supersoul from whom you are a plenary portion and for whom you - of an unborn nature - have taken birth, for the sake of the well-being of the entire world. (22) The acknowledged scholars all agree that the unmistakable purpose of everyone's austerities, study, sacrifice, spiritual education, advancement of intelligence and charity is found in following the descriptions of the transcendental qualities of the Lord Praised in the Verses.
(23) Oh sage, in the previous millennium I took birth from a maidservant of certain adherents of the Veda. I, only a boy, was engaged in the service of these yoga practitioners when I lived together with them during the months of the rainy season. (24) Despite their impartiality towards believers, these followers of wisdom were merciful unto me, an obedient, well-mannered, self-controlled and silent boy without much interest in games and sport. (25) When the twice-born souls once allowed me to enjoy the remnants of their food, I thereby was liberated from all my sins and manifested itself in my purified consciousness the attraction to that dharma. (26) Thereafter I heard every day the life of Krishna being described. Because of their support and respect for me, dear Vyāsa, I managed to pay close attention and step by step develop my taste. (27) Oh great sage, as I acquired the taste, my mind found continuity with the Lord and acquired the insight that the complete of the gross and subtle bewilderment that is mine, finds its order, its regulation, in the transcendentality of the Absolute. (28) Thus for the time of two seasons, autumn and the rainy season, constantly hearing nothing but the glories that were chanted by the sages, my devotional service sprouted because of those great souls, while the [influence of the] qualities of passion and ignorance receded. (29) As an obedient boy free from sins I, because of those believers being attached to Him, strictly following thus managed to subjugate [my senses]. (30) When these devotees so full of care for the distressed souls left, they were as merciful to instruct me in this most confidential knowledge directly propounded by the Lord Himself. (31) Thus I could easily grasp what the influence is of the deluding material energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vāsudeva, the supreme creator, and how one can reach His refuge.
(32) Oh learned one, it is said that to dedicate one's actions to the Personality of Godhead, the Supreme Lord, is the remedy for the threefold misery [the kles'as] of life. (33) Oh good soul, is it not so that the cure for whatever diseases the living being may have is found in the medical treatment of that what caused the disease? (34) The same way all actions of man that are directed at a material[-istic] existence, will put an end to those same actions when one manages to dedicate them to the Transcendence. (35) Whatever one does in this world to please the Lord, including the spiritual knowledge associated with it, is considered bhakti yoga [the yoga of devotion]. (36) When one continuously performs one's duties according to the instructions of the Fortunate One, one praises His qualities and constantly remembers the names of S'rī Krishna. (37) 'All glories to You, oh Supreme Lord, to You Vāsudeva upon whom we meditate, and our obeisances unto [Your plenary portions] Pradyumna, Aniruddha and Sankarshana.' (38) That person is of a perfect vision who thus with the sound form of this mantra worships the Lord Without a Material Form, [Vishnu] the Original Person of Sacrifice. (39) Oh brahmin, knowing this I, being engaged in this manner with His words, was endowed with spiritual knowledge, with His opulence and with an intimate personal love for Kes'ava. (40) You then also, with your vast Vedic knowledge, describe the Almighty One in whom the sages always found satisfaction with their desire to know. Do this to mitigate the suffering of the masses of common people for whom there is no other relief.' "
Chapter 6: The Conversation Between Nārada and Vyāsadeva
(1) Sūta said: "After thus hearing from the great sage among the gods about his birth and exploits, sage Vyāsadeva, the son of Satyavatī, asked him another question. (2) Vyāsa said: 'What did you do after the mendicants had departed who instructed you in wisdom before your present life began? (3) Oh son of Brahmā, what were the conditions you spent your life in after this initiation and how have you, after in the course of time having abandoned your body, achieved this body? (4) How could you, oh great sage, remember all of this from a previous period in any detail, is it not so that time in the long run puts an end to all of this?'
(5) S'rī Nārada said: 'The great sages in my previous life gave me the transcendental knowledge I have at present and after they had departed I did the following. (6) I was the only son of my mother who was a simple woman who worked as a maidservant. She had no one else, so that I as her offspring, was completely determined by the emotional bond I had with her. (7) Although she wanted to take care of me properly, she could not do so because she, like everybody, was as dependent as a puppet on a string. (8) Being only five years old, I attended the school of the brahmins and lived, depending on her, without having a clue about time, place and direction. (9) When she once went out at night to milk a cow, she was bitten in the leg by a snake on the path and thus my poor mother fell victim of the supreme time. (10) I took it as a benediction of the Lord who always wishes the best for His devotees, and with that in mind I headed for the north. (11) There I found many flourishing big and small towns and villages with farms, mineral and agricultural fields in valleys with flower and vegetable gardens and forests. (12) I saw hills and mountains full of gold, silver and copper and elephants pulling branches from the trees nearby delightful lakes and ponds full of the lotus flowers aspired by the denizens of heaven - and my heart was pleased with the birds and the number of bees hovering about. (13) All alone, I passed through impenetrable thickets of bamboo, reed, sharp grass and weeds, and reached deep and dangerous forests that were the playground of snakes, owls and jackals. (14) Physically and mentally exhausted, I, hungry and thirsty, took a bath and drank from the water of a lake from a river so that I found relief from my fatigue. (15) In that uninhabited forest I sought my refuge under a banyan tree and emptied my mind, by focussing upon the Supersoul present within myself, as I had learned from the liberated souls. (16) Thus meditating on the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality, all of my thinking, feeling and willing transformed into transcendental love. In my eagerness tears rolled down my cheeks as I slowly saw the Lord appearing in my heart. (17) Fully overwhelmed by an excess of love and transfixed in feelings of happiness all over my body, I oh sage, being absorbed in an ocean of ecstasy, did not see Him or myself any longer. (18) No longer seeing the form of the Lord who removes all disparity from the mind, I all of a sudden perturbed got up like someone having lost something desirable. (19) Desirous to experience that again, I focussed all of my mind on the heart but saw Him not reappear despite my patient waiting and thus frustrated got very distraught. (20) Trying and trying in that lonely place, I heard from the beyond pleasing words of gravity being spoken to me that mitigated my grief. (21) 'Listen, for as long as you live you will not get to see Me here, because for someone not completely united it is, with all impurities, difficult to acquire My vision. (22) That form was only shown once to awaken your desire, oh virtuous one, for with the devotee's growing desire for Me, all lust will be driven from the heart. (23) By just a few days having been of service to the Absolute you have attained a steady intelligence unto Me. In your [thus] forsaking this imperfect material world you [from now on will] head for - and are part of - My associates. (24) The intelligence focussed on Me will not fail, whether the living being evolves or fades away, by My mercy there will be remembrance.'
(25) Thus having spoken, that astounding and wonderful sound of the Unseen Lord in the sky stopped. Grateful for His grace, I then bowed my head in obeisance to Him, so great and glorious. (26) Free from perplexity exercising the holy name of the Unlimited One and constantly remembering His mysterious and beneficial activities, I traveled the earth liberated from desire with a happy mind and awaited my time without any pride and envy. (27) Free from being attached thus being absorbed in Krishna [*] oh Vyāsadeva, in due course of time death came for me as natural as lightning being accompanied by a flash. (28) Having been awarded with a transcendental body befitting an associate of the Lord, I upon seeing that my acquired karma had ended, quitted the body that is composed of the five material elements. (29) At the end of the worldly period [kalpa] having laid Himself down in the waters of devastation, the Lord took me, with the creator and all, in with His breath. (30) A thousand ages later, when the creator was expired again, I reappeared together with rishis like Marīci. (31) Faithful to the vow [of yoga] traveling both within the three worlds and in the beyond, I, because of the mercy of Mahā-Vishnu, am free to roam, wherever and whenever I want. (32) I move around, constantly singing the message of the Lord, while I vibrate this transcendentally charged vīnā the Godhead has given me. (33) Singing thus soon, as if called for, the sight appears within my mind, of the Lord of the lotus feet whose actions one gladly hears about. (34) I arrived at the insight that for those who are full of worries in their continuous desire for the objects of the senses, there is a boat to cross over the ocean of material nescience: the repeated singing of the glories of the Lord. (35) Time and again with the discipline of yoga in self-restraint curbing lust and desire, will certainly not be as satisfying for the soul as the devotional service to the Personality of Godhead. (36) Upon your request, I described to you who are free from sin, everything about the mysteries of my birth and activities, so as to serve the satisfaction of both your soul and mine.' "
(37) Sūta said: "After thus having addressed the powerful sage, Nārada Muni took leave of the son of Satyavatī and, vibrating his enchanting vīnā, left for wherever he wanted. (38) All glory and success to the sage of the gods who takes pleasure in singing the glories of Him with the S'ārnga [His bow] in His hands, and thus, with the help of his instrument, enlivens the distressed universe."
*: One may wonder how Krishna can be mentioned here as the one Nārada Muni learned to worship in his youth. Nārada Muni uses the name of Krishna here to address the manifestation of Vishnu not just for accommodating Vyāsa reflecting upon His life and times, but also because of the omnipresence of Krishna as the Supreme Lord of Creation in all times and eras, also the kalpa when Nārada was instructed by the brahmin seers. Arjuna asked a question like this in the Bhagavad Gītā 4: 4 whereupon He answered "There were many births of my character before, just as there are of you, dear Arjuna, I know and identify myself with all of them, but you apparently do not, oh victor of the battle!"
Chapter 7: The Son of Drona Punished(1) S'rī S'aunaka said: "After the departure of Nārada Muni, what did the great lordship Vyāsadeva do, having heard from the great sage what he wanted to know?"*: Brahmā once was attracted to his daughter. S'iva then attacked him furiously with his trident, whereupon Brahmā fled for his life. In another story is written how the sun-god once chased the demon Vidyunmālī, whereupon S'iva furiously attacked him with his trident. The sun-god fleeing toppled at Kās'ī, where he became known as Lolārka.
(2) Sūta replied: "On the western bank of the Sarasvatī where sages meditate, there is at S'amyāprāsa an ās'rama for the promotion of transcendental activities. (3) There Vyāsadeva sat down, in his hermitage surrounded by berry trees, to focus his mind after he had performed his water sacrifice. (4) With his mind connected in the devotion of yoga, he saw, free from material concerns perfectly being fixed, the complete of both the Original Person [the Purusha] and the external energy that depends on Him. (5) The living entities bewildered because of the conditioning of their bodies by the qualities of nature take, despite their transcendental position, things not wanted for granted and undergo the reactions thereof. (6) For the common man, who does not know that in the yoga of devotion unto Him in the Beyond all that is unwanted finds its end, the sage [in this book] compiled the different stories relating to the Absolute Truth. (7) Simply listening to this literature about the Supreme Personality of Krishna, will give rise to one's personal devotion that takes away lamentation, illusion and fear. (8) After having arranged that collection of stories about the Supreme Lord, the sage taught it to his son S'uka, engaged on the path of self-realization."
(9) S'aunaka asked: "Why would he, always on the path of self-realization being contented within and indifferent [about other matters], engage in such a vast study?"
(10) Sūta said: "Such are His wonderful qualities that even sages, freed from all bondage and taking pleasure in the soul, are of pure devotional service unto Vishnu, Urukrama [the Lord of the Great Steps]. (11) The powerful son of Vyāsa is beloved by the devotees because he, in having taken up the regular study of this great narration, was always absorbed in the transcendental quality of the Supreme Lord. (12) I shall now tell you the story about the birth, activities and deliverance of King Parīkchit, the sage among the kings, as also the story about how the sons of Pāndu came to renounce the world. These stories lead to the stories about Krishna.
(13-14) When on the battlefield of Kurukshetra the warriors of the Pāndavas and the Kauravas had found their heroic fate and the son of King Dhritarāshthra [Duryodhana] was lamenting his broken thigh bones due to being beaten by the club of Bhīma, the son of Dronācārya [As'vatthāmā] thought that he could please his master Duryodhana by delivering the heads of the sleeping sons of Draupadī as a trophy. But the master disapproved his heinous act. (15) The mother of the children [of the Pāndavas], cried aggrieved bitter tears when she heard about the massacre. Arjuna [who headed the Pāndavas], tried to pacify her and said: (16) 'I can only wipe the tears from your eyes, my dearest, when the head of that degraded brahmin aggressor is severed by the arrows of my bow Gāndīva. I will present it to you so that you can place your foot on it, taking a bath after the cremation of your sons.' (17) Satisfying her with this choice of words Arjuna, with the Infallible One as his driver and friend, fully armed and equipped ascended his chariot to pursue As'vatthāmā, the son of his martial teacher. (18) When he from a distance saw him in hot pursuit, the child murderer fearing for his life fled with his chariot in great speed, just like Brahmā [and also Sūrya] did when he fled from S'iva [*]. (19) Finding himself unprotected the moment his horses got tired, [As'vatthāmā] the brahmin son for his defense resorted to the ultimate weapon [the brahmāstra]. (20) With his life in danger, he touched water and concentrated to recite the mantras, even though he did not know how to stop the process. (21) Arjuna saw a life threatening, fiercely glaring light spreading in all directions, whereupon he turned to the Lord [who drove his chariot] and said: (22) 'Krishna, oh Krishna, You are the Almighty One who takes away the fears of the devotees, You alone are the path of liberation for those who suffer in their material existence. (23) You are the transcendental, original enjoyer and direct controller of the material energy. You are the one who, from within the bliss and knowledge of Your Self, by means of Your internal potency, puts an end to the material illusion. (24) From that position You, in the heart of the conditioned souls, exercise the blessing of Your influence that is characterized by [the regulation of] dharma and the other civil virtues. (25) Thus You incarnate in order to take away the burden from the earth and to satisfy Your friends and pure devotees as the constant object of their meditation. (26) Oh Lord of All Lords, I do not know where this highly dangerous, dazzling light spreading in all directions comes from.'
(27) The Supreme Lord said: 'Know that this is caused by the son of Drona who, faced with his pending death, launched the brahmāstra without knowing how to retract it. (28) Nothing else can counter this weapon but another one; you will have to fight the immense glare of this weapon with your martial art, by engaging the power of your own weapon.' "
(29) Sūta said: "After hearing what the Supreme Lord said, the killer of the other warrior, Arjuna, sipped water himself while circumambulating the Lord, and launched his brahmāstra. (30) The combined glare of the two colliding weapons thereupon covered heaven, earth and the space in between, with an expanding ball of fire as bright as the sun. (31) When the inhabitants of the three worlds saw how the heat of the two weapons scorched them severely, it reminded them of the fire of annihilation at the end of time [sāmvartaka]. (32) Realizing the disturbance it all created for the common people and their worlds, Arjuna then retracted, to the wish of Vāsudeva, both the weapons. (33) Arjuna thereupon, angered with eyes red as copper, arrested the dangerous son of Gautamī, binding him skillfully with ropes like he was an animal. (34) After he with force had bound the enemy and was about to take him to the military camp, the Supreme Lord, who saw it with His lotus eyes, said to the angered Arjuna: (35) 'Never let this relative of the scholars go, punish him immediately, for he has killed innocent boys in their sleep. (36) Someone who knows the principles of religion does not kill an enemy who is careless, intoxicated, insane, asleep, of tender age, a woman, foolish, a surrendered soul, afraid or who has lost his chariot. (37) But someone who shameless and cruel thinks he can maintain himself at the cost of others' lives, deserves it to be stopped in his tracks for his own good, to prevent the person from landing in hell because of that fault. (38) Also I personally heard you make the promise to the daughter of the King of Pāńcāla: 'I will bring you the head of the one you consider the murderer of your sons.' (39) He, not being more than the burned ashes of his family, an offending sinner who is responsible for the assassination of your sons and is someone who displeased his own master, must therefore be sentenced.' "
(40) Sūta said: "Although Arjuna, by Krishna being put to a test concerning the matter of his duty, was encouraged to do so, he did not aspire to kill the son of his teacher, despite the fact that he was the heinous murderer of his sons. (41) After they thereupon had reached his camp, his dear friend and charioteer Govinda entrusted the assassin to his dear wife who was lamenting over her murdered sons. (42) Upon seeing the criminal, who, silent from his heinous act, tied up in ropes was brought in, Draupadī, from the beauty of her nature, out of compassion showed the son of the teacher the necessary respect [one owes a brahmin]. (43) She in her piety, could not bear the sight of him brought in ropes and said: 'Release him, for he as a brahmin is a teacher of us. (44) It is by his [Drona's] mercy that you yourself have received the confidential knowledge of archery and of the release and control of all kinds of weapons. (45) The lordship of Drona for certain still exists in the form of his son, because his other half Kripī [his wife], with a son present, did not follow her husband into death [by means of satī]. (46) Therefore, oh most fortunate one in knowing the dharma, by the goodness that is in you, cause no grief to this ever respectable and honorable family. (47) Do not make his mother, Drona's devoted wife, cry the way I do, in my constantly shedding tears in distress over a lost child. (48) If the noble administration is of no restraint in relating to the brahminical order and enrages them, that rule will burn up in no time and land in grief together with its family members.' "
(49) Sūta said: "Dear brahmins, the king [of the Pāndavas, Yudhishthhira] supported the statements of the queen, for they were in accord with the dharma, just and merciful, glorious without duplicity and partiality. (50) And so did Nakula and Sahadeva [the younger brothers of the king] and also Sātyaki, Arjuna, the Supreme Lord the son of Devakī, including the ladies and others. (51) Thereupon Bhīma said indignantly: 'It is well known that he who without a good reason, neither for himself nor for his master, has killed sleeping children, deserves death.'
(52) The four-armed one [Krishna] had heard the words spoken by Bhīma and Draupadī and looking at the face of His friend [Arjuna] then said with a faint smile: (53-54) 'One should not kill the relative of a brahmin, even though one kills an aggressor - as far as I am concerned both is prescribed to be carried out when we want to follow the rules. You have to keep to the truth of the promise you made when you pacified your wife and must also act to the satisfaction of Bhīma and of Me.' "
(55) Sūta said: 'At once understanding what the Lord meant, he separated with his sword the crown jewel from the head of the brahmin along with his hair. (56) He [As'vatthāmā] who, next to the loss of his bodily luster because of the infanticide also had lost strength by the loss of his jewel, was next released from the ropes and driven out of the camp. (57) Cutting off the hair, confiscating the wealth and banishment are the forms of punishment reserved for brahmin relatives, not any other method of physical approach. (58) The sons of Pāndu together with Draupadī, then, overtaken by grief, performed the necessary duties in respect of the deceased family members."
Chapter 8: Parīkchit Saved and Prayers by Queen Kuntī(1) Sūta said: "They [the Pāndavas] together with Draupadī and the women put in front, went to the Ganges with the wish to perform the water duties for their relatives. (2) After each had done his offering of water and sufficiently had mourned, they again took a bath in the water of the Ganges that is purified by the dust of the lotus feet of the Lord. (3) Overwhelmed by grief the king of the Kurus [Yudhishthhira] sat there together with his younger brothers, Dhritarāshthra and Ghāndārī, Kuntī, Draupadī and the Lord Himself. (4) Krishna together with the munis pacified the shocked and affected family who had lost their friends and members, by showing how each is subjected to the Time that cannot be avoided. (5) Because they cunningly had stolen the kingdom from Yudhishthhira [the eldest of the Pāndavas] who had no enemies, the unscrupulous ones [Duryodhana and his brothers] had been killed who had shortened their lifespan with the insult of touching the hair of the queen [Draupadī]. (6) By the proper performance of three excellent horse sacrifices his [Yudhishthhira's] fame spread in all directions like the fame of Indra who had performed that sacrifice a hundred times.
(7) Worshiped by both the brahmins and by Vyāsadeva and other sages, the Lord together with Uddhava [His friend and nephew] and Sātyaki [his charioteer], [upon His departure] in response to their respects, invited the sons of Pāndu. (8) Just as He wanted to leave for Dvārakā, He, seated on His chariot, saw Uttarā [the mother expecting Parīkchit] hurrying towards Him agitated by fear. (9) She said: 'Protect me, protect me, oh Greatest of the Yogis, oh Worshiped of the Ones Worshiped and Lord of the Universe. Apart from You I see no one without fear in this world of death and duality. (10) Oh all-powerful Lord, a fiery iron arrow is coming towards me. Let it burn me, oh Protector, but save my embryo!' "
(11) Sūta said: "Considering her words the Supreme Lord, who is the caretaker of the devotees, understood that this was the result of a brahmāstra weapon of the son of Drona, who wanted to end the existence of all Pāndava descendants. (12) Oh chief of the munis [S'aunaka], seeing the glaring brahmāstra heading towards them, the Pāndavas each took up their own five weapons. (13) Seeing that they, with no other means available, were in great danger, the Almighty One took up His Sudars'ana disc for the protection of His devotees. (14) From within the soul of all living beings, the Supreme Lord of Yoga, by means of His personal energy, shielded the embryo of Uttarā in order to protect the progeny of the Kuru dynasty. (15) Oh S'aunaka, even though the brahmāstra weapon cannot be stopped by counteractions, it was neutralized, being opposed by the strength of Vishnu. (16) But do not regard all of this, with everything mysterious and infallible that we know of Him, as something special. The unseen godhead is of creation, maintenance and annihilation by means of the divine power of His material potency.
(17) Being saved from the radiation of the weapon, the chaste Kuntī together with Draupadī and her sons addressed Krishna who was about to leave. (18) Kuntī said: 'My obeisances unto You, the Purusha, the invisible Original Controller of the Cosmos in the beyond, who exists both within and without all living beings. (19) Covered by the deluding [material] curtain, You, irreproachably transcendent, cannot be discerned by the foolish, just like an actor dressed up as a player. (20) But how can we women observe You, the object for the performance of bhakti of the advanced transcendentalists and philosophers who can discriminate between spirit and matter? (21) I therefore offer my respectful obeisances to You, Krishna, the Protector of the cows and the senses, the son of Vasudeva and Devakī, the child of Nanda and the cowherd men of Vrindāvana. (22) My respects for You, with a lotus-like depression in Your abdomen, always decorated with lotus flowers and with a glance as cool as a lotus flower, whose footprints show the mark of lotus flowers. (23) You, the master of the senses, have released Devakī [mother of Krishna] who was distressed because of being imprisoned for a long time by the envious [uncle] Kamsa and have also, as the guardian of me and my children, oh Mighty One, protected us against a series of dangers. (24) In the past saving us from poison, a great fire, man-eaters, a vicious assembly, sufferings from exile in the forest and against weapons in battles with great warriors, You have now fully protected us against the weapon of the son of Drona. (25) I wish there were more of those calamities, oh Master of the Universe, so that we could meet You again and again, for meeting You means that one no longer is confronted with a material existence. (26) Those increasingly under the influence of ambitions for a good birth, opulences, fame and beauty, will never ever deserve Your name on their lips, the name of You who can easily be approached by someone destitute. (27) All honor to You, the wealth of the ones living in poverty, You who stand for the freedom from the influence of the material qualities, You as the One satisfied within and most peaceful; I bow for You, the master of liberation and emancipation. (28) I consider You the personification of Eternal Time, the Lord without a beginning or an end, the All-pervasive One who distributes His mercy everywhere, equally, among the beings who live in mutual dissent. (29) Oh Lord, no one understands Your pastimes that appear to be as conflictual as the exploits of the common man. People think You are partial, but You favor or dislike no one. (30) Oh Soul of the Universe, even though You as the Soul are unborn and not active, You do take birth and engage in action, time and again in imitation of the animals, the human beings, the sages and the aquatics. (31) When the gopī [Yas'odā, the cowherd foster mother of Krishna] took up a rope to bind You because You were naughty, You were afraid and cried the make-up off Your eyes, even though You are feared by fear in person. Such things bewilder me. (32) Some say that You, being born from the unborn like sandalwood appearing in the Malaya Hills, appeared in the family of dear King Yadu for the sake of the glory of the pious kings. (33) Others say that You took birth from the unborn, from Vasudeva and Devakī who prayed for You, in order to put an end to those who are jealous of the God-conscious souls. (34) Still others say that You, upon the prayers of Lord Brahmā, have appeared like a boat on the sea, to take away the heavy burden of worldly grief. (35) And yet others say that You appeared for the souls who suffer from desire and nescience in the materially motivated world, so that they may engage in hearing, remembering and worshiping [You]. (36) Those people who take pleasure in continuously hearing, chanting and remembering Your activities, certainly very soon will see Your lotus feet, that put an end to the current of rebirths. (37) Oh Lord, with all that You did for us, You, departing now, leave us behind with the kings with whom we are engaged in enmity, we, Your intimate friends who depending on nothing but Your lotus feet owe their life to Your mercy. (38) Who are we, what is our fame and name, as Yadus together with the Pāndavas, without You? With You absent we will be like the senses of a body abandoned by its controller. (39) Oh Gadādhara ['wielder of the club'], the land of our kingdom will no longer appear as beautiful as it does now, being dazzled by the marks of Your footprints. (40) All these cities and towns, flourished, because of Your glances, more and more with their wealth of herbs, vegetables, forests, hills, rivers and seas. (41) Therefore, oh Lord and Soul of the Universe, oh Personality of the Universal Form, please sever this tie of the deep affection I have for my kinsmen, the Pāndavas and the Vrishnis. (42) Make my attention for You, oh Lord of Madhu, pure and constant, may I be led by the direct attraction unto You, the way the Ganges is always flowing down to the sea. (43) Oh Krishna, friend of Arjuna and chief of the Vrishnis, annihilator of the rebellious dynasties on this earth, with Your unrelenting bravery You relieve the cows, the brahmins and the demigods in distress, oh Lord of Yoga incarnate, Universal Preceptor and Proprietor of All Wealth, I offer You my respectful obeisances.' "
(44) Sūta said: "After with this choice of words of queen Kuntī having been worshiped in His universal glories, the Lord gave a mild smile that was as captivating as His mystic power. (45) Thus accepting that, He entered the palace of Hastināpura and informed the other ladies [about His departure]. But upon leaving for His own residence, He was lovingly stopped by [Yudhishthhira] the king. (46) The scholars, the sages headed by Vyāsa and Krishna Himself - nota bene the one of superhuman accomplishment - , could not convince the king, who was distressed, nor could he find any solace in the classical stories. (47) King Yudhishthhira, the son of Dharma, thinking of the friends that were killed, was carried away by the delusion of his emotions based upon a material conception of the self, oh sages, and said: (48) 'Oh, just look at me who, from the ignorance in his heart, got immersed in sin when he, with this body, which is meant to serve others, killed so many formations of warriors. (49) I who have killed so many boys, twice-born souls, well-wishers, friends, elders, brothers and teachers, surely never ever, not even for a million years, shall be freed from hell. (50) It is not a sin for a king to kill when he fights his enemies for the just cause of protecting his people, but those words, instituted to satisfy the administration, do not apply to me. (51) All the enmity that accumulated among the women of the friends I have killed, I cannot expect to be undone by engaging myself for the sake of their material welfare. (52) Just like one cannot filter mud with the help of mud or clear wine stains by using wine, one neither can counteract the killing of a single life with the performance of sacrifices.' "
Chapter 9: The Passing Away of Bhīshmadeva in the Presence of Krishna
(1) Sūta said: "Yudhishthhira, in fear because he had killed, in order to understand all duties, thereafter went to the battlefield where the dying Bhīshmadeva was lying down. (2) Drawn by the best horses decorated with golden ornaments, all the brothers followed him hither, accompanied by Vyāsa, Dhaumya [the priest of the Pāndavas] and other rishis. (3) Also the Supreme Lord came along with Arjuna on the chariot, oh sages among the scholars. Thus the King appeared very aristocratic, like Kuvera [the treasurer of the demigods] together with his companions. (4) Seeing Bhīshma lying on the ground like a demigod fallen from heaven, he together with his Pāndava brothers and the One Carrying the Disc [Krishna], bowed down before him. (5) All the sages among the brahmins, the God-conscious souls and the royalty were there, just to see the leader of the descendants of King Bharata [the common ancestor]. (6-7) Parvata Muni, Nārada, Dhaumya, Vyāsadeva, Brihadas'va, Bharadvāja and Paras'urāma were present there with their disciples and also Vasishthha, Indrapramada, Trita, Gritsamada, Asita, Kakshīvān, Gautama, Atri, Kaus'ika and Sudars'ana had come. (8) Oh brahmins, also many other sages like S'ukadeva, the instrument of God, and other pure souls like Kas'yapa and Āngirasa arrived there accompanied by their disciples.
(9) Bhīshmadeva, the best among the Vasus, knowing well how to adapt the dharma according to time and circumstances, welcomed all the great and powerful souls who had assembled there. (10) Knowing His glories he honored Krishna, the Lord of the Universe situated in the heart who manifests His form through His internal potency. (11) Overtaken by feelings of love about the gathering he, with tears in his eyes in ecstasy, congratulated the sons of Pāndu sitting silently at his side. (12) He said: 'Oh how painful and unjust it has been for you good souls, sons of righteousness, to have had such a life of suffering you never really deserved under the protection of the brahmins, the religion and the Infallible One. (13) After the death of the great general Pāndu, when you, the children of Kuntī, his wife, were still tender of age, she had to suffer a great deal on your account, and that continued even after you boys had grown up. (14) All the unpleasant that transpired, I think, is the inescapable effect of Time; you, just like the rest of the world with its ruling demigods, fall under that control the way clouds are carried by the wind. (15) Why else would there be such misfortune with Yudhishthhira, the son of the ruler of religion, being present, as also Bhīma with his mighty club, Arjuna carrying his Gāndīva and our well-wisher Krishna? (16) No one may fathom His plan, oh King, it bewilders even the great philosophers who are engaged in exhaustive inquiries. (17) Therefore, I assure you, [Yudhishthhira,] oh best soul of Bharata, that this was only due to His providence, His desire. Oh ruler, just take care of the helpless subjects, 0h master. (18) He [Krishna] who inconceivably moves among the Vrishni family, is no one else but the Supreme Lord, the original, primordial, supreme enjoyer Nārāyana who bewilders the world with His energies. (19) Oh King, Lord S'iva, Nārada the divine sage and the great Lord Kapila have direct knowledge of His most confidential glories [but do not know his intentions]. (20) He is the very same person you consider your maternal cousin, dearest friend, ardent well-wisher, counselor, messenger, benefactor and charioteer. (21) He who is present in everyone's heart, who is equal to all and who, being from the Absolute, never falsely identifies Himself, makes, in His consciousness, never at any time a difference, free as He is from any bias. (22) Yet, despite His impartiality with the devotees, see, oh King, how Krishna at the end of my life, cared to be visibly present at my side. (23) Those yoga adepts who with Him in mind devoutly meditate on His holy name and with their mouth sing His glories, will, upon abandoning the material conception of life [their body], be freed from their desire for materially motivated actions. (24) May He, the path of my meditations, the four-handed God of the Gods, the Supreme Lord, with His cheerful smile, His eyes red like the morning sun and His decorated lotus face, await me when I leave this material body.' "
(25) Sūta said: "Yudhishthhira, who heard this from him who was lying on a bed of arrows, asked him, with the rishis listening, about the different religious duties. (26) Bhīshma described to him the various stages of life and the vocations as determined by a person's character, as also the way one should systematically deal with both the symptoms of attachment and detachment. (27) He gave an outline of the duties of charity, rulership and liberation, including a more detailed description, and also discussed the duties of women and those of devotional service. (28) Knowing the truth he, oh sages, described the [civil virtues of regulating the] religion, economy, desires and liberation, thereby giving examples of known histories. (29) The time Bhīshma described the duties, the sun ran over the northern hemisphere, which is precisely the period preferred by mystics for leaving this world [see B.G. 8: 24]. (30) Bhīshmadeva, the protector of thousands of sciences and arts, then fell silent. With a mind freed from all bondage he thereupon fixed his eyes, wide open, on Krishna, the Fourhanded Original Person, who was standing before him clad in yellow. (31) Simply looking at Him, the Annihilator of the Inauspicious, his meditation purified and his pain from the arrows disappeared instantly. And as he was praying before the material tabernacle, all the activities of his senses ceased when he departed for the Controller of All Living Beings. (32) S'rī Bhīshmadeva said: 'Freed from desires, my mind is now ready for the Supreme Lord, the Leader of the Devotees, the Great Self-contented One who in the realization of His transcendental joy at times [as an avātara] takes pleasure in accepting this material world that changes constantly. (33) He is the most desirable person of the higher, lower and middle worlds. Bluish like a tamāla tree, He wears His dress that shines like the golden rays of the sun. He has a body decorated with sandalwood pulp and a face like a lotus. May my love, free from material motives, repose in the friend of Arjuna. (34) Let the mind be directed towards S'rī Krishna who, with His scattered hair that on the battlefield turned ashen from the dust of the hoofs, with His face decorated with perspiration and His skin pierced by my sharp arrows, took pleasure in wearing His protective armor. (35) After hearing the command of His friend, He drove the chariot between the opposing forces, where positioned He diminished the lifespan of the enemy by simply looking at them. Let there be my love for that friend of Arjuna. (36) Seeing the faces of the troops standing at a distance, He with His transcendental knowledge eradicated the ignorance of him who, because of a polluted intelligence, was reluctant to kill his kinsmen. Let there be the transcendence of my attraction to His feet.
(37) Giving up His own promise not to fight and fulfilling my vow to make Him do so, He got down from His chariot, took up its wheel and - while dropping His outer garment - paced towards me like a lion about to kill an elephant. (38) Wounded by the sharp arrows of the aggressor that I was and with His armor broken He, smeared with blood, in an angry mood moved towards me in order to kill me. May the Supreme Lord who awards salvation become my destination. (39) Let me in my dying hour, be of love for the Personality of Godhead who, controlling the horses with a whip in His right hand and the reins in His left, so elegant to behold, by all means protected the chariot of Arjuna. It was by looking at Him that those who died at this place realized their original form [of service]. (40) Watching the attractive movements of His supremely spirited, fascinating acts and sweet loving smiles, the gopīs of Vrajadhāma [the village of Krishna's youth] imitating Him madly in ecstasy, experienced His nature. (41) When King Yudhishthhira performed the [Rājasūya] royal sacrifice where the great sages and kings were assembled, He received the respectful worship of all the members of the elite. I present there recognized Him at the time [and still remember Him now] als the [Supreme] Soul, as the object of worship. (42) Having experienced the absorption of being freed from the misconceptions of duality, I know [ever since] that He, now present before me, is the One Unborn in the heart of the conditioned soul. It is He who, situated as the Supersoul in the heart of all beings created by Him, is looked upon differently from every angle, just like the one sun.' "
(43) Sūta said: "With his mind, speech, sight and actions thus being fixed on Krishna alone, he fell silent and stopped breathing after having merged in the living being of the Supersoul. (44) Understanding that Bhīshmadeva had merged into the Absolute and Unlimited Supreme, everyone fell silent like birds at the end of the day. (45) Thereafter from everywhere drums sounded being beaten by gods and men, accompanied by heartfelt praise from the pious royal order and showers of flowers falling from the sky. (46) Oh descendant of Bhrigu [S'aunaka], after having performed the funeral rites for the dead body, Yudhishthhira was afflicted for a moment. (47) The sages who were satisfied and happy about the [revelation of the] confidential secret of Krishna's glories, then turned back to their hermitages with Him installed in their hearts. (48) Yudhishthhira went together with Krishna to Hastināpura and consoled his uncle [Dhritarāshthra] and ascetic aunt Ghāndhārī. (49) With the approval of his uncle and consent of Vāsudeva he thereafter ruled the kingdom, conform the dharma and greatness of his father [Pāndu] and forefathers."
