See for the online version with illustrations, music and links to the previous translation: http://bhagavata.org/

 

S'RÎMAD BHÂGAVATAM

"The Story of the Fortunate One"

Third revised version 2012

 

CANTO 1: Creation

 

Introduction   

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'rî Nârada.

Chapter 5 Nârada's Instructions on S'rîmad Bhâgavatam for Vyâsadeva

Chapter 6 The Conversation between Nârada and Vyâsadeva

Chapter 7 The Son of Drona Punished

Chapter 8 Parîkchit Saved and Prayers by Queen Kuntî 

Chapter 9 The Passing Away of Bhîshmadeva in the Presence of Lord Krishna

Chapter 10 The Departure of Lord Krishna for Dvârakâ

Chapter 11 Lord S'rî Krishna's Entrance into Dvârakâ

Chapter 12 The birth of Emperor Parîkchit

Chapter 13 Dhritarâshthra Quits Home

Chapter 14 The Disappearance of Lord Krishna

Chapter 15 The Pândavas Retire

Chapter 16 How Parîkchit Received the Age of Kali

Chapter 17 Punishment and Reward of Kali

Chapter 18 Mahârâja Parîkchit Cursed by a Brahmin Boy

Chapter 19 The Appearance of S'ukadeva Gosvâmî

 

 Introduction

This book tells the story of the Lord and His incarnations since the earliest records of Vedic history. It is verily the Krishna 'bible' [in Sanskrit called a samhitâ] of the Hindu universe. The Bhagavad Gîtâ 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 Purânas. This specific collection of Vedic stories is considered the most important one of all the great eigtheen classical Purânas 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). It depicts 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 Mahâbhârat war at Kurukshetra. This leading Purâna also called the 'perfect Purâna', is a brilliant story that has been brought to the West by S'rîla A.C. Bhaktivedânta Swami Prabhupâda, a Caitanya Vaishnava, a bhakti (devotional) monk of Lord Vishnu [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., Sâstrî (from the Gîtâ Press, Gorakhpur), the paramparâ [disciplic succession] version of S'rîla Vishvanâtha Cakravarti Thhâkura and the later version of this book by S'rîla A.C. Bhaktivedânta Swami Prabhupâda. The latter translators as âcâryas [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 contends that the false authority of the caste system and single dry book knowledge is to be rejected. S'rî Krishna Caitanya also called Caitanya Mahâprabhu, the avatâra [an incarnation of the Lord] who heralded this reform, restored the original purpose of developing devotion to God and endeavored especially 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 Gîtâ and this Bhâgavata Purâna, that is also called the S'rîmad Bhâgavatam, from which all the Vaishnava âcâryas 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 in India, Europe and America. 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 author 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 Prabhupâda 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 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 Vishvanâtha's, Prabhupâda's and Sâstrî'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 âcâryas (teachers) 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 Prabhupâda, members of the renounced order (sannyâsîs) 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 vânaprashta, 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'rîla A.C. Bhaktivedânta Swami Prabhupâda/ISKCON, Vishvanâtha Cakravarti Thhâkura and C.L. Goswami. M.A., Sâstrî 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 Prabhupâda 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 Creative 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 author.

With love and devotion, Anand Aadhar Prabhu, Enschede, The Netherlands, April 17, 2012.

 

 

Chapter 1: Questions by the Sages

(1) Let there be the salutation of the original appearance of Him, Vâsudeva, 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 Brahmâ]. 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, the transcendental [supreme and absolute] truth and the negation 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 [Vyâsadeva] 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'rîmad Bhâgavatam!

(4) In the forest of Naimishâranya, 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'rîla Sûta Gosvâmî, 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 Vyâsadeva, the Lord among them - and Sûta, you know also the other ones well versed in physical and metaphysical knowledge. (8) Please your honor tell us therefore, because you are well-informed, pure and simple by their grace, about the secrets you as a submissive disciple have learned from those spiritual masters. (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 Sûta because you know the purpose for which the Supreme One, the protector of the devotees, appeared in the womb of Devakî as the son of Vasudeva. (13) Please Sûta 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 Sûta, 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 wouldn't rather want to hear about the Lord His 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 His 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 Balarâma [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'rî Krishna, who is the Absolute Truth and the protector of the religion, has left for His abode."

 

Chapter 2: Divinity and Divine Service

(1) Completely satisfied with the correct questions of the sages there, the son of Romaharshana [Sûta] tried to reply after thanking them for their words. (2) Sûta said: "He [S'ukadeva] who went away to live with the renounced order without the prescribed ceremony of reform of the sacred thread, made Vyâsadeva, 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 who, from his experience of life, 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 conveyed the very confidential holy story as the master of the great sages. (4) After offering first one's obeisances to Nara-Nârâyana, the [Lord as the] supermost human being, the goddess of learning and Vyâsadeva, let then all be announced that is needed for the conquering.

(5) Oh sages, your questions about Lord 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 Vâsudeva, 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 Supreme Commander]. (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's longing is not so much there for sense-gratification, profit and self-preservation, instead one's karma is  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, Paramâtmâ, and Bhagavân [the impersonal, localized and personal aspect]. (12) The sages who with the good of knowledge and detachment are of serious inquisition, will see within themselves and the Supersoul in devotional service, exactly that, what they have heard from the Vedas. (13) So by the human being, oh best of the twice-born, the highest perfection of occupational duties according to the divisions of status and vocation is achieved in the pleasing of the Lord. (14) Therefore one should 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 intelligentlyremembering the Lord which gives one the sword for cutting through the bonds of materially motivated labor [karma]? (16) One who listens with care and attention in respect of Vâsudeva, will find affinity with the message through the devotional service rendered to pure devotees, oh learned ones, and be purified from all vice. (17) Those who developed this hearing of Krishna His own 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. (18) By regular attention to that fortune [of the book and the devotee] as good as all the inauspicious will lose its hold, and thus serving the Supreme Lord with transcendental prayers irrevocably loving service will come into being. (19) At that time the consciousness not being spoiled by the effects of passion and ignorance such as lust, greed and whatever else, will be fixed in goodness and find happiness. (20) The mind, in contact with the devotional service of the Lord thus cleared, becomes, liberated because of the association, then effective in the knowledge of wisdom regarding the Fortunate One. (21) Seeing the [true] self that way as being the master for sure will cut the knots in the heart to pieces, put an end to all doubts and terminate the chain of materially motivated actions [karma]. (22) Therefore all transcendentalists have always delighted in the service of  Lord Krishna - it enlivens the soul. (23) The ultimate benefit of the Transcendental Personality, that is associated with the material qualities of nature of goodness, passion and ignorance and with the maintainer Vishnu, the creator Brahmâ and the destroyer S'iva, is of course for the human being found in the form of the quality of goodness [Vishnu]. (24) The way we have the firewood from sacrifices stemming from the earth producing smoke set afire, so we also have passion stemming from ignorance leading to the goodness from which the essential nature is realized.

(25) Whoever follows these sages who previously this way rendered service to the transcendental Lord above these three modes of nature, deserves the same benefit. (26) For that reason they who desire liberation reject the less attractive forms of the demigods, and are sure to worship, without any envy, the many forms of the all-blissfull Lord Vishnu [Nârâyana]. (27) Those who are ignorant and of passion, desire wealth, power and progeny, clinging to forefathers and other beings of cosmic control with a likewise character. (28-29) But Vâsudeva is the object of knowledge, the purpose of the sacrifices and the yoga, the controller of all material activity, and the supreme knowledge, austerity, quality, religion and 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 in the mode of goodness, being incarnated Himself in the performance of His pastimes mastering all worlds of divine, human and animalistic beings."

 

Chapter 3: Krishna is the Source of All Incarnations

(1) Sûta 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, Brahmâ was manifested, the master of the progenitors in the universe. (3) One believes the different worlds [as expansions] to be part of the form of the Fortunate One that constitutes the excellence of the purest existence. (4) His form thus seen perfectly has numerous legs, thighs, arms and faces, with wonderful heads, ears, eyes and noses, all glowing with garlands and dresses. (5) This source of the multifarious incarnations is the imperishable seed from which the plenary portions and portions thereof, the gods, the human beings and the animals, originate."