Chapter 10: The Departure of Krishna for Dvārakā
(1) S'aunaka Muni asked: "What did Yudhishthhira, the greatest protector of the dharma, together with his younger brothers do, after having killed the aggressors who wanted to usurp the legal inheritance; how did he engage [ruling] in restricting the joys of life?"
(2) Sūta said: "After the exhausting bamboo fire of the Kuru dynasty, the Lord, the maintainer of the creation, was pleased to see how the seedling of Yudhishthhira's kingdom had been restored. (3) Yudhishthhira, who had heard what Bhīshma and the Infallible One had said, was, being enlightened by perfect knowledge, freed from his bewilderment and then ruled, followed by his brothers and protected by the invincible Lord, over the earth and the seas like he was the king of heaven [Indra]. (4) All the rain that was needed showered, the earth yielded everything desired and the cows out of sheer joy moistened the pastures with their filled udders. (5) The rivers, oceans and hills assured him in every season of all necessary vegetables, greenery and medicinal herbs. (6) Never was, because of themselves, because of nature or because of others, any living being troubled by anxieties, diseases or extreme temperatures, as is always the case with a king who has no enemies.
(7) In order to appease His family and please His sister [Subhadrā, who was married to Arjuna], the Lord stayed for a few months in the city of Hastināpura. (8) After with due permission having announced His departure, He, having embraced the king and having bowing down to him, ascended His chariot. Thereupon He on his turn was respected and embraced by the others. (9-10) His sister [Subhadrā], [the wife of the Pāndavas] Draupadī, [their mother] Kuntī, [Parīkchit's mother] Uttarā and also [the blind grandfather] Dhritarāshthra and [his wife] Gāndhārī, [their son] Yuyutsu, [the Kuru priest] Kripācārya, [the twin brothers] Nakula and Sahadeva together with Bhīma, and [the Pāndava priest] Dhaumya, the [other] ladies from the palace and [Vyāsa's mother] Satyavatī, had great difficulty with the departure of the One with the bow S'ārnga in His hands, and almost fainted. (11-12) An intelligent person, in good company being liberated from materialistic association, will never think of forsaking the glorification of His fame, even when he but once heard that pleasant sound. How could the Pāndavas who fixed their minds on Him, then tolerate it to be separated from Him, having seen Him face to face and touching, sleeping, sitting and eating together with Him? (13) All of them, looking at Him with wide open eyes, melted for Him and moved restlessly, being bound by pure affection. (14) The ladies of the family who came from the palace, had difficulty checking their tears from overflowing, as they were afraid that because of it inauspicious things might happen to the son of Devakī. (15) At that time mridangas [drums used in devotional service], conch shells, horns, strings, flutes and more drums, kettledrums, bells and other rhythm instruments were sounded. (16) To have a good view the ladies of the Kuru dynasty climbed on the roof of the palace, from where they showered flowers upon Krishna with love and shy smiles. (17) For the Most Beloved of the Beloved, the conqueror of sleep [Arjuna] took up an embroidered sunshade decorated with pearls and lace that had a handle inlaid with jewels. (18) Sitting on scattered flowers the master of Madhu, commanding them on the road, was fanned by His cousin brother Uddhava and His driver Sātyaki holding resplendent fans.
(19) From all sides the truthful respects and sayings of the brahmins could be heard that to the occasion were neither befitting or unbefitting, considering the fact that the Absolute Truth was present there in a form subjected to the modes of nature. (20) The ladies of the capital of the king of the Kurus, were with their hearts absorbed in together talking about Him hailed in the scriptures, in such a manner that it sounded more attractive than the hymns of the Vedas themselves: (21) 'We will definitely remember Him as the Personality of Godhead, as the Original Person who, materially not manifested, existed in His own Self before the creation of the modes of nature. He is the Lord, the Soul of the Universe, in whom the living beings merge with their energies suspended like going asleep at night. (22) He who puts the revealed scriptures into practice wishes thereby, in manifesting His personal potency when He [in the form of an avatāra] engages the illusion of material nature, to assign to His - in fact unnamable - individual nature, time and again names and forms. (23) He here happens to be the same refuge as the one of the great devotees who managed to get their senses and life under control and who, by the grace of their devotion, could witness the development of a pure mind. It is by their devotion only, that they deserve a purified existence. (24) Oh friends, it is He who for His excellent pastimes, that are confidentially described in the Vedas as also are discussed by the intimate devotees, is respected as the one and only Supreme Controller and Supersoul of the complete creation, He who by the manifestation of His pastimes, creates, maintains and destroys without ever becoming attached to it. (25) Whenever there are rulers who ignorantly like animals wage against the divine principles, He at that moment manifests, for certain out of goodness, His supreme power and positive truth, mercy and wonderful activities in various forms for the sake of maintaining [the dharma] in different periods and ages [see also B.G 4: 7]. (26) Oh, how most praiseworthy is the dynasty of King Yadu, how most deserving the land of Mathurā, for He who has appeared and roamed here is the supreme leader of all living beings as also the husband of the goddess of fortune. (27) How wonderful Dvārakā is [the island where Krishna resides], the place that, adding to the virtue and fame of the earth, defeats the glory of the heavenly worlds, the place the inhabitants of which are used to constantly see the soul of the living being [Krishna] who bestows His grace with the benediction of His smiling glance. (28) In order to relish His lips again and again, the wives He married no doubt, by vow, bath, fire sacrifice and such, must have been of perfect worship for the Lord, oh friends. Often the damsels of Vraja fainted with that in their minds! (29) Of the lady of Dvārakā [Rukminī, Krishna's first wife], who with great valor was taken away by Him from the open selection of the bridegroom as the price that had to be paid by the harassing powerful kings headed by S'is'upāla, and of the other ladies that similarly were brought home after the killing of Bhaumāsura and thousands of his men, there are children like Pradyumna, Sāmba and Amba. (30) All these so very fine women who alas were bereft of their individuality, purity and virtue, were touched to be drawn into the heart of their lotus-eyed husband who never left them alone in their homes.'
(31) With the ladies of the capital expressing themselves this way, He granted them the grace of His glance. The Lord then greeted them with a smile and departed. (32) Yudhishthhira, the man without enemies, in his affectionate concern about adversaries, engaged four divisions of soldiers [on horseback, elephant, chariot and foot] for the protection of the enemy of Madhu. (33) After thus having accompanied Him over a great distance, S'auri [Krishna as the grandson of S'ūra] politely and full of affection persuaded the determined Pāndavas to return. They were overtaken by the thought of their future separation. Thereafter He together with His dear companions proceeded towards Dvārakā. (34-35) Traveling through Kurujāngala [the province of Delhi], Pāńcālā [part of Punjab], S'ūrasenā, Brahmāvarta [Uttar Pradesh its north] and the districts along the Yamunā river, He passed Kurukshetra where the battle was fought and traversed the province of Matsyā, Sārasvatān [another part of Punjab] and so on. Then crossing the land of deserts [Rajasthan], the land where there is hardly any water [Madhya Pradesh] and after passing through the provinces of Sauvīra [Saurastra] and Ābhīra [part of Gujarat], He, oh S'aunaka, finally in the western direction reached the province of Dvārakā, with His horses slightly overtaken by fatigue from the long journey. (36) In several places it happened that the Lord was welcomed and served in different ways upon His arrival in the evening after the sun had passed the eastern sky to disappear where the ocean is."
Chapter 11: S'rī Krishna's Entrance Into Dvārakā
(1) Sūta said: "Reaching the border of the prosperous region of Ānarta [the territory of Dvārakā, His capital], He sounded His conch shell [the Pāńcajanya], which, evidently, ended the dejection of the inhabitants. (2) Despite being reddened by the lips of the Great Adventurer, the brilliant white of the round form of the conch shell as it was loudly sounded in His hands, looked like a swan ducking at the stems of lotus flowers. (3) Having heard the sound, that frightens the fear of material existence itself, all the citizens rapidly proceeded in the direction of the presence of their protector they had awaited so long. (4-5) They thereupon offered their presentations of welcome to the fully satisfied Self-contented One who by dint of His potency was their unrelenting provider. It was like offering a lamp to the sun. With cheerful, affectionate faces they ecstatically gave gladdened speeches before the Father, like friends and wards do for their guardian.
(6) They said: 'We have always bowed down to Your lotus feet, oh Lord, like one does in the worship of Brahmā and his sons and the king of heaven. You after all are for the ones who desire the supreme welfare in this life, the Master of Transcendence upon whom the inevitable time has no grip. (7) For the sake of our welfare be the Creator of our world and also be our mother, well-wisher, husband, father, Lord and spiritual master. Following in the footsteps of You as our worshipable deity and supreme lordship, we have succeeded in our lives. (8) Oh how lucky we are to see again Your all-auspicious form and enjoy the protection of Your good Self, for the sight of Your affectionate, loving, smiling face is even by the demigods rarely seen. (9) Whenever, oh lotus-eyed One, You leave from here to meet Your friends and relatives among the Kurus [in Hastināpura] and the people of Mathurā, oh Infallible One, each moment seems to take a million years and our eyes are as useless as they would be without the sun. (10) How can we, with You being elsewhere, live without the satisfaction of Your glance that vanquishes the miseries of the world; how can we live without seeing Your beautiful smiling and decorated, attractive face?'
With the sound in His ears of these words of the citizens, the caretaker of the devotees, He who teaches humaneness to humanity by the distribution of His glances, entered the city of Dvārakā. (11) The way the city of Bhogavatī was protected by the Nāgas, Dvārakā was protected by the strength of the descendants of Vrishni [Krishna's family], Bhoja, Madhu, Das'ārha, Arha, Kukura, Andhaka etc. [together called the Yadus], who were all as good as Krishna Himself. (12) During all seasons there was the wealth of orchards and flower gardens that with their trees, plants and the hermitages also found there, formed beautiful parks around ponds filled with lotuses increasing the beauty of the city. (13) The gateway of the city as also the different roads, were for the occasion painted with foremost signs and decorated with arches and flags casting their shadows in the sunshine. (14) The avenues, streets, the marketplace and public meeting places were thoroughly cleansed, sprinkled with scented water and strewn with fruits, flowers and unbroken seeds. (15) At the door of each residential house there was a display of curd, unbroken fruits, sugar cane, decorations, pots of water and articles for worship like incense and lamps. (16-17) Hearing that their dearest friend was coming home, His magnanimous father Vasudeva, Akrūra, Ugrasena, the superhumanly powerful Balarāma, Pradyumna, Cārudeshna and Sāmba, the son of Jāmbavatī, all extremely happy were alerted from their resting, sitting and dining. (18) Headed by elephants, carrying auspicious articles and with the sound of conch shells and the glorifying chanting of hymns, they, together with the brahmins excited in cheerful expectancy, hurried towards Him on their chariots. (19) Hundreds of courtesans with dazzling earrings that enhanced the beauty of their cheeks, followed in their vehicles most anxious to meet Him. (20) There were entertainers, dancers, singers, historians, genealogists and learned speakers who sang and glorified all the superhuman activities of the Lord. (21) The Supreme Lord approached each of the friends and citizens who came to receive and welcome Him, the way it should with due honor and respect. (22) He, the Almighty One, with the encouragement of His glancing smile, bowed His head, greeted them with words, embraced them and shook hands with them, down to the lowest as desired awarding His benedictions. (23) Then, accompanied by the elderly relatives and the brahmins and their wives, He entered the city where He was welcomed also with blessings and praises from other admirers.
(24) While Krishna passed through the public roads of Dvārakā, the ladies of standing climbed on the roofs of their houses, dear scholars, to feast their eyes on the sight of Him. (25) Even though it was their habit to look at Him this way, the inhabitants of Dvārakā could never get enough of the compelling sight of the reservoir of all beauty who was the embodiment of the Infallible One. (26) In His chest the Goddess of Fortune resides, from the cup of His face the eyes are drinking, by His arms the ruling demigods abide, and His lotus feet are the shelter for the singing and talking devotees. (27) Being served with a white parasol, fans and a road covered by a shower of flowers, the Lord with His yellow garments and His flower garlands, resembled a cloud surrounded by the sun, the moon, lightening and a rainbow combined.
(28) After next entering His parental home, He was embraced by His seven mothers [His own mother, the wife of the priest, of the guru and of the king, the cow, the nurse and mother earth] who were gladly headed by Devakī to whom He bowed His head in obeisance. (29) When they thereupon all had put Him on their laps, their breasts got wet of their affection and delight as also because of the water of the tears that overwhelmed them. (30) Thereafter He entered His personal unsurpassable quarters that, inhabited by His wives who numbered over sixteen thousand, offered all that one could wish for. (31) From a distance seeing their husband now returned home, the ladies, utterly happy within their minds, with a coyly looking face immediately rose up from their seats and meditations. (32) With Him before their eyes, the shy ones [first] sent Him their divine love [their 'sons' or Cupid] by embracing Him in their hearts in an insuperable ecstasy but, oh leader of the Bhrigus, they nevertheless choked up with tears that inadvertently fell like water from their eyes. (33) Although He was always present at their side, even when they were alone, His feet every time appeared completely new to them - after all, who could let go of the feet of the Eternal One that are never abandoned by the Goddess of Fortune? (34) He, without being part of it Himself, created the enmity between the rulers who from the day they were born had become a burden to the earth with their military control over their surroundings. He brought relief by killing them just like the wind does with bamboos by creating fire by means of friction. (35) The Supreme Lord, from His causeless mercy, appeared out of His own among all those who are part of this human world, to enjoy a life, with the worthiest of women, as if it concerned an ordinary worldly affair. (36) Even though they were spotless and exciting with their charming smiles, the way they with their grave expression looking from the corners of their eyes even perplexed Cupid to give up his bow, they, as maddening, first-class women, were never able to perturb His senses with their magic. (37) Ordinary people who see how He, in spite of His detachment, is actively engaged, consider in their ignorance Him for that reason a human being full of attachment, as someone who is just as affected as they are. (38) Such is the divinity of the Personality of Godhead that He, despite being in touch with material nature, is never affected by its qualities; and the same is true for the intelligence of the ones always situated in the eternal truth of the Lord who is their refuge. (39) The women in their simplicity and weakness took it for granted that He would be some kind of follower who is dominated and isolated by his wife. They were as unaware of the glories of their husband, as one is by imagining oneself to be the supreme controller."
Chapter 12: The Birth of Emperor Parīkchit
(1) S'aunaka said: "The [embryo in the] womb of Uttarā, that was tormented by the enormous heat of the invincible weapon released by As'vatthāmā, was by the Lord again awarded a life. (2) How did the birth take place of him [Emperor Parīkchit] who was so highly intelligent and what where the activities of this great soul? How exactly did his demise take place and what destination did he achieve? (3) If you think you can tell us this that we, so very faithful, all want to hear, please speak to us then about the transcendental knowledge that was delivered by S'uka."
(4) Sūta said: "King Yudhishthhira brought wealth, the way his father did, by pleasing his subjects in continuous service of Krishna's feet without any ulterior motive for material gain or sensual pleasure. (5) The fame of his wealth, sacrifices, what he stood for, his queens, his brothers and his sovereignty over the planet earth where we are living, even spread to the heavenly worlds. (6) But, just as only food may satisfy a hungry man and nothing else, he, in his hunger as someone aware of the Redeemer, Mukunda, oh brahmins, was not moved by all those earthly desirables that are aspired by even the God-fearing souls.
(7) At the time Parīkchit the great fighter, as a child in his mother's womb, was suffering from the heat of the brahmāstra weapon, oh son of Bhrigu, he could observe the Purusha [the original person] in a shining appearance. (8) In the blaze he saw at the size of not more than a thumb the transcendental, infallible Lord beautiful with a dark skin, a golden helmet and lightening clothes. (9) With the riches of His four arms, earrings of the purest gold, bloodshot eyes and a club in His hands, He was moving about, constantly whirling the club around like it was a torch. (10) As He was vanquishing the radiation of the brahmāstra like the sun evaporating dew drops, He was observed by the child who wondered who He was. (11) He saw how the all-pervading Supersoul, the Supreme Lord and protector of righteousness, took away the glare. Next the Lord who stretches in all directions all of a sudden disappeared from his sight. (12) Thereupon, when the good signs of a favorable position of the stars gradually evolved, he who would prove himself to be of a prowess equal to that of Pāndu, took birth as the heir apparent of Pāndu. (13) King Yudhishthhira being fully satisfied had priests like Dhaumya and Kripa perform the birth ritual with the recitation of auspicious hymns. (14) Knowing where, when and how, he in charity rewarded to the occasion of that birth the brahmins with good food and gifts of gold, cows, land, housing, elephants and horses. (15) The brahmins happily addressed the king, the chief of the Pūrus, communicating that they felt most obliged to the line of the descendants of [their ancestor King] Pūru. (16) They said: 'This son has been given to you by the all-pervasive and all-powerful Lord to show you His mercy in countering his destruction by the irresistible, supernatural weapon. (17) Therefore he shall be known all over the world as Vishnu-rāta, 'Given by Vishnu'. He will no doubt be a most fortunate, supreme devotee endowed with all good qualities.'
(18) The good king said: 'Oh best of the truthful, will he follow in the footsteps of all the great souls of this family of saintly kings? Will he be just as meritorious and glorious in his achievements?'
(19) The brahmins answered: 'Oh son of Prithā [Kuntī], he will be the maintainer of all living entities, exactly like King Ikshvāku, the son of Manu, and he will be faithful to his promises and be of respect for the brahmins, just like Rāma, the son of Das'aratha. (20) He will be as charitable as King S'ibi of Us'īnara and protect the ones of surrender, and will, just like Bharata, the son of Dushyanta who performed many sacrifices, spread the name and fame of his family. (21) Among the archers he will be as good as the two Arjunas [his grandfather and the king of Haihaya, see 9:15: 17-19], he will be as irresistible as fire and as unsurpassable as the ocean. (22) As powerful as a lion and as worthy for taking shelter as the Himalayas, he will be as forbearing as the earth and as tolerant as his parents. (23) With a spirit as good as that of the original father Brahmā, he will be as generous and equanimous as Lord S'iva and be the refuge of all living beings as good as the Supreme Lord who is the refuge of the goddess of fortune. (24) Following in the footsteps of Krishna he will be the majesty of all divine virtues, he will have the greatness of King Rantideva and be as pious as Yayāti. (25) Being as patient as Bali Mahārāja this child will be as devoted as Prahlāda was unto Krishna, he will perform many As'vamedha [horse] sacrifices and be faithful to the elderly and experienced souls. (26) He will father a line of saintly kings, will chastise the upstarts and, as a source of righteousness in the world, crush the quarrelsome. (27) After being informed about his personal death, as caused by a snakebird that was sent by the son of a brahmin, he will free himself from his attachments and take to the shelter of the Lord. (28) From the son of sage Vyāsa having inquired about the proper self-knowledge, oh King, he will abandon his material life on the bank of the river Ganges and attain the state of fearlessness.'
(29) The brahmins learned in matters of astrology and birth ceremonies, thus having informed the king, were generously rewarded and then all returned to their homes. (30) He, oh master [S'aunaka], acquired fame in this world as Parīkchit, the examiner, because he, constantly keeping Him in mind whom he had seen before his birth, would examine all men. (31) Just like the waxing moon day by day soon becomes full, the royal prince under the care of his protective parents day by day grew to become soon the one he would be.
(32) King Yudhishthhira, desiring to perform a horse sacrifice to be freed from the burden of having fought his kinsmen, thought about acquiring funds because all he received stemmed from collecting taxes and fines. (33) In respect of his mindful wishes, his brothers on the advise of the Infallible One went north to collect sufficient riches. (34) With the result of those collected riches Yudhishthhira, the anxious, pious king, managed to conduct three horse sacrifices, by means of which he worshiped Lord Hari perfectly. (35) The Supreme Lord being invited by the king, had the brahmins perform the sacrifices for him and then stayed a few months longer to satisfy the desires of His friends. (36) Then, dear brahmins, He, with the permission of the king, Draupadī and His relatives, went back to Dvārakā, accompanied by Arjuna and other members of the Yadu dynasty."
Chapter 13: Dhritarāshthra Quits Home
(1) Sūta said: "Vidura [*] traveling to the different places of pilgrimage, had received knowledge about the destination of the self from the great sage Maitreya. By that knowledge sufficiently being acquainted with everything to be known, he returned to the city of Hastināpura. (2) After all the questions Vidura had asked Maitreya in his presence, an undivided devotion unto Govinda had grown in him so that he refrained from further questioning. (3-4) Seeing him arrive in Hastināpura, oh brahmins, Yudhishthhira and his younger brothers, Dhritarāshthra, Sātyaki and Sańjaya, Kripācārya, Kuntī, Gāndhārī, Draupadī, Subhadrā, Uttarā, Kripī, other wives of the family members of the Pāndavas and other ladies with their sons, all welcomed him. (5) Like awakened from death they approached him in great delight to receive him with all respect with embraces and obeisances. (6) In their love for him they emotionally shed tears because of the experienced anxiety and grief about the separation. King Yudhishthhira offered him a seat and arranged a reception.
(7) After he had eaten, had rested and was seated comfortably, the king humbly bowed down to address him in front of everybody. (8) Yudhishthhira said: 'Do you remember how we, brought up under the wings of your care, together with our mother were delivered from various calamities like poisoning and arson? (9) By which means did you maintain your livelihood as you traveled the surface of the earth and in which holy places of pilgrimage have you been of service here on this planet? (10) Devotees like your goodness are converted into holy places themselves, oh powerful one, and within your heart the One who Carries the Club, you turn all places into places of pilgrimage. (11) Dear uncle, can you tell us what you saw or heard about our friends and well-wishers? Are the descendants of Yadu, so rapt in their service unto Krishna, all happy where they are living?'
(12) Thus being questioned by the king he, discussing one subject after the other, properly described all he had experienced, but he did not mention the destruction of the dynasty. (13) Because he did not want to upset them he was as graceful not to speak about this in fact so unpalatable and unbearable aspect of mankind's behavior. (14) The sage, who was treated like a god, thereupon resided for a few days with them so that he could mean something to his eldest brother and everybody would be happy. (15) Because of a curse of Mandūka Muni [who under Yama's responsibility was treated unjustly], Vidura [who was an incarnation of Yama] for the time of a hundred years had to play the part of a s'ūdra [a working class man]. During that time it was Aryamā who [in his place] administered punishment as was suitable for the sinful ones [**].
(16) Yudhishthhira had seen that there was a grandson in the dynasty fit for ruling the kingdom he had retrieved, and enjoyed together with his politically gifted brothers a life of great wealth. (17) But the insurmountable and imperceptible Time surpasses inimitably those who are inattentive and engrossed in the mind of attachment to family affairs. (18) Vidura, well aware of this, said to Dhritarāshthra: 'Oh King, [dear brother], please withdraw yourself without delay, just see how fear is ruling your life. (19) In this material world, oh master, there is no help from anyone or anything to escape this fear, because that fear concerns the Supreme Lord who approaches us all in the form of eternal Time. (20) Inevitably overtaken by the pull of time a person must, just like that, give up this life, as dear as it is to everyone, not to mention the wealth and such he has acquired. (21) With your father, brother, well-wishers and sons all dead, with your life expended and your body decrepit, you live in another man's home. (22) You have been blind since you were born, your hearing is not so good anymore, your memory fails and recently your teeth loosened, your liver gives you trouble and you are loudly coughing up mucus. (23) Alas, how powerful the living being's attachment to life is! It is that strong that it makes you, just like a household dog, eat the remnants of the food left over by Bhīma [your Pāndava nephew]. (24) How can you subsist on the grace of those whom you tried to burn and poison and whose wife you have insulted while usurping their kingdom? (25) Whether you like it or not, you will, however much you value your life, have to face the fact that this miserly body will dwindle and deteriorate like an old garment. (26) Someone is courageous and wise when he, no longer being able to use his body properly, unconcerned and free from all obligations leaves for an unknown destination. (27) Anyone who, by his own understanding or having learned it from others, arrives at consciousness in resignation of the world and leaves his home with the Lord installed in his heart, is certainly a first-class human being. (28) Therefore, please leave for the north without letting your relatives know, for hereafter soon the time will arrive that diminishes many of the qualities of men [Kali-yuga].' (29) Having heard this the old king of the Ajamīdha family, in respect of the wisdom of his younger brother Vidura, determined broke with the strong family ties and left in the direction that was set for the path of liberation. (30) As he left, the chaste and worthy daughter of King Subala [Gāndhārī] followed her husband to the Himalayas - the place that is the delight of those who took up the staff of renunciation like they were fighters accepting a justified beating.
(31) Returning to the palace, he who considered no one his enemy [Yudhishthhira] wanted to pay his respects to the elderly after he had worshiped the demigods with oblations, and offered obeisances and gifts of grains, land, cows and gold to the brahmins, but he could not find his two uncles or aunt Gāndhārī. (32) Anxiously, he turned to Sańjaya the son of Gavalgana [the assistant who gave the blind Dhritarāshthra the account of the battle], and said to him: 'Where is our old, blind uncle? (33) Where is my well-wisher Vidura and mother Gāndhārī who was grieving over losing her offspring? Has the old king, having lost his sons, distressed with a mind full of doubt about my ingratitude and offenses, drowned himself together with his wife in the Ganges? (34) After the downfall of my father King Pāndu they were the well-wishers who protected all of us still being small children. Where have my uncles gone from here?' "
(35) Sūta said: "Sańjaya, who, being worried out of love for his master, could not find him, was upset about the separation and could, being too aggrieved, not speak a word in reply. (36) Thinking about the feet of his master he with his hands wiped the tears from his face. He restrained himself and replied King Yudhishthhira. (37) Sańjaya said: 'I do not know what your uncles or Gāndhārī had in mind, oh descendant of the Kuru dynasty -, oh great King, these great souls have fooled me.' (38) That very moment the supreme personality Nārada arrived there with his musical instrument. Yudhishthhira and his younger brothers got up from their seats to welcome him properly by offering him their obeisances. The king thereupon said: (39) 'Oh supreme one, I do not know in which direction my uncles and ascetic aunt, who is most aggrieved about the loss of her sons, have left. (40) Like a captain on a ship in the great ocean, you are the Lord to guide us to the other side.'
Thus being addressed the divine personality Nārada, the greatest among the sages, said: (41) 'Oh King, never lament, for whatever reason, for the universe is controlled by the Supreme Lord. All living beings and their leaders perform their ceremonies in order to be protected. He is the one who brings everybody together and also disperses them again. (42) The way a cow is tied by a rope through the nose, one the same way is tied by the hymns and precepts of the Veda to follow the demands of the Supreme One. (43) The way in this world playthings at will are brought together and separated again, it also happens to the people who subjected to the game of the Lord are brought together and separated again. (44) Whether one considers persons eternal [souls] or temporal [bodies] or else as both [embodied souls] or as neither of both [because of the Absolute Truth which is transcendental to all attributes], they never under any circumstance should constitute a reason for lamentation. One is only that way because one got emotionally involved or has lost one's mind. (45) Therefore, oh King, give up the anxiety you feel from lacking in self knowledge. Do not longer think how these helpless poor creatures would be able to survive without you. (46) How is this body, which is made out of the five elements [fire, water, air, earth and ether] and is controlled by time, by materially motivated action and by the modes of nature [kāla, karma and the gunas], capable of protecting others when it is just as well bitten by that snake? (47) One living being is the livelihood of another; those who have no hands [the animals] are at the mercy of the ones who do have hands [the human beings], living beings without limbs [like grasses] are at the mercy of the four-legged ones [like the cows]. The weaker ones are at the mercy of the stronger ones. (48) Look therefore only for Him, this Supreme Personality, who by the power of illusion appears as a diversity. He, oh King, is the One Soul of the self-realization of all souls, who manifests Himself both inside of them and outside of them. (49) He, the Father of all creation, the Supreme Lord, has now, oh great King, descended in this world in the form of [death, the all-devouring] Time, in order to eliminate everyone inimical to the enlightened souls. (50) The Lord on their behalf did what had to be done and is now awaiting the rest. You Pāndavas the same way must wait and see, for as long as He is present in this world.
(51) Dhritarāshthra, his brother Vidura and his wife Gāndhārī have departed for the southern side of the Himalayas where the sages have their refuge. (52) The place is known as Saptasrota ['seven sources'] because the river of heaven [the Svardhunī, the Ganges] sprouts there and, to the satisfaction of the seven different sages, divides herself into the seven currents we know as her branches. (53) By bathing regularly there, sacrificing in the fire according to the regulative principles and fasting on drinking water only, Dhritarāshthra has completely subdued his mind and senses and is thus freed from begging for food [in his family dependence]. (54) With the help of sitting postures, breath control and turning one's mind inward away from the six senses, one can, absorbed in the Lord, conquer the contaminations of passion, goodness and ignorance. (55) By allowing his self to merge with the wisdom and the wisdom to merge with the pure witnessing, he has united himself with the Absolute [brahman], the foundation of pure existence, the same way the air within a pot merges with the space outside of it. (56) When he, no longer hindered in renouncing all his duties, sits down concentrated without moving a limb, his senses and mind because of his breaking with the effects of the operating modes of nature, will no longer be fed and come to a full stop. (57) I expect that he will quit his body five days from now, oh King, and it will turn into ashes. (58) While she outside observes the body of her husband [mystically] catching fire along with his cottage, his chaste wife in full awareness will follow him in the blaze. (59) Vidura, witnessing that wonderful incident, oh son of the Kuru dynasty, will, with mixed feelings of delight and grief, then leave that place for the sake of visiting holy places.' (60) After Nārada thus had addressed the king he, together with his stringed instrument, rose up into heaven. Yudhishthhira, taking his instructions to heart, thereupon gave up all his lamentation."
*: Vidura is a younger brother of Dhritarāshthra. He was born as a s'ūdra, a laborer, because of being conceived by Vyāsa from a maidservant of the mother of Pāndu.
**: Aryamā was a son of Aditi and Kas'yapa officiating for Yamarāja the Lord of punishment. Vidura is considered the s'ūdra incarnation of Yamarāja.
Chapter 14: The Disappearance of Krishna
(1) Sūta said: "Arjuna went to the city of Dvārakā to see his friends and Krishna, the One Glorified in the Vedic Hymns, in order to know what His further plans were. (2) After a few months had passed and Arjuna had not returned from there, Yudhishthhira observed various fearful signs. (3) The time had taken an inauspicious turn: he observed seasonal irregularities and saw that human beings sinfully turned to anger, greed and falsehood in heartening their civil means of livelihood. (4) There was cheating in ordinary transactions, dishonesty mixed itself in the regard of well-wishers, fathers, mothers and brothers and also between man and wife there was quarrel. (5) The people gradually were acquiring godless habits like wantonness and such. The king facing these serious matters and bad omens, spoke with his younger brother about it.
(6) Yudhishthhira said [to Bhīma]: 'Arjuna went to Dvārakā to see his friends and to learn about Krishna's plans. (7) It is now seven months ago that your younger brother left, oh Bhīmasena, and I do not know exactly why he does not return. (8) Might it be so that, as Nārada told us, the Supreme Personality has decided it is time to leave this physical manifestation of Himself? (9) We owe our wealth, kingdom and wives to Him. By His grace the existence of the dynasty and the life of our subjects has become possible and because of His mercy we could defeat our enemies and [live for a better] world. (10) Just look, oh man with the strength of a tiger, at the position of the planets, how things are faring on earth and what is happening to the body and the mind. All these dreadful signs deluding our intelligence indicate a great danger in the near future. (11) Again and again my thighs, eyes, arms and the left side of my body are quivering and I have heart palpitations due to fear. This is all indicative of undesirable happenings. (12) See, oh Bhīma, how the jackal frantically cries at sunrise and how the dog barks at me without any fear. (13) Oh tiger among man, the cows leave me [left] aside and the other animals are turning around me while my horses seem to weep. (14) The pigeon [appears like] a messenger of death and the shrieks of the owls and their rivals the crows make my heart tremble as if they wish the void of the cosmos. (15) Oh Bhīma, see how smoke circles in the sky and how the earth is throbbing along with the hills and mountains with loud thunderbolts out of the blue of a cloudless sky. (16) The wind blows sharply creating darkness with the dust and rain pours like blood from the clouds as an omnipresent disaster. (17) The sun is shining less - see how the stars in the sky seem to clash into one another and how the living beings are confounded and agitated as if they are crying. (18) Rivers and their tributaries, the lakes and the mind are all perturbed while fire does not ignite with the help of butter. What is this extraordinary time? What is going to happen? (19) The calves do not suck the teats and the cows do not want to be milked, looking afraid as if they are weeping, while the bulls do not take pleasure in the pasture ground. (20) The deities seem to be crying and perspiring as if they want to leave the temple and also the cities, villages, towns, gardens, mines and hermitages have lost their beauty being bereft of all happiness. What sort of calamities will befall us? (21) I think that all these great upsurges manifest out of the need for the marks of the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality - the earth bereft of the extraordinary signs of the Supreme Person misses that fortune.'
(22) Oh brahmin, while the king [Yudhishthhira] thus was thinking to himself observing the bad omens, Arjuna returned from the kingdom of the Yadus. (23) Bowing down at the feet of the king, his dejection was unprecedented with the tears that fell from the lotus eyes of his downward looking face. (24) Seeing Arjuna pale with a heart full of anxiety, the king, who remembered what Nārada had said, questioned him in the midst of the friends. (25) Yudhishthhira said: 'Are our Yadu relatives of Madhu, Bhoja, Das'ārha, Ārha, Sātvata and Andhaka all happy passing their days in Dvārakā? (26) Is also my respectable [maternal] grandfather S'ūrasena in good health passing his last days and are my [maternal] uncle Vasudeva and his younger brothers all well? (27) Are my aunts - his wives - all the seven sisters headed by Devakī herself, all happy with their sons and daughters-in-law? (28-29) Is King Ugrasena, whose son was so wicked [Kamsa] still alive? Are his younger brother, Hridīka and his son Kritavarmā and Akrūra, Jayanta, Gada, Sārana as also S'atrujit and the rest all happy? Is also Balarāma, the Supreme Personality, the protector of the devotees, doing well? (30) Are the great warrior Pradyumna [a son of Krishna] and all others of the Vrishni family happy? And is the in every respect powerful, plenary expansion of Krishna Aniruddha [a grandson of Krishna] faring well? (31) And how are Sushena, Cārudeshna and Sāmba, the son of Jāmbavatī, doing, as also the other eminent sons of Krishna and their sons like Rishabha? (32-33) Are likewise the constant companions of Krishna such as S'rutadeva, Uddhava and others, as also Sunanda, Nanda and the other leaders and liberated souls of excellence doing well? And are all those who are bound in friendship under the protection of Balarāma and Krishna, also thinking of our well-being? (34) Is the Supreme Lord, who is the pleasure of the cows and the senses and always cares for the devotees and the brahmins, enjoying His assembly hall surrounded by His friends in the city [Dvārakā]? (35-36) In order to protect and elevate all the worlds, the Original, Supreme Enjoyer resides together with Ananta [Balarāma] in the company of the ocean of members of the Yadu dynasty. In His city the members of the Yadu family enjoy the deserved protection of His arms and relish the same transcendental pleasure as the residents of heaven. (37) By giving priority to managing the comforts at His feet, the sixteen thousand wives headed by Sathyabhāmā made the Lord subdue the denizens of heaven, so that they could enjoy matters [like the Pārijāta tree] that are normally the privilege of the wives of [Indra,] the controller of the thunderbolt. (38) The Yadus, enjoying the protection of His arms, always fearlessly enter the Sudharmā assembly hall which, procured by force [from Indra], was worthy of the best of gods.