(6) "The sons of Brahmâ [the Kumâras] were first disciplined in austerity for the sake of realizing continuity. (7) He next incarnated for the sake of the welfare of the earth like a boar lifting her up from the lower regions. (8) Thirdly He accepted [in the form of Nârada Muni] His presence among the learned for the sake of evolving Vedic knowledge concerning the service in devotion without further material motives. (9) Fourth born as the twin sons of king Dharma in the form of Nara-Nârâyana He underwent severe penances to attain control over the senses. (10) Fifth with the name of Kapila He gave an exposition to the brahmin Âsuri on the nature of metaphysics and the elements of creation because in the course of time the knowledge was lost. (11) Sixth, born as the son of Atri from Anasûyâ who prayed for Him, He lectured to Alarka, Prahlâda and others about transcendence. (12) Seventh born from Âkûti as Yajña, the son of Prajâpati Ruci He, assisted the godly, with
His son Yama ruled during the period of Svâyambhuva Manu. (13) Eighth, from the wife of King Nâbhi, Merudevî, He took birth as King Rishabha and showed the path of perfection respected by people of all stages of life. (14) Accepting His ninth incarnation in response to the prayers of the sages, He ruled [as Prithu] the earth for the sake of its cultivation and produces, which made her beautifully attractive. (15) Like a fish [Mâtsya] in the water He kept Vaivasvata Manu after the period of Câkshusha Manu protected in a boat afloat the waters when the world was deeply inundated. (16) Eleventh as a tortoise [Kurma] He sustained the Mandarâcala Hill of the theists and atheists that served as a pivot in the ocean. (17) Twelfth there was Dhanvantari [Lord of medicine] and thirteenth He appeared as an alluring beautiful woman to the atheists when He gave nectar to the godly. (18) In His fourteenth incarnation He appeared as Nrisimha, who with His nails half as a Lion on His lap tore apart the king of the atheists like a carpenter splitting cane. (19) Fifteenth He assumed the form of Vâmana [the dwarf-brâhmana] who went to the arena of sacrifice of Mahârâja Bali and begged for three steps of land only, while He in fact wanted to seize the three worlds. (20) In His sixteenth incarnation [as Bhrigupati or Paras'urâma] He acted twenty-one times against the ruling class that negated the intelligentsia. (21) Seeing the common people as being less intelligent He seventeenth incarnated as Vyâsadeva taking birth from Satyavatî with Parâs'ara Muni as His father, in order to divide the desire tree of the Veda into several branches. (22) Next He performed in a superhuman way in controlling the Indian Ocean having assumed the form of a divine human being [Râma] in order to act for the sake of the godly. (23) Nineteenth as well as twentieth He appeared as Balarâma and Krishna from the Vrishni family and thus Bhagavân removed the burden from the world. (24) Thereafter in the Age of Kali His birth as Lord Buddha from Añjanâ in Gayâ will take place in order to delude the ones envious of the theists. (25) Next, at the conjunction of two yugas when there is hardly a ruler to be found who is not a plunderer, the Lord carrying the name of Kalki will take birth as the son of Vishnu Yas'â."

(26) "O
h twice-born ones, the incarnations of the Lord that appeared from the ocean of goodness are as innumerable as the thousands of streams found from the lakes. (27) All the powerful sages, the godly, the Manus and their progeny, as well as the Prajâpatis [founding fathers] are aspects of the Lord. (28) All these are part of Lord Krishna, the Supreme Lord [Bhagavân] in person who offers protection during all ages and in all worlds against the enemies of the king of heaven [Indra]. (29) Those who in the morning and the evening carefully recite these mysterious births of the Lord, will find relief from all miseries of life. (30) All these forms of the Lord stem undoubtedly from the One who is without a form and transcendental; they came about in the self from the modes of material energy with their elements. (31) To the less intelligent spectator they are there to be perceived the way one sees clouds in the sky and dust in the air. (32) This unmanifested self in the beyond that cannot be seen or heard, has no form that is affected by the modes of nature - thàt is the living being that takes birth repeatedly. (33) As soon as one realizes that all these gross and subtle forms originate in the self because of ignorance, they lose their value and so one achieves association with the divine. (34) With the illusory energy subsided one is enriched with the full knowledge of enlightenment and can thus being established see the glories of the Self. (35) Thus the inactive unborn Lord of the Heart with His births and activities has been described by the learned as being undetectable even in the Vedas. (36) Residing within every living being He, the omnipotent master of the senses whose play is spotless, is independent and unaffected by creation, destruction and maintenance. (37) Because of His manipulations He, acting like an actor in a drama, by the ones with a poor fund of knowledge cannot be known in His activities, names and forms by means of speculation and oration. (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) In this world one can be successful if one knows everything about the Personality of Godhead who embraces all of His universes and who inspires for the complete of the spirit of ecstasy in which one will never find the dreaded vicious circles of worldly interest."

(40) "This book containing the story of the Personality of Godhead and His devotees was compiled by the wise man of God and is, as a supplement to the Vedas, there for the ultimate good of bringing success, happiness and perfection to all people. (41) S'rîla Vyâsadeva delivered this story, which constitutes the cream he managed to extract from all the Vedic literatures and histories, to his son who is the most respectable one among the self-realized. (42) He [S'uka] on his turn told it to emperor Parîkchit who surrounded by the wise 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 Purâna 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)
When I heard the story from that powerful, great sage, I, being perfectly attentive by his mercy, managed to understand it as well, so that I am now able to relate it to you from my own realization."

 

Chapter 4: The Appearance of S'rî Nârada.

(1) The elderly and learned S'aunaka, the head of the long-standing ceremony the sages were gathered for, congratulated Sûta Gosvâmî thanking him thus: (2) "O most fortunate one of those who are respected to speak, please tell us about the message of the Bhâgavatam the way it was discussed by S'ukadeva Gosvâmî. (3) When, where, on what ground and wherefrom inspired could this literature be compiled by Vyâsadeva? (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 ignorant. (5) Naked bathing beauties covered their bodies out of shyness when they once saw sage Vyâsa following his son, whereas they astonishingly by him being asked about his son replied that they didn't 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-jângala provinces, recognized by the inhabitants of Hastinâpura [now: Delhi] the moment he reached the city? (7) How could the discussion, oh dear soul, between the saint and the descendant of Pându, the wise king, take place covering this Vedic truth about Krishna? (8) He, as a pilgrim sanctifying the places he visits, stayed at the door of the householders only for as long as it takes to milk a cow. (9) Please tell us about Parîkchit, the son of Abhimanyu, who is said to be a first-class devotee whose birth and activities are all wonderful. (10) What was the reason that the emperor, who enriched the name of Pându, neglected the opulences of his kingdom and sat down to do penance at the Ganges until his death? (11) Oh why did he, at whose feet all enemies surrendered their wealth for their own sake, in the full of his youth give up his so difficult to relinquish life of royal riches? (12) Men of devotion for 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 gave he, freed from all attachment, up his mortal body that was the shelter for others? (13) Clearly explain to us all we have asked you by this, for we consider you fully acquainted with all the meanings of the words in the scriptures, except for those of the Vedic hymns."


(14) Sûta Gosvâmî said: "When the second era ran into the third and thus ended, the sage [Vyâsa] was born as the son of Parâs'ara from the womb of the daughter of Vasu. He was a partial expansion of the Lord. (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 Sarasvatî 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 contemplating with his transcendental vision the welfare of all vocations and stages in life, saw from his elevated position how with the dullness and impatience of the faithless the people lacked in goodness, that the natural capacity of all types of men as well as of other creatures was declining and that the common man was unlucky and short-lived. (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 of sacrificial activities. (20) Rig, Yajuh, Sâma and Atharva were the names of these four Vedas while the Itihâsas [the single histories] and the Purânas [the collections of histories] were called the fifth Veda. (21) Thereafter the Rig Veda was propagated by the rishi Paila, the Sâma Veda by the learned Jaimini, while Vais'ampâyana was the only one versed enough to qualify for the defense of the Yajur Veda. (22) The serious respect for the Atharva Veda was heartened by Angirâ - also called Sumantu Muni - while the Itihâsas and the Purânas were defended by my father Romaharshana. (23) All these scholars on their turn distributed the knowledge entrusted to them to their disciples who did the same with their following who did so 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 Vyâsa, the Lord in these matters, took care to edit it for the ignorant ones. (25) Motivated this way to serve the welfare of women [see 6.9: 6 & 9], the more foolish working class, and the friends of the twice-born who themselves do not work for understanding, the sage was as merciful to their benefit to take down the story of the Mahâbhârata.

(26) Oh dear twice-born ones, by no means he, who was always working for the welfare of all living beings, could then be content with that. (27) Being purified in seclusion at the bank of the Sarasvatî he, knowing what religion means, thus said from the dissatisfaction of his heart to himself: (28-29) 'With strict discipline I sincerely was of proper worship in my according to the tradition of the Vedic hymns doing the sacrifices in respect of the masters. Even for women, the working class and others I, by compiling the Mahâbhârata, have properly explained what according to the disciplic succession should be stated about the path of religion. (30) Despite of answering, so it appears, sufficiently to the demands of the vedantists in my discussing the Supreme Soul as situated in the body and even my own self, I feel something is missing. (31) I might not have given sufficient directions about the devotional service that is so dear to the perfect as well as to the Infallible One.'