(39) My dear brother, are you all healthy? You appear to have lost your luster. Is it because of missing the respect in being neglected, my brother, for having been away too long? (40) Has someone addressed you unfriendly with harsh words, or could you not be charitable to someone asking or keep a promise? (41) Oh you who are approached for the protection of the brahmins, the children, the cows, the elderly, the diseased and the women, were you unable to offer shelter to any of them approaching you and deserving your care? (42) Have you contacted a questionable woman, have you treated an acceptable woman improperly maybe or has your good self been defeated on the road by a superior power or by equals? (43) Have you disregarded old men or boys who deserved to dine together with you or have you done something abominable that is hard to forgive? (44) Or is it so that you in your relation to the one most dear, my brother Arjuna, your heart's friend [Krishna], you feel a void missing Him all the time? I can think of no other reason why you should suffer such a mental distress.' "
Chapter 15: The Pāndavas Retire
(1) Sūta said: "Arjuna, the friend of Krishna, who was emaciated because of his separation from Krishna, thus was subjected to the various forms of doubt and speculation of his elder brother the king. (2) Because of his grief his mouth and lotus heart had dried up and his bodily luster had vanished. Preoccupied with thoughts about the Lord he was incapable of replying properly. (3) The more he wiped the tears from his eyes and with great difficulty checked the force of his sadness not seeing Him anymore, the more he eagerly thought about Him in his affection and the more distressed he became. (4) Remembering Him as a well-wisher, benefactor, friend and charioteer, Arjuna, overwhelmed and heavily breathing, addressed his eldest brother the king. (5) He said: 'Oh great King, Lord Hari in the form of my friend, has left me. Now I am bereft of the amazing power that even astonished the gods. (6) I lost Him from whom being separated but for a moment all universes would appear unfavorable and void of all life, like they are all dead. (7) By the strength of His mercy I could vanquish the power of all the lusty princes during the selection of the bridegroom at King Drupada's palace where I gained Draupadī's hand by piercing the fish-target with my bow. (8) With Him at my side I was able to defeat Indra and his godly associates and could thus enable the god of fire to set ablaze his forest. With His support we could realize our wonderfully built assembly house that was designed by Maya [out of gratitude for saving him from that fire in the forest named Khāndava] where all the princes assembled to your honor bringing presents collected from all directions. (9) Under His influence our younger brother [Bhīma], who has the strength of a thousand elephants, managed to kill him [Jarāsandha] whose feet were worshiped by the heads of many kings he wanted to sacrifice. It was He who saved the kings who by Jarāsandha had been brought [to his capital] to be sacrificed to the lord of the ghosts [Mahābhairava, S'iva]. They all paid you tribute afterwards. (10) He [leading to the great war] took the life of the husbands of the wives [of the Kurus] whose hair was condemned to be loosened [*] because the cluster of your wife's [Draupadī's] hair had been loosened, that was beautifully dressed and blessed for the great ceremony. Being caught by the miscreants [the Kurus headed by Duhs'āsana] she in tears fell down at the Feet. (11) He protected us when we ran into trouble, being endangered in the forest by the intrigue of our enemies associated with Durvāsā Muni. The moment the sage arrived there to eat with his ten thousand disciples, He by simply accepting the remnants of the food before they did, satisfied the three worlds as also the munis. He did that at the time they were bathing, by giving them the thought that they had been fed already. (12) Under His influence I once could astonish the Lord with the Trident [S'iva] and his wife, the daughter of the Himalaya, because of which he and other gods awarded me their weapons. That is how I, in this body, managed to obtain a half-elevated seat in the House of Indra. (13) As a guest of that heaven I could with both my arms, with the help of my bow Gāndīva, offer protection to Indra and all the gods, by killing the demon Nivātakavaca. I after all,, oh descendant of King Ajamīdha, was empowered by Him, the Supreme Personality whom I at present am bereft of. (14) Because of His friendship alone I, seated on the chariot, could cross the insurmountable ocean of the military strength of the Kauravas. Thanks to His friendship only, I could return with the enormous wealth of the enemy, the brilliance of all the jewels I by force took from their heads. (15) It was He who by the power of His glance put an end to my mental agitation concerning the duration of life of all the fighters who with the wealth of their chariots were positioned on the battlefield, oh great King. With the immensity of great royal personalities like Bhīshma, Karna, Drona and S'alya, He was the one driving me forward from their ranks. (16) Under His protection the very powerful invincible weapons wielded by Drona, Bhīshma, Karna, Bhūris'ravā, King Sus'armā, S'alya, King Jayadratha, Bāhlika [a brother of Bhīshma] etc., could not touch me, just like it was when Prahlāda [the famous devotee of Nrisimhadeva, the lion-incarnation] was compromised by the demons. (17) Thinking wrongly about my Lord as being my chariot driver, about Him whose feet are served by the intelligent souls for the sake of salvation, the hostile charioteers by His mercy did not take notice and did not attack me when I alighted for my thirsty horses. (18) Oh King, remembering how He with a smiling face made jokes, was frank with me and addressed me with 'son of Prithā', 'Arjuna My friend' and 'son of the Kuru dynasty' and such, my soul is overwhelmed by these heartfelt words of Mādhava [Krishna]. (19) When we were sleeping, sitting, walking and dining together and truthfully confronted each other and so on, I took Him erroneously for a friend equal to me. Despite regarding Him lower in my misconduct, He tolerated me, glorious in His greatness, the way a friend accepts a friend or a father accepts his child. (20) Oh Emperor, without the Supreme Personality, my dear most friend and well-wisher, my heart and soul are vacant. Recently I, just like a weak woman, was defeated by infidel cowherds while I was protecting Krishna's wives. (21) Having the same bow, arrows, chariot and horses, I am the same Arjuna and chariot fighter to whom all the kings offered their respects. But with Him absent, all of this in a single moment has become as useless as butter offered to ashes, as money obtained by magic or as seeds sown on barren land.
(22-23) Oh King, in reply to your question about our friends and relatives in Dvārakā I can tell you that they lost their minds being cursed by the brahmins. Being drunk with rice wine, they killed one another with sticks, not even recognizing each other in that intoxicated state. Only four or five of them remained. (24) In general it is the program of the Supreme Personality, our Lord, that sometimes the living beings kill one another and at other times protect each other. (25-26) Like in the ocean where the bigger creatures eat the smaller ones and the stronger devour the weaker, oh King, the Omnipotent One in one stroke removed the burden of all the Yadus from the earth by having the stronger Yadu in a fight kill the weaker one and the bigger Yadu kill the smaller one. (27) Bearing in mind the words spoken by Govinda, I remember how attractive they are, and how they, imbued with importance and appropriate to time and circumstance, put an end to the pain in the heart.' "
(28) Sūta said: "Thus thinking of the lotus feet of the Lord and what He had instructed in the intimacy of their deep friendship, Arjuna, with his mind freed from all material concerns, found his calm. (29) Constantly remembering the feet of Vāsudeva, Arjuna's devotion increased rapidly so that the endless ruminations ended. (30) He again thought of the spiritual instructions the Supreme Lord gave in the midst of the battlefield. By thinking of His time and actions he dispelled the darkness of his ignorance and became the master of his senses. (31) Free from lamentation, by his spiritual capacity managing to cut with the doubts that were raised by the duality of being identified with the material world, he, due to the transcendence of being without a material form, was freed from the entanglement of birth and death. (32) Yudhishthhira, listening to the deliberations about the end of the Yadu dynasty and the disappearance of the Supreme Lord to His abode, undisturbed within made up his mind [to leave] in favor of the way to heaven. (33) Also Queen Kuntī, who had overheard what Arjuna told about the end of the Yadus and the disappearance of the Lord, found, absorbed in the soul, release from her material existence in pure devotion unto the Lord who was now [fully] situated beyond the senses. (34) By taking away from the world the burden constituted by the body [of the Yadu dynasty], the Unborn Lord equal in His control rejected both the thorn [of the opposing military forces] that was removed and the thorn [of his own family] He used for its removal. (35) Just like with His Matsya incarnation and other incarnations, like a magician giving up one body in order to accept another, He relinquished the body by which He relieved the burden of the world. (36) When Mukunda [the Lord of Liberation], the Fortunate One so worthwhile to hear about, left this earth, from that day on Kali[-yuga] manifested itself in full, the age so inauspicious to all who in ignorance are not in control of their minds [who have not awakened].
(37) When Yudhishthhira grasped what was going on in his capital, state and home as also in the self, observing how everything became worse in a vicious circle of avarice, falsehood, dishonesty, irreligion, violence and so on, he understood that it was time to leave and dressed himself accordingly. (38) His grandson [Parīkchit], who was properly trained and in every respect was as qualified as he was, was by the emperor for the occasion enthroned in the capital of Hastināpura as the master of all land bordered by the seas. (39) At Mathurā he made Vajra [the son of Aniruddha] king of S'ūrasena, after which he had a prājāpatya sacrifice performed in order to find the fire for attaining his goal in himself. (40) Renouncing his belt, ornaments and all of that, he became uninterested, being detached in having broken with the endless bondage. (41) He withdrew his speech into his mind, his mind and his other senses into his breath, his breath he withdrew in death and in full resignation then united that with the body composed of the five elements. (42) Having offered those five elements to the three qualities of nature, he united them in one combination and that he offered in the thoughtful self. Next he fixed that sum total in the soul and that soul in the inexhaustible Absolute Self, Brahman. (43) Accepting torn clothes and refusing solid food, he stopped with talking. He untied his hair and not listening to anyone anymore as if he had become deaf, he thus began to look like a dumb madman and an irresponsible urchin. (44) He headed for the north, just like all others following the path of his mindful forefathers, constantly in his heart thinking about the Supreme One in the Beyond, without turning back from wherever he went.
(45) Like their friend seeing that the age of Kali and its irreligion had overtaken the citizens on earth, all his brothers took the decision to follow him and left home. (46) They had performed everything worthy of a saint and kept themselves, with the ultimate goal of the Supreme Soul in mind, steadfast to the lotus feet of the Lord of Vaikunthha. (47-48) That is the destination of those who, purified by meditation, in their devotion found liberation in fixing their mind on the transcendental feet of the One Nārāyana. With their material contaminations washed away, they attained, in the same bodies they were born with, the abode so difficult to attain for materialists who are absorbed in material concerns. (49) Vidura also returned to his abode [Yama's realm]. With his consciousness absorbed in Krishna, he accompanied by his forefathers quitted his physical self at Prabhāsa. (50) And so did Draupadī who realized that her husbands did not care about her anymore. She focussed her mind on Vāsudeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and reached Him thus. (51) Anyone who with devotion hears about this departure for the ultimate goal of the sons of Pāndu who are so dear to the Supreme Lord, will find nothing but good fortune and purity, will gain in perfection and attain the devotional service of the Lord."
*: Hindu widows keep their hair loosened as a sign of lifelong mourning in respect of their deceased husbands.
Chapter 16: How Parīkchit Received the Age of Kali
(1) Sūta said: "Oh scholars, Parīkchit, the great devotee, thereafter, being instructed by the best brahmins, ruled over the earth with all the qualities that the astrologers, who predicted the future at the time of his birth, thought he would have. (2) He married with Irāvatī, the daughter of King Uttara, and begot four sons in her of whom Janamejaya was the first. (3) At the Ganges he performed three horse sacrifices wherein the demigods showed themselves. Kripācārya, whom he had selected as his spiritual master, was therefore awarded appropriately. (4) Once on a military campaign he, the valiant hero, by dint of his prowess managed to overpower the master of Kali-yuga who had disguised himself as a king but who, lower than a s'ūdra [a laborer], was hurting the legs of a cow and a bull."
(5) S'aunaka inquired: "Why did he during his campaign subdue the master of Kali who dressed up as a king like a low s'ūdra was striking the legs of a cow? Please oh fortunate one, describe that to us, if that would relate to the topics of Krishna. (6) What is the use of other subjects that being illusory do not relate to His lotus feet the nectar of which is licked by the truth-loving souls? That would be a waste of one's life! (7) Oh Sūta, those among the mortal human beings who are sure to meet death here but who desire righteousness [truth and eternal life], call for the great lord of death [Yamarāja] to perform the preparatory rites. (8) The great sages invite him because no one will die as long as he, the great lord who causes the end of life, is present here. Ah! May everyone in the world drink from the nectar of the narrations about the divine pastimes of the Supreme Lord. (9) Those after all, who are lazy, have a dull mind and are short-lived, pass their days and nights with aimless activities and sleeping."
(10) Sūta said: "When Parīkchit, residing in the Kuru capital, learned that the signs of Kali-yuga had entered the domain of his jurisdiction, he considered the news not very palatable and took up his bow and arrows to meet the conflict with military means. (11) Well decorated under the protection of the lion in his flag and with black horses pulling his chariot, he left the capital accompanied by charioteers, cavalry, elephants and infantry troops to assure himself of a victory. (12) Bhadrās'va, Ketumāla, Bhārata, the northern countries of Kuru and Kimpurusha behind the Himalayas were the lands on earth he conquered, maintaining his authority by exacting tribute. (13-15) Everywhere he went he continuously heard what great souls his forefathers were and found also indications of the glorious acts of Lord Krishna among the people he met. He heard about his own deliverance from the powerful rays of the weapon of As'vatthāmā and about the love and devotion for Lord Kes'ava [Krishna as the killer of the demon Kes'ī, the mad horse] among the descendants of Vrishni and Parthā. Extremely pleased therewith he gratefully, with eyes wide open of joy, rewarded the people magnanimously with clothes, necklaces and other riches. (16) He [Krishna] who is [a manifestation] of Lord Vishnu and Himself was obeyed by everyone, by serving as a chariot driver, presiding in assemblies and acting as a servant, by being a friend and a messenger and keeping watch at night, acted with prayers and obeisances to the liking of the God-fearing sons of Pāndu. This filled the king with devotion for His lotus feet.
(17) Thus day after day absorbed in thoughts about the good qualities of his forefathers, not far away from where he was, a most peculiar incident took place. Let me tell you about it. (18) Dharma [the personality of religion, a bull] who wandered around on [but] one leg [firmly], met a cow [mother earth] with tears in her eyes, like she was a mother who has lost her child. He questioned her. (19) Dharma said: 'Madam, are you in good health? Looking so sad with a gloomy face, oh mother, you seem to be afflicted by a disease or to be preoccupied with some relative far away. (20) Do you lament my three weakened legs with me standing [firmly] on one leg only, or is it because you are exploited by meat eaters? Is it because the leading demigods are deprived of their sacrificial share or because the living beings increasingly suffer from scarcity, famine and drought? (21) Are you grieving about the unhappy women and children on earth who [because of failing marriages] have to miss the protection of their husbands and fathers or are you sorry about the way one in the families of the learned souls acts against the goddess of learning [by not being directed at the Person anymore]? Or do you lament the fact that most of them act non-brahminical in service of the ruling class [or even serve in business]? (22) Is it because the descendants of the noble class under the influence of Kali-yuga appear to have lost their minds and left and right have messed up the affairs of the state? Or is it because of the habits developed in society to take one's food and drink and how one dresses, bathes and has intercourse? (23) Or could it be, oh mother, because of your heavy burden now Hari, the Lord who diminished your burden has disappeared from sight, with you thinking of everything He did and the salvation He entails? (24) Please inform me, oh reservoir of all riches, about the reason of your sadness that reduced you to such a weak state. Or has, oh mother, powerful Time that even subdues the most powerful soul, stolen away your good fortune extolled by the demigods?'
(25) Mother Earth replied: 'Oh Dharma, I will do my best to answer all the questions you asked me, for you are with your four legs [the vidhi] present in all the worlds to bring happiness. (26-30) Truthfulness, cleanliness, compassion, self-control, magnanimity, contentment, straightforwardness, concentration, sense control, responsibility, equality, tolerance, equanimity and loyalty. And certainly also knowledge, detachment, leadership, chivalry, influence, power, dutifulness, independence, dexterity, beauty, serenity and kindheartedness, as also ingenuity, gentility, mannerliness, determination, knowledgeability, propriety, pleasantness, joyfulness, immovability, faithfulness, fame and dignity - all these and many others are the most important everlasting qualities of the Supreme Lord, the never ever diminishing higher nature desired by those wishing for His greatness. I am thanks to Him, the reservoir of all qualities and the home of the goddess of fortune, myself such an abode, but I lament now that in His absence, Kali, the source of all sins, is seen all over the world. (31) I am lamenting both for me and for you, for the best of the enlightened souls, the gods and the ancestors in heaven, the sages and the devotees, as also for all people in their status orientations in society. (32-33) Lakshmī [the Goddess of Fortune] whose grace was sought by Brahmā and others who for many days executed penances for her in surrender to the Lord, has without hesitation forsaken her abode in the forest of lotus flowers out of attachment to serve His all-auspicious feet. With my body decorated with the impressions of the footprints with [the marks of] the lotus flower, thunderbolt, flag and driving rod of the Supreme Lord, the proprietor of all opulence, I superseded beautifully the three worlds. But, after my places [my worlds] had obtained His splendor, He in the end has abandoned me who was so happy with it. (34) He who relieved me of the burden of the hundreds of military divisions of atheist kings, incarnated [just as well] for you in an attractive form in the Yadu family, because you, lacking in inner strength, had difficulty to keep standing. (35) Who, I ask you, can tolerate it to be separated from the Supreme Original Person who with His loving glances, smiles and hearty appeals defeated the strong attachment of His sweet and proud women and made my hair [my grasses] stand on end out of pleasure for being imprinted by His feet?'
(36) While the [cow of mother] earth and [the bull of] dharma were thus conversing, Parīkchit, who was renown for being the saint among the kings, arrived at the Sarasvatī river that was flowing to the east."
Chapter 17: Punishment and Reward of Kali
(1) Sūta said: "There [at the Sarasvatī river] the king observed how a lowly, wicked fellow, dressed like a prince, with a club was beating a cow and a bull who had no one to protect them. (2) The bull, that was as white as a lotus, being beaten by the s'ūdra, trembled out of fear and urinated standing on one leg only. (3) The cow also, on itself a religious example but now rendered poor and distressed because the s'ūdra beat her legs, was without a calf and had tears in her eyes while she in her weakness hankered for some grass to eat. (4) Parīkchit, well equipped with bow and arrows, asked from his with gold embossed chariot with a thundering voice: (5) 'Who do you think you are to kill here violently the helpless ones under my protection! As an actor dressed up like a God-conscious man, you appear to be powerful but you behave like someone who never saw the light of civilization [of being twice-born]. (6) Do you think that, now Lord Krishna and the carrier of the bow the Gāndīva [Arjuna] have disappeared from sight, you can secretly beat an innocent cow? Being a culprit you thus deserve it to be killed!'
(7) 'And you', [he said turning to the bull,] 'are you just a bull that, as white as a lotus, moves on one leg, having lost three legs, or are you some demigod making us sad in the form of a bull? (8) Except for you there has till now never been a living being on earth that under the protection [of the arms] of any of the kings of the Kuru dynasty, had such grievance shedding tears. (9) Oh son of Surabhi [the celestial cow], let me tell you, in my kingdom there will be no lamentation. Therefore do not fear the wicked fellow. And dear mother cow, do not cry, as long as I am alive as the ruler and subduer of the envious ones, you will thrive! (10-11) Oh chaste one, he in whose state all kinds of living beings are terrified because of miscreants, will because of his inattentiveness lose his fame, longevity, fortune and good birth. It is the supreme duty of the rulers to subdue for the purpose of putting an end to the misery of the ones suffering. Therefore I shall kill this most wretched man who is so violent with other living beings. (12) Who has cut your three legs, oh four-legged son of Surabhi? What happened to you has never happened before in this royal state of kings who live in obedience to Krishna. (13) Oh bull, I wish you all the best, you are honest and without offenses, tell me who has mutilated you and tarnished the reputation of the sons of Prithā. (14) Those who make the sinless suffer will have to fear me wherever they go, for I will curb the actions of the miscreants and restore the welfare of the virtuous souls. (15) The upstart of evil acts towards innocent living beings I shall forthwith defeat, whether he is a demigod from heaven with armor and decorations or not. (16) It is the holy duty of the head of state always to protect the ones who faithfully perform their duty and, according to the scriptures, chastise those who in this world for other reasons than misfortune strayed from the path.'
(17) The personality of religion said: 'That what you said to become free from the fear for distress is befitting for someone of the Pāndava dynasty, the descendants of Pāndu to whose qualities attracted Krishna, the Supreme Lord, performed the duty of being a servant and such. (18) Oh greatest among the human beings, being bewildered as a consequence of all the differences of [philosophical and political] opinion, we cannot tell which person [or whatever] would be the cause of our [human] suffering. (19) Some [philosophers], in defiance of all duality, declare that one suffers because of oneself, others speak of fate as the cause, some say that it is all due to karma, while many other authorities say that material nature is responsible. (20) Some also conclude that it is a question that defies explanation and comprehension. Who of them would be right in this matter, oh sage among the kings, is left to your own power of judgement.' "
(21) Sūta said: "Parīkchit, who attentively had followed what the personality of religion had to say, oh best among the brahmins, replied mindfully. (22) The king said: 'Oh knower of the duties, oh dharma in the form of a bull, you say this because the status of a wrong doer will also become the position of the one who points out the wrong done [like the guru who takes up the karma of his follower]. (23) In other words, the Lord's ways within the material world can neither be put in words nor be conceived by living beings. (24) Penance, cleanliness, compassion and truthfulness [tapas, s'auca, dayā, satya] are your legs that thus established the age of truth [Satya-yuga], but because of irreligiosity three of them have broken in conceit, [clinging to] intercourse and intoxication. (25) At present, oh personality of religion, you are hobbling along on the one leg of truthfulness, while quarrel personified [Kali], who flourishes on deceit, irreligiously tries to destroy that leg too. (26) Because of the actions of the Supreme Lord mother earth has been relieved of the great burden that she, this cow, carried. His all-auspicious footprints brought happiness everywhere. (27) Lamenting with tears in her eyes the unfortunate and chaste one [mother earth] being deserted by Him, is now enjoyed by lower-class people who, devoid of the culture of learning, pose as rulers in my place.'
(28) After he thus had pacified the personalities of religion and mother earth, the great warrior took up his sharp sword to kill Kali, the root cause of irreligion. (29) Realizing that the king wanted to kill him, Kali, stressed by the fear, abandoned his royal attire and in full surrender bowed his head down at the feet. (30) The hero who was kind to the poor, a refuge for the people and worthy of being glorified, out of compassion with a smile refrained from killing the one fallen at his feet and addressed him. (31) The king said: 'Because you surrendered yourself with folded hands to the maintainer of Arjuna's glory, you have nothing to fear. But that does not mean that you, as a friend of irreligion, just like that can stay in my kingdom. (32) With you physically present as a god of man, the irreligion of greed, falsehood, robbery, incivility, sin, misfortune, cheating, quarrel, vanity and such, will be abound in the masses. (33) For that reason, oh friend of irreligion, you do not deserve to remain in Brahmāvarta, this holy land, where the experts of religion and truth duly and expertly are of worship with sacrifices for the Lord of Sacrifices. (34) In such sacrificial ceremonies the Supreme Personality of God, the Lord, is worshiped as the Soul of all worshipable deities. In that form He spreads welfare, for He is the Supersoul efficacious for all desires, who is present both inside and outside, just like the air is for all that moves and does not move.' "
(35) Sūta said: "That way being ordered by king Parīkchit, the personality of Kali trembled as he saw him ready with a raised sword and speaking like Yamarāja, the Lord of Death. (36) Kali said: 'Wherever I may live under your order, oh Emperor, I will always have to face the reign of your bow and arrows. (37) Therefore please, oh best of the protectors of the religion, allot me a place where I may count on a permanent stay under your rule.' "
(38) Sūta said: "Thus being petitioned, he gave Kali permission to dwell in places where the four sinful activities of gambling, drinking, prostitution and animal slaughter [dyūtam, pānam, striyah, sūnā] were practiced. (39) Next to that the master, upon his insistent begging, allotted him a place where there is gold, for the passion for gold that brings falsity, intoxication, lust and enmity, constitutes the fifth sin. (40) Kali, directed by the son of Uttarā, thus occupied the five places given to him where irreligion is encouraged. (41) For that reason a person desiring his well-being should never resort to any of these places, especially not the one who follows the path of liberation and belongs to the royalty, the servants of the state and the teachers. (42) By encouraging activities that restored the bull's three lost legs of austerity, cleanliness and compassion, the earth was perfectly improved [by Parīkchit]. (43-44) He at present is [still] sitting on the earthly throne entrusted by the king, the grandfather [Yudhishthhira] when he wished to withdraw into the forest. From that rule this sage among the kings and chief of the Kuru dynasty is now known in Hastināpura as the most fortunate and famous emperor. (45) Because of the belief of this king, because of the rule over the earth of the son of Abhimanyu, you all could initiate a sacrifice like this."
Chapter 18: Mahārāja Parīkchit Cursed by a Brahmin Boy
(1) Sūta said: "He [Parīkchit] who in the womb of his mother was scorched by the weapon of the son of Drona, did not die thanks to the mercy of the Supreme Lord, Krishna whose actions are wonderful. (2) Cursed by an angry brahmin to expire because of a snake-bird, he was not overwhelmed by the great fear [of death] because he had surrendered his heart to the Supreme Lord. (3) After having understood the actual position of the Invincible One, he left behind the ones surrounding him and, as a disciple of the son of Vyāsa [S'ukadeva Gosvāmī], gave up his material body at the bank of the Ganges. (4) They who remember the feet of the Supreme One Glorified in the Verses and know to appreciate and live with His nectarine stories, will at the time of their death not be confounded. (5) The personality of Kali, even though present everywhere, cannot flourish as long as the mighty ruler, the son of Abhimanyu, is the one emperor. (6) The moment the Supreme Lord left this earth, Kali, he who promotes irreligion, appeared in this world. (7) The emperor never was of any enmity towards Kali. Like a bee going for the nectar he enjoyed the essence that auspicious things soon lead to perfection while acting differently that is never the case. (8) Kali, who in the eyes of the weaker ones appears to be a great power, is to the self-controlled soul a cause of apprehension, and thus [Parīkchit], as a tiger among men, was the one to take care among the careless. (9) Upon your request I have related almost all the stories that in relation to Vāsudeva can be told about the pious Parīkchit. (10) Those persons who desire their welfare should take notice of each and every story about the Supreme Lord's wonders, transcendental qualities and uncommon deeds I spoke about."
(11) The sages said: "Oh Sūta, may you live a long, happy and particularly eternally famous life, for you, speaking so nicely about Krishna, grant us mortals the nectar of eternity. (12) With the performance of this sacrifice, the outcome of which is uncertain, we are black of the smoke, but with the pleasing of Govinda's feet by your good self, we have the nectar of a lotus flower. (13) The attainment of higher worlds or liberation from matter, not even mentioning the attainment of worldly benedictions by those who inevitably head for their death, is nothing compared to finding but for a moment one's perfect balance in enjoying the company of a devotee of the Lord. (14) Once having acquired the taste, someone will never get enough of relishing the nectar of the stories about the greatest and only refuge among the living beings, He whose transcendental qualities could never be estimated by even the greatest masters of mystic union like Lord Brahmā and Lord S'iva. (15) Be so kind, oh learned one, to describe to us who are eager to hear about it, His impartial transcendental activities. For He, Lord Hari, the one and only shelter for the greatest of the great, is for your good self the leading supreme personality. (16) As a first-class devotee of great intelligence, Parīkchit evidently attained the lotus feet of Him who has Garuda in His banner, after having received from the son of Vyāsa the knowledge about that what one calls the path of liberation. (17) Please tell us therefore the supreme and purifying narrations of the so wonderful devotion in yoga. Describe, the way they were explained to Parīkchit, the activities of the Unlimited One dear to the pure devotees."
(18) Sūta said: "Just see how we, although of a mixed birth, by serving those advanced in knowledge [like S'uka], clearly have been promoted to a higher birth. Being connected in conversation with the great [devotees] will soon purify one from suffering a lack in quality because of one's birth. (19) And what to say of those who sing the holy name under the protection of exclusively the great devotees who belong to Him, He who is called Ananta because of the fact that He is unlimited in His potency and unmeasurably great in His qualities? (20) To give a description of Him, the One unlimited in His attributes and equal to none, it suffices to say, that the Goddess of Fortune, while rejecting others who asked for it, wished to serve in the dust of His feet, while He Himself never asked for it. (21) Who else would be worth the position of carrying the name of Supreme Lord besides Mukunda [Lord Krishna as the one granting liberation] from whose toenails the water emanated [of the Ganges] that was collected by Brahmājī and purifies Lord S'iva and the entire universe? (22) Those in control of themselves who are firmly attached to Him, are capable of instantly leaving aside the attachments of the gross body and the subtle mind and go away to take shelter of the highest stage of perfection [sannyāsa], the stage of life characterized by nonviolence and renunciation. (23) Because you [sages], who are as strong as the sun, asked me, I can give you an account of the knowledge I have acquired. It is in this matter as with the birds who fly as far as they can; I can enlighten you on Vishnu as far as my realization permits.
(24-25) One day, when Parīkchit was hunting stags with bow and arrows, he got very fatigued, hungry and thirsty. Looking for a reservoir of water he entered the hermitage of the famous rishi S'amīka where he saw the sage silently sitting down with his eyes closed. (26) Having restrained his sense organs and breath, he, with his mind and intelligence inactive and in quality equal to the Supreme Absolute, being unaffected had achieved transcendence above the three states of consciousness [wakefulness, dreaming and dreamless sleep]. (27) He was covered by his long, compressed hair as also by the skin of a stag. The king, with a dry palate finding him in that state, asked for water. (28) Not being properly received with a place to sit, water and nice words, he felt disrespected and therefore got angry. (29) Oh brahmins, plagued by hunger and thirst being inconsiderate himself, his anger and hostility against the brahmin was unprecedented. (30) Having lost his respect, he with the tip of his bow picked up a lifeless snake and placed it angrily over the shoulder of the sage as he left to return to his palace. (31) [There he wondered] whether or not this meditative state of withdrawal from the senses with closed eyes was a false, pretended trance, maintained [by the sage] because he was just a lower ruler.
(32) When the sage's son [named S'ringī], who was a very powerful personality, heard of the grief the king had caused his father while he was playing with some children, he said this: (33) 'Just see how irreligious these rulers are! Enriching themselves like crows they, the servants, like dogs keeping watch at the door, behave badly unto their master! (34) The sons of the ruling class are to guard the brahminical order like watchdogs. On what grounds would he, who is supposed to stay at the door, deserve it to enter the house of the master and eat from the same pot? (35) Since Krishna our protector, who is the Supreme Lord and ruler of those upstarts, has departed, I shall today punish them myself, just witness my power!' (36) Thus with eyes red-hot of anger speaking to his playmates, the son of the rishi touched the water of the Kaus'ika river and released the following thunderbolt of words: (37) 'Verily, seven days from now the wretched soul of the dynasty who offended my father will, because of breaking with the etiquette, be bitten by a snake-bird.' (38) When the boy thereafter returned to the hermitage, he saw the snake over his father's shoulder and cried loudly over that sorry plight.
(39) Oh S'aunaka, when the rishi heard his son lamenting, he, who was born in the family of Angirā, slowly opened his eyes and saw the dead snake on his shoulder. (40) Throwing it aside, he asked: 'My dear son, what are you crying about? Has someone wronged you?' Thus being requested, the boy told him everything. (41) After hearing about the curse pronounced against the king, who as the best among man did not deserve that, he did not compliment his son, but lamented instead: 'Alas! What a great sin you have committed yourself today in awarding such a heavy punishment for an offense as insignificant as this! (42) In fact no one may ever place a sovereign ruler, a god among man who is known to be transcendental, on an equal footing with common men - your command of intelligence is immature... completely protected by his unsurpassable prowess his subjects enjoy all prosperity. (43) Oh my boy, the Lord, who carries the wheel of the chariot, is represented by this monarch. Once he is abolished, this world will be full of thieves who immediately will vanquish the unprotected souls like they are lambs. (44) Because of negating the monarch, from this day on, the reaction upon this sin will overtake us causing great social disruption. The wealth everywhere will be seized by thieves and among the people there will be murder and molestation as also abuse of money, women and animals. (45) The righteous civilization, of humanity united in proper conduct [of progress] in the vocations and stages of life according to the Vedic injunctions, will at that time systematically be vanquished. As a consequence the economy, then only serving sense-gratification, will result in an unwanted population on the level of dogs and monkeys. (46) The protector of the religion, the king, is a highly celebrated emperor, a direct, first class devotee of the Lord, a saint of nobility and a great performer of horse sacrifices. When he, hungry and thirsty, is stricken with fatigue, he never deserves it to be cursed by us like this.'
(47) The sage thereupon addressed the Supreme, All-pervading Lord, to beg His pardon for the great sin, committed by the child immature of intelligence, against a sinless, worthy and subordinate soul. (48) [He prayed:] 'Whether they are defamed, cheated, cursed, disturbed, neglected or even when one of them is killed, the forbearing devotees of the Lord for certain never will avenge themselves for any of this.' (49) The sage thus regretted the sin of his son and certainly did not think that the insult by the king was a sin. (50) Generally the saints in this world prove themselves not distressed or happy when they by others are involved in worldly dualities, for they are situated in the transcendence of the soul."
Chapter 19: The Appearance of S'ukadeva Gosvāmī
(1) Sūta said: "The king felt that what he had done was something abominable and thought most depressed: 'Alas, it was uncivilized and evil what I did to the faultless, grave and powerful brahmin. (2) Because of the contempt of what I did against that godly person, I undoubtedly very soon will meet with a very troublesome calamity. I certainly hope that that will happen so that I will be relieved of my sins and never do anything like that again. (3) May I, on this very day, burn with my kingdom, strength and wealth of riches in the fire ignited by the brahmin community, so that the inauspiciousness of sinful thinking against the Lord, the twice-born souls and the cows, may never happen to me again.' (4) Thus pondering, the message reached him of the curse of death pronounced by the sage's son. That curse in the form of the fire of a snake bird, he accepted as auspicious because that impending happening would be the consequence of his indifference about worldly affairs. (5) He decided to forsake this world as also the next, for he already had concluded that both worlds were inferior compared to a life of service at the feet of Krishna he considered the greatest achievement. So he sat down at the bank of the transcendental river [the Ganges] in order to fast. (6) That river, always flowing mixed with tulasī leaves [a plant used in worship], consists of the auspicious water carrying the dust from the feet of Lord Krishna that sanctifies both the worlds [inside and outside] and even the Lord of Destruction [Lord S'iva]. Which person destined to die would not turn to that river? (7) In a spirit not deviating from the vows of the sages he would free himself from all kinds of material attachments. With that decision he, the worthy descendant of the Pāndavas, sitting down at the river which flows from the feet of Vishnu, surrendered himself to the mercy of Mukunda till he died.