(32) While Krishna Dvaipâyana Vyâsa thus regretfully thought about his shortcomings, Nârada, as I stated before, reached his cottage. (33) Seeing what fortune that was, he quickly got up to honor him with a respect equal to the respect the godly pay to Brahmâjî, the creator."

 

Chapter 5: Nârada's Instructions on S'rîmad Bhâgavatam for Vyâsadeva

 (1) Sûta said: "Then comfortably seated next to him, the rishi of God of great renown who has a vînâ in his hands outwardly with a smile addressed the learned wise. (2) He said: 'Oh greatly fortunate son of Parâs'ara, can you in the self-realization of your soul find the satisfaction of the body and the mind? (3) You have done your full enquiries and being well versed, you have prepared the great and wonderful Mahâbhârata to which you have added your extensive explanations. (4) In spite of the full of your deliberations about the Absolute and Eternal you are, dear master, lamenting that you wouldnt have done enough for the purpose of the soul.'

(5) Vyâsa said: 'All you have said is certainly true, but my soul has found no peace with it. What is the root I have missed, I ask you who originated from the soul as a man of unlimited knowledge. (6) You have the all-inclusive knowledge as a confidential devotee of the Supreme Personality, who is the Original Controller of the material and spiritual
worlds and in whose mind only, from the transcendence above the modes of material nature, the universe is created and destroyed. (7) In your goodness you travel the three worlds as the self-realized witness penetrating the heart of everyone like the all-pervading ether. Please point out what my deficiency is in my being absorbed in the Absolute with discipline and vow concerning matters of cause and effect.'

  narada talks to Vyasa (8) S'rî Nârada 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 were writing for the sake of the four principles of religion [dharma, artha, kâma, moksha or righteousness, economy, sense gratification and liberation], you have not been doing so for the sake of Vâsudeva. (10) Only sparsely using the words describing the glories of the Lord who sanctifies the universe, is something the saintly think of as pilgrimaging to a place for crows; not as something where the perfect ones of the transcendental take pleasure in. (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 the purified and honest ones. (12) In spite of self-realization free from material motives, the transcendental knowledge of the infallible does not look good when one gives up on personal names. What good will it bring to work time and again troublesome for a result when one misses the Lord with it? That leads nowhere! (13)
Therefore you as a highly fortunate, spotless and famous perfect seer dedicated to the truth and fixed in the qualities, for the sake of liberation from universal bondage from your trance should think about and describe Him whose actions are supernatural.

(14) Whatever you want to describe that is of a vision separate from Him, will only lead to names and forms that agitate the mind like a boat that is taken by the wind from its place. (15) For the matter of religion you have instructed the people according to their natural inclinations [to kill animals for their food e.g.], which is in truth something reprehensible and quite unreasonable. The people fixed on such instructions for good conduct will not think of the prohibitions. (16)
For understanding the unlimited Lord they qualify who are expert in withdrawing from material enjoyment, and therefore you must from your goodness show the ways and activities of the Lord to those who bound to the modes miss the spiritual knowledge.

(17) Inexperienced in devotional service at the lotus feet one may fall down in that position when one forsakes one's own, true nature. But what inauspiciousness wouldn't befall the non-devotee who, engaged in his occupational duties, doesn't reach to that what is His interest? (18)
The philosophically inclined should for that reason endeavor only for that which is not so much found wandering from high to low. In the course of time, the time that is so impetuous and subtle, one will automatically everywhere find the enjoyment - as good as the miseries - as a result of one's work. (19) Failing for some or another reason the devotee has a different experience as others have: once he in his material life has the taste he, remembering the feet of the Lord of Liberation 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 and the end of creation; I am only summarizing it for you. (21) Please give a true-to-life description of the pastimes of the Supreme Lord. For you from the perfect vision of your own soul are able to discover what the transcendence of the Personality of the Supersoul would be, of which you are a full aspect because you took birth for the sake of the well-being of the entire world. (22) The acknowledged scholars all agree that the unmistakable purpose of each and everyone's austerities, study, sacrifice, attending lectures, fostering intelligence and charity consists of attaining to the descriptions of the transcendental qualities of the Lord glorified in the verses.

(23) Oh sage, in the previous millennium I took birth from a maidservant of certain followers of this conclusion [the Vedânta]. I, only a boy, was engaged in their service when I lived together with them during the months of the rainy season. (24) These followers of wisdom were unto me, an obedient, well-mannered, self-controlled and silent boy without much interest in games and sport, specially merciful, despite of their impartiality towards believers. (25)
When the twice-born, during that period, once allowed me to enjoy the remnants of their food, I, by that action, was freed from all my sins and thus the attraction to that dharma manifested itself in me being engaged with purity. (26) Thereafter I heard the descriptions of the life of Krishna every day. Because of their respect for me, dear Vyâsa, I managed to pay close attention and thus develop my taste with every step I took. (27) Oh great sage, as I acquired the taste, I found continuity with the Lord and thus I realized that one accepts all the gross and subtle of life because of one's ignorance concerning the Supreme of transcendence. (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 because of those great souls began to flow while the [influence of] the modes of passion and ignorance receded. (29) As an obedient boy free from sins I, because of those believers being attached to that what is His, thus in my strictly following managed to subjugate [my senses]. (30) When these devotees so full of care for the meek left, they were as merciful to instruct me in this most confidential knowledge which is 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, Vâsudeva, the supreme creator, and how one can reach the refuge He is.

(32) Oh l
earned one, it is said that to dedicate one's actions to the Supreme Lord is the remedy for the threefold misery of life. (33) Oh good soul, is it not so that the cure for a disease is found in [counteracting] that what caused it? (34) The same way also all dealings of man directed at a material[istic] existence will put an end to that self[hood] when one succeeds in dedicating them to the Transcendence. (35) Whatever one does in this world to please the Lord and what thereto is done in one's dependence on knowledge is bhakti yoga [yoga of devotion]. (36) When one mindful of the will of the Fortunate One performs one's duties, the mind constantly takes to the names and qualities of S'rî Krishna. (37) So, let us meditate upon the name and glory of Vāsudeva and His full expansions Pradyumna, Aniruddha and Sankarṣana. (38) That person who in this way worships the Lord who has no material form with the help of the sound-form [of these names] representing Him, is, in his worship of [Lord Viṣṇu] the Original Person of Sacrifice, of a perfect vision. (39) With I in this way was engaged, oh learned one, knowing well the confidential part of the Vedic knowledge, the knowledge of His transcendental opulences was bestowed upon me and was also an intimate personal love for Lord Kṛṣṇa [Keśava] installed. (40) 
You, dear good soul with your vast Vedic knowledge, also dilate on the Almighty One of whom the wise always have found satisfaction in learning about the transcendental cause. Please describe His activities for the mitigation of the suffering of the masses of common people for whom there is no other way of relief.' "

 

Chapter 6: The Conversation Between Nârada and Vyâsadeva

(1) Sûta said: "Thus hearing from the great sage among the gods about his birth and exploits, sage Vyâsadeva, the son of Satyavatî, asked him: (2) 'What did you, before your present life began, do after the great devotees had departed who instructed you in transcendental wisdom? (3) How were the conditions of the life you spent after this initiation and how have you, in the long run, attained to this body? (4) How could you, oh great sage, remember all of this from a previous era in any detail, isn't it so that time in due course annihilates all?'

(5) S'rî Nârada said: 'The great sages in my previous life gave me the transcendental knowledge I have at present and after they had departed the following took place. (6) I was the only son of my mother who was a simple woman working as a maidservant. I, as her offspring, was completely determined by the emotional bond I had with her and had no one else to protect me.  (7) Although she wanted to take care of me properly, she, being dependent like a puppet on a string, couldn't do so. (8) I, being only five years old, attended the school of the brahmins and lived, depending on her, without having a clue about the time, the direction and country in which we were living. (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 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) I passed through thickets of bamboo, sharp grass and weeds and through caves which were difficult to pass alone, and I reached deep and dangerous forests that were the playground of snakes, owls and jackals. (14) Being physically and mentally tired, I, hungry and thirsty, took a bath and drank from the water of a lake from a river in which I found relief from my fatigue. (15) In that uninhabited forest I sat down under a banyan tree to meditate, intelligently taking shelter of the Supersoul situated within the way I had learned it 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. I was that eager that tears rolled from my eyes when I saw the Lord appear in my heart without delay. (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, could not distinguish Him from myself any longer. (18) No longer seeing the form of the Lord who removes all disparity from the mind, I all of a sudden got up being perturbed like someone who has lost something desirable. (19) Desiring to experience that again I could, having focussed my mind on the heart, despite of my waiting, not see Him, and got very depressed being frustrated that way. (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 the duration of your life you will not acquire the vision of Me here, because it is difficult to acquire the vision when one, immature with impurities, is guilty in one's being united. (22) That form was only shown once to raise your desire oh virtuous one, because by the increase of the desire of the devotee all lusts will be driven away from the heart. (23) When one for a few days only being of service to the Absolute has attained a steady intelligence unto Me someone, having given up on the deplorable of this world, will head for and be of My associates. (24) The intelligence engaged this way in devotion can at no time be separated from Me because, whether beings are becoming or fading away, by My mercy their remembrance will continue.'