(8) All the great minds and thinkers who together with their pupils are capable of purifying the entire world, then came to gather there on the plea of making a pilgrimage. It is because of their personal presence that the holy places enjoy their status of sanctity. (9-10) Atri, Cyavana, S'aradvān, Arishthanemi, Bhrigu, Vasishthha, Parās'ara, Vis'vāmitra, Angirā, Paras'urāma, Uthathya, Indrapramada, Idhmavāhu, Medhātithi, Devala, Ārshthisena, Bhāradvāja, Gautama, Pippalāda, Maitreya, Aurva, Kavasha, Kumbhayoni, Dvaipāyana and the great personality Nārada arrived. (11) Also many other divine personalities, saintly brahmins, the best saintly advisors of the most prominent nobles and many other sages like Aruna appeared to the occasion. All the heads of the dynasties of sages assembling there were respectfully welcomed by the emperor bowing his head. (12) After they all sat comfortably he, again having offered them his obeisances, thereupon humbly spoke about his decision to fast, with folded hands standing before them as someone whose mind is detached from worldly affairs. (13) The king said: 'We are truly grateful to be the most fortunate of all the kings trained to receive the favors granted by the greatest of souls, for at the feet of the brahmins the royal orders are but refuse to be kept at a distance because of their reprehensible actions. (14) Because of my sins, the Controller of the transcendental and mundane worlds in the form of that brahmin's curse, very soon will be the cause of my detachment from them, I who, always thinking of family matters, was affected by fear. (15) Therefore, oh brahmins, just accept me as someone who with the Lord in his heart has taken shelter of the Ganges, the divine mother. Let the snakebird, or whatever magical thing the twice-born soul called for, bite me forthwith. And you, please continue with the stories about Vishnu. (16) And, again, let it be so that wherever that I, in relation to the Supreme, Unlimited Lord and the association He attracts in the material world, may take birth, I will find friendly relations everywhere with obeisances unto the twice-born souls.'
(17) And thus it came to pass that the king, having arrived at that resolve, fully self-controlled seated himself on kus'a grass laid to the east, while facing the north from the southern bank of the wife of the sea [the Ganges]. The charge of his administration he had handed over to his son. (18) To that occasion the gods, who from the sky had seen that the king would fast until his end, all in praise scattered the earth with flowers, continually beating celestial drums in pleasure. (19) All the great sages who had assembled there praised him for the wisdom he had thus shown. In approval they, from the power of their goodness for the living beings, a quality of heart equal to the character of Him praised in the scriptures, thereupon said: (20) 'It is not astonishing at all that you, oh saintly king, oh chief of all of us who strictly follow Krishna, being seated on the throne that is decorated with the helmets of kings, as immediate like this gave up your life in your desire to achieve association with the Fortunate One. (21) We will all stay at this place for as long as it takes this foremost devotee to give up his body and return to the world of the Supreme One, where he will be completely free from worldly concerns and lamentation.'
(22) After having heard the assembled sages speak thus impartially, sweet to hear, grave and perfectly true, Parīkchit complimented them all with their appropriate show of respect and said, desirous to hear about the activities of Vishnu: (23) 'You from all directions have assembled here as embodiments of the Vedic knowledge maintained above the three worlds, with no other intention in this world or a world hereafter but to act for the good of others according to your innate nature. (24) Therefore I beg you, trustworthy Vedic men of learning, to tell me which of all the different duties for each person and especially for those who are about to die, you consider to be the proper one [for me].'
(25) At that moment the powerful son of Vyāsa, S'ukadeva Gosvāmī appeared. Dressed like a mendicant he, satisfied in self-realization, freely traveled around the earth surrounded by children and without distinguishing marks of identity or any concern about material comforts. (26) Sixteen years of age, he had a body with delicate legs, hands, thighs, arms, shoulders and forehead. His eyes were beautifully wide in a face with a high nose, similar ears, nice eyebrows and a neck as shapely as a conch shell. (27) With a fleshy collarbone, a broad chest and a deep navel he had nice folds in his abdomen. Stark naked with curly, scattered hair and long arms he had the hue of the best among the gods [of Krishna; a dark complexion]. (28) Even though he covered his nakedness the sages, who had a keen eye for physiognomy, recognized the symptoms of the blackish skin, the eternal beauty of his tender age and the attraction for the fair sex with his beautiful smiles. And so they all stood up from their seats. (29) To welcome the new guest, he who is always protected by Vishnu [Parīkchit] bowed before him to offer his obeisances, whereupon his less educated following of boys and women immediately withdrew as he took his exalted seat in regard of the respect shown. (30) Surrounded there by the greatest of the great saints among the brahmins, the kings and the godly souls, S'ukadeva shone, as the greatest lord, as resplendent as the moon surrounded by the planets, heavenly bodies and stars. (31) Calm, intelligent and self-assured sitting down, the sage was approached by the great devotee, the king, who properly bowing down with folded hands asked him questions in a polite and friendly manner.
(32) Parīkchit said: 'Oh brahmin, what a blessing it is for us, kshatriya friends, by the mercy of you being our guest to have been been chosen today as a servant of the devotee, by the visit of your good self to be allowed to find our way. (33) Thinking of your person, immediately all the places we inhabit are purified, not even mentioning what it means to see you, touch you, wash your feet and offer you a seat! (34) By your presence, oh great mystic, a person's gravest sins are immediately vanquished, like what happens to nonbelievers in the presence of Vishnu. (35) Finally Krishna, the Supreme Lord so dear to the sons of Pāndu, is satisfied with me and has, from His affection for His cousins, [by your visit] accepted me, their descendant, as one of theirs. (36) How else could it be possible that you, out of your own, especially for someone in his last hours before death, have appeared here to meet us, while you normally, all-perfect as you are, move unseen among the common people? (37) Therefore I beg you as the supreme spiritual master of all ascetics, what for a person in this life would be the path of perfection, and especially what that would mean for someone about to die. (38) Please explain what a person should attend to and meditate on, oh master, what he should do, what he should think of and should serve, as also what would be against the principle. (39) This I ask you because, oh supreme devotee, one at the homes of the householders rarely sees you staying longer than the exact time of milking a cow.' "
(40) Sūta said: "Thus pleasantly being addressed and questioned by the king, the supreme son of Vyāsadeva, so well versed in the knowledge of one's actual duty, began his reply."
Thus the first Canto of the S'rīmad Bhāgavatam ends named: Creation.
CANTO 2: The Cosmic Manifestation
Chapter 1: The First Step in God Realization
(-) My obeisances unto the Supreme Lord Vāsudeva. (1) S'rī S'uka said: 'This inquiry of yours for the good of all people is the best thing you can do, because this subject of study, oh King, carries the approval of the transcendentalists and constitutes the supreme of all that is worth the attention. (2) Oh Emperor, there are countless subject matters to hear about in human society that are of interest to those who, attached to their household life, are materially engrossed and are blind to the reality of the soul. (3) They spend their lives, oh King, with sleeping and making love during the night and with making money and taking care of their family during the day. (4) Overly attached to the fallible allies of the body, the children, the wife and everything thereto, they, despite their experience, do not see the finality of these matters. (5) For that reason, oh descendant of Bharata, He must be discussed, glorified and remembered who as the Supersoul, the Supreme Personality, the controller and vanquishing Lord, frees those who are of desire from their anxieties. (6) All this analyzing in the knowledge of yoga of one's particular nature and how a person after being born should attain the full awareness of the Supreme, in the end only concerns the remembrance of Nārāyana [Krishna as the Supreme Personality]. (7) In general it are the sages who, free from the material modes having mastered the prescriptions and restrictions, oh King, take pleasure in especially describing the glories of the Lord.
(8) This story called the Bhāgavatam contains the essence of the Vedas and was by me, at the end of this Dvāpara-yuga [the age of honoring monarchs], studied under the guidance of my father Dvaipāyana Vyāsa. (9) Despite being fully accomplished in transcendence the enlightened verses about the [Lord's] pastimes drew my attention, oh saintly King, and thus I studied them. (10) I will recite it to you, because you, oh goodness, are a most sincere devotee. They who respectfully dedicate their full attention to it very soon will realize an unflinching faith in Mukunda [Krishna as the Lord granting liberation]. (11) For both those who crave free from piously exercising respect and for yoga practitioners who are free from fear and doubts, oh King, the, according to the tradition, repeating of the name of the Lord constitutes the approved method. (12) What is the use of spending one's years as an ignoramus in this world without having [this] experience? The hour one deliberately spends in service of the higher cause is the better one. (13) The saintly king known as Khathvānga cast aside everything when he knew that he had but a moment to live longer in this world and thus experienced the full security of the Lord. (14) Oh member of the Kuru family, therefore also your life's duration that is limited to seven days, should inspire you to perform everything that traditionally belongs to the rituals for a next life. (15) Facing the end of one's life one should be free from the fear of death by cutting, with the help of the weapon of non-attachment, with one's desires and everything material associated with them. (16) In pious self control leaving one's home behind, one should head for a sacred place and properly cleansed in solitude sit down in a position in accordance with the regulations. (17) The mind should then be turned to the three sacred transcendental letters [A-U-M]. Regulating one's breath one thus should get the mind under control so that the primary cause of the absolute Spirit [Brahman] is not forgotten. (18) With the intelligence as the driver, the [horses of the] senses with the help of the mind should be led away from their objects. The mind that is motivated for results should for that purpose consciously be fixed on the auspicious cause [of the Lord]. (19) Not allowing to be distracted by the outside world, one thereafter consecutively focusses one's mind on the different parts of His body. One should thereto not think of anything else but the refuge [constituted by the feet] of the Supreme Lord Vishnu who thus pacifies the mind. (20) Because of the passion and inertia of nature the mind is always agitated and bewildered, but one will get that under control in the concentration of the ones pacified, in the focus that puts an end to all impurity. (21) They who fixed in the habit of such a systematic remembrance seek unification and hold on to this devotion will soon be of success under the shelter of the yoga that approves this.'
(22) The king, attentive to what was said, asked: 'Oh brahmin, what is in summary the idea of the way by which a person may directly put an end to the impurities of his mind?'
(23) S'rī S'uka said: 'When one sits down in control, has subdued one's breath and has conquered one's attachment as also one's senses, one should focus one's attention on the gross matter of the outer appearance of the Supreme Lord [the virāth-rūpa]. (24) His personal body is this gross material world in which we experience all that belongs to the past, the present and the future of this universe in existence. (25) This outer shell of the universe that we know as a body consisting of seven coverings [see kos'as], constitutes the notion of the object of the Universal Form of the Purusha [the Original Person] who is the Supreme Lord. (26) The lower worlds are by the ones who studied it recognized as the soles of His feet [called Pātāla] of which His heels and toes are called Rasātala, His ankles Mahātala while the shanks of the gigantic person are called the Talātala worlds. (27) The two knees of the Universal Form are called Sutala, the thighs Vitala and Atala and the hips are named Mahītala, oh King. Outer space is accepted as the depression of His navel. (28) The higher, illumined worlds are His chest, with above it the neck called Mahar. His mouth is called Jana while Tapas is the name of the worlds of the forehead with Satyaloka [the world of Truth] as the uppermost of the [middle] worlds of the Original Personality who has a thousand heads. (29) The gods headed by Indra are His arms, the four directions are His ears and sound is His sense of hearing. The nostrils of the Supreme One are the As'vinī-Kumāras [a type of demigods] while fragrance is His sense of smell and His mouth the blazing fire. (30) The sphere of outer space constitutes the pits of His eyes, while the eyeball of the sun makes up His seeing. The eyelids of Vishnu are the day and night, the movements of His eyebrows are the supreme entity [Brahmā and the other demigods], His palate is the director of water [Varuna] and His tongue is the nectarine juice. (31) They say that the Vedic hymns are the thought process of the Unlimited One, that His jaws make up Yamarāja [the Lord of death], His teeth are His affection and that His smile is the most alluring, unsurpassable material energy [māyā]. Material creation is only the casting of His glance. (32) Modesty is His upper lip, His chin stands for the hankering, religion is His breast and the path of irreligion is His back. Brahmā is His genitals, His testicles are the Mitrā-varunas [the friends], His waist the oceans and the stack of His bones are the mountains. (33) His veins are the rivers and the plants and trees are the hairs on the body of the Universal Form, oh King. The air is His omnipotent breathing, the passing of the ages, Time, is His movement and the constant operation of the modes of material nature is His activity. (34) Let me tell you that the hairs on the head of the Supreme One are the clouds, oh best of the Kurus, and that the intelligence of the Almighty One is the prime cause of the material creation, so one says. His mind, the reservoir of all changes, is known as the moon. (35) The great principle constitutes His consciousness, so one says, while Lord S'iva is the cause within [His ego, His self]. The horse, mule, camel and elephant are His nails, and all other game and quadrupeds are represented in the region of His belt. (36) The singing of the birds is His artistic sense and Manu, the father of man, forms the contents of His thought with humanity as His residence. The angelic and celestial beings [the Gandharvas, Vidyādharas and Caranas] constitute His musical rhythm while the remembrance of terrorizing soldiers represents His prowess. (37) With the intellectuals [brahmins] for the face and the rulers [kshatriyas] for the arms of the Universal Form, the traders [vais'yas] are the thighs and the laborers [s'ūdras, the dark or 'krishna'-class] occupy His feet. Through the various names of the demigods He gains in stature with the provision of feasible goods [that appease Him] by means of the performance of sacrifices.
(38) I explained all these locations in the Form of the Supreme Lord to you so that anyone who concentrates his mind on this virāth-rūpa Universal Form can attain his goal by intelligence. Beyond Him after all, there is nothing else to be found in the gross of matter. (39) He who as the Supersoul in so many ways can be seen present in all kinds of forms, just like a dreamer can see himself [in different situations], is the one and only Supreme Truth and ocean of bliss. One must direct oneself to Him alone and nothing else if one does not want to see oneself degraded by attachments.'
Chapter 2: The Lord in the Heart
(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'By contemplating the Supreme Self [of the Universal Form] from which one generated [like Lord Brahmā did] one, by thus finding satisfaction [with the Original Person], regains the remembrance that was lost. With one's vision thus cleared the intelligence then operates as before so that one can get one's life in order. (2) One's [spiritual] adherence to the sounds of the [impersonal] Absolute Truth makes the intelligence, because of the many terms [associated with it], ponder over incoherent ideas because of which one, without ever finding joy, wanders around in illusory realities - and the different desires belonging to them -, as if one is dreaming. (3) With the practical insight that he otherwise would be engaged in [useless] troublesome work, an intelligent attentive person fixed in his attention to achieve perfection [in meditation], must therefore only minimally, not more than necessary, abide by imaginary [non-spiritual] purposes. (4) What is the need for endeavoring for a bed when you can lie on the ground; why would you strive for a pillow when you have your arms; why should you endeavor for utensils if you can eat with your hands and why would you worry about clothing when the trees are there [with their bark]? (5) Are there no rags lying in the street, is there no giving in charity; do the trees not offer their alms maintaining others; have the rivers dried up; are the caves closed; has the Almighty Lord given up on protecting the surrendered soul? Why would a learned man then have to speak to the liking of those who are led by wealth? (6) When one thus with the matter of Him, the most cherished, eternal, One Supersoul fully present in one's heart, is detached from the world, one must be of worship for Him, the Fortunate One, the permanent gain by which for certain the cause of one's material bondage is put to an end. (7) Who else but the materialists would, with neglecting the transcendental thoughts, take to the non-permanent of material denominations because of which they, who constitute the general mass of the people that is controlled by the misery of the reactions of its fruitive labor, see themselves as fallen into the river of suffering?
(8) Others see in the meditation upon Him within their own body the Personality of Godhead residing in the region of the heart measuring eight inches, having four arms, carrying the lotus, the wheel of the chariot, the conch shell and the club. (9) With His mouth expressing happiness, His eyes wide open like a lotus, His clothes yellowish like a Kadamba flower, bedecked with jewels and with golden ornaments studded with precious stones, He wears a glowing headdress with earrings. (10) His feet are positioned on the whorl of the lotus hearts of the great mystics. On His chest He wears the beautifully engraved Kaustubha jewel and around His neck He has a fresh flower garland spreading its beauty. (11) With a decorative wrap around His waist, valuable finger rings, ringing leglets, bangles, oiled spotless bluish, curly hair and His beautiful, smiling face He looks very pleasing. (12) His magnanimous pastimes and the glowing glances of His expression are indicative of the extensive benedictions of this particular transcendental form of the Lord one should focus upon as long as the mind can be fixed on it for the purpose of one's meditation. (13) One should meditate upon the limbs one by one, starting from the feet up, until one sees His smiling face, and thus gradually taking control over the mind one departs in one's meditation for higher and higher spheres and purifies that way the intelligence. (14) As long as the materialist has not developed devotional service to this form of the Lord who is the seer of the mundane and transcendental worlds, he must, when he is finished with his prescribed duties, with proper attention remember the Universal Form of the Original Person.
(15) Whenever one desires to give up one's body, oh King, one should as a sage, without being disturbed, comfortably seated and with one's thinking unperturbed by matters of time and place, in control of the life air restrain the senses with the help of the mind. (16) Regulating the mind by the power of one's pure intelligence in relation to the original witness within [the 'knower of the field'], one should merge with this self. That self should be confined to the fully satisfied Supersoul and thus putting an end to all activities, one will attain full bliss. (17) Therein one will not find the supremacy of time that for sure controls the godly who direct the worldly creatures with their demigods, nor will one find there mundane goodness, passion or ignorance or any material change or causality of nature at large. (18) Knowing what and what not relates to the divine of the transcendental position, they who wish to avoid what is godless, completely give up the perplexities [of arguing to time and place], and place thereto in purely at Him directed good-will every moment His worshipable lotus feet in their heart. (19) The sage familiar with the science of properly regulating the force [of the senses] in service of the purpose of life, should retire in the following way: he must block his arse ['air-hole'] with his heel and direct the life air upward through the six primary places [navel, plexus, heart, throat, eyebrows and top of the skull] and thus overcome the state of material inertia. (20) The meditator should, with the strength of his vision of wisdom, gradually direct the life breath from the navel to the plexus [the 'heart'] and from there to the chest from where he should bring it slowly into his throat and thus extinguish his material desires. (21) The seer who is of detachment should, in order to attain the Supreme, by blocking the seven outlets [the ears, the eyes, the nostrils and the mouth], from between the eyebrows enter the domain of the head to remain there for a while ('half an hour') for the sake of the ever fresh eternality.
(22) If one, however, fosters a desire, oh King, to lord over what one calls the realm of enjoyment of the gods in the sky, or wishes to rule the world of the gunas [the modes of nature] using the eight mystic powers [the eight siddhis or perfections], one inevitably has to count with the mind and the senses associated therewith. (23) One says that the great transcendentalists in the realm of the subtle body, because of their knowledge, austerity, yoga and absorption are able to move freely within and without the three worlds, while those who do their work based upon material motives never attain such progress.
(24) In the control of the divinity of fire [Vais'vānara, or with regular sacrifice and meditation] one attains by following the path of [the sushumnā, the channel of balancing] the breath, the illuminating pure Spirit of the Absolute, whereupon being freed from impurities going upwards one [in respect of the cyclic order of the luminaries] reaches the [galactic cakra order of the] Lord, oh King, called S'is'umāra [meaning: dolphin, to the form of the Milky Way, galactic time]. (25) Passing beyond that navel of the universe, the pivot, the center of spin of the Maintainer [Vishnu], only the individual living being who got purified by the realization of his smallness [the yogi], reaches the place worshiped by those who know the Absolute Spirit. The self-realized souls enjoy their stay there for the time of a kalpa [a day of Brahmā]. (26) Thereupon he who from the bed of Vishnu [Ananta] sees how the universe is burning to ashes because of the fire from His mouth, will leave that place for the supreme abode that lasts for two parārdhas [the two halves of the life of Brahmā] and is the home of the purified souls of elevation. (27) There one will never find bereavement or old age, death, pain or anxieties, save that one sometimes has feelings of compassion when one sees the ignorant who are subjected to the hard to overcome misery of the repetition of birth and death.
(28) After surpassing the forms of water and fire and thus having reached that pure self free from fear, one thus having attained the effulgent atmosphere, in due course of time by the self its air reaches the ethereal self, the true greatness of one's soul. (29) By scents having the smell, by the palate having the taste, by the eye having visions, by physical contact being in touch and finally by sound vibrations experiencing the quality of the ether, the yogi by dint of the activity of the senses also attains [the more subtle sphere]. (30) After he thus at the mental level in relation to the gross and subtle has reached a neutral point of I-awareness, he in the mode of goodness surpasses that realization of himself that is subject to change [the ego] and progresses, by stopping the operation of the natural modes, towards the reality of perfect wisdom. (31) By that purification towards the self of the Supersoul, the person attains the peace, satisfaction and natural delight of being freed from all impurities. He who attains this destination of devotion certainly will never again get attracted to this material world, my dearest [Parīkchit].
(32) The [two direct and indirect] paths I described to you, oh protector of man, is as your Majesty requested in proper accord with the Vedas. It is also in full agreement with the eternal truth as formerly explained by Lord Vāsudeva to Lord Brahmā who had satisfied Him in worship. (33) For those who in this life wander around in the material universe, there is for sure no way of attaining more auspicious than the [direct] path by which one arrives at the devotional service [bhakti-yoga] of the Supreme Personality Lord Vāsudeva. (34) The great personality [Vyāsadeva] studied the Vedas three times in total and scrutinously, with scholarly attention examining them he ascertained that someone is optimally focussed when he is attracted to the soul. (35) The Supreme Personality can be perceived in all living beings as the actual nature of that soul, as the Lord who by the intelligence of the seer is recognized by inference from different signs and effects. (36) Therefore every human soul, oh King, must wherever he is and whenever he exists, hear about, glorify and remember the Lord as the Supreme Personality of the human being. (37) They who fill their ears with the narrations about the Supreme Lord most dear to the devotees and drink from that nectar, will find their, by material pleasure contaminated, state of mind purified and return to the presence of His lotus feet.'
Chapter 3: Pure Devotional Service - the Change in Heart
(1) S'rī S'ukadeva said: 'For the intelligent among men, I have given you all the answers in response to the inquiring of your good self about the human being on the threshold of death. (2-7) They who desire the luster of the Absolute worship the master of the Vedas [Brihaspati], Indra, the king of heaven is there for the ones desiring the strength of the senses [sex] and the Prajāpatis [the strong progenitors] are there for those who desire offspring. The goddess [Durgā] is there for those who desire the beauty of the material world, the fire god is there for the ones desiring power, for wealth there are the Vasus [a type of demigod] and the incarnations of Rudra [Lord S'iva] are there for those who wish strength and heroism. For a good harvest the mother of the demigods Aditi is worshiped, desiring heaven one worships her sons, for those desiring royal riches there are the Vis'vadeva demigods and to be of commercial success there are the Sādhya gods. The As'vinīs [two demigod brothers] are there for the ones desiring longevity, for a strong body mother earth is worshiped and those who want to maintain their position and be renown respect the goddesses of the earth and the heavens. Aspiring beauty there are the heavenly Gandharvas, those who want a good wife seek the girls of the heavenly society [the Apsaras and Urvas'īs] and anyone who wants to dominate others is bound to the worship of Brahmā, the head of the universe. Yajńa, the Lord of Sacrifice is worshiped for tangible fame and for a good bank balance Varuna, the treasurer, is sought. But those who desire to learn, worship S'iva himself while for a good marriage his chaste wife Umā is honored.
(8) For spiritual progress the supreme truth [Lord Vishnu and His devotees] is worshiped, for offspring and their care one seeks the ancestral [the residents of Pitriloka], pious persons are sought by those who seek protection, while the demigods in general are there for standing strong in life. (9) The godly Manus [the fathers of mankind] are there for those desiring a kingdom, but the demons are sought for defeating enemies. The ones desiring sense gratification are bound to the moon [Candra], while those who are free from desire worship the Supreme Personality in the beyond. (10) Whether one is free from desire, is full of it or else desires liberation, someone of a serious consideration with all his heart in devotional service [bhakti-yoga] will honor the Original Supreme Personality. (11) All these types of worshipers for sure develop, in their worship of the highest benediction in this life, unflinching, spontaneous attraction to the Supreme Lord through association with His pure devotees. (12) The knowledge leading to the limit of the complete withdrawal from the whirlpool of the material modes, results in the satisfaction of the soul. In the transcendence of being detached from these modes, that satisfaction carries the blessings of the path of bhakti-yoga. Being absorbed in the narrations about the Lord, who would then not act upon this attraction?"
(13) S'aunaka said: "What is it that the king, the ruler of Bharata, after hearing all of this, wanted to know more from the son of Vyāsadeva, the learned sage? (14) Oh learned Sūta, explain those topics to us who are eager to hear about it, for in an assembly of devotees those talks are welcome that lead to the narrations about the Lord. (15) He, the king, that grandson of the Pāndavas, was no doubt a great devotee, a great fighter who playing with his toys as a child enacted the activities of Krishna. (16) And that must have also been true for the son of Vyāsadeva who, in the presence of all those devotees there, in his attachment to the Supreme Lord Vāsudeva glorified by so many, proved to have all the great qualities. (17) Except for the one who spends his time on the topics about the One hailed in the scriptures, the rising and setting sun only decreases the lives of the people. (18) Are the trees not growing also, are the blacksmith's bellows not also producing air and are the beasts all around us not also eating and procreating? [Must we then not also answer to our true nature?] (19) A person whose ear never reached the holy name of the One who delivers us from all evil is not better than a dog, a hog, an ass or a camel. (20) The ears of a man who never heard of Vishnu, the One of the great step forward, are like those of snakes and also the tongues of those who never sang the songs of worth aloud are as useless as those of frogs. (21) Even carrying a heavy silk turban, the upper part of the body is just a burden, when that body never bows down to Mukunda [Krishna granting liberation]; just like hands that, not engaged in the worship of the Lord, are like those of a dead body, however decorated they are with glittering golden bangles. (22) Like the eyes on the plumes of a peacock are the eyes of those men who do not see the forms of Vishnu and like the roots of trees are their feet when they never visit the holy places of the Lord. (23) Those mortals who never personally received the dust of the feet of the pure devotees are dead while being alive and a descendant of Manu [a man] is like a dead corpse breathing when he has never experienced the wealth of the aroma of the tulsī leaves of Lord Vishnu's lotus feet. (24) Certainly that heart is steel-framed that, despite being absorbed in chanting the name of the Lord, is not moved therewith by emotions of having tears in one's eyes and hairs standing on end. (25) Oh Sūta Gosvāmī, you express yourself so faithfully. Therefore, please, tell us about the transcendental knowledge that the leading great devotee S'ukadeva Gosvāmī so expertly spoke about in response to the excellent questions of the King."
Chapter 4: The Process of Creation
(1) Sūta said: "Just having realized what S'ukadeva Gosvāmī thus said about the verification of the reality of the soul, the chaste son of Uttarā [Parīkchit] concentrated upon Lord Krishna. (2) He [thus meditating for a moment innerly] gave up his deep-rooted and constant possessiveness in relation to his body, his wife, his son, his treasury and all his relatives and friends in his undisputed kingdom. (3-4) The great soul in full faith inquired for the purpose of this exactly the way you are asking me, oh great sages. Being informed of his death he renounced his fruitive activity according the three principles [of self-realization: renouncing religious acts, economic development and sense gratification] and everything thereto and thus firmly fixed he achieved the attraction for the love of the Supreme Lord Vāsudeva. (5) The king said: 'What you said is perfectly right, oh learned one; being without contaminations you have the knowledge of it all and make the darkness of ignorance gradually disappear when you are speaking about the topics concerning the Lord. (6) Furthermore, I would like to learn how the Supreme Lord by His personal energies creates this phenomenal world of the universe that is so inconceivable for even the great masters of meditation. (7) And please, also tell me about the way the powerful one maintains His energies and winds them up again, how He as the all-powerful Supreme Personality arrives at His expansions, involves them and being involved Himself presents them and causes them to act [see also canto 1, chapter 3]. (8) Even the highly learned in spite of their endeavors for His sake, fall short, dear brahmin, in explaining the wonderful, inconceivable acts of the Supreme Lord. (9) Even though He acts through His different incarnations He is the One and Supreme, whether He acts by the modes, is there simultaneously in the material energy or is manifesting in many forms consecutively. (10) Please clear up these questions asked by me, since you, being as good as the Supreme Lord, are of the oral tradition with the Vedic literatures and also of full realization in transcendence.' "
(11) Sūta said: "Upon thus being requested by the king to describe the transcendental attributes of Lord Hrishīkes'a [Krishna as the master of the senses] S'uka, in order to reply properly, proceeded methodically.
(12) S'rī S'uka said: 'My obeisances to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who for the maintenance and also the winding up of the complete whole of the material creation, by His pastimes assumed the power of the three modes while residing within as the One whose ways are inconceivable. (13) Again my obeisances to Him who frees the truthful ones from the distressing controversies of those who follow untruth, unto Him who is the form of pure goodness, granting all that is sought by those who are situated in the status of the highest stage of spiritual perfection [the paramahamsas]. (14) Let me offer my obeisances unto the great associate of the Yadu dynasty who, keeping far from mundane wrangling, vanquishes the non-devotees. I bow down to Him who is of the same greatness of enjoying the opulences as in enjoying the sky in His own abode. (15) For Him of whom the glorification, remembrance, audience, prayers, hearing and worship forthwith cleanses away the effects of the sins of everyone, unto Him of whom one speaks as being the all-auspicious one, I bring my due obeisances again and again. (16) The bright ones who by simply dedicating themselves to His lotus feet completely give up all attachments to a present or future existence, realize without difficulty the progress of the heart and the soul towards a spiritual existence; unto that renown all-auspicious One my obeisances again and again. (17) The great sages, the great performers of charity, the ones most distinguished, the great thinkers, the great mantra chanters [reciters/singers] and the strict followers will never attain to tangible results when they are not dedicated to Him. I offer my obeisances again and again to Him about whom to hear is so very auspicious. (18) The people of old Bharata, Europe, southern India, Greece, Pulkas'a [a province], Ābhīra [part of old Sind], S'umbha [another province], Turkey, Mongolia and more who are also addicted to sin, at once get purified when they take to the shelter of the Lord's devotees. Him, the powerful Lord Vishnu I offer my respectful obeisances. (19) He is the soul and Lord of the self-realized ones, the personification of the Vedas, the religious literatures and austerity. May the Supreme Lord, He who is held in awe by those who in their transcendence are free from all pretension - the Unborn One [Lord Brahmā], Lord S'iva and others - always be graceful with me. (20) May He, the Supreme Lord and master of all the devotees, who is the owner of all opulence, the director of all sacrifices, the leader of all living entities, the master of the intelligent ones, the ruler of all worlds, the supreme head of the planet earth and the destination and first among the [Yadu] kings of the Sātvatas, the Andhakas and the Vrishnis, be merciful with me. (21) It is said that thinking of His lotus feet and at each moment being absorbed in it, when one follows the authorities, purifies and results in the actual knowledge of the ultimate reality of the soul and also that it makes the scholars describe Him to their liking. Oh Mukunda, my Supreme Lord, may Your grace always be with me. (22) May He who strengthened the first one of creation [Lord Brahmā] with remembrance in his heart about Himself and his origin and who [thus] from the beginning inspired the Goddess of Learning who appeared to have been created from Brahmā's mouth - may He, the Teacher of Teachers, be pleased with me. (23) He who lies down within the material creation and empowers all these bodies made of the material elements while He as the Purusha [the original person] causes all to be subjected to the modes of nature with her sixteen divisions [of consciousness, the elements of earth, water, fire, air, ether, the five organs of action and the senses]; may that Supreme Lord give strength to my statements. (24) My obeisances unto him, the great expansion of Vāsudeva [viz. Vyāsadeva] who is the compiler of the Vedic literatures from whose lotus mouth his adherents drank the nectar of this knowledge. (25) The first created being [Brahmā], my dear king, imparted, on the request of Nārada, from the inside the Vedic knowledge exactly as it was spoken by the Lord in the heart.' "
Chapter 5: The Cause of all Causes
(1) Nārada said [to the Creator]: 'My obeisances to you, oh god of the demigods, for you are the one firstborn from whom all living beings generated. Please explain which knowledge specifically leads to the truth of the soul. (2) What is the form, the basis and the source of this created world? Oh master, how is it conserved, by what is it controlled and please, what is it factually? (3) All this is known by your good self, since you know all that has become, will become and is becoming. Master, you hold this universe in the grip of your scientific knowledge, like one holds a walnut. (4) What is the source of your wisdom, who protects you and who is above you? In what capacity do you, with the help of the potency of the soul, on your own create the lives of all beings with the elements of matter? (5) Like a spider creating its web, you without any help manifest from your own soul power all these lives by whom you are never controlled. (6) Oh almighty one, in this world I do not know a single entity having a name, a form and qualities, that is superior, inferior or equal, of a temporary nature or lasting forever, which owes its existence to any other source [than you]. (7) We are weary of the fact that you with your perfect discipline underwent severe penances. We thus had the chance to doubt whether your good self would be the ultimate truth [and thus thought of an entity higher than you]. (8) Oh all-knowing ruler over all, please explain to me all that I have asked you, so that I will be of an understanding in accordance with your instructions.'
(9) The Creator replied: 'Oh gentle one so dear to me, you, so very kind, are perfectly right in expressing your doubts, for [by that submission in penance] I was led to consider the heroism and power of the Supreme Lord. (10) My son, you are not mistaken in what you just said in your description of me, because without knowing the Supreme beyond me, it will certainly be so that it [seems to be that that greatness] all belongs to me. (11) All of the world that I created was created from the effulgence [the brahmajyoti] of His existence, just like it is with the fire, the sun, the moon, the planets and the stars [that radiate from His effulgence]. (12) I bring Him my obeisances, the Supreme Lord Vāsudeva upon whom I meditate, by dint of whose invincible potencies one calls me the teacher [guru] of the world. (13) People unashamed about keeping a prominent position with the bewildering material energy, in their deluded state make a wrong use of words in speaking of 'I' and 'mine'. By that use of words I am poorly understood. (14) The basic ingredients of matter in their interaction with Eternal Time and the natural disposition of the living being, are certainly part of Vāsudeva, oh brahmin, but the truth is that each of these agents separately has no value. (15) The cause and purpose of the Vedas is Nārāyana [Krishna as the four-armed original Personality of God and primordial Lord of man], the demigods are the helping hands of Nārāyana, the worlds exist for the sake of Nārāyana and all sacrifices are there to please Nārāyana. (16) Concentration of mind is just there to know Nārāyana, austerity is only there to achieve Nārāyana, the culture of transcendence is just there to become aware of Nārāyana and progress on the path of salvation is there only to enter the kingdom of Nārāyana. (17) Inspired by His vision and what was created by Him, the seer, the controller, the stability and Supersoul of all who also created me, I create as well.
(18) Of the goodness, passion and ignorance [the gunas], that were assumed by the external energy, there are the three qualities of transcendence of the Almighty [Lord of Time]: maintenance, creation and destruction [see also 2.4: 23]. (19) The eternal transcendental person, under the influence of the basic qualities of material nature, is subjected to conditions of cause and effect. This results in the manifestation of the symptoms of knowledge [from goodness], activities [from passion] and goods [from ignorance]. (20) He, the witness of the individual soul who is ruled by the symptoms of the three modes, the Supreme Lord in the Beyond, the controller of everyone as also of myself, cannot be properly recognized in His progress, oh brahmin. (21) The Lord of Control by the potency of His material energy thus, from the independent will of His divine self, arrived at many appearances, taking upon Himself their karma, [being subjected to] time and their particular natures. (22) Because of the superintendence of the Original Person the creation of the mahat-tattva [the 'greater reality'] took place, from eternal time there was the transformation of the modes and from the modification of the original nature the different activities found their existence. (23) Because of the transformation of the greater reality though, [in the beginning] passion and goodness dominated, but then [countering in reaction] matter, material knowledge and material activities found their vital existence. (24) That modification of the material part of the self, the ego, manifested itself as said, according to the three characteristics of goodness, passion and ignorance. Thus, prabhu, there was the division of the powers of a guiding intelligence, knowledge of creation and material evolution.