(25) After thus having spoken, that great and wonderful sound of the Supreme authority stopped and I, grateful for the grace, bowed my head in obeisance to the great and glorified. (26) Free from formalities exercising the holy name of the Unlimited One and being of the constant remembrance of His mysterious and benedictory activities, I traveled the earth liberated and contented in all modesty, without any resentment awaiting my time. (27) Thus free from attachment to the material world being absorbed in Krishna oh Vyâsadeva, in due course of time death came to get me as natural as lightning coinciding with a flash. (28) Having been awarded with a transcendental body worthy of an associate of the Lord, I, seeing that my acquired karma had ended, quitted the body that is composed of the five material elements. (29) At the end of the era the Lord, having laid Himself down in the waters of devastation, took me, with the creator and all, in within His breath. (30) A thousand ages later, when the creator again was expired I reappeared together with rishis like Marîci. (31) Faithful to the vow traveling within the three worlds as well as in the beyond, I, because of the mercy of Mahâ-Vishnu, am free to go wherever and whenever I want. (32) This way I move around constantly singing the message of the Lord while I vibrate the transcendentally charged vînâ with which the Godhead has decorated me. (33) Singing thus soon the sight of the Lord of the lotus feet about whose actions one gladly hears, as if called for appears in the seat of my heart. (34) I arrived at the insight that for those who in their desire for the objects of the senses are full of worries, there is a boat to cross over the ocean of material nescience: the repeated singing of the glories of the Lord. (35) Desire and lust being curbed every time by the discipline of yoga certainly will not be as satisfying to the soul as the devotional service to the Personality of Godhead. (36) I, upon your request, described to you who are free from sin all this about my birth and activities, so that the satisfaction of your as well as of my soul is served.' "

(37) Sûta said: "After thus having addressed the powerful sage, Nârada Muni took leave of the son of Satyavatî and, vibrating his enchanting vînâ, left for wherever. (38) All glory and success to the sage of the gods who takes pleasure in singing the glories of the Personality of Godhead and thus, with the help of his instrument, enlivens the distressed universe."

 

Chapter 7: The Son of Drona Punished

(1) S'rî S'aunaka said: "What did, upon the departure of Nârada Muni, the great lordship of Vyâsadeva do after having heard from the great sage what he wanted to know?"

(2) Sûta replied: "On the western bank of the Sarasvatî where sages meditate there is at S'amyâprâsa an âs'rama for the promotion of transcendental activities. (3) There at home Vyâsadeva sat down surrounded by berrytrees to focus his mind after he had performed his water sacrifice. (4) With his mind aligning in the devotion of yoga he saw, being perfectly fixed without material concerns, the entirety of both the Original Person [the purusha] and the external energy that depends on Him. (5) The living entities conditioned to the modes of nature take, in spite of the transcendental nature of their soul, the unwanted for granted and undergo the reactions thereof. (6) For the sake of the common people who are unaware of the cessation of the unwanted that one finds in the yoga of devotion unto the One in the Beyond, the sage, who understood this, composed the different stories relating to the Absolute Truth. (7) Simply attending to the literatures about the Supreme Personality of Krishna will make the devotional sprout that takes away lamentation, illusion and fear. (8) After having assembled and revised the collections of stories, he taught them to his son S'ukadeva Gosvâmî, the sage of the path of self-realization."

(9) S'aunaka asked: "Why would he, who on the path of self-realization is always contented within in contempt of everything else, make any work of such an extensive study?"

(10) Sûta said: "Such are His wonderful qualities that, in spite of the fact that one takes pleasure in the soul, the common people as well as the sages who are freed from all material bondage are of pure devotional service unto Lord Vishnu, Urukrama. (11) The devotees loved the powerful son of Vyâsa 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) So let me now tell you the story about the birth, activities and deliverance of King Parîkchit, the sage among the kings, as well as the story about how the sons of Pându came to renounce the world. These stories lead to the stories about Lord Krishna.