(25) Of the material elements [first] the [proto-material invisible] ether evolved from the darkness that underwent transformation. With the quality of sound as its subtle form it is like the seer relative to the seen [of all other matter]. (26-29) By transformation of the ether the air found its existence which is characterized by the quality of touch. Along with it sound also appeared as a characteristic that was remembered from the ether. Air thus acquired also a life of diversity with energy and force. Air on its turn again transformed under the influence of time and generated from its nature the element of fire in response to what preceded. With its form there was likewise touch and sound [as the hereditary burden or the karma of the previous elements]. Fire transformed [or condensed from oxygen and hydrogen] into water. Thus the element of taste came about which consequently was accompanied by touch, sound and form. But because of the variegatedness of that transformation of water next the smell of the juice followed that assumed form [as the earth element] together with the qualities of touch and sound. (30) From the mode of goodness the [cosmic] mind and the ten gods generated who act in goodness: the controller of the directions, the air [Vāyu], the sun [Sūrya], the waters [Varuna], longevity [the As'vinī-Kumāras], fire [Agni], of heaven [Indra], the transcendence [Vishnu in the form of Upendra], the friendship [Mitra] and the guardian of creation [Brahmā]. (31) From the transformation of the passion of ego the tenfold of the senses of action and perception generated - the mouth, the hands, the feet, the genitals, and the anus, plus sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell - as also the intelligence and the life force. (32) As long as all these categories of the elements, the senses, the mind and the modes of nature remained separate, the body [of man and mankind] could not be formed, oh best one of knowledge [Nārada]. (33) When they [these elements] were assembled by the [compelling] force of the Supreme Lord and found their application, this [personal and universal existence] with both its true and illusory, its spiritual and material realities [sat/asat] came into being.
(34) The universe after countless millennia having been submerged in the [causal] waters, was by the personal soul [the Lord] who animates the inanimate awakened to its own time of living. (35) He Himself as the original person [the Purusha] appeared from within the universal egg to divide Himself in thousands of divisions of legs, arms, eyes, mouths and heads. (36) The great philosophers conceive of all the worlds of the universe as the limbs of a body [the virāth-rūpa] which has seven systems below the waist and seven systems in the upper portion. (37) The brahmins represent the mouth of the Original Person, the ruling class constitutes His arms, the traders form the thighs of the Supreme Lord and the laborer class manifested from His feet. (38) The earthly [lower] worlds [Bhūrlokas] belong to His legs so one says, the ethereal worlds [Bhuvarlokas] belong to His belly, the heavenly worlds from the heart [Svarlokas] are situated in His chest while the highest worlds of the saints and sages [Maharlokas] are of the Great Soul. (39) Above the chest up to the neck one finds the world of the godly ones [the sons of Brahmā, Janaloka] and higher up in the neck one finds the world of renunciation [Tapoloka, of the ascetics]. The world of truth [Satyaloka of the self-realized, the enlightened ones] is found in the head. [These worlds are all temporal] but the spiritual world [Brahmaloka, the world of the one Soul, the Supreme Lord] is eternal. (40-41) With on His waist the first of the lower worlds, further down the second on the hips, the third down to the knees, the fourth on the shanks, the fifth on His ankles, the sixth on His feet and the seventh on the soles of His feet [compare 2-1: 26-39], the body of the Lord [the virāth-rūpa or universal form] is filled with all the [fourteen types of] worlds. (42) One imagines the worlds alternatively [simply divided in three] with the earthly, lower worlds situated on the legs, the ethereal, middle worlds in the region of the navel and the heavenly, higher worlds found from the chest upwards.'
Chapter 6: The Hymn of the Original Person Confirmed
(1) The Creator said: 'The mouth [of the Original Person] as constituted by fire is the origin of the voice. The seven ingredients [of His body: skin, flesh, sinew, marrow, bone, blood and fat] are the field where the Vedic hymns are generated and the tongue [of the Lord] is the place that offers all foodstuffs and delicacies sacrificed for the forefathers and the gods. (2) From the transcendental path of His nose there is the life breath and the air with the As'vinī demigods [who grant a long life] in combination with all the medicinal herbs. His power of smell offers the pleasure of fragrant substances. (3) The eyes [of the gigantic body] offer the perception of all kinds of forms that are illumined and glitter before the eyeball of the sun, and the ears offer the hearing of both the sounds from all directions and the [spiritual] sounds of all the holy places resounding in the ether. (4) His outer appearance [the surface of the Universal Form] constitutes the foundation of all things and favorable opportunities and is also the field where one harvests, while His skin of moving airs forms the touch being the place for all kinds of sacrifices. (5) His bodily hair is the vegetation of the kingdoms with the help of which in particular the sacrifices are performed. The clouds with their electricity, the stones and the iron ore make thereto for the hair on His head [as I have said], His facial hair and His nails. (6) His arms, the governing men of God, are predominantly engaged in providing what is needed and the protection of the general mass. (7) In the Lord's lotus feet that offer shelter the progress is recognized of the lower, middle and heavenly worlds, because they, in providing all that is needed, liberate from fear and contain all the benedictions. (8) Water, semen and the generative capacity of rain refer to the genitals of the Creator, the Lord, or to the spot where happiness originates that is brought about by the [need of] begetting offspring [or cultural products]. (9) Oh Nārada, the rectum of the Universal Form is the source of Yama, the controlling deity of everything running to its end, and of Mitra. It is remembered as the place of envy, misfortune, death and hell. (10) Frustration, immorality and ignorance are found at His backside, while the rivers and streams [as said] make for His veins and the mountains for the stack of His bones. (11) The unseen mover [Time] of the seas and oceans of the living beings that evolve but also find [physical] destruction in His belly [during Brahmā's night], is by the intelligent ones known as the [beating] heart that is located in the subtle body.
(12) The defender of dharma, me, you, my sons [the Kumāras] and Lord S'iva, all depend on the life and soul of the Supreme Being [who constitutes the safe harbor] of truth and wisdom. (13-16) Me, you, Lord S'iva, and the great sages before you, the godly ones, the demoniac ones, the human beings and the excellent ones [the Nāgas], the birds, the beasts, the reptiles and all the heavenly beings and also the plants and many other living entities found on land, in water and in the sky, together with the asteroids, stars, comets, planets and moons and lightening and thunder; all that was, that is and will be created, this entire universe together is [pervaded] and covered by the Original Person in a form [one's heart] measuring not more than nine inches [see also 2.2: 8]. (17) The same way the sun spreads its rays over everything existing outside and illumines and gives strength [inside with prāna], the expansion of the Universal Form, the Supreme Person also vitalizes from both the inside and the outside. (18) He is the controller of immortality and fearlessness, transcendental to death and the material pleasure of anyone and therefore, oh brahmin, the glories of the Original Personality are considered immeasurable.
(19) You should know that the material realm of all the living entities is but a portion of the energies of the Person of happiness beyond the material coverings where there is no death or fear. (20) While those who are attached to family life and who do not strictly follow the vow of celibacy have their place within the three material worlds, the threefold of that portion in the beyond constitutes the place where they reside who will never be reborn. (21) But the Omnipresent Lord is the destination for both the paths of material action and devotion, He is the shelter and Original Person for the two ways of ignorance and knowledge. (22) He, from whom all the planets and the gigantic Universal Form originated complete with the elements, the senses and the material qualities of the universe, elevated above all these worlds, [indeed] compares to the sun that oversees everything it heats with its rays.
(23) When I took birth from the lotus flower sprouting from the navel of the Great Person, I had next to the personal limbs of the Original Person nothing to perform sacrifices with. (24) What is needed for the performance of sacrifices, are matters such as flowers and leaves, burning material [such as straw], an altar and also a framework of time [a calendar e.g.] for following the qualities of nature [like spring]. (25) One needs utensils, grains, fuel [clarified butter], sweetener ['honey'], capital ['gold'] a fire place ['earth'], water, the scriptures ['Rig, Yajur and Sāma Veda'] and [at least] four [officiating] persons, oh pious one. (26) It also involves the invocation of holy names and mantras, rewards, vows and a particular scripture for the purpose and process of the godhead in question. (27) By my use of the limbs of the Supreme Person I managed to arrange these ingredients and gradually with compensations and presentations attain my goal in worship of the demigods. (28) Well-equipped engaging with all the ingredients I thus, with the limbs of the Original Person and enjoyer of all sacrifices, the Supreme Personality, was of worship for the Supreme Lord [Vishnu]. (29) According to that example your [God-]brothers, the nine masters of the living creatures [schools; demigods next to Brahmā; compare 5: 30], with proper ritual performed the sacrifice for the satisfaction of both the manifest and non-manifest personalities. (30) In following those [schools or demigods] also the Manus, the fathers of mankind, in due course of time were of worship to please Him, and so did the other great sages, forefathers, scholars, opponents [Daityas] and mankind at large.
(31) With the entire cosmos situated in Him, Nārāyana, the Personality of Godhead, He who is self-sufficient in His transcendence, for the sake of creation, maintenance and destruction has accepted the material illusion in the form of different most powerful manifestations. (32) According to His will, I create, under His order S'iva destroys and He in the form of the Original Person maintains the entire universe as the controller of the three energies.
(33) As for all of this I thus explained to you on your request, my dear, remember that nothing you may think of as a matter of a temporary or eternal nature, exists outside of the Supreme Lord. (34) Because I with great zeal caught hold of the Lord, oh Nārada, my words were never in vain, nor was my mind aimless or fruitless, nor did my senses ever wander off in temporality. (35) I am an expert in Vedic lore, successful in austerity, a worshipable master among the forefathers, of attainment in my yoga and perfect in self-realization, yet I could not fully understand the One I originated from. (36) I am [therefore] devoted to the all-auspicious feet of the Lord of the surrendered souls, that stop the repetition of births and deaths and grant the vision of happiness. Just as the sky cannot see its own limit, not even He can estimate the potency of His own personal energies. Therefore, how can others know? (37) Since neither I, nor you, oh sons, nor the Destroyer know His real position, one cannot expect that the other God-conscious souls would do any better. With one's intelligence bewildered by the illusory energy of this creation our ability to see is limited.
(38) He whose incarnations and activities we glorify, He who by persons like us cannot be fully known, is the Supreme Lord whom we offer our respectful obeisances. (39) He, the Primordial Original Personality millennium after millennium creates within Himself, by Himself, His Self [the universe] maintains Himself [for some time] and absorbs [Himself again]. (40-41) Without a material tinge, pure and perfect in knowledge and all-pervading in His fullness, He is situated in truth as the absolute without a beginning and an end, free from the qualities of nature, eternal and without an equal. Oh wise one, the great thinkers can only understand this with a pacified self and their senses at rest, otherwise it will certainly be beyond their scope and be distorted by time-bound arguments. (42) The first avatāra of the Lord is the Original Person: [Mahāvishnu or Kāranodakas'āyī Vishnu. He is the foundation of] space time [kāla svabhavah, the original nature of time], cause, effect, the elements, the modes, as also the ego, the senses and the mind. These together constitute the diversity of the gigantic universal independent body [also called Garbhodakas'āyī Vishnu] of all that moves and does not move of the Almighty Supreme.
(43-45) I myself [Brahmā], the Destroyer and the Maintainer; all the fathers of the living beings like Daksha [and Manu], you yourself and the other sons [the Kumāras]; the leaders of the higher worlds, the space travelers, the earth and the lower worlds; the leaders of the denizens of heaven [of the Ghandarva, Vidyādhara and Cārana worlds] as also the leaders of the demons [the Yakshas, Rākshasas and Uragas] and the underworld; the first among the sages, the forefathers, the atheists, the specially gifted ones, the uncivilized ones and the dead; the evil spirits, the Jinn and the Kūshmāndas [other evil spirits], including all the great aquatics, beasts and birds - in other words each and everyone in the world who is of power to a special degree or of a specific mental or perceptual dexterity or exceptional strength, forgiveness, beauty, modesty, opulence, intelligence or breeding, exists as if he himself would offer the [ultimate] form of [representing] His transcendental reality, but in fact they are only a part of it. (46) Oh Nārada, now relish the devotion for the pastimes of the most important incarnations of the Original Supreme Personality. That devotion will evaporate the foul matter that accumulated in your ears. I will relate these stories, that are all a pleasure to hear, one after the other the way they are present in my heart.'
Chapter 7: Brief Description of the Past and Coming Avatāras
(1) The Creator said: 'When the Lord as the Unlimited One within the universe for His pastimes assumed the form of the sum total of all sacrifices [as the boar avatāra Varāha], He was determined to lift the earth out of the great [Garbhodaka] ocean. In the ocean the first demon [called Hiranyāksha, the 'demon of the gold'] appeared who by Him was defeated with His tusk, like a thunderbolt piercing a pack of clouds.
(2) From Ākūti ['good intention'] the wife of the Prajāpati Ruci, Suyajńa ['appropriate sacrifice'] was born who with his wife Dakshinā ['the reward'] gave birth to the godly headed by Suyama ['proper regulation']. With them He greatly diminished the distress in the three worlds and for that reason the father of mankind Svāyambhuva Manu renamed Him Hari [the Lord].
(3) Next He took birth in the house of the twice-born Kardama ['the shadow of the Creator'] from the womb of Devahūti ['the invocation of the Gods'] together with nine sisters. As Lord Kapila ['the analytic one'] He spoke to His mother about spiritual realization because of which she in that life was freed from the material modes that cover the soul and achieved liberation.
(4) Satisfied about the surrender of the sage Atri who prayed for offspring, the Supreme Lord said to him: 'I will give Myself to you!' and for that reason He received the name of Datta [Dattātreya, 'the given one']. The dust of His lotus feet purified the body of mysticism and brought the wealth of the spiritual and material worlds of Yadu [the founder of the dynasty], Haihaya [a descendant] and others.
(5) Because I formerly lived austere in penance for the sake of the creation of the different worlds, the Lord appeared as the four Sanas ['of old', the four celibate sons of Brahmā called Sanat-kumāra, Sanaka, Sanandana and Sanātana]. In the epoch before, the spiritual truth was devastated in the inundation of the world, but with them a clear vision of the soul became available to all sages.
(6) From Mūrti ['the idol'], the wife of Dharma ['righteousness'] and the daughter of Daksha ['the able one', a Prajāpati], He took birth in the form of Nara-Nārāyana ['man, the progress of man']. The Supreme Lord thus [descending] never allowed, by the strength of [the beauties originating from] His personal penances, that His vows would break because of the celestial beauties that came to Him from Cupid [the god of love]. (7) Lust can be defeated by great stalwarts [like Lord S'iva] with a strict look of resentment, but they cannot overcome their own tolerance. With [the two of] Him present within, lust is too afraid to enter though. How can with Him in one's mind lust ever demand attention?
(8) Incited by the sharp words of a co-wife who uttered them even in the presence of the king [Uttānapāda, 'the polar star'], his son Dhruva ['the immovable'], only a boy at the time, took to severe penances in a great forest. The Lord [in this context called Pris'nigarbha, the variegated being] pleased with his prayers confirmed the goal of his realization [Dhruva-loka, the pivot of the stars] for which the great sages and denizens of heaven have prayed ever since, in being directed up and downward.
(9) When the twice-born ones cursed King Vena ['the anxious one'] who strayed from the path of religion, it burned him like a thunderbolt with him going to hell with all his great deeds and opulence. The Lord being prayed for delivered him coming to earth as his son [named Prithu, 'the great one, worldwide'] and achieved that way also that the earth could be exploited to yield all kinds of crops.
(10) As the son of King Nābhi ['the pivot'] He was born as Rishabha ['the best one'] from Sudevī. Equipoised in the matter of yoga, He, though appearing foolish, performed at the highest level of achievement of the sages. At that level one in acceptance of the spiritual essence - of one's true independence - has subdued the activities of the senses and is perfectly liberated from material influences.
(11) The Supreme Lord, the soul of all the gods, the Personality of Sacrifice who is worshiped in all sacrifices, appeared in a sacrifice of mine with a horselike head and a golden hue [and is thus called Hayagrīva]. From His breathing through His nostrils the sounds of the Vedic hymns can be heard.
(12) He who became the Manu [called Satyavrata, 'the truth-abiding one'] at the end of the epoch saw Lord Matsya ['the fish'] who as the stay of the earth offered shelter to all living beings [in the form of a boat during the deluge]. The Vedas that because of the great fear for the waters came forth from my mouth then were taken up by Him who sported there.
(13) When in the ocean of milk [or knowledge] the leaders of the immortals and their opponents where churning the mountain [called Mandara, the 'big one'] for gaining the nectar, the primeval Lord half asleep as a tortoise [called Kurma] supported him, so that it scratched and itched on His back.
(14) As Nrisimha ['the lion'] He appeared as the one who took away the fear of the God-conscious ones with the movements of His eyebrows and the terrifying teeth of His mouth, while He on His lap without delay with His nails pierced the fallen king of the demons [Hiranyakas'ipu] who had challenged Him with a club in his hands.
(15) The leader of the elephants [Gajendra] who within the river was seized by his leg by an exceptionally strong crocodile, holding a lotus in great distress addressed [Him] as follows: 'You are the Original Personality and Lord of the Universe. From You being as famous as a place of pilgrimage all good ensues by just hearing Your name, the name so worthy to be sung.' (16) The Lord who heard him in his distress, as the Unlimited Powerful One seated on the king of the birds [Garuda], cut the beak of the crocodile in two with His cakra weapon and in His causeless mercy freed him by pulling him up by his trunk.
(17) Despite His transcendence, He [as Lord Vāmana] surpassed the qualities of the sons of Aditi by covering all the worlds in this universe. For that reason He was called the Lord of Sacrifice. Begging He had pretended that He needed only three steps of land but seized that way all the lands [of Bali Mahārāja] without ever offending the authorities under whose wings one may never lose one's property. (18) Oh Nārada, by virtue of the strength of the water that washed from the feet of the Lord, he [Bali Mahārāja], who kept it on his head and who had the supremacy over the kingdom of the godly souls, never, not even when it went at the cost of himself, tried for anything else but to keep his promise because he had decided to be dedicated to the Lord.
(19) The Supreme Lord satisfied about the goodness you developed through your transcendental love, oh Nārada, very nicely [in the form of the transcendental swan, the Hamsāvatāra] explained to you in all detail the light of the knowledge of yoga and the science of relating to the soul that all, who have surrendered to Vāsudeva, so perfectly know to appreciate.
(20) Undeterred in all circumstances ruling the ten directions by the strength of His cakra order [His disc weapon, or order of time], He subdues the three systems [see loka] incarnating in the different ages of Manu [manvantaras] as a Manu or founding father, a descendant of the Manu dynasty. Thus ruling over the miscreants and their kings, He establishes His fame up to the highest world of truth [Satyaloka].
(21) As fame personified the Supreme Lord carrying the name of Dhanvantari descended in this universe in order to direct the knowledge that is necessary to obtain a long life. This He accomplished by obtaining a share of the nectar of the [Kurma churning] sacrifice that swiftly cures the diseases of all living beings.
(22) For the purpose of diminishing the increasing dominance of the ruling class the great soul [Lord Paras'urāma], the Ultimate Spiritual Truth in person, removed all the thorns from the world who strayed from the path and opted for a hellish life. He awfully powerful for that purpose wielded His transcendental hatchet twenty-one times.
(23) Because of His causeless all-embracing mercy unto us, the Lord of All Potencies descended [as Lord Rāma] in the dynasty of Ikshvāku [the dynasty of the solar order]. Together with His wife [Sītā] and brother [Lakshmana] He upon the command of His father [Das'aratha] took to the forest under the opposition of the ten-headed one [the demoniac ruler Rāvana] who caused great distress. (24) The moment He in His anger about His aggrieved intimate friend [the kidnapped Sītā], from a distance meditated the city of the enemy [on the island of Lankā] with red-hot eyes like Hara did in his desire to burn down [the heavenly kingdom with his fiery looks], the Indian ocean, seeing her aquatics [sharks, sea snakes and such thus] burnt, out of fear then quickly gave way. (25) When the trunk of the elephant carrying Indra broke on the chest of Rāvana, light radiated in all directions. Rāvana overtaken by joy proudly paraded between the armies, but in no time the laughter and life breath of the one who had kidnapped Sītā was put to an end by the twanging bow [of Rāma].
(26) When the entire world was miserable because of the burden of soldiers of the disbelievers, He [Krishna] together with His plenary expansion [Balarāma], His beauty and His black hair, He whose glorious path of activities is so hard to recognize for the people in general, appeared for the sake of the decimation of the atheists. (27) Who else but Him could, as a child, kill a living being that assumed the form of a giant demoness [Pūtanā] or being only three months old with His leg turn over a cart as also uproot two high rising Arjuna trees? (28) At Vrindāvana [where Krishna grew up] He with His merciful glance brought back to life the cowherd boys and their animals who drank from the poisoned water [of the Yamunā]. In order to purify [the water] from the excess of the highly potent poison He in the river took pleasure in severely punishing the snake that was lurking there with its venomous tongue. (29) He with His superhuman deeds that very night together with Balarāma saved all the inhabitants of Vraja [the cowherd village] who free from worries were asleep, from being burned by the fire ablaze in the dry forest. He thus proved to them who were sure to see the last of their days, His unfathomable prowess by simply having them close their eyes [and thus delivered them the same way He later on would free the gopas from another forest fire]. (30) Whatever rope His [foster] mother [Yas'odā] tried to bind her son with, time and again proved to be too short. And that what she saw when He opened His mouth to the doubting cowherd woman [who looked for dirt He would have eaten] were all the worlds, which was something that convinced her another way. (31) Nanda Mahārāja His [foster] father whom He also saved - from the fear for Varuna [the demigod of the waters] - and the cowherd men who were held captive in the caves by the son of Maya [a demon] as also the ones [living in Vrindāvana] who because of their hard labor worked during the day and slept during the night, He all awarded the highest world of the spiritual sky [Brahmaloka or Vaikunthha]. (32) When the cowherd men were stopped [by Krishna] in their sacrifices for the king of heaven, Indra caused a heavy downpour of rain. He [Krishna], only seven years of age, wishing to protect the animals, in His causeless mercy playfully with only one hand for seven days in a row then held up Govardhana hill like [an umbrella], without getting tired. (33) When He in His nightly pastimes in the forest desired to dance in the silver light of the moon with sweet songs and melodious music He awakened the amorous desires of the wives of Vrajabhūmi [the region of Vrindāvana] and decapitated also their kidnapper [S'ankhacūda] who was after the riches of Kuvera [the heavenly treasurer]. (34-35) All [demons] like Pralamba, Dhenuka, Baka, Kes'ī, Arishtha, Cānūra and Mushthika [wrestling for Kamsa], Kuvalayāpīda [the elephant], Kamsa [the demoniac uncle]; many foreign kings [like those of Persia], the ape Dvivida, Paundraka and others, as well as kings like S'ālva, Narakāsura, Balvala, Dantavakra, Saptoksha, S'ambara, Vidūratha and Rukmī and all powerful and well equipped warriors like Kāmboja, Matsya, Kuru [the sons of Dhritarāshthra], Srińjaya and Kekaya, would thanks to Him disappear from the scene and attain His heavenly abode or else would disappear because of the actions of one of the other names belonging to Him, like Baladeva [Krishna's brother], Arjuna or Bhīma.
(36) Born from Satyavatī He [as Vyāsadeva] will in due course of time understand the difficulties of the less intelligent and short-lived people with the all too complex and specialized Vedic literatures. According to the circumstances of the age He then will divide the entire collection of the desire tree of the Vedas into different branches.
(37) For those who became well informed on the path of education but envious with the divine, roam the worlds and the ether with inventions of Maya [or with modern technology], He will dress up most attractively and [as the Buddha and His representatives] by extensive discourses bewilder their minds with the use of many terms deviating from the tradition.
(38) When even among the civilized gentlemen there is no mention of the Lord and when the twice-born souls [the higher classes] and the government consist of hypocritical, wicked men who themselves never under any circumstance take to His hymns, paraphernalia, altars and words, then, at the end of the Age of Dissent the Supreme Lord [Kalki], the highest ruler, will appear.
(39) In the beginning there is penance with me and the nine founding fathers, the sages of creation. In the middle there is the religious sacrificing [the maintenance with Vishnu], the Manus, the demigods and the kings in their worlds. And in the end there is the godlessness and the angry atheists and such with S'iva. They are all powerful [guna] representatives of the deluding energy of the One of Supreme Power. (40) Who can fully describe the prowess of Lord Vishnu? Not even the scientist who counts the atoms. In one great movement He [as Trivikrama] managed to move all greatly by effortlessly covering the universe with His leg up to the topmost world beyond the operating modes [Satyaloka]. (41) Neither I, nor all the sages who prior to you were born are capable of determining the reach of the Almighty Supreme Person. What then would one expect from others who were born after us? Not even Ananta S'esha [the 'snake bed' of Vishnu], the first incarnation of the primordial divinity who with thousands of faces to the present day is singing His qualities, can achieve His limit. (42) The Lord extends His grace only to those souls who surrendered themselves in every respect. Only they who did that without duplicity can cross the insurmountable ocean of His deluding material energy, only they who consciously say no to the 'I' and 'mine' of that [their bodies] what is meant to serve as food for dogs and jackals. (43-45) Oh Nārada, know that we both belong to the bewildering game of illusion of the Supreme One, as do also the great Lord S'iva, Prahlāda Mahārāja from the atheist family, S'atarūpā, the wife of Manu and Svāyambhuva Manu himself with his children, Prācīnabarhi, Ribhu, Anga [the father of Vena], as also Dhruva, Ikshvāku, Aila, Mucukunda, Janaka, Gādhi, Raghu, Ambarīsha, Sagara, Gaya, Nāhusha, and others like Māndhātā, Alarka, S'atadhanu, Anu, Rantideva, Bhīshma, Bali, Amūrttaraya, Dilīpa, Saubhari, Utanka, S'ibi, Devala, Pippalāda, Sārasvata, Uddhava, Parās'ara, Bhūrishena and champions like Vibhīshana, Hanumān, S'ukadeva Gosvāmī, Arjuna, Ārshthishena, Vidura and S'rutadeva. (46) Provided they follow the instructions of the admirable devotees, also those persons who belong to the women, the laborers, the barbarians and the outcasts, can surpass the illusion of the divine energy and arrive at knowledge, despite living sinful lives. When even they who are ruled by animal habits can be of success that way, how much more would that not be true for those who heard about Him and keep Him in mind? (47) The Absolute of the Spirit [Brahman] is known as unlimited happiness free from grief. It is the ultimate position of the Supreme Personality, the Fortunate One, in front of whom illusion flees away in shame. That pure uncontaminated state free from distinctions is beyond the words belonging to the material motive of fruitive actions, it constitutes the original principle of the Supersoul, is the cause of all causes and effect and [the foundation for] the, ever free from fear, peaceful awakening to the Complete Whole [see also B.G. 2: 52]. (48) In that state of full independence there is no need for the control and striving for perfection in restraint as practiced by the mystics, just as Indra [the provider of rain] does not have to dig a well. (49) The Supreme Lord is the one master of all fortune because He brings the success of [spiritual realization to] all the good work that the living entity performed according to its natural disposition and material position. After the body is given up [at the end of one's life] it dissolves in its constituent elements, but, like the ether that is never vanquished, the unborn spirit soul of the person is never lost either [see also B.G. 2: 24].
(50) My dear, I thus explained in brief to you the Supreme Lord who created the universe. Whatever that may exist in the phenomenal [material] or noumenal [spiritual] realm, cannot have any other cause than Hari, the Lord. (51) This story about the Fortunate One called the S'rīmad Bhāgavatam, was handed down to me by Him, the Supreme Lord. It constitutes the summary of His diverse potencies. And now please, from your good self, expound yourself on this. (52) Describe thus with determination, for the cause of enlightening mankind, this science of devotion [bhakti] for the Supreme Personality, the supporter of everything and every soul. (53) With the description of the Lord's external affairs the living being, who is of regular attention and devoted appreciation for it, will never be deluded by the illusory energy of the material world.'
Chapter 8: Questions by King Parīkchit
(1) The king asked: 'How did Nārada, the seer of the divine being instructed by Lord Brahmā, oh brahmin, explain the modes and their transcendence and to whom did he explain it? (2) This I wish to understand, oh best one: what is the reality of those who know the truth of the Lord who is so full of wonderful potencies and whose narrations are so beneficial for all the worlds? (3) Please continue speaking, oh you of great fortune, so that I, with my mind focussed on the Soul of the Complete, S'rī Krishna, freed from material attachment may relinquish my conditioned body. (4) Those who with faith regularly listen to this spiritual matter and also seriously persist in the endeavor, will after not too long a time see the Supreme Lord appear in their hearts. (5) When one thus through one's ears receives the sounds [of the Bhāgavatam], the lotus flower of one's loving relationship with Krishna will wash away all impurities, the same way the autumnal rain cleanses the water of the pools. (6) A person whose heart was cleansed will, being liberated from all miseries in life, never give up the shelter of Krishna's feet, just like a traveler never will give up his home [see also B.G. 5: 17; 8: 16; 8: 21-28; 9: 3; 15: 3-4; 15: 6].
(7) Can you from your self-knowledge, tell me whether the living being itself not being material, oh brahmin, takes up a material body accidentally or whether it does so because of some reason? (8) How can the Original Person whose position in this world is defined by this lotus flower [this gigantic universe] that grew from His abdomen, likewise be known in the situation of the [much smaller] measurement of His different embodiments? (9) He from the lotus flower, [Brahmā] who was not born from matter but from His navel, he who gave life to all the ones born with a material body, how could he see His Form by His mercy? (10) How can the Original Person, He who maintains, creates and annihilates the material worlds, remain untouched by His own external energy while He as the Lord of all energies rests in the heart of everyone? (11) Formerly I heard you discuss [in chapter 2.5] the different [planets or] worlds with their governors as the different parts of the body of the Original Person. So what [can you tell us] about those governors who by their different places are the different parts of Him?
(12) And what about a day of Brahmā [a kalpa] and the periods between them [vikalpas]? What can you say about the time we refer to with the words past, future and present? And how about the lifespan allotted to embodied beings? (13) Oh purest of the twice-born souls, when did time begin and what can you say about the indication of time as being short or long as like passing with a certain activity? (14) And what is the effect of the karma that the living beings as a consequence of their desires accumulate because of [identifying with] the basic qualities of nature? (15) Please describe to us how the earth, the lower regions, the four quarters of heaven, the sky, the planets and the stars, the hills, the rivers, the seas and the islands and their inhabitants have appeared. (16) What is the extent and measure of [the] outer space [universe] and the inner space, and what are their divisions? And what is the character and action of the great souls and, please, describe the vocations and age groups of society. (17) What are the different ages, how long do they take and what is their nature? And which incarnation of the Lord performs what kind of wonderful activities in each and every age?
(18) What is the dharma of human society at large and what are the specific duties of the different trades and the saintly ruling class? And what are the obligations towards people in distress? (19) How many elements are there in creation, what are their characteristics and how do they react? What are the rules and regulations for the devotional service to the Original Person and for relating to the inner self in the culture of yoga? (20) What are the special abilities the yoga master acquires and where do they lead to? How do the yogis detach from the astral body and what is the nature of the spiritual knowledge found in the Vedas, their subsidiary literatures [the Upaveda], the law books and the Vedic stories and historical accounts? (21) How do the living beings find their existence, how do they find stability and how do they find their end? What are the procedures for performing rituals, pious works and deeds of self-interest and what are the regulations for the three goals of life [the economic, religious and sensual interests]? (22) How can all souls as a consequence of their actions be created again [after they died], how do heretics come about, what does it mean for souls to be bound or liberated and what does it mean to realize one's original position of service [svarūpa]? (23) How does the Supreme Lord as an independent soul enjoy His pastimes by His own potency and how can He forsake these actions when He as the Almighty One remains a witness to His external energy?
(24) About all of this and more that I did not ask you, oh fortunate one, I have been wondering from the beginning. Please explain in accordance with the truth, oh great sage, that what you want to tell me, having fallen at your feet. (25) Where others only follow the custom of a previously formulated philosophy, you are an authority in this matter like the self-born Brahmā. (26) I never tire, oh brahmin, of drinking, in the hunger of my fasting, from the flow of the nectar ocean of your words about the infallible Lord.' "
(27) Sūta Gosvāmī said: "He [S'ukadeva] thus in that assembly with questions like these being asked by the king about topics concerning the highest truth, was, as the instrument of the Creator, very pleased with this servant of Vishnu. (28) He told him that this purāna called the Bhāgavatam was transmitted by the Supreme Lord to Lord Brahmā at the beginning of the first day [or kalpa] of creation. (29) He promised to try to give a full description, from the beginning to the end, of everything that the king, the best of the Pāndu dynasty, had asked and would ask more."
Chapter 9: Answering by Citing the Lord's Version
(1) S'rī S'uka said: "The material self of the illusory energy without, oh King, the transcendental self of pure consciousness, cannot carry any meaning, just like a dream has no meaning without its dreamer. (2) Wishing to enjoy in different ways the many forms offered by the external energy of māyā there is because of [the operation of] her qualities or modes the notion of 'I' and 'mine'. (3) The very moment he [the witness, the soul], in his glory of transcending the time of the material energy, enjoys it to be free from illusion, he in that fulness will forsake these two [of 'I' and 'mine'].*: One godly, divine year, a year of the gods or a celestial year equals 360 earthly years.
(4) When the Supreme Lord showed His form to the Creator who was veracious in his faithfulness to the vows, He pointed out that the goal of all purification is to develop love for the knowledge of self-realization [ātma-tattva, filognosy, the soul principle]. (5) [And so] he, the first godly person in the universe, the supreme spiritual teacher, began from his own divine position [on the lotus of creation] to reflect on the source [of that lotus]. But considering therewith how he would start his creation, he could not figure out what the directions and the ways were of how it all materially should be put together.
(6) When he once was immersed in thinking this way, he heard two syllables being spoken that were the sixteenth [ta] and the twenty-first [pa] of the spars'a alphabet. Joined together [as tapas, penance], these syllables became known as the value of the renounced order, oh King. (7) When he heard that being spoken, he looked in all directions to detect the speaker, but there was none to be found. From the position where he sat he then thought it best to do penance as was instructed. (8) Endowed with a spotless vision, he controlled his life breath, mind and senses of perception and action for a thousand godly years* and thus proceeding in the past enlightened all the worlds by being of all who do penance the one of the severest practice.
(9) The Supreme Lord being pleased about his penance, then manifested His abode for him. That realm is praised by all self-realized souls free from illusion and fear because it is free from the five miseries of a material life [ignorance, selfhood, attachment, hatred and death-fear]. A higher place one cannot attain. (10) There the Lord is worshiped by both the enlightened and the unenlightened devotees and there the mode of goodness prevails over the other two of passion and ignorance, without ever being mixed with them. Nor is there the influence of time or the external energy, not to speak of [the influence of] all the other matters [like attachment, greed etc.]. (11) As blue as the sky and glowing with lotus like eyes, very attractive and youthful with yellow garments, all inhabitants there are endowed with the four arms [of Vishnu] and the luster and effulgence of pearls and fine ornaments. (12) Some radiate like coral or diamonds, with heads with earrings and garlands blooming like a celestial lotus. (13) That place which radiates with rows of brilliant high rising, excellent buildings [specially designed] for the great devotees and is populated by celestial, flashing beauties with heavenly complexions, is as attractive as a sky decorated with clouds and lightning. (14) The goddess [S'rī] performs there, enraptured together with her personal, singing associates, with the diverse paraphernalia devotional service at the lotus feet of the Lord, surrounded by black bees who busily hum along in the attraction of the [everlasting] spring season. (15) There he [Brahmā] saw the Lord of the entire community of devotees, the Lord of the goddess, of the Universe and the sacrifice, the Almighty One who is being served in transcendental love by foremost associates like Sunanda, Nanda, Prabala and Arhana. (16) The servants affectionately facing Him are intoxicated by the very pleasing sight of His smile, His reddish eyes, His face with His helmet and earrings, His four hands, His yellow dress, His marked chest and the Goddess of Fortune at His side. (17) Seated on His highly valuable throne He as the Supreme Lord fully enjoys His abode where He is surrounded by the opulence of His four energies [the principles of matter, original person, intellect and ego], His sixteen energies [the five elements, perceptive and working senses, and mind] His fivefold energies [the sense objects of form, taste, sound, smell and touch], His six energies [of the opulences of knowledge, intelligence, beauty, penance, fame and riches] and the other personal powers He sometimes demonstrates [the eight siddhis or mystic perfections].
(18) The Creator of the Universe, who was overwhelmed by the sight of that audience, with his heart full of ecstasy and his body full of divine love bowed down with tears in his eyes before the lotus feet of the Lord that constitute the path followed by the great liberated souls. (19) Seeing him present before Him, the Lord deemed the worthy, great scholar suitable for creating - in line with His own control - the lives of all living beings. Mildly smiling He very pleased shook hands with His partner in divine love and addressed the beloved one with enlightening words. (20) The Supreme Lord said: 'As opposed to the penance of the ones who are falsely unified [the 'kūtha yogis'], I am most pleased with the prolonged penance, the penance by which the Vedic knowledge has accumulated in you, who desired to create. (21) Ask Me, the giver of all benediction, whatever favor you wish, oh Brahmā, for the ultimate success of everyone's penances is to see Me finally. (22) You obtained this enviable perception of My abode because you submissively listened when you in seclusion were of the highest penance. (23) It was Me who told you [to do penance] when you were perplexed in your duty. That penance is My very heart and Soul; that is what I am for the one who is engaged in it, oh sinless one. (24) I create by that penance, I maintain the cosmos by that penance and withdraw it again by that penance. My power is found in severe penance.'
(25) Brahmā said: 'Oh Supreme Lord of all living beings, You are the director seated in the heart who by Your superior intelligence, not to stop by anyone, knows about all endeavors. (26) Nevertheless I ask You, oh Lord, to please fulfill my desire to know how You, despite being formless, can exist in the beyond on the one hand while You descend in Your form as we may know it on the other hand. (27) And how do You - from Yourself and by means of Yourself - by uniting Your own material energy, manage to exact Your different potencies in the matter of evolving, maintaining and annihilating? (28) Oh Mādhava [master of all energies], please make me understand how You, just like a spider [weaving its web], with determination infallibly play Your game of investing Your energies in all of that. (29) I pray that, in learning from You as my teacher of example, by Your mercy acting as Your instrument, I, despite creating the lives of the living beings, that way never may be caught in material attachments. (30) Oh Lord, like a friend behaves with a friend, You [with Your handshake] have accepted me for creating the different lives of the living entities. Oh Unborn One, I hope that I, because of all who in serving You [through me] undisturbed saw the light of the world, will never be caught in pride and arrogance.'
(31) The Supreme Lord said: 'The knowledge acquired about Me is very confidential and is realized in combination with devotional service and the necessary paraphernalia the way I tell you. (32) May there be from My mercy with you this factual realization of My eternal form in a transcendental sense and of My form and activities with the basic qualities of nature. (33) It was I who existed before the creation when there was nothing else, when there was nothing of the cause and effect of the Supreme. And it is also Me who of all that was created remains in the end, that is what I am. (34) That what appears to be valuable, is not so if it does not relate to Me - know that illusory energy of Mine to be a mere reflection of darkness. (35) Just like the elements of the universe are there in a very minute size as also in a gigantically big format, it is also with Me [most small] being present in them and [gigantically] existing apart from them. (36) The student of the Real Self must investigate the true nature of things, both directly [by association] and indirectly [by comparison], irrespective of what it is, when it is or of its circumstance. (37) When you keep your mind fixed on this conclusion about the Supreme, you will never under any circumstance be bewildered, not during your life [your kalpa], nor when you have reached your end [your vikalpa].' "
(38) S'rī S'uka said: "After thus fully having explained everything, the Unborn One disappeared, He, Lord Hari the way He by the leader of the living entities [Brahmā] was seen in His transcendental form of the Supreme Self. (39) After He had disappeared from view Brahmājī, who had folded his hands before the Lord who is the object of all the senses [of the devotees], resumed the work of creating this universe populated with all the living beings, exactly as he did before. (40) The father of all living beings and religious life, desired, to the interest of his virtue, to dedicate himself with vow and respect to the matter of the welfare of the living beings. (41) Nārada, the dearest of his heirs, was always very obedient to him in his willingness to be of service with his good behavior, meekness and sense control. (42) Oh King, the great sage and first-class devotee pleased his father [Lord Brahmā] very much with his desire to know [more] about Vishnu, the Lord of all energies. (43) The same way you are questioning me now, Nārada Muni questioned him when he saw that it was to the satisfaction of the great grandfather of the entire universe. (44) This story of the Fortunate One, the Bhāgavata Purāna, that with its ten characteristics [as summarized in the four previous verses 33-36, see further the next chapter] was explained by the Supreme Lord, was thereupon explained by the creator of the universe to his son [Nārada]. (45) On the bank of the Sarasvatī Nārada [in his turn] instructed this Supreme Spirituality to the great sage, the meditative Vyāsadeva who is of an unlimited potency, oh King. (46) All the things you asked me concerning the Universal Form of the Original Person and other matters, I shall now explain to you in great detail."
Chapter 10: The Bhāgavatam is the Answer to All Questions
(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'In this [book, the S'rīmad Bhāgavatam] the following [ten] subjects are discussed: primary creation [sarga], how the interactions of life and the lifeless came about [visarga], the planetary order [sthāna], the maintenance of belief [poshana], the impetus for action [ūtaya], the administrative eras [manvantaras], stories about the Lord's appearances [īs'a-anukathā], renouncing a material life [nirodha], liberation in devotional service [mukti] and the shelter [the refuge of Krishna, ās'raya]. (2) Great souls, sages, reasoning from Vedic texts and their purport, state that the purpose of the first nine characteristics of this book is to offer a clear notion of the tenth subject. (3) The [sixteen elements of the five] gross elements, the [five] sense objects and the senses themselves including the mind, constitute the manifestation that is called the creation of the creator [sarga] and that what resulted from their interaction with the three modes of nature [the gunas] is what is called the secondary creation [visarga]. (4) The stability of the worlds [sthāna] is the victory of the Lord of Vaikunthha and His mercy is the maintenance of belief [poshana]. The reign of the Manus [during the manvantaras] settles the perfection of the dutifulness that constitutes the impetus for action with the karmic propensities [ūtaya]. (5) The different stories about the Lord [īs'a-anukathā] describe the activities of the avatāras of the Personality of Godhead and the persons who are His followers. (6) Returning to God [nirodha] pertains to the resigning of souls to the Original Person and His energies, while liberation [mukti] is concerned with forsaking other ways [of living] with finding stability in one's original nature of service. (7) He who is both the source from which the creation manifests and the one to whom everything returns, is for that reason called the refuge, the resting place [the ās'raya] of the Supreme Spirit, of God or the Supersoul.
(8) Hear from me now about the way the one Lord divided His personal potency in three aspects: 1) nature in the form of controlling deities [adhidaivika], 2) individual souls as the ones who are controlled [adhyātmika] and 3) their material bodies [adhibhautika]. (9) Since one of these three cannot be conceived without the other two, it must be concluded that the one knowing all of them must be Him, the Original Soul who constitutes the support of His own union. (10) When that Supreme Person [expanding in space-time] separated the universes, He, having appeared from Himself, looking for a place to rest, [thereby] created the causal waters of the purest transcendence. (11) Residing in these waters of His own creation for a thousand celestial years He became known by the name of Nārāyana ['to follow the path of Nāra'] because these waters [nārā] emanated from the Supreme Person [from Nara]. (12) The material elements, karma, time and the conditioned living entities all exist by His mercy and cease to exist on [His] neglect. (13) Where the Godhead lied in His mystical slumber He was all alone. Thus wishing to multiply Himself He by means of His māyā divided His golden seminal principle in three. (14) Let me now dilate about the threefold in which the Lord divided His potency in that of His nature, adhidaiva, the individual soul, adhyātma and the conditioned living beings, adhibhūta.
(15) From the ether within the body of the Original Person moving His limbs, the vital power, the structural power and the physical power generated, after which the life breath [the prāna] found its existence as the principle ruling each and all. (16) Like the followers of a king, all active entities follow the life force of prāna and when the life force is no longer active all the activity of the entities ceases. (17) The life force that was generated [from the ether] made the Almighty One hungry and thirsty and to quench that thirst and satisfy that hunger, first of all the mouth was opened. (18) From the mouth the palate was generated whereupon the tongue manifested and the various tastes to be relished by it. (19) With the need to speak with the mouth from the Supreme One the capacity to vibrate sounds originated, but in the water that for a very long time remained suspended. (20) Desiring to smell odors the nose with its sense of smell developed together with the nostrils to rapidly inhale the air that carries the smell. (21) Being by Himself in the darkness He desired to observe Himself and the rest of creation. For the sake of His vision the sun then separated that gave the eyes the power of sight. (22) Also the ears manifested when the Supreme being desired to hear the sound vibrations from all directions and from that desire to understand the seers found their existence. (23) From His desire to experience the hardness, softness, lightness, weight, heat and cold of all matter, the sense of touch was distributed over the skin along with its bodily hair, the plants and trees. That sense of touch of the skin rose from the objects that were perceived within and without.
(24) From His desire for different types of work the two hands manifested, but to give strength to the manipulation that depends on them [viz. on the gods who are His hands], Indra, the king of the gods, found his existence as the manifestation of both. (25) Desiring movement the legs manifested, that are ruled by the Lord of Sacrifice [Vishnu] Himself. It is He who motivates the different human beings according to the duties of their labor perspective [karma]. (26) Desiring to taste the nectar of sexual enjoyment the genitals of the male and female organ appeared and the lustfulness found its existence that is the shelter cherished by the both of them [controlled by the Prajāpati]. (27) Desiring to evacuate used substances the opening of the anus evolved with the excrements, including the control over the two called Mitra, the controller of the excretion. (28) With the wish to move from one body to another body, the navel manifested itself, the place of staying closely united both after arresting one's breath and after death [with a new body in the womb]. (29) In want of food and drink the abdomen with the intestines and arteries originated as also [in the greater body of mother earth] the rivers and seas that are their source of sustenance and metabolism. (30) With the repeated contemplation on His own energy the heart [as the seat of thought] manifested after which the mind, Candra the controller [the moon] as also determination and desire found their existence. (31) The seven elements of the nails, skin, flesh, blood, fat, marrow and bone are predominantly of earth, water and fire whereas the life breath is a product of ether, water and air [see also kos'a].
(32) The senses of the material ego are attached to the modes of matter. The modes influence the mind and all the feelings belonging to it because of which for the individual the intelligence and the realized knowledge assume their form. (33) The Supreme Lord's gross form, as I explained to you, is among all of this that what is known by the eight elements [of earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego] of the planets and everything else, that together constitute an unlimitedly expanded, external covering. (34) The Supreme that is finer than the finest, that is the featureless unmanifested reality, thus is without a beginning, an intermediate stage or an end, is eternal and is transcendental to the mind with its words. (35) No scholar aware of these two [material and transcendental] forms of the Supreme Lord as I described to you, will therefore ever take the external manifestation for granted. (36) He who transcendentally in fact does nothing [who is of akarma], manifests Himself [also] with names, words and what is denoted by those words as the Supreme Lord in visible forms of the Absolute Truth by which He engages in His pastimes. (37-40) Oh King, know that all the happiness and distress and their mixture is there as a result of actions in the past [of karma]. This is the experience of all the members of the family of Brahmā, the Manus, the godly ones, the wise, the inhabitants of Pitriloka [the forefathers] and Siddhaloka [the perfected ones]; the Cāranas [the venerable ones], Gandharvas [the singers of heaven], Vidyādharas [the scientists], Asuras [the unenlightened ones or the demons], Yakshas [treasure-keepers or evil spirits], Kinnaras [of superpowers] and angels; the snake-like, the monkey-shaped Kimpurushas, the human beings, the inhabitants of Mātriloka [of the place of the mother], the demons and Pis'ācas [yellow flesh-eating demons]. This includes the ghosts, spirits, lunatics and evil spirits, devils taking possession of people and the birds, the forest-dwelling and domestic animals, the reptiles, the ones of the mountains, the moving and immobile living entities, the living entities born from embryos, from eggs, from heat [micro-organisms] and from seeds, and all others, whether they are of the water, of land or the sky.
(41) Depending the modes of goodness, passion and slowness there are as such the three [life conditions] of the godly ones, the human beings and the ones who have to suffer. There are also positions, oh King, that result from a mix of each of these three with the rest of them. Depending the relationship of one such quality with the other two a certain particular nature develops. (42) After having created the universes, evidently the Supreme Lord, the maintainer of the universe, for the purpose of maintaining the dharma [and redeeming the living beings] assumes the forms of gods, human beings and lower creatures [in line with His three potencies]. (43) In the form of Rudra [S'iva, the destroyer] He, just like the wind dispersing the clouds in the sky, will completely annihilate anything He created in the fire of the end of time. (44) The Supreme Lord is by the great transcendentalists described with these features, but enlightened souls deserve not just these qualities and witness His glory in the beyond [nirguna]. (45) Never is in the matter of creation and so on the Supreme in the beyond described as the engineering agency, for that notion [of having a Supreme position] is there to counterbalance that what is manifested by the material energy. (46) This [primary engineering process or evolution] of Brahmā, was discussed to illustrate the rule of one day of the creator [a kalpa consisting of 1000 mahāyugas of 4.32 million human years each, in a 100 year life of Brahmā called a mahākalpa] while its varieties, its transformations [the vikalpas or periods of change] concern the secondary creation of organic life forms. (47) I will tell you more about the characteristics and measures of time that constitute a day of Brahmā later, but let me first inform you about this period [also called the Pādma Kalpa or Varāha Kalpa].' "
(48) S'aunaka said: "Oh Sūta, you in your goodness spoke about Vidura, who as one of the best devotees, went to the places of pilgrimage on this earth and left behind the relatives who are so difficult to give up. (49-50) Oh gentle one, please tell us here about the conversation Vidura had with Maitreya [a famous rishi] who is so full of transcendental knowledge. What did he ask his grace and what truths did he get in return for an answer? And why exactly gave Vidura up his activities and associates and why did he return home thereafter?"
(51) Sūta replied: "This is what King Parīkchit also asked. I shall tell you what the great sage said about it when he answered the king's question. Please listen."
Thus the second Canto of the S'rīmad Bhāgavatam end named: The Cosmic Manifestation.
CANTO 3: The Status Quo
Chapter 1: Questions by Vidura
(1) S'uka said: 'This is what Vidura formerly asked His Grace Maitreya Rishi after he had entered the forest upon renouncing his prosperous home: (2) 'What to say about the house [of the Pāndavas] I am identified with? S'rī Krishna, the Supreme Lord and master of all, was accepted as the minister of its people and had given up entering the house of Duryodhana.'(10) When Vidura by his elder brother [Dhritarāshthra], was called to the palace for consultation and entered there, he with his instructions gave such an excellent advice that all men of state still speak about it: (11) 'Return now the legitimate share to the one who has no enemy [Yudhishthhira] and who was so patient with your unbearable offenses. You should be afraid of him and his younger brothers, of whom we know Bhīma to be as angry and wrathful as a snake. (12) The sons of Prithā are now adopted by the Supreme Lord of Liberation who at present, being supported by the brahmins and the godly souls, resides with His family, the honorable Yadu dynasty, that together with Him as their Lord has defeated an unlimited amount of kings. (13) He [Duryodhana], this bad guy you consider your son, stepped forward in your household as an enemy of the Original Person. You who in supporting him thus have turned yourself against Krishna are therefore bereft of all goodness - to that inauspiciousness you must, for the sake of the family, put an end as soon as possible.'
(3) The king said: 'Please tell us master, where and when Vidura met His Grace Maitreya Rishi to discuss this? (4) Certainly the questions Vidura asked the holy man cannot have been unimportant, they must have been full of the highest purpose as is approved by the seekers of truth.'
(5) Sūta said: "He, the great sage S'ukadeva thus being questioned by King Parīkchit, fully satisfied replied, speaking from his great expertise: 'Please listen to this.'
(6) S'rī S'ukadeva said: 'During the time King Dhritarāshthra was raising his dishonest sons, he, who never walked the straight path and had lost his sight, was the guardian of the sons of his younger brother [the deceased Pāndu, see family tree]. He made them enter the laquer house that he next set on fire [see Mahābhārata I 139-148]. (7) When in the assembly the wife of the saintly Kurus [Draupadī] was insulted by his son [Duhs'āsana] who grabbed her by her hair, the king did not forbid this, although his daughter-in-law shed tears that washed away the kumkuma on her breasts [see Mahābhārata II 58-73]. (8) After he who had no enemies [Yudhishthhira] by unfair means was defeated in a game of gambling and as an honest man went into the forest, he, upon his return, was never allotted the share that was promised by him who was overcome by illusion [Dhritarāshthra]. (9) Also Lord Krishna, when He on the plea of Arjuna for their sake appeared in the assembly as the teacher of the world, was, with His words as good as nectar, by the king not taken seriously among all the men whose last bit of piety was dwindling.
(14) After he had said this Duryodhana addressed Vidura on the spot. Swollen with anger and with trembling lips, he insulted the respectable one of good qualities in the company of Karna, his younger brothers and S'akuni [a maternal uncle] saying: (15) 'Who asked him to be here, this bastard son of a maid-servant who grew up living on the cost of those he betrays as an enemy spy? Throw him immediately out of the palace to be left with his breath only!' (16) Vidura in his turn immediately put his bow at the door and left the palace of his brother, being hurt in the core of his heart by the violence aimed at him. But despite these arrows so painful to the ear, he was unperturbed for he thought that a great opportunity had been offered.
(17) After having left the Kauravas he departed from Hastināpura and piously sought the salvation of pilgrimages. With the thousands of idols [he saw thus] all that he wanted was the highest degree of purity. (18) He traveled to holy places of devotion where the air, the hills and the orchards, waters, rivers and lakes are clear and the temples are decorated with the appearances of the One Unlimited. Visiting these sites he proceeded alone through the holy lands. (19) Traversing the earth independently in the spirit of sacrifice, he was sanctified by the ground he slept upon. One could not recognize him, who without his familiar clothes was dressed like a mendicant and performed according to the vows to please the Lord. (20) Thus traveling through India, he arrived at the holy land of Prabhāsa, that at the time was under the reign of King Yudhishthhira who by the mercy of the Invincible Lord ruled the world under one military force and flag [see 1.13]. (21) There he heard how all his kinsmen had perished [at Kurukshetra] in a violent passion, the way a bamboo forest burns down because of igniting by its own friction. Thereupon he, grieving, went westward heading for the river Sarasvatī. (22) On the bank of the river he visited the holy places called Trita, Us'anā, Manu, Prithu, Agni, Asita, Vāyu, Sudāsa, Go, Guha and S'rāddhadeva and duly was of worship there. (23) Also other places had been established there by the twice-born godly souls and the devotees of the various forms of Lord Vishnu. He as the leading personality marked each and every part of the temples, the very sight of which made one think of Lord Krishna. (24) From there passing through the wealthy kingdoms of Surat, Sauvīra and Kurujāngala [west of India], he, after some time reaching the Yamunā river, happened to meet Uddhava, the Supreme Lord's greatest devotee [see also Canto 11].
(25) He embraced the sober and gentle constant companion of Vāsudeva who was a former student of Brihaspati, the master of all rituals, and with great love and affection he questioned him about the family of the Supreme Lord. (26) 'Are the original personalities of Godhead [Krishna and Balarāma] doing well in the house of S'ūrasena [the father of Queen Kuntī, aunt Prithā], they who, on the request of the Creator who was born from the lotus, descended in the world for the elevation and well-being of everyone? (27) And, Uddhava, is our greatest Kuru and brother-in-law, Vasudeva [the father of Lord Krishna] happy? He is truly like a father to his sisters and, to the pleasure of his wives, munificent in providing everything they desire. (28) Please Uddhava, tell me how the military commander-in-chief of the Yadus, Pradyumna, is doing. He in his previous life was the god of love and is now the great hero who as the prince of the Supreme Lord was born from Rukminī after she had pleased the brahmins. (29) And is Ugrasena happy, the king of the Sātvatas, Vrishnis, Dās'ārhas and Bhojas? He had to give up the hope of the throne after being put aside [by uncle Kamsa] but Krishna restored his position. (30) Oh grave one, is the son of the Lord, Sāmba, faring well? He, so much alike Him, is the foremost and best behaved one among the warriors. Born from Jāmbavatī [another wife of Krishna] who is so rich in her vows, he in his previous life was the godly Kārttikeya who took birth from the wife of S'iva. (31) And how is Yuyudhāna [Sātyaki] faring, he who learned from Arjuna and fulfilled his purpose as someone understanding the intricacies of the military art and, on top of that, in his service directly attained the destination of the Transcendence that even for the greatest renouncers is so difficult to achieve? (32) And the scholarly impeccable son of S'vaphalka, Akrūra, how is he? He is the one who in his surrender to the Lord on the path marked with the prints of Krishna's lotus feet lost his composure and, with symptoms of transcendental ecstasy, rolled about in the dust. (33) Is everything all right with the daughter of King Devaka-Bhoja? The same way the purpose of sacrifice originated from the Vedas and the mother of the demigods [Aditi] gave birth to the godhead, she [Devakī] gave birth to Lord Vishnu. (34) And is also Aniruddha, the Personality of Godhead all happy? He, as the fulfiller of the desires of the devotees, is traditionally considered to be the birth channel for the Rig-Veda, to be the creator of the mind and to be the transcendental fourth plenary expansion of the Reality Principle [of Vishnu-tattva]. (35) And others like Hridīka, Cārudeshna, Gada and the son of Satyabhāmā, who with an absolute faith follow His divinity [Krishna] as the essence of their self, oh humble one, are also they all doing fine?
(36) Does Yudhishthhira, ruling with the principles of humanity, maintain the religious connectedness under the protection of the arms of Arjuna and the Infallible One? It was he who with the opulence of his royal entourage and the service of Arjuna, raised the envy of Duryodhana. (37) And did the unconquerable Bhīma, who is like a cobra, vent his long-cherished fury upon the sinners? The way he with the wonderful play of his club operated on the battlefield, he could not be opposed. (38) Is Arjuna doing well, he, the famous one among the chariot fighters who with his bow the Gāndīva vanquished so many enemies? He once satisfied Lord S'iva covering him with arrows when Śiva presented himself unrecognizable as a hunter. (39) And are the twin sons of Prithā [Nakula and Sahadeva] free from worries? They were by their brothers protected as eyelids covering eyes when they reclaimed their property in the fight with the enemy, just like Garuda [the carrier of Vishnu] did [with the nectar] from the mouth of Indra. (40) Oh dear one, is Prithā still alive? She dedicated her life to the care for the fatherless children when she had to live without King Pāndu, he who, alone as a commanding warrior, could master the four directions with a second bow only.
(41) Oh gentle one, I pity him [Dhritarāshthra] who fell down by turning against his brother [Pāndu] after his death. By driving me, his well-wisher, out of my own house he has adopted the same line of action as his sons. (42) Therefore I travel by the grace of His [Krisna's] feet incognito through this world of the Lord that is so bewildering for others to be engaged in. I never missed to see His feet being doubtless in this matter. (43) He as the Supreme Lord willing to relieve the distress of the surrendered souls, waited, despite the offenses of the Kurus, to [directly] kill these kings who strayed from the path because of the three kinds of false pride [about wealth, education and followers] and who constantly agitated mother earth with the movements of their troops. (44) The birth and activities of the Unborn One, of Him who has no obligations in the world, is there to put an end to the upstarts and attract the people towards Him. Who else transcendental to the modes of nature would assume a body and take upon himself all kinds of karma? (45) Oh my friend, sing the glories and discuss the topics of the Lord worshiped in all sacred places who, from His unborn position, took birth in the family of the Yadus for the sake of all the rulers of the universe who surrendered to Him and [the devotional culture of] His self-control.'
Chapter 2: Remembrance of Lord Krishna
(1) S'uka said: 'The great devotee [Uddhava] questioned by Vidura about what could be said regarding the Dearest One, reflected upon the Lord but could not reply immediately because he was overwhelmed by emotion. (2) He was someone who in his childhood being five years old, called by his mother for breakfast, did not like to have it because he was absorbed in playing the servant [of Lord Krishna]. (3) How would such a servitude of Uddhava have slackened in the course of time? So when he was simply asked to speak about Him, everything of the Lord's lotus feet popped up in his mind. (4) For a moment he fell completely silent because of the nectar of the Lord's feet. Strong as he was and well matured in the union of devotion, he became fully absorbed in the happiness of that excellence. (5) Every part of his body showed the signs of transcendental ecstasy and when tears filled his eyes because of missing Him so much, Vidura could see that he had reached the object of his greatest love. (6) Slowly Uddhava returned from the world of the Lord to the human world and wiping his tears away he spoke affectionately to Vidura about all these recollections.'
(7) Uddhava said: 'What can I say about our wellbeing now the sun of Krishna has set and the house of my family has been swallowed by the great serpent of the past? (8) How unfortunate this world is and especially the Yadu dynasty who, living together with the Lord, did not recognize Him any more than the fish recognize the moon? (9) His own folk, the Sātvatas, were audacious people with a good judgement of character who could relax with Him being the head of the family and thought of Him as the one behind everything. (10) The intelligence of the souls who are innerly of full surrender to the Lord will never go astray because of the words used by others contaminated by the influence of the bewildering external reality of the Divine Person [or the gods]. (11) He who showed His form to everyone in the world, managed to put an end to it by removing Himself from the eyes of those people who lived without penance and were unsatisfied to see Him. (12) The form He showed in the mortal world was perfectly suited for His pastimes that demonstrated the power of His inner magic [His yoga-māyā]. It led to the discovery of His wonders, His supreme opulence and the ultimate ornament of all ornaments: His feet.
(13) All the [inhabitants of the] three worlds who during King Yudhishthhira's Rajasūya-[royal] sacrifice witnessed His all-attractive form, were perplexed and thought that the craftmanship of Brahmā's universal creation had been surpassed with Him being present in the mortal world. (14) Because of His smiles, playful nature and glances the women of Vraja became more and more attached to Him and followed Him with their eyes, so that they completely distracted sat down with their mind in the clouds, without attending to their household duties. (15) The Unborn One who yet took birth, the infinitely merciful Lord and ruler over the spiritual and material realm, appeared for the sake of the devotees as the Fortunate One, the Lord of the Opulences, as Bhagavān who accompanied by all His associates is as fire to all the others who, [like Kamsa] living to their own material standards, constitute a plague.
(16) It distresses me to see how He, being unborn, so amazingly took His birth [in the prison] where Vasudeva lived, how He in Vraja at home with Vasudeva, lived like He was afraid of the enemy [uncle Kamsa] and how He, the unlimitedly powerful one, fled from Mathurā city [the capital where Krishna resided after defeating Kamsa]. (17) My heart hurts when I think of what He said in worship of the feet of His parents: 'Oh mother, oh father, in great fear of Kamsa we failed in our service, please be pleased with us!' (18) How can one forget Him once one has the dust of His lotus feet in the nose, He who by the mere raising of His eyebrows dealt the death blow to the burden of the earth? (19) Did your goodness not witness with your own eyes how during Yudhishthhira's royal sacrificial ceremony the king of Cedi [S'is'upāla] despite his being jealous of Krishna, attained the perfection, the fulfillment most desired by all the yogis who by dint of their yoga manage to tolerate it to be separated from Him? (20) And certainly also others in human society have achieved His heavenly abode: they who as warriors saw Krishna's very pleasing lotus-like face and eyes on the battlefield that was purified by Arjuna's arrows. (21) He is no one else but the unique, grand Lord of the threefold reality by whose independence supreme fortune is achieved and at whose feet countless [kings full of] desires bow their helmets, being of worship with all the paraphernalia under the direction of the eternal keepers of societal order. (22) For that reason we as servitors in His service are in pain, oh Vidura, when we see how He before King Ugrasena expectantly sitting on his throne, submitted Himself with the words: 'Oh my Lord, please see it this way.'
(23) To the shelter of whom else should I take? Oh, who else would assure a greater mercy than He who, despite the faithlessness of that she-devil [Pūtanā] who in envy poisoned her breast for nourishing Him to death, granted her the position of a mother? (24) I think that they who as opponents are waging against the Lord of the Threefoldness are factually great devotees because they in their preoccupation of fighting Him, could see Him coming forward on His carrier [Garuda] with His cakra weapon. (25) Born from the womb of Devakī in the prison of the king of Bhoja [Kamsa], the Supreme Lord being prayed for [by the Creator] appeared to bring welfare on earth. (26) Thereafter He was brought up in the cow pastures by His [foster] father Nanda, where He out of fear for Kamsa, together with Baladeva [Balarāma] resided [secretly] for eleven years the way one covers a flame. (27) Surrounded by cowherd boys herding calves the Almighty One roamed on the banks of the Yamunā through gardens that vibrated with the chirping of the heavenly birds in their many trees. (28) The alluring display of the pastimes of His youth could only be appreciated by the inhabitants of Vraja, the land of Vrindāvana, where He, looking like a lion cub, just like other kids cried and laughed and was struck with wonder. (29) Tending the treasure of beautiful cows He as the source of happiness enlivened the cowherd boys by playing His flute. (30) The great wizards engaged by the king of Bhoja to assume any form they liked, were upon their approach in the course of His pastimes killed by Him who acted just like a child playing with dolls. (31) [To help the inhabitants of Vrindāvana] being perplexed by the great trouble of drinking poison [from the snake Kāliya in the water of the Yamunā], He subdued the chief of the reptiles. After coming out of the water He caused the cows to drink it, proving it natural again. (32) Desiring the proper use of the wealth of Nanda, the king of the cowherds' opulence, He with the assistance of the brahmins helped them to perform worship for the sake of the cows and the land [instead of Indra]. (33) Indra angry upon being insulted, highly perturbed created a heavy downpour of rain above Vraja. [The cowherds then were] protected by the merciful Lord with His pastime of [lifting] the hill [Govardhana, that served as an] umbrella, oh sober Vidura. (34) One autumn He, during a night brightened by moonlight, enjoyed it to please the women by devoting Himself to singing songs, delighting in their midst as the face of the night's beauty in person.'
Chapter 3: The Lord's Pastimes Outside of Vrindāvana(1) Uddhava said: 'When the Lord thereafter came to the city of Mathurā, He, who wished the wellbeing of His parents [freeing them from imprisonment], together with Baladeva dragged the leader of public hostility [Kamsa] down from the throne and killed him by pulling him to the ground with force. (2) He mastered every detail of the Vedas and their subsidiary sciences after hearing them only once from His teacher Sāndīpani whom He rewarded the benediction of bringing back his deceased son from the inner region of the departed souls, from death [Yamaloka]. (3) Invited by the daughter of King Bhīshmaka [Rukminī] Lord Krishna stole her away as His share, exactly like Garuda did [with the nectar of the gods], and thus gave all those [princes] the go-by who according to the custom were a candidate to marry her and for that purpose had come expecting a likewise fortune. (4) In an open competition for the selection of the bridegroom for Princess Nāgnajitī He subdued seven wild bulls and won her hand, but the fools who in their disappointment nevertheless wanted her, He killed and wounded without getting hurt Himself, well equipped as He was with all weapons. (5) Only because of the fact that He, just like an ordinary living being, tried to please His dear wife who wanted Him to bring the Pārijāta flower shrub [from heaven], Indra the King of Heaven, henpecked of course by his own wives, blind of anger with all his strength waged against Him.
(6) When mother Earth saw how Narakāsura [Bhauma], her son who in the battle [against Krishna] physically dominated the sky [with missiles], was killed by His Sudars'ana Cakra [the disc weapon], she prayed to Him to return to Narakāsura's son that what had remained [of the kingdom]. Doing so He entered Narakāsura's fortress. (7) Upon seeing the Lord, the Friend of the Distressed, all the princesses there who were kidnapped by the demon immediately stood prepared joyfully to accept Him, with eager glances shyly closing Him in their hearts, [as their husband]. (8) Although they resided in different apartments, He, in proper regulation, through His internal potency accepted the hands of all women simultaneously with an equal number of suitable forms. (9) Desiring to expand Himself, He with each and every one of them begot ten children who all were like Him in every respect.
(10) When Kālayavana, the king of Magadha [Jarāsandha], King S'ālva and others with their soldiers had surrounded Mathurā, He killed them by exhibiting His divine power in the form of the prowess of His men. (11) Of S'ambara, Dvivida, Bāna, Mura, Balvala and others like Dantavakra and more of them, He killed some, while others He caused to be killed [by Balarāma e.g.].
(12) Thereafter in the battle of Kurukshetra of both the parties of the nephews the kings were killed who with the force of their attacks shook the earth. (13) He was not happy to witness how because of the ill advice of Karna, Duhs'āsana and Saubala, Duryodhana with all his power had lost his fortune and lifespan and now, along with his followers, lay down [on the battlefield] with broken limbs. (14) 'What is this?', the Lord said when with the help of Bhīshma and Drona [on the one hand] and Arjuna and Bhīma [on the other hand] the enormous burden of the earth of eighteen akshauhinīs [an army consisting of ten anikinis, or 21.870 elephants, 21.870 chariots, 65.610 horses, and 109.350 foot soldiers] had been removed. 'There is still the unbearable burden of the great strength of My descendants, the Yadu dynasty. (15) Upon My disappearance, they will vanish themselves when, intoxicated from drinking [honey-liquor], a quarrel will take place among them that will turn their eyes red as copper. This is the only way for them to disappear.' (16) With this in mind the Supreme Lord installed Yudhishthhira on the throne, thereby gladdening His friends in showing the path of the saints.
(17) The descendant of Pūru [Parīkchit] by the hero Abhimanyu begotten in the womb of Uttarā, surely would have been burned by the weapon of the son of Drona if the Supreme Lord had not averted it by protecting him again and again [see S.B. 1: 7 & 8]. (18) The Almighty One induced the son of Dharma [Yudhishthhira] also to perform three horse sacrifices and in that endeavor being assisted by his brothers, he protected and enjoyed the earth as a constant follower of Krishna.
(19) The Supreme Lord and Supersoul of the Universe customarily following the path of the Vedic principles, enjoyed the lusts of life in the city of Dvārakā without getting attached. He accomplished this by keeping to the analytical system of yoga [Sānkhya]. (20) Gentle and with His sweet glances and words that compared to nectar, He, with His flawless character, resided there in His transcendental body, the residence of the goddess of fortune. (21) He, specifically pleasing the Yadus, enjoyed this earth and certainly also the other worlds, while He, at leisure during the night, was of friendship with the women in conjugal love. (22) Thus He for many, many years enjoyed a household life of [sensual] uniting that constituted the basis of His detachment. (23) The living being is controlled by fate and so too his sensual enjoyment is controlled thus, but which person of service unto the Lord of Yoga would put faith therein?
(24) In the city of Dvārakā the princely descendants of Yadu and Bhoja some day had been playing a prank on the sages and thus had angered them. They thereupon cursed them, knowing what was desired by the Supreme Lord. (25) A few months later the descendants of Vrishni, Bhoja and others like the sons of Andhaka, bewildered by Krishna, with great pleasure on their chariots went to the place of pilgrimage called Prabhāsa. (26) There they took a bath and with that same water proved their respects to their forefathers, the gods and the great sages. Then they gave cows to the brahmins in royal charity. (27) For their livelihood they also provided them with gold, gold coins, bedding, clothing, seat covers, blankets, horses, chariots, elephants, girls and land. (28) After supplying the brahmins with highly delicious food that was first offered to the Supreme Lord, the valiant representatives offered, for the sake of a good life, their obeisances to the cows and the brahmins by touching the ground with their heads.'
Chapter 4: Vidura Approaches Maitreya(1) Uddhava said: 'After, with the permission of the brahmins, partaking of the offerings they [the Yadus] drank liquor that spoilt their minds so that they hurt each other to the core with harsh words. (2) At sunset their minds were out of balance to such a degree that they, because of the faults made in that intoxicated state, had to face how their destruction took place the way a bamboo forest burns down [because of its own friction]. (3) The Supreme Lord, who from His internal potency foresaw the end, went to the river the Sarasvatī where He, after sipping water, sat down under a tree. (4) The Lord dispels the distress of the souls who surrender to Him and thus He who desired the destruction of His family told me: 'You have to go to Badarikās'rama.' (5) But because I could not tolerate it to be separated from the lotus feet of the Master, I followed Him, even though I knew what He wanted, oh subduer of the enemy [Vidura]. (6) Then I saw my Patron and Master, He who does not need to take shelter, lost in thoughts, alone sitting down at the riverbank, taking shelter of the goddess.
(7) Beautiful with His blackish color, of pure goodness and peaceful with His reddish eyes, He could be recognized as having four arms and yellow silken garments [Vishnu]. (8) Resting against a young banyan tree with His right foot on His thigh, He who had left His household comforts looked majestic.
(9) At that time [Maitreya,] a great devotee and follower of Krishna Dvaipāyana Vyāsa [Vyāsadeva], a well-wisher and friend traveling the three worlds, of his own accord [also] arrived at that place. (10) Attached to Him the sage bent over in a pleasing attitude and listened with rapt attention, while the Lord of Liberation with kind glances and smiles allowed me to rest and then addressed me. (11) The Supreme Lord said: 'I know from within what you in the past desired when the wealthy souls who built this world were performing their sacrifices. I grant you that what for others is so difficult to achieve, oh fortunate one: the association with Me you desire as the ultimate goal of life. (12) This life is of all your incarnations, oh honest soul, the fulfillment, for you have achieved My mercy now you have seen Me in this secluded position quitting the worlds of man. This is what you see when one is unflinching in one's devotion [:Vaikunthha, freedom from foolishness]. (13) Long ago, in the beginning of creation, I told Brahmā on the lotus that came out of My navel about the sublime knowledge of My transcendental glories: I explained that what the theists call the Bhāgavatam.'
(14) With His favor of thus addressing me, I saw how because of my emotion my hairs stood on end in being the constant object of the mercy of the Supreme Personality. With my eyes hazy because of wiping my tears, I with folded hands said faltering: (15) 'Oh my Lord, for those who live in respect of Your feet that are so difficult to obtain, it is in this world all a matter of the four goals of life [dharma, artha, kāma and moksha; religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and liberation], but I myself do not care about them that much, oh Great One, I am rather concerned with serving Your lotus feet. (16) Even though You have no desires You engage in all kinds of activities, even though You are unborn You still take birth, being the controller of eternal Time You nevertheless take shelter of the fortress out of fear for Your enemies and despite enjoying within Yourself, You lead a household life in the association of women; this bewilders the intelligence of the scholars in this world. (17) You are never divided and ever fresh, yet You, in Your eternal intelligence, oh Master, call upon me for consultation, as if You would be bewildered. But that is never the case. That boggles my mind, oh Lord. (18) If You deem me fit to receive it, then please shed light on Your mystery my Lord. Tell me - so that I may overcome worldly misery - in detail about the complete of the supreme knowledge about Your Self, the way You told it the fortunate Brahmājī.'
(19) Thus being prayed to by me from the core of my heart, He, the lotus-eyed Supreme Lord of the beyond, instructed me on His transcendental position. (20) After this way having learnt the knowledge of self-realization from the worshipable Master and having understood that path, I, upon having circumambulated Him in respect of His lotus feet, reached this place with sadness in my heart because of the separation. (21) My best one [Vidura], without the pleasure of seeing Him I am in pain. Therefore I will, as He instructed, go to Badarikās'rama [in the Himalayas] to enjoy His association. (22) In that place the Supreme Lord incarnated in the form of the sages Nārā and Nārāyana, and for a long time was of severe penance for the welfare of all living beings.'
(23) S'rī S'uka said: 'When he from Uddhava heard the unbearable [news] of the annihilation of his friends and relatives, the learned Vidura pacified his rising bereavement by means of transcendental knowledge. (24) As the great devotee of the Lord and best among the Kauravas was leaving, Vidura in confidence submitted the following to this leading personality of the devotional service unto Krishna. (25) Vidura said: 'The Lord of Yoga enlightened you on the mystery of the transcendental knowledge of the personal soul. Be so good to explain it to me now, so that we may honor Vishnu and His servants who wander around in the interest of others.' (26) Uddhava then said: 'Turn to the worshipable sage, the son of Kushāru [Maitreya] who stays nearby. He was directly instructed by the Supreme Lord when He left the mortal world.'
(27) S'rī S'uka said: 'Because of the overwhelming emotion with which he on the bank of the Sarasvatī river with Vidura discussed the nectar of the qualities of the Lord of the Universe, the night passed in a moment. Thereafter the son of Aupagava went away.'
(28) The king [Parīkchit] asked: 'How was it possible that after the destruction that happened to the Vrishni and Bhoja dynasty, the great leader in command among them, the prominent Uddhava, was the only one to remain after the Lord had completed His pastimes as the Master over the three worlds?'
(29) S'rī S'uka said: 'After He by the power of Time had called for the end of His numerous family by means of the curse of the brahmins, He considered to give up His outer appearance and thought to Himself: (30) 'When I have left this world, the knowledge of Myself and My shelter will be in the right hands with Uddhava. He is at present the most important devotee. (31) Uddhava is not in the least inferior to Me because he is never affected by the material modes. Thus he rightfully may remain as the master in this world to disseminate the knowledge about Me.'
(32) After thus having been instructed by the spiritual master of the three worlds, the source of all Vedic knowledge, he [Uddhava] reached the place of pilgrimage Badarikās'rama, where he found absorption in his devotion unto the Lord. (33) Vidura had heard from Uddhava how Krishna, the Supersoul, extraordinarily had assumed a form for His pastimes and most gloriously had engaged with it. (34) His entering a physical body is for both the persevering great sages and for common people a thing most difficult to understand. And for people with an animal attitude it is a completely mind-boggling affair. (35) With the notion that Krishna, the Fortunate One, also had thought of him as a devotee when He left this earth, oh best among the Kurus, Vidura was overwhelmed by love and burst into tears.
(36) Oh best of the Bharatas, after Vidura thus had passed a few days on the bank of the Yamunā [see 3:1.24], he reached the holy waters of the Ganges where he met sage Maitreya [the son of Mitrā, his mother].'
Chapter 5: Vidura Talks with Maitreya
(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'At the source of the celestial river [the Ganges] Vidura, the best among the Kurus who had come closer to the Infallible One, approached Maitreya Muni sitting there whose knowledge was fathomless. With a perfect respect he, satisfied about his transcendental qualities, politely asked him questions. (2) Vidura said: 'Everyone in this world engages in fruitive activities, but because of those activities one never finds satisfaction or becomes happy, on the contrary, one rather becomes unhappy that way. Please, oh great one, kindly enlighten us on what would be the right course in this matter. (3) The great souls who are of sacrifice wander around for the sake of the Lord of the three worlds. They do this out of compassion for the common man who has turned his face away from Krishna and who, under the influence of the material world, is always unhappy in his lack of dharma. (4) Therefore, oh greatest among the saints, please instruct me on the path favorable for perfectly serving the Supreme Lord who, residing in the heart of the living beings, bestows upon the unalloyed devotee the knowledge of the basic principles, the truth by which he learns the classical wisdom [the Vedic knowledge]. (5) What does the self-sufficient Supreme Lord and ruler of the three worlds all do when He, despite being desireless, accepts it to be incarnated in different forms to regulate the maintenance of the created universe? (6) How can He who withdraws in the ether to lie down and do nothing at the basis of the universe as the One Lord of Unification, as the one and only, original master, then again have an active existence by entering it in the form of many different appearances [avatāras]? (7) Why is it that, in spite of time and again hearing about the auspicious, nectarean characteristics of the Lord, our minds never seem to have enough of the pastimes that He, for the welfare of the twice-born souls, the cows and the devotees, performs in the transcendental activities of His different incarnations? (8) What are the different principles on the basis of which the Lord of all Lords evolved the different rulers and their higher and lower worlds wherein, as is known, all classes of beings are differently occupied? (9) And please describe to us, oh chief among the brahmins, how the creator of the universe Nārāyana, the self-sufficient Lord, the path of man, has arranged for all the different forms, engagements and dispersed cultures of the incarnated souls.
(10) Oh fortunate one, from the mouth of Vyāsadeva I repeatedly heard about the higher and lower [status] of these occupations, but without the nectar of the talks about Krishna I am little satisfied about these matters and the happiness derived from them. (11) Who can get enough of the stories about Him whose feet constitute the places of pilgrimage, about Him who in society is worshiped by the great devotees? When these stories enter someone's ears they, because of the love they bestow, cut the ties of affection a person has with his family! (12) Your friend sage Krishna Dvaipāyana Vyāsa has described the transcendental qualities of the Supreme Lord in the Mahābhārata. That book is only there to draw the attention of people, through their attraction for worldly topics, to the stories of the Lord. (13) The weight of that belief gradually brings about indifference for other matters. He who constantly remembers the Lord's feet has achieved the bliss that without delay vanquishes all miseries. (14) I pity all those pitiable poor souls who, out of touch with the divinity of Time, in their ignorant sinfulness have turned themselves away from the stories about the Lord and waste their lives with useless philosophical exercises, imaginary purposes and a diversity of rituals. (15) Oh Maitreya, friend of the distressed, you who bestow the happiness, please describe therefore, for the promotion of our well-being, of all topics the essence: the talks about the Lord that, alike the nectar of flowers, constitute the praise of all holy places. (16) Please tell me everything about the transcendental, superhuman activities accomplished by the Lord in His, with all potencies equipped, embodiments for the sake of a perfect grip on the maintenance and creation of His universe.'
(17) S'rī S'uka said: 'The great sage, His lordship Maitreya, thus as requested greatly honored Vidura by giving an exposition [on these matters] for the ultimate welfare of all. (18) S'rī Maitreya said: 'My blessings, oh good one, oh you whose mind is constantly fixed upon the Lord beyond the senses. Your questioning me for the sake of all, is proof of the goodness of your mercy to broadcast the glories of the soul in this world. (19) Dear Vidura, I am not surprised that you, who accepted the Supreme Personality our Lord, without any deviation of thought have asked me these questions, for you were born from the semen of Vyāsa. (20) Because of a curse of the powerful sage Māndavya Muni you have taken birth from the maidservant of the brother [Vicitravīrya] and the son of Satyavatī [Vyāsadeva], as the incarnation of Yamarāja, the controller of death [see family tree]. (21) Your goodness is recognized as one of the eternal associates of the Supreme Lord. Upon His return to His abode He ordered me to instruct you in spiritual knowledge. (22) Therefore I will now for you systematically describe the pastimes of the Supreme Lord for the sake of the creation, maintenance and dissolution of the universe that so enormously has unfolded because of His wonderful internal potency [yoga-māyā].
(23) Prior to the creation of the universe the Supreme Lord, the Self and master of the living beings, existed as one without a second. It was His wish [then] that the [individual] soul, with a vision of its own and different characteristics, was merged in Himself. (24) Being nothing of that all He, the seer, could not discern anything objective at the time. As the single controller present, He with His inner potency manifested but with His expansions and His material potency not manifested, felt as if He did not exist. (25) That what He as the perfect seer sees is energy characterized by cause and effect. Oh fortunate one, this energy with which the Almighty has built this world is called māyā [illusory, bewildering]. (26) With the effect of Eternal Time [kāla] upon the three modes of this illusory energy, the Supreme being in the beyond generated the virility [the valor, the manliness, the power] by means of the person [or the Purusha] as a plenary expansion of Himself. (27) From the unmanifested then by the interaction of time came about the Mahat-tattva [the complete of the Supreme, the cosmic intelligence]. This self of discernment seated in the physical self, dispells the ignornance and makes the universe clearly visible. (28) That [cosmic intelligence] thus being a part of [or subjected to] guna, kāla and [jīv-]ātmā [the material qualities, time and the individual self], transformed itself, within the range of sight of the Personality of Godhead, into the individuality of all the different life forms of this universe with their desire to [pro-]create [to continue their identification and karma].
(29) The Mahat-tattva transforming into the material reality of ego consciousness, manifests itself in terms of cause, effect and doer. Thus we have three kinds of ego that constitute a reflection in the mind of the personal self, the material elements and sentience: [respectively] brilliance [sattva], ignorance [tamas] and variability [rajas]. (30) With the principle of the doer - the variability of the ego [vaikārika] - a transformation of the mind is brought about that, in its emotionality [passion] and [in association with] all the gods [ruling by this principle], constitutes the basis of the material knowledge concerning the phenomenal world. (31) And in the brilliance [the light] with one's senses [taijasāni], the spiritual knowledge [goodness] dominates with the karma. (32) In ignorance [tamas] one arrives at the realization of the subtle sense objects [of imagined sounds and images] to which the ether [their medium] constitutes the characteristic of the Supersoul. (33) Material energy is a partial [local] mixture of time [the time of expanding and contracting]. The Supreme Lord glancing this over from the ether, thus being contacted, created the transformation of that touch in the form of air [gasses]. (34) The air, also transformed by the extremely powerful ether, gave [in contraction] rise to the form of the light [of the fire of the sun and the stars] and [the bio-electricity] of sense perception by which the world is perceived. (35) With the interaction of air and light [fire] there was, with the glance of the Lord [of the ether] mixing time with the external energy, a transformation that created water in combination with its taste. (36) With the partly [local] uniting of the material energy with eternal time, the by the light produced water, that was thus created as a consequence of the transformation of the Supreme Spirit [of God] glancing over the earth, led to the creation of the quality of smell.
(37) Oh gentle one, from the ether onwards, all the material elements and the great number of their superior and inferior qualities, one after the other are known because of their association with the Original Supreme One. (38) The gods ruling over all these material elements are all part and parcel of Lord Vishnu. Embodied in the time-bound energy as partial aspects they fail in their personal duties and express their honest feelings for the Lord. (39) The gods said: 'We offer our obeisances at Your lotus feet, oh Lord. In distress we surrendered to them because they are the protecting umbrella that offers all the great sages shelter who vigorously fully broke with all the great miseries of material life. (40) Oh Father, because of the fact that in this material world, oh Lord, the individual souls are always afflicted by the three miseries [as caused by oneself, by others and by nature], they are never happy, but attaining Your True Self, oh Supreme Personality, they reach the shelter of the shade of Your lotus feet granting all knowledge. (41) At every step taking to the shelter of the place of pilgrimage of Your feet, the great sages, who on the wings of the Vedic hymns with a clear mind search for Your lotus like face, find their shelter at the best of all rivers [the Ganges] that liberates from the reactions to sin. (42) The meditation that with belief, simply hearing and devotion cleanses the heart with the strength of the knowledge of detachment, will motivate those who thus found peace, to head for the sanctuary of Your lotus feet. (43) Let us all seek the shelter of the lotus feet of You who assumed the forms of the avatāras for the sake of the creation, maintenance and dissolution of the universe. Oh Lord, they constitute the refuge that awards the courage of the devotees with remembrance. (44) Because the people get entangled and are thus of the material body with a mentality of 'I' and 'mine', they are immersed in an undesirable eagerness. As a consequence they see themselves far removed from You, even though You are present in their bodies. Let us therefore worship Your lotus feet, oh Lord. (45) Under the influence of the material world, Your feet cannot be seen by those who, by their [attachment to] sense perception, became alienated from the internal vision, oh Supreme One. But, oh Greatness, for those who do have the [inner] vision there are [the views of] the pastimes of Your divine activities. (46) Oh Lord, they who are seriously committed, simply by drinking the nectar of the talks, attain the full maturity of devotional service. They attain the true meaning of renunciation, the intelligence by which one quickly achieves the spiritual sphere where foolishness and indolence came to an end [Vaikunthha]. (47) Also for others of transcendental realization in yoga - the method by which one conquers the very powerful material world - You are the one, pacifying Original Person to embark on. But that is a thing hard to accomplish for them, while such is not the case for those of service unto You. (48) Oh Original Lord, for that reason we are all much obliged. Since we, for the sake of the creation of the world, one after the other received a life and we thereby in the past were separated by what we did according to the three modes of nature, we were caught in the network of our own pleasures and failed to answer Your love. (49) Oh Unborn One, direct us in making our offerings at the right time. Thus we can share our meals and can also all other living beings have their sustenance, so that we, with our offerings of food, undisturbed may enjoy our meal. (50) You are of us, the gods and the other beings evolved, the one unique immutable primal person. Oh Lord, although You are unborn, You are the cause of the gunas and the karma with the material energy, as seed sown in the womb for begetting all species. (51) Oh Supreme Soul, tell us what we, who were all created from and for the totality of the cosmos, should do for You. And in particular grant us the vision of Your personal plan. Please grant us the ability, oh Lord, to work and act according to Your special mercy for us [in the form of the status-orientations and their transcendence].'
Chapter 6: Manifestation of the Universal Form
(1) The wise [Maitreya] said: 'Thus the Lord was faced with the fact that the progress of what was created in the universe was suspended because of a lack of coherence between His potencies [see 3.5: 48]. (2) At that time He with His supremely powerful potency that is known as Kālī, the goddess of the power to destroy, simultaneously entered all the twenty-three elements [the five elements and their qualities, the five organs of action and the senses and the three forms of individual consciousness: mind, intelligence and ego; compare 2.4: 23]. (3) That later on entering of the Supreme Lord in the form of the force of matter, Kālī, engaged all the living beings separately in labor by awakening them from their unconscious state to their karma. (4) When the twenty-three principal ingredients thus by the will of God were roused to [coherent] action, their combination led to the manifestation of His plenary expansion of the Original Person [in the appearance of the Universal Form]. (5) The moment He thus with His plenary expansion [of the material power] entered there, all the elements of creation, that thus found each other therein, transformed into the worlds of an organic and anorganic existence. (6) He, the Original Person, this [Garbhodakas'āyī] Vishnu called Hiranmaya, for a thousand celestial years [one such year is a 360 years to man] resided together with all that belonged to His goodness, within the egg-shaped universe supported by the [causal] waters.
(7) With the content of that egg, the complete of the gigantic person being put to work by His divine Self filled with His [female] power, He thus divided Himself into one [consciousness], three [identifications of the self, see 2.10: 14] and ten [activities, senses of action and perception]. (8) This unlimited expanse is the self of the living entities, the first incarnation and plenary portion of the Supersoul, whereupon the aggregate of all of them flourishes. (9) The threefold of the gigantic form pertains to the three aspects of ādhyātmika [the self with its senses and mind], ādhidaivika [nature and all her gods] and ādhibhautika [the others and what more appears to the senses], the tenfold relates to the [organs of the] life force [or prāna: hands, feet, anus, the genitals, eyes, nose, ears, tongue, skin and mouth; see brahma sūtra 2.4: 5-6] and the oneness refers to the heart. (10) The Lord beyond the senses recalling the prayer of the deities of the universe, by His own radiance [thus] illumined the gigantic form for the sake of their understanding. (11) Now listen to my description of the many different positions of the demigods that then manifested from His consideration.
(12) A mouth manifested and when that happened it was the god of fire who among the directors of the material world assumed his position along with his power, the organ of speech with which one utters words. (13) A palate appeared. It was the abode of Varuna [the god presiding over the waters] who in [the body of] the Lord among the directors of the material world assumed his position along with his power: the organ of the tongue with which one tastes. (14) Next the nostrils appeared where the two As'vinī Kumāras have their position with the sense of smell with which one perceives odors [see also 2.1: 29 and 2.5: 30]. (15) Eyes appeared in the gigantic body that offered a position to Tvashthā, the director of light and the power of sight by which forms can be seen. (16) Then the skin of the gigantic form manifested, a position taken by Anila, the director of the air, with the power of breath which enables the experience of touch. (17) With the manifestation of the ears of the gigantic form that position was occupied by the deities of the directions [the Digdevatās] with the power of hearing by which sounds are perceived. (18) Thereafter the [hair of the] skin of the gigantic body manifested for the divinity of the [herbs and plants with] the power to feel by means of the hairs with which itching feelings are experienced. (19) When the genitals of the gigantic form appeared, the first one [Brahmā, the Prajāpati] took his position with the function of semen with which the pleasure [of sex] is experienced. (20) An anus formed in the original embodiment offering a position taken by the god Mitra with the function of evacuation with which one defecates. (21) With the manifestation of the hands of the Universal Form the king of heaven Indra took his position with the ability to handle matters with which one makes one's living. (22) The legs of the Universal Form that manifested were occupied by Vishnu, the godhead of the power of locomotion by which one reaches one's destination. (23) When the intelligence of the Universal Form manifested, the ruling godhead Brahmā, the Lord of the spoken word, found his position with the power of insight with which one arrives at understanding. (24) Next the heart of the Universal Being manifested in which Candra, the god of the moon took his position with the function of mental activity because of which one is lost in thoughts. (25) What next came about in the Universal Form was the I-awareness in which the identification with the body [the 'false ego'] took its position [under the rule of Lord Rudra] with the function of karma by which one engages in concrete activities. (26) What followed was the manifestation of the spiritual essence of goodness in the gigantic body. Therein the complete[ness, of the mahat-tattva] found its place with the power of consciousness by means of which one cultivates wisdom.
(27) From the head of the Universal Form the heavenly worlds manifested, the earthly places originated from His legs and the sky rose from His abdomen. In those areas the enlightened souls and other living beings are found who evolved as a result of the operation of the three basic qualities of nature. (28) By the infinite mode of goodness [of sattva] the gods found their place in the heavens whereas all the human beings, who on earth live by the nature of their passion [rajas], are subordinate to them. (29) Those belonging to the third kind [the ghosts and spirits] are, as the associates of Rudra, because of their nature [of tamas] found in the region of the ether - the navel of the Lord - situated in between the other two.
(30) Spiritual wisdom generated from the mouth of the Universal Form, oh chief of the Kuru dynasty. Those who are inclined to this wisdom became the leading order [the chief varna] of society. They, the brahmins, are the recognized teachers and spiritual spokesmen [the gurus]. (31) The power to protect the citizens manifested from the arms [of the gigantic body]. They who exercise that power [the kshatriyas or rulers] are the followers [of the brahmins] and deliver, as representatives of the Supreme Personality, the other classes from the vice of disturbing societal elements. (32) For the production and distribution of the means of livelihood, the mercantile community [the vais'yas], whose occupation it is to take charge of provisioning all man, generated from the thighs of the Almighty. (33) From the legs of the Supreme Lord the service manifested that is of prime importance to the fulfillment of all sacred duties. It is traditionally the profession of the laborer [the s'ūdra] by which the Lord is satisfied [*]. (34) In order to purify their soul, all the classes in society worship by means of their occupational duties, under the lead of their spiritual teachers, with faith and devotion the Lord from whom they generated along with their duties.
(35) Who can estimate, oh Vidura, the totality of this form of the divine operating Self of the Supreme Lord that manifested by the strength of the deluding material oneness [of His internal potency, yogamāyā]? (36) Oh brother, nevertheless I will give a description, as far as my intelligence permits and my knowledge allows, of what I heard about the glories of the Lord by which one is purified, for not speaking openly [about Him] we wander off in untruth. (37) One says that the One Beyond Compare is attained by the discussions about the Supreme Personality that were piously handed down through history for the glorification of His activities. Also the ear is served best by the nectar of the transcendental message as prepared [also in writing] by the learned. (38) My dear son, could the original poet [Brahmā] know all the glories of the Supreme Soul after his intelligence had matured in meditation for a thousand celestial years? (39) Therefore, when even those skilled in creating illusions do not know because they - as also the one self-satisfied [Creator] personally - are under the spell of the bewildering potencies of the Supreme Lord, then what may one expect from others? (40) Him out of our reach who is intangible for our ego, mind and words as also for the respective gods, we offer our obeisances.'
*: S'astri Gosvāmī in this context remarks that the laborer, the s'ūdra, occupies an important place among the classes in society. Of the four purushārthas, the civil virtues, the brahmin stands for moksha, or liberation. The kshatriya is there for the regulation of sense gratification, kāma, and the vais'ya is there for the purpose of distributing the welfare, artha. But the laborer in fact makes possible the practice of religiosity, the service to God, of all the other occupational duties. He who simply serves, is just as important for the dharma.
Chapter 7: Further Inquiries by Vidura
(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'Thus speaking with Maitreya Muni, the learned son of Dvaipāyana Vyāsa, Vidura, respectfully expressed a request. (2) Vidura said: 'Oh brahmin, the Supreme Lord is the unchangeable one of the complete whole. How can despite Him being outside of the modes of nature His pastimes take place of acting with the basic qualities of material nature? (3) Boys who want to play with other boys are enthused in the matter of playing, but in what respect is that different with someone who is self-satisfied and at all times detached? (4) This universe with its three basic qualities, the gunas, was by the Supreme Lord brought about by means of His internal potency. And by that potency He also maintains the complete of it and annihilates it again. (5) How can He, the Pure Self whose consciousness is never obscured by time or circumstance, by His own actions, by others or by what has manifested [as nature], [be situated in the normal position of a living entity and] be caught in the material energy? (6) How can the one Supreme Lord who is present in every field of action [in all kshetras of the lives] of all living beings [see also B.G. 13: 3], run into any karmically settled misfortune or obstruction? (7) Oh learned one, because of the ignorance I suffer from, my mind gives me trouble. Therefore, oh mighty soul, please drive away the great impurity of my mind.'
(8) S'rī S'uka said: 'The sage this way urged on by Vidura's anxiety to find out about the reality, acted surprised and then without hesitation gave a God-conscious reply. (9) Maitreya said: 'It is contradictory to say that the Fortunate One is subject to material illusion on the one hand and that He is free from imperfections and bondage on the other hand. (10) A person loses his way because of such a contradiction about the soul, it is like seeing from the outside oneself with having one's head cut off. (11) The way by the quality of water the moon reflected in it is trembling, the quality of the physical self offers an illusory image to the inner witness differing from it. (12) When you, by the mercy of Vāsudeva, engage in detachment and in relation to the Fortunate One unite your consciousness in devotion [in bhakti-yoga], in this earthly existence that [illusion] will gradually diminish. (13) With the senses thus satisfied in the transcendental true self of the seer, all misery completely dissolves in the Lord, like one enjoyed sound sleep. (14) When one can put an end to all kinds of misery by simply hearing about [meditating upon] the qualities and such of Murāri [Krishna as the enemy of Mura], what then may one expect from the, according to one's nature, serving in the dust of His lotus feet?'
(15) Vidura said: 'Oh powerful sage, now that you have cut down my doubts with the weapon of your words, oh greatest of all, my mind concerning the two [of the independent Lord and the living being] has arrived at a perfect union. (16) Dear learned soul, you are perfectly right in stating that [reasoning from] the bewildering energy of the Lord is not the path for the soul to follow; it proves itself as meaningless when one engages without the basis of the Supreme Source apart from which one misses the point. (17) In this world both the ignorant fool and the one whose intelligence has attained the transcendental position enjoy happiness, whereas persons situated in between these two positions have to suffer. (18) Being certain of the fact that one abiding by outer appearances misses the essence, misses the soul, I with being of service at your feet can give up [the mistaken notion that the Supreme One would be subject to illusion]. (19) In serving the immutable Personality of Godhead who is the enemy of the demon Madhu, one develops by one's pleasure with the lotus feet [step by step] in different relationships [or rāsas] the intensity [of one's rapture] that vanquishes distress. (20) Those who are of little austerity are rarely found on the path of service towards Vaikunthha [the ultimate spiritual goal] where the Lord is continually glorified by the gods as the controller of all living beings.
(21) After the creation in the beginning of the cosmic intelligence and the other elements, in a gradual process of differentiation [evolution] the universal form along with the functions of the senses manifested therefrom in which later on the Almighty One entered [for His incarnations]. (22) He who is called the original person has thousands of limbs, legs and hands and accommodates all the worlds of the universe with all the life that has its existence on them. (23) You explained how there are three kinds of life [according to the basic qualities] in which one has ten kinds of life force with the [five] senses and their [fivefold] interest. Please describe now to me what the specific powers of the societal divisions are. (24) In these [divisions], with the sons, grandsons and family members of the different generations, that prowess has spread itself in the different forms of existence. (25) Who are the original progenitors [the Prajāpatis] evolved by their original leader [Brahmā]? What are the generations of these fathers of mankind and which generations followed them? Which Manus ruled over the different manvantaras [cultural periods]? (26) Which worlds are there above and below the earthly worlds, oh son of Mitrā? Please describe what their positions and sizes are as also the measures and proportions of the earthly worlds. (27) Tell me what the generations and subdivisions are of the infrahuman, human and superhuman living beings the way they are born from eggs, wombs, from moisture [micro-organisms] and from earth [the plants]. (28) Kindly describe the incarnations according to the modes of nature for the sake of the creation, maintenance and destruction of the universe [Brahmā, Vishnu and S'iva] as also the magnanimous activities of the Personality of Godhead living with the Goddess of Fortune, of Him [S'rīnivāsa] who constitutes the ultimate shelter.
(29) What are the divisions of societal status [varna] and spiritual order [ās'rama] and what are their features, how do they behave and what is their character? What are the birth and activities of the sages and what are the divisions of the Veda? (30) What, oh master, are all the ceremonies of sacrificing and what are the different ways of the yoga perfections, of the analytical study of knowledge and of relating to the Personality of God with regulative principles? (31) What are the ways followed by the faithless and what are their shortcomings? What is the situation of those who stem from mixed marriages and what is the destiny of life of the many types of individual souls according to the modes they follow and the kinds of labor they perform? (32) How can the different interests of religiosity, economic development, sense-gratification and salvation, the different means of livelihood, the codes of law, the scriptural injunctions and the different regulative principles be balanced? (33) Oh brahmin, how are the periodical offerings [of S'rāddha] regulated to honor the deceased and to respect what the forefathers have created and how are the times settled in respect of the positions of the luminaries like the planets and the stars? (34) What may one expect from charity, penance and the endeavoring for reservoirs of water and how are the duties described for someone away from home and for a man in danger? (35) Please describe to me oh sinless one, how He, the Supreme Person, the Father of Religion and Controller of All, can be satisfied completely and who of us could do that? (36) Oh best among the brahmins, the spiritual masters, who are so kind to the needy, tell their devoted disciples and sons even what they did not ask for. (37) Oh supreme master, how many dissolutions [or end times] are there for the elements of nature? Who are they who are saved then and who are they who [being of praise] may serve Him? And who may merge with Him when He goes asleep? (38) And what is the nature and identity of the individual person and of the Supreme, what is the leading motive of the Vedic wisdom and what moves the guru and his disciples? (39) Spotless devotees speak of this source of knowledge in the world. How would someone of his own accord have knowledge of devotional service and detachment?
(40) All these questions I have asked in my desire to know about the pastimes of the Lord. Please answer them as a friend to me [and everyone else] who in his ignorance with the external energy has lost his vision. (41) Oh spotless sage, the assurance of an existence free from fear one obtains from someone like you, cannot in any way be compared with the liberation offered by all the Vedas, sacrifices, penances and charity.'
(42) S'rī S'uka said: 'He [Maitreya], the chief among the sages so well versed in the stories [Purānas], was most delighted to hear these questions posed by the chief of the Kurus and thus being urged to the topics about the Supreme Lord, he with a smile gave Vidura his reply.'
Chapter 8: Manifestation of Brahmā from Garbhodakas'āyī Vishnu
(1) S'rī Maitreya said: 'The descendants of King Pūru deserve the respect of the sages because their kings are chiefly devoted to the Supreme Personality; and with you who are also born in this chain of devotional activity in respect of the Invincible One, there is step by step [with every question you ask] constantly new light shed on this subject matter. (2) Let me therefore now discuss this Bhāgavatam, this Vedic supplement that originally by the Supreme Lord in person was spoken to the seers for the mitigation of the great distress of the human beings who experience so little happiness.
(3) The son of Brahmā [Sanat-kumāra] as the leader of the great sages [the four boy-saints, the Kumāras], questioned just like you Lord Sankarshana about the truth concerning the Original Personality [the first plenary portion and companion of the Lord] who always clear in His knowledge resides at the basis of the universe. (4) He in that position with Him whom one in great esteem calls Vāsudeva had turned His vision inwards, but to encourage the highly learned sages He slightly opened His lotuslike eyes. (5) With the hairs on their heads wet from the water of the Ganges they touched the shelter of His lotus feet that is worshiped by the daughters of the serpent-king, with great devotion and with various paraphernalia, in the desire for a good husband. (6) Known with His pastimes they, with words and with great affection in rhythmic accord, repeatedly glorified the activities while from the thousands of raised hoods [of Ananta, the serpent king] the glowing effulgence emanated of the valuable stones upon their thousands of helmets. (7) Oh Vidura one says that He then discussed the purport of the Bhāgavatam with Sanat-kumāra who had taken the [yoga] vow of renunciation and, as was requested, passed it on to Sānkhyāyana who had also taken the vow. (8) When the great sage Sānkhyāyana as the chief of the transcendentalists reciting this Bhāgavatam [thereafter] expounded on it, both the spiritual master Parās'ara whom I followed and Brihaspati were present. (9) Urged on by sage Pulastya, he [Parās'ara] kindheartedly told me this finest one of the Purānas that I in my turn will relate to you, my dear son, for you are an ever faithfull follower.
(10) At the time the three worlds were submerged in the waters, He [Garbhodakas'āyī Vishnu] was lying down there alone, inactively with almost closed eyes, upon the snake bed Ananta desiring nothing more than the satisfaction of His internal potency. (11) The way the power of fire is hidden in wood, He resided there in His place in the water, keeping all living beings in their subtlety within His transcendental body from where He gives life in the form of Time [kāla]. (12) For the duration of thousand times four yugas [4.32 billion years] He with His internal potency lay dormant for the sake of the further development - by means of His force called kāla [time] - of the worlds of the living beings who depend on fruitive activities. That role gave His body a bluish look [the blue of the refuge of the vivifying water]. (13) In accordance with the purpose of His internal attention for the subtle subject matter of creation, there was in due course of time, because of the material activity of the basic qualities of nature, the agitation [of the subtle elements, the entities] that then most subtly broke forth from His abdomen [from the ether]. (14) With the Time that roused the karma to activity, soon from the original self [of Vishnu] with that [agitation] a lotus bud appeared that, just like a sun, illumined the vast waters with its effulgence.
(15) That lotus flower of factually the universe was entered by Vishnu as the reservoir of all qualities from which He in the beginning generated the personality of Vedic wisdom, the controller of the universe [Brahmā] who, so one says, was born from himself. (16) [Brahmā] in that water situated on the whorl of the lotus could not discern the world and spying all around in the four directions he [thus] received his four heads. (17) [Brahmā] seated upon and sheltered by the lotus flower that, because of the stormy sky at the end of the yuga, had appeared from the restless waters, could in his bewilderment not fathom the mystery of creation, nor understand that he was the first demigod. (18) 'Who am I, seated on top of this lotus? Wherefrom has it originated? There must be something in the water below. Being present here implies the existence of that from which it sprouted!' (19) This way contemplating the stem of the lotus, he by following that channel in the water towards the navel [of Vishnu], despite his entering there and extensively thinking about its origin, could not understand the foundation. (20) Groping in the dark, oh Vidura, with his contemplating this way it thus came to pass that the enormity of the three-dimensional reality of time [tri-kālika] was generated that, as a weapon [a cakra], inspires fear in the embodied unborn soul by limiting his span of life to a hundred years [compare 2.2: 24-25].
(21) When he failed to achieve the object of his desire, the godhead gave up the endeavor and seated himself upon the lotus again to control with confidence, step by step, his breath, withdraw his mind and unify his consciousness in meditation. (22) [Thus] practicing yoga for the duration of his life, the unborn one in due course of time developed the understanding and saw how in his heart, out of its own, that manifested what he could not see before. (23) On the bed of the completely white gigantic S'esha-nāga [snake] lotusflower the Original Person was lying all alone under the umbrella of the serpent hood that was bedecked with head jewels by the glow of which the darkness in the water of devastation was dissipated. (24) The view of His hands, legs, jewels, flower garland and dress, derided the panorama of the green coral of the evening splendor of the sun over the great, golden mountain summits with their waterfalls and herbs, flowers and trees. (25) The totality of the three worlds in all its variety was, with the length and width of the measurement of His transcendental presence, covered by the beauty of the divine radiance of the ornaments that dressed His body.
(26) According to the desire of the human being who, in worship of the lotus feet that reward each desire, follows the path of devotional service, He in His causeless mercy, with the moonlike radiance of His toe- and fingernails, showed the most beautiful [flowerlike] division. (27) With His smiling face adorned with the beauty of His earrings, with the view of the light reflected by His lips and with the reaction of His pleasing nose and eyebrows, He dispelled the distress of the world. (28) Dear Vidura, His waist was well decorated with a belt and with cloth with the saffron color of kadamba flowers, there was a priceless necklace and on His chest there was the attractive S'rīvatsa mark [a few white hairs]. (29) The way trees in the world have their separate existence and with their thousands of branches spread their high value [of flowers and fruits] as if they are ornamented with precious jewels, so too the Lord, the ruler of Ananta, [Garbhodakas'āyī Vishnu] is ornamented with the hoods above His shoulders. (30) The Supreme Lord, just like a mountain, is the abode for all living beings mobile and immobile. As the friend of Anantadeva He, like a mountain, is submerged in the water and with His thousands of golden helmets [and jewels] and with His Kaustubha jewel He manifests Himself like a mountain range of gold in the ocean. (31) With around His neck the flower garland of His personal glories in the form of the sweet, beautiful sounds of Vedic wisdom, the Lord of the sun, the moon, the air and fire was most difficult to approach for all the three worlds [so did Brahmā discover] because He was surrounded by His personal weapons [like His cakra]. (32) Thus it happened that the godhead of the universe, the creator of destiny, could behold His navel, the lake, the lotus flower, the waters of destruction, the air with its winds and the sky, but could not glance beyond the created reality of the cosmic manifestation. (33) With the reach of that vision he, as the seed of all worldly activities, thus was invigorated by the mode of passion. Therefore He, in consideration of the living beings eagerly procreating, prayed to Him for the allowance to create, on the transcendental path of the steadfast soul, in service of the Worshipable One.'
Chapter 9: Brahmā's Prayers for Creative Energy
(1) Brahmā said: 'Today, after a long time [of penance], I have come to know You and can say that it is really a shame when the embodied soul has no knowledge of Your ways as the Supreme Lord. There is no one beyond You, my Lord, and anything that appears to be so can never be the absolute, for You are [the transcendence of] the greater reality to the modes of the material energy that lost its equilibrium. (2) That [greater] form is always free from the darkness of matter because You, in the beginning, for the sake of the devotees manifested Your inner potency, the potency that is the source of the hundreds of avatāras and from which I also found my existence upon the lotus flower sprouting from Your navel. (3) Oh my Lord, beyond this [source] I see no other [body] superior to Your eternal form full of bliss that is free from change and deterioration of potency. You are the one and only Creator of the cosmic manifestation and the nonmaterial Supreme Soul itself. I who take pride in my identification with the body and senses am surrendered to You. (4) That form - or however You make Your presence - is all-auspicious for the entire universe and beneficial to our meditation. You, Supreme Lord who have manifested Yourself to us devotees, I offer my obeisances. For You I perform that what is neglected by persons who, in their appetite for material matters, head straight for hell. (5) But those who hold on to the flavor and smell of Your lotus feet that is carried by the sounds of the Veda reaching their ears, accepted Your transcendental course by their devotional service. For those who are Your devotees there is never the separation from You [being installed] on the lotus of their hearts, oh Lord. (6) Till then there will be fear because of the wealth, the body and the relatives, and also the lamentation and desire as well as the avarice and contempt will be great. As long as the people of the world do not take to the shelter of the security of Your lotus feet, one will be full of anxieties in one's undertaking according to the perishable notion of possessing things. (7) How unfortunate are they who are bereft of the memory of Your topics! With their senses not directed at You, they are tied down by inauspicious matters and find, acting to their desires, happiness for only a brief moment. They are poor fellows whose minds are constantly ruled by greed and activities full of stress. (8) Their always being troubled by [false] hunger, thirst and their three humors [mucus, bile and gasses], by winter and summer, wind and rain and by many other disturbances as also by a strong sex drive and inescapable anger, I consider all together as spiritually most unbearable, oh Man of the Great Strides. It aggrieves me a lot. (9) As long as a person, under the influence of Your material illusion, oh Fortunate One, is a servant of his senses and is faced with an existence of being separated in a body, such a soul, oh Lord, will not be able to overcome the cycle of repeated births in the material world. Even though working for outer results carries no factual meaning [to the soul], it will result in endless miseries. (10) During the day their senses are engaged in stressful labor and at night they suffer insomnia because of all their ruminations that constantly disturb their intelligence and break their sleep. The divine order frustrates their plans. They and even those sages, oh Lord, who turned against Your topics, will have to keep wandering around in this world. (11) United in devotion being directed at You for a hundred percent and with You residing on the lotus of their hearts, the devotees who are on the path of listening, oh my Lord, see how You, in the here and now, in Your causeless mercy exactly manifest that transcendental form they had in mind of You glorified by so many. (12) You are never that much pleased by pompous arrangements with a lot of paraphernalia of high-class servants who are of worship with hearts full of all kinds of desires. For You, the variously perceived Unique and Only Well-wisher, the Supersoul within the living entities, are there to show all living entities Your causeless mercy; You cannot be achieved by those who settle for what is man-made and temporal [asat]. (13) The dharma [the correct, infallible course of action] therefore consists of those different result minded activities, forms of charity, difficult penances and transcendental forms of service, that by the people are performed for just the worship of You, for simply pleasing You, the Fortunate One. The duty thus being performed will never be in vain.
(14) Let me offer my obeisances to You, the Supreme One who always, by the glories of His transcendental form, distinguishes Yourself in enjoying the pastimes of Your cosmic creation, maintenance and destruction. Unto You, the Transcendence whom one realizes by intelligently dealing with the illusory diversity, I offer my obeisances. (15) I take refuge in the Unborn One whose names, representing His incarnations, transcendental qualities and activities, open the way for reaching His eternal bliss. When they are invoked the moment one leaves this life, they immediately automatically remove the accumulated sins of many, many lives. (16) He, the Almighty Personality, who for reasons of maintenance, creation and dissolution penetrates [this world] with three trunks - the one of me, S'iva and Himself - grew, rooting in the soul, as the one and only [coherence] to the many branches [of religion]. Him, the Personality of Godhead, this tree of the planetary systems, I offer my obeisances. (17) As long as the people of the world are engaged in unwanted activities and in the activities of their self-interest despise the by You as beneficial pronounced devotional activities, the struggle for existence of these people will be very tough and with [the defiance of] Your Vigilant Rule [of Time] lead straight to a shambles. Let there be my obeisances unto You. (18) Existing in a place that lasts for two parārdhas [2 x 50 years, with one day and night being two times 4.32 billion earthly years: 311.04 trillion years], even I, being respected in all the worlds and for many years having undergone severe penances for my self-realization, desire to obtain You whom I offer my respectful obeisances my Lord, oh Supreme Personality and enjoyer of all sacrifices. (19) Desiring to fulfill Your obligations You manifest Your transcendental pastimes, by the grace of Your will projecting Yourself in the different life forms of the animals, the human beings and the gods. In spite of appearing in Your divine form, You thereby are never under the influence of the material energy. I offer my obeisances to that Lord of the Opulences, the Supreme Personality. (20) And also the ignorance [avidya] that is known in five ways [see further 3.12: 2] does not affect You. On the contrary, You, amidst the violent series of waves in the waters lying on the snake bed in touch [with Ananta S'esha], keep the peace and slumber, carrying in Your abdomen all the living entities and worlds for the sake of their maintenance. That is how You show the [intelligent] human being Your happiness. (21) I offer You my obeisances by the power of whom I have manifested from the lotus house sprouting from Your navel, in order to assist by Your grace You, the worshipable one, in the creation of the three worlds. I worship You who have the universe in Your abdomen and whose eyes after the end of Your yogic slumber are blossoming like lotuses.
(22) May He, the Lord of all universes, the one friend and philosopher, the Supersoul who as the Supreme Lord of the six opulences [beauty, intelligence, penance, power, fame and wealth] brings happiness by the mode of goodness, grant me the power of introspection so that I will be able to create, as before, this universe as a surrendered soul dear to Him. (23) Unto this benefactor of the surrendered soul, who, with the Goddess of Fortune [Lakshmī], from His internal potency enjoys whatever He may enact in accepting His incarnations of goodness, I pray that I, being gifted with His omnipotency, may be of service and create and that I also, despite the material affection of my heart, will be able to stop with it. (24) I, who for the manifestation of the variegation of His unlimited power was born from the lake of the Supreme Person's navel as the energy of the total universe, pray that I may not suffer the misfortune of losing sight of the sound vibrations of the Vedic truth. (25) May the Supreme Lord who, in His ultimate love and smiles, is of an endless mercy, open His lotus eyes. Let the cosmic creation thus flourish and find His glory as He with His sweet words, as the oldest and Original Person, takes away our dejection.'
(26) Maitreya said: 'After he had observed the source of His appearance and with penance, full of knowledge and a focussed mind, to the best of his ability had given thought to the words of his prayer, he fell silent as if he was tired. (27-28) When Madhusūdana [Krishna as the killer of Madhu] saw the sincerity of Brahmā and how depressed he was about the devastating waters of the age and at a loss about the different positions of the worlds, He in deep thoughtful words addressed him in order to remove his anxiety.'
(29) The Supreme Lord said: 'Gifted as you are with the depth of all Vedic wisdom, do not despair about the endeavor of creation. That what you ask from Me, has already been settled by Me. (30) To be sure of My support you must, as before, be of penance and prayer [meditate the mantras]. By these qualities you will see all the worlds laid open within your heart, oh brahmin. (31) When you connected in devotion are fully absorbed in the universe, you will see that I am spread throughout, oh Brahmā, and that you, including all the worlds and life forms, are part of Me. (32) You will see Me situated within the universe and in all living entities like fire present in wood and that very instant you will undoubtedly be able to leave the weakness behind. (33) As soon as you have approached Me and, with your senses no longer under the control of the modes of nature, are free from the gross and subtle self, you will see your pure essence [svarūpa] and enjoy the kingdom of heaven. (34) With your desire to expand the varieties of service and increase the population innumerably, your soul will never be saddened therein because My mercy is unbounded. (35) Since you are the original seer, the vicious mode of passion will never encroach upon you and your mind, despite your generation of progeny, will always be fixed upon Me. (36) Even though I for the conditioned soul am difficult to know, I today am known by you because you understand Me as not being a product of matter, the senses, the modes or the bewilderment of the self. (37) I manifested Myself to you from within when you, in your contemplating the source of the lotus, by its stem in the water tried to discover Me. (38) The prayers you performed for Me, oh Brahmā, the stories about Me enumerating My glories and your penance in steady faith, are all [to be considered as] My causeless mercy. (39) May all benediction rest upon you who in your desire prayed for the victory of all the worlds by describing so nicely My qualities and transcendental position. I am most pleased with you. (40) Anyone who regularly prays these verses as stated, will by his worship very soon see all his desires fulfilled, for I am the Lord of all benediction. (41) Satisfying Me by good works, penances, sacrifices, charities and absorption in yoga, the human being will find his ultimate success, so is the opinion of those who know the Absolute Truth. (42) Because I am the Supersoul, the director of all other souls and the dearest of everything dear, one should dedicate all one's attachment to Me. The love after all one has for one's body and other matters is there on account of Me. (43) And now generate with the control of your knowledge of the Veda and with your body, who both directly owe their existence to the [Super]soul, as is customary the lives of all wo are closely associated with Me.'
(44) Maitreya said: 'After thus having instructed the creator of the universe, the primeval, original Lord in His personal Nārāyana form disappeared from sight.'
Chapter 10: Divisions of the Creation(1) Vidura said: 'How many living beings were by the almighty grandfather of all creatures on this planet created from his body and mind, after the disappearance of the Supreme Personality? (2) Dear man of power, be so kind to eradicate all my doubts and describe from the beginning to the end everything I asked you, oh best among the souls of vast knowledge.' "
(3) Sūta said [see Canto 1]: "Oh son of Bhrigu [S'aunaka], the great sage, the son of Kushāra [Maitreya] thus being stimulated by Vidura, felt pleased and answered the questions speaking from his heart.
(4) Maitreya said: 'Brahmā thus for the sake of the soul engaged himself in penance for a hundred celestial years the way the Unborn One, the Supreme Lord told him to. (5) He who was born on the lotus, then saw how the lotus upon which he was situated and the water surrounding it trembled because of the wind that was propelled by the power of eternal Time. (6) With his transcendental knowledge and self-awareness having increased by his penance, he had matured in practical knowledge, and with that power he took in the wind along with the water. (7) When he saw how widespread the lotus was upon which he was situated, he thought to himself: 'I shall with this [lotus in these time stirred waters] bring back to life all the worlds that in the past have merged in me.' (8) By the Supreme Lord being encouraged to engage in action, he then entered the whirl of the lotus and divided the complete of it in three main divisions that he further divided into fourteen subsections [see also 2.5: 42]. (9) These different circumstances of life together constitute the consequence of the [more or less] selfless dutiful actions [the dharma] of the individual souls in relation to the Supreme Personality.'
(10) Vidura said: 'Discussing the variety of different forms of the Lord, the wonderful actor, you spoke about eternal time as one of His names. Oh brahmin, can you please describe to us how time factually makes its appearance, oh master, what are its characteristics?'
(11) Maitreya said: 'It [Eternal Time] is the source of the different [organic and anorganic] interactions of the modes of nature, it is undivided and unlimited and it is the instrument of the Original Person to create, by His pastimes, the material life of the soul. (12) It is by means of time [kāla], the hidden, impersonal feature, that the Lord separated from the Supreme Absolute [God or brahma] the material phenomenon that was established as the bewildering material potency of Vishnu. (13) The way it [Eternal Time] is there in the present, it was there in the beginning and will also be there hereafter.
(14) The conditioning [or creation] is divided in nine kinds. Next to the formation according to the basic qualities [viz. the gunas or the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance], there is the formation according to the material qualities of time [movement, knowledge and inertia] and the three forms of creation that find their end [of plants, animals and human beings]. (15) The first creation is the one of [the goodness of the] cosmic intelligence [the mahat-tattva] of the Supreme Lord wherein the interaction of the natural qualities takes place. The second creation consists of the [passion of] the identified self, the false ego, on the basis of which there is knowledge of the material elements that thus find their engagement. (16) The third type of material formation is the one of the [ignorance of the] elements that give rise to sense perception. The fourth creation consists of [the material movement of] that what basically leads to the knowledge acquiring and operating [functions of the senses]. (17) The fifth kind of creation consists of the interaction with the mode of goodness that, together with the mind derived therefrom, results in the deities [who rule the senses]. Sixth there is the creation of darkness [from the slowness of matter] that turns masters into fools. (18) These are the six [primary] material creations. Now hear from me about the three secondary creations [of plant, animal and man produced] with the pastime of the almighty incarnation of passion [Brahmā] who has the intelligence of the Lord.
(19) The seventh main division of creation concerns the six kinds of beings who do not move around: trees bearing fruit without flowers, plants and bushes that exist until the fruit has ripened, the creepers, the pipe-plants, creepers without support and fruit trees that blossom. (20) These beings who seek their sustenance upwards, are practically unconscious with only an inner feeling and are of many varieties. (21) The eighth creation concerns the species of lower animals. There are twenty-eight different kinds of them and they are considered to have no knowledge of their destiny, to be of an extreme ignorance, to discriminate by smell and have a poorly functioning conscience. (22) Oh purest one, the cow, the goat, the buffalo, the antelope, the hog, the gavaya [a type of oxen], the deer, the sheep and the camel all have split hooves. (23) The ass, the horse, the mule, the gaura, the s'arabha bison and the wild cow have only one toe. Oh Vidura, just let me tell you now about the animals with five nails. (24) They are the dog, the jackal, the fox, the tiger, the cat, the rabbit, the sajāru porcupine, the lion, the monkey, the elephant, the tortoise, the iguana ['four legged snake'], the alligator and others. (25) The heron, the vulture, the crane, the hawk, the bhāsa [another kind of vulture], the bhallūka, the peacock, the swan, the sārasa [indian crane], the cakravāka, the crow, the owl and so on are the birds. (26) But there is yet a ninth kind that [also] fills its belly, oh Vidura. It consists of one form of appearance: the human beings. In them the mode of passion is very prominent. They are very busy with [diminishing] their misery, but always consider themselves happy.
(27) These three secondary creations, including the creation of the demigods [as an extra category], my dear one, are, contrary to the other ones that I described, [as for their modes and qualities] subjected to modifications [to mutation or evolution], even though the Kumāras [the sons of Brahmā, the brahmins, the sages] are of both natures [they adapt physically, but they do not change in quality]. (28-29) The creation of the demigods is of eight types: (1) the self-realized souls, (2) the forefathers, (3) the atheists, (4) the celestial beings, angels and the saints, (5) the protectors and the giants, (6) the celestial singers, (7) the spirits of guidance in what is good and bad and the denizens of heaven and (8) the superhuman beings and such. All the ten types of creation I described to you, oh Vidura, are created by Brahmā, the creator of the universe. (30) Next I shall explain the different descendants of the Manus and how the Creator, being moved by the mode of passion, in the different ages creates and does so with an unfailing determination in respect of the Supreme Lord who, by dint of His own energy, as Himself appeared from Himself.'
Chapter 11: Division of Time Expanding from the Atom
(1) Maitreya said: 'One should know that the ultimate presence of that what shows itself in the manifold as being indivisible, consists of an infinitesimal particle [paramānu] the combination of which [into material forms] creates illusion in man. (2) The supreme oneness of that particle being present within material bodies, keeps its original form till the end of time, it is of a continual, unrivaled uniformity. (3) Time, my best one, besides being known as the supreme, non-manifest Almighty Lord who controls all physical action, can therefore also be measured by the motion of the minutest and largest forms of combinations of particles. (4) The time of that infinitesimal particle is the time it takes to occupy [or vibrate in] a certain atomic space. The greatest of time is the time taken by the existence of the complete of all atoms.
(5) Two infinitesimal particles constitute an atom [an anu] and three atoms make a trasarenu of which one is reminded by a beam of sunlight falling through a lattice window in which one sees something [a dust-particle] going up in the sky. (6) The time taken by the combination of three trasarenus is called a truthi [calculated as 1/16.875 of a second] of which one hundred are called a vedha. Three of them are called a single lava. (7) The duration of three lavas equals one nimesha [± 0.53 second] and the time of three of them is called a kshana [± 1.6 seconds], five of those make a kāshthhā [± 8 seconds] and a laghu consists of fifteen of them [± 2 minutes]. (8) A number of fifteen of those laghus is called a nādikā [or danda, ± 30 minutes] and two of them make a muhūrta [about an hour], while six to seven of them form one yāma [a quarter of a light day or night] depending the human calculation [the season, the latitude]. (9) The measuring pot (water-clock) has the weight of six palas [14 ounces] and has a four māsha [17 karats] golden probe four fingers long covering a hole through which it fills with water till 'prastha' [solid, till it sinks]. (10) Four yāmas form the duration of both the day and the night of the human being and fifteen days [of eight yāmas each] make one pakshah [fortnight] which measured is known as being either black or white [depending on whether there is a full moon or new moon in it]. (11) The aggregate of such a 'day' and 'night' is called an ancestral [traditional or solar] month with two of them forming a season. There are six of them [respectively 'cold' or hemanta, 'dew' or s'is'ira, 'spring' or vasanta, 'warm' or grīshma, 'rainy' or varshās and 'autumn' or s'arad, counting from December 22] corresponding to the movement of the sun going through the southern and northern sky. (12) This movement of the sun is said to form one day of the demigods and is called a vatsara [a tropical year] of twelve months. The duration of life of the human being is estimated to be of a great number [a hundred] of those years [see also the 'full calendar of order'].
(13) The infinitesimal particles and their combinations, the planets, the heavenly bodies [like the moon] and the stars, all rotate in the universe, to complete their orbit in a year of the Almighty [cyclic order, the command] of eternal time. (14) We speak about an orbit of the sun, about an orbit of the other planets, the orbit of the stars [in our galaxy around Sagittarius A in the sky], the orbit of the moon, oh Vidura, and the orbit of the earth as being a single [but differently named] year [respectively a celestial year, a planetary year, a galactic year, a lunation and a tropical year]. (15) With attention for all His five different types of years, one should be of respect for the One [Lord of Time] who, differing from all that was created, moves under the name of Eternal Time and who with His energy in different ways invigorates the seeds of creation while during the day dissipating the darkness of the living entities. By thus performing sacrifices one develops quality in one's material existence.'
(16) Vidura said: 'You pointed out the ultimate measure of time of the life periods of the ancestors, the gods and the human beings. Can you now, oh great sage, give a description of the time periods of the lives of the elevated souls that cover more than a millennium? (17) Oh mighty master, you know the movements of the Supreme Lord in the form of eternal time, for you, in the control of your yogic command, have the eyes of a self-realized soul to oversee the entire universe.'
(18) Maitreya said: 'The four yugas [ages or millennia] called Satya, Tretā, Dvāpara and Kali together take approximately 12.000 years [or one mahāyuga] of the demigods [comprising 360 vatsaras each]. (19) The subsequent yugas starting with Satya-yuga are each respectively four, three, two and one times 1.200 demigod years long. (20) Experts say that the transitional periods at the beginning and end of each yuga cover several hundreds of demigod years. They are millennia [like the millennium we live in now] wherein all kinds of religious activities take place. (21) The dutifulness of mankind concerning the four principles of religion [of satya, dayā, tapas, s'auca; truth, compassion, penance and purity] was during Satya-yuga properly maintained, but in the other yugas the principles gradually declined one by one [first penance, then compassion, then purity]. (22) Next to the one thousand [mahā-]yugas that, oh dear one, together constitute one day of Brahmā [of 4.32 billion years] of the three worlds [the heavenly, svarga; earthly, martya and lower, pātāla ones], there is also a night just as long wherein the Creator of the universe goes asleep. (23) Following the end of the night when another day of Lord Brahmā begins, the creation of the three worlds, that in its totality covers the lives of fourteen Manus, starts all over. (24) Each Manu thus enjoys a time of living of a little more than seventy-one [mahā-]yugas.
(25) After the end of each Manu, the next one appears together with his descendants, the seven sages, the God-conscious souls and the king of the demigods [Indra] as also all those who follow them. (26) This is Lord Brahmā's day to day creation wherein the lower animals, the human beings, the forefathers and the gods wander around, appearing in the three worlds because of their karma. (27) With the change of each Manu, the Supreme Lord manifests His goodness in His different incarnations, as the Manu Himself and as others, and thus unfolding His divine potencies He maintains this universe. (28) At the end of the day [of Brahmā] the Almighty Time arrests its manifestation, whereupon, with the complete whole fallen in darkness, all living entities remain merged in silence. (29) Just as it happens during an ordinary night, all three worlds that disappeared from sight, therewith are bereft of the light of the sun and the moon. (30) When the three worlds are set ablaze by the potency of the fire emanating from the mouth of Lord Sankarshana [see 3.8: 3], sage Bhrigu and the other inhabitants who are agitated by the heat, move from the world of the saints [Maharloka, the fourth world] to the world of the godly people [Janaloka, the next world of celibate saints]. (31) Immediately after the beginning of the devastation of the three worlds all the seas overflow with violent winds and hurricanes that blow the waves high. (32) The Lord, who in His mystical slumber with closed eyes lies down on the bed of Ananta within the water, is glorified by the inhabitants of the worlds of the God-conscious souls.
(33) By the symptoms of days and nights of the advancement of time, his [Brahmā's] life and also our lives are limited to a duration of a hundred years, even though in his case it takes a hundred of his years [with his life consisting of two parārdhas or 2 times 155.5 trillion human years, see also 3.9: 18]. (34) The first half of his lifetime called one parārdha has passed and now in this age we have begun with the second half. (35) The superior first half started with a grand kalpa called the Brāhma-kalpa in which Lord Brahmā manifested whom one knows as the [source of the] Vedic sounds. (36) Thereafter, at the end of that enormous span of time, the period called the Pādma-kalpa came into being in which the lotus of the universe sprouted from the reservoir of water of the Lord's navel. (37) The present kalpa [at the beginning] of the second half, oh descendant of Bharata, is celebrated as the one of Vārāha in which the Lord appeared in the form of a boar [see also 1.3: 7]. (38) The time measured by the two halves of Brahmā's life takes but a second for the beginningless, unchanging and unlimited Soul of the universe. (39) This eternal time, beginning from the atom up to the final duration of two parārdhas, is never capable of controlling the Supreme Lord, it is the controller of those souls who are identified with their body. (40) As a combination of the basic elements and their transformations this manifest universe has expanded to a diameter of half a billion [yojanas - a dynamic cosmic measure]. (41) [The space occupied by the infinitesimal particles of the primal ether, pradhāna] expanded to the tenfold [of the dimensions of the therefrom condensating basic elements and their transformations] that, appearing like atoms, entered to cluster into many other egg shaped abodes [or galaxies]. (42) That cause of all causes [containing all the universes] is said to be the imperishable Absolute Truth, the supreme abode of the direct, personal manifestation of the Supreme Soul: Lord Vishnu.'
See also the page: "S'rīmad Bhāgavatam & Bhagavad Gītā Time Quotes".
Chapter 12: Creation of the Kumāras and Others
(1) Maitreya said: 'Thus far I have described to you, oh Vidura, the glories of the Supersoul under the name of kāla, time, now try to understand from me how the repository of the Vedas [Brahmā] created the things as they are.
(2) He first created the [five] forms of ignorant engagement: the idea that one would die [andha-tāmisra], followed by indignation [tāmisra], the craving of infatuation [mahā-moha], the delusional of errors [like identifying oneself with the body etc., moha] and the darkness of lacking in self-awareness [tamas]. (3) Seeing what a troublesome creation it was he [Brahmā] could not really appreciate what he had done, whereupon he, after being purified by meditating upon the Supreme Lord, found the mind for another creation. (4) The great self-born soul then created Sanaka, Sananda, Sanātana and Sanat-kumāra [the four Kumāras] who are lifelong celibates ['they whose seed goes upwards'] free from all profit-minded action. (5) He from within told his sons: 'Oh my sons, do procreate', but they did not want to, because they, in their devotion for the Personality of Godhead, were vowed to the principles of liberation. (6) Disrespected by his sons refusing to follow the order, he did his best to check the difficult to curb anger that rose in him. (7) In spite of the original father's meditative control, out of his anger, straight from between his eyebrows, a child was born that had a color composed of red [for passion] and blue [for ignorance]. (8) The child cried loudly to the father of all the gods: 'Oh powerful one, oh ruler of destiny, assign me my names and tell me what my places are, oh teacher of the universe.'
(9) He, as the all-powerful one born from the lotus, thus being asked, complied with the request and gently pacified the child with the words: 'Do not cry, I shall do what you want. (10) Because you, oh chief of the demigods, as a boy were so anxiously crying loudly, the people will address you with the name Rudra. (11) The heart, the senses, the life air, the ether, the air, fire and water, earth and the sun, the moon as also austerity are the places reserved for you. (12) Your [other] names are: Manyu, Manu, Mahinasa, Mahān, S'iva, Ritadhvaja, Ugraretā, Bhava, Kāla, Vāmadeva and Dhritavrata. (13) Dhī, Dhriti, Rasalā, Umā, Niyut, Sarpi, Ilā, Ambikā, Irāvatī, Svadhā and Dīkshā, oh Rudra, are your [eleven] wives [the Rudrānīs]. (14) Please, accept these different names, places and wives and generate progeny with them on a large scale, for you are the master of the living beings.' (15) Thus being instructed by his spiritual master, the mighty lord of the mixture of blue and red brought forth generations of the same strength, features and nature as his. (16) But when he saw the activities of the sons generated by Rudra and how their endless numbers together devoured the entire universe, the father of the living beings got afraid. (17) 'Oh best of the demigods, [he said,] enough of you creating this kind of living beings. They scorch, with the fiery flames of their eyes, every direction and me as well. (18) Be of [voluntary] penance, that will do you good and bring happiness to all living entities. Only by doing penance you will as before be able to bring about the universe. (19) Only by penitence a person knows the supreme light and can fully respect the Supreme Lord beyond the senses who resides in the heart of everyone.'
(20) Maitreya said: 'Thus being instructed by the self-born one, he [Rudra] circumambulated the master of the Vedas saying 'So be it'. Next he entered the forest to do penance. (21) Determined to create he [Brahmā] who by the Supreme Lord had been empowered, then begot ten sons in order to populate the world: (22) Marīci, Atri, Angirā, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Bhrigu, Vasishthha, Daksha and Nārada as number ten. (23) Nārada sprouted from his lap, Daksha from the thumb, from his life-air Vasishthha saw the light, while Bhrigu came forth from his touch and sage Kratu from his hand. (24) Pulaha generated from the navel, Pulastya from his ears, the great sage Angirā from the mouth, from the eyes sage Atri came forth and sage Marīci appeared from the mind. (25) From the right side of the breast, where Nārāyana resides, religion manifested while irreligion, because of which the world fears the horrors of death, appeared from his back. (26) From the heart lust manifested, from the eyebrows anger, from between his lips greed, from the mouth the urge to speak originated while from his penis the oceans appeared and from the anus, the source of all vice, the lowest activities. (27) From his shadow Kardama Muni, the husband of Devahūti, manifested. This is how the complete of this living universe of the creator evolved from both the master's body and mind.
(28) Oh Vidura, we have heard that the daughter Vāk who was born from his body distracted the mind of Brahmā and made him desirous of her even though she was not sexually inclined. (29) When the sons, the sages headed by Marīci, saw that his mind was seized by immorality, they with due respect submitted the following: (30) 'That what you are doing now with your daughter without controlling your sexual desire you, nor anyone else, has done before, nor will anybody do such a thing ever in the future, oh master. (31) Oh master of the universe, for certain such an attitude does not befit you, the most powerful soul, whose good behavior and character constitutes an example followed by all the world striving for prosperity. (32) Let us offer our obeisances to the Supreme Lord who, from within the soul, by the power of His own effulgence brought about this manifestation. May His sense of duty protect us all.' (33) Seeing all his sons who thus addressed him standing before him, the father of all fathers of mankind most ashamed quitted his body. That body was seized by the directions as a terrible fog known for its darkness. (34) When the creator one day wondered how he should create the three worlds as before, the Vedic literature manifested itself from his four mouths. (35) Thus the four functions of [sacrificial] action [the offer, the performer, the fire and the offering] and the supplements of the Veda with their logical conclusions became manifest as also the four principles of religion [truth, purity, austerity and compassion] and the spiritual departments [ās'ramas] and vocational divisions [varnas].'
(36) Vidura said: 'Please, oh wealth of renunciation, can you tell by what mouth which Veda was produced by the god who is the controller of the creators of the universe?'
(37) Maitreya said: 'The four Vedas called Rig, Yajur, Sāma and Atharva appeared, beginning with the front [east, south, west and north], each from one of the mouths and in the same order followed the scriptural discussions [the S'āstra for the Hotā priest], the rituals [the Ijya for the Adhvaryu priest], the recitation material [the Stutistoma for the Udgātā priest] and the transcendental service of atonement [the Prāyas'citta for the Brahmā ritvik]. (38) The same way beginning from the front mouth in the eastern direction the Vedic sciences of medicine [Āyurveda], archery [Dhanurveda], music [Ghandarvaveda] and architecture [Sthāpatyaveda] were created [who together are called the Upavedas]. (39) The Itihāsas - the separate histories - and the collections of classical stories, the Purānas, who together are known as the fifth Veda, manifested from all the mouths of him looking in every direction. (40) From his eastern mouth as also from each of the other ones he sent out a pair of sacrifices: sodas'ī, uktha [from the east], purīshi, agnishthoma [from the south], āptoryamā, atirātra [from the west] and vājapeya and gosava [from the north]. (41) Education [vidyā, also called purity - s'auca - through acquiring knowledge], charity [dāna], penance [tapas] and truth [satya] are the four legs of religion that in the same order came about together with the orders of life [students, married people, withdrawn people and the renunciates] and the vocations [the laborers, the traders, the rulers and the intellectuals]. (42) Next the vows appeared [for regulating the brahmacārī, the celibate student] of Sāvitra [three days of celibacy after the ceremony of the holy thread], Prājāpatya [celibacy for one year], Brāhma [celibacy during the study of the Veda] and Brihat [lifelong celibacy] as also the vows [for regulating household life] of Vārtā [vocations sanctioned by the scriptures], Sańcaya [officiating at ceremonies], S'ālīna [to subsist on everything that is acquired without asking] and S'īluńcha [to subsist on the remnants left behind in the fields and the market place]. (43) [Also the directions for] the [vānaprashtas or the] retired ones [thus manifested:] the vaikhānasas [subsisting on produce from the wild], the vālakhilyas [they who give up their stock upon receiving new food grains], the audumbaras [who subsist on the food they find on their way] and the phenapas [those subsisting on fruits that fell from the trees, as also the directions for] the renounced order [of the sannyāsīs] consisting of the kuthīcakas [recluses living in a fixed place], bahūdakas [or bahvodhas, they who prefer knowledge before activities], hamsas [those fully on the path of transcendental knowledge] and the nishkriyas or paramahamsas [those who attained spiritual wisdom and refrain from action]. (44) In the same order [t