(13-14) When on the battlefield of Kurukshetra the warriors of the Pândavas and the Kauravas had found their heroic fate and the son of King Dhritarâshthra [Duryodhana] was lamenting his broken spine due to being beaten by the club of Bhîma, the son of Dronâcârya [As'vatthâmâ] thought that he could please his master Duryodhana by delivering the heads of the sleeping sons of Draupadî as a trophy. But the master being confronted with this disapproved of this heinous act. (15) The mother of the children [of the Pândavas], cried aggrieved bitter tears when she heard about the massacre. Arjuna [who headed the Pândavas], tried to pacify her and said: (16) 'I can only wipe the tears from your eyes oh gentle lady, when the head of that degraded brahmin aggressor is severed by the arrows of my bow Gândîva. I will present it to you so that you can place your foot on it and you, after the cremation of your sons, can take a bath.' (17) Satisfying her with this choice of words Arjuna, he who is guided by the Infallible One, fully armed and equipped ascended his chariot to persecute As'vatthâmâ, 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 Sûrya did when he fled from from S'iva [*]. (19) Finding himself unprotected the moment his horses got tired, [As'vatthâmâ] the brahmin son, only thinking of himself, resorted to the ultimate weapon [the brahmâstra]. (20) With his life in danger, he touched water and concentrated to recite the mantras, even though he didn't know how to stop the process. (21) A glaring light spreading in all directions shone that fierce, that seeing the life threat Arjuna turned to the Lord [who drove his chariot] and said: (22) 'O, Krishna, Krishna, You are the Almighty 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 by means of His own internal potency, from the bliss and knowledge of Your own Self, wards off the material illusion. (24) From that position You in the heart of the ones materially entangled, by virtue of Your power bestow the ultimate good of righteousness and such [characteristics of dharma: truth, purity, penance and compassion]. (25) Thus You incarnate in order to take the burden away from the earth and to satisfy Your friends and pure devotees as the constant object of their meditation. (26) Oh Lord of Lords, I don't know where this highly dangerous, dazzling light that is spreading in all directions originates from.' (27) The Supreme Lord said: 'Take it from Me that it is caused by the son of Drona who, faced with the imminence of his death, launched the weapon of mantras without knowing how to retract it. (28) Nothing else can counter this weapon but another one; in fact you will have to subdue this immense glare by means of your own dazzling, martial art.' "

(29) Sûta said: "After hearing what the Supreme Lord said, Arjuna, circumambulating the Lord, sipped water himself and took up the supreme weapon to curb the one of his opponent. (30) From the combined glare of the two weapons thereupon the entire firmament including outer space was covered by an expanding ball of fire as bright as the sun. (31) When the inhabitants of the three worlds saw how the heat of both of the weapons scorched them severely, that reminded them of the fire of annihilation at the end of time [sâmvartaka]. (32) Realizing the disturbance it all created for the common people and their places, Arjuna, on the direction of Vâsudeva, retracted both the weapons. (33) Then Arjuna, angered with eyes red as copper, arrested the son of Gautamî, binding him skillfully with ropes as if it concerned an animal. (34) When he with force had bound the enemy and was about to take him to the military camp, the Supreme Lord, looking on with His lotus eyes, said to the angered Arjuna: (35) 'Never let this relative of the learned go, punish him, for he has killed innocent boys in their sleep. (36) Someone who knows the principles of religion is afraid to kill an enemy who is careless, intoxicated, insane, asleep, of tender age, a woman, foolish, a surrendered soul or someone who has lost his chariot. (37) But someone who shameless and cruel thinks he can rightly maintain his own life at the cost of the lives of others, certainly for his own good deserves to be stopped in his tracks, because the person [of the criminal as well as the one consenting] is brought down by crime. (38) I personally heard you making the promise to the daughter of the King of Pâñcâla: 'I will bring you the head of the one you consider the murderer of your sons.' (39) He, being not 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) Sûta said: "Although Arjuna, by Krishna being put to a test concerning the matter of his duty, was encouraged to do so, he didn't aspire to kill the son of his teacher, despite of the fact that he was the heinous murderer of his sons. (41) When he thereafter together with his dear friend and charioteer Govinda reached his own camp, he entrusted the assassin to his dear wife who was lamenting over her murdered sons. (42) Upon seeing the criminal silent from his heinous act thus being brought in like an animal tied in ropes, Draupadî, from the beauty of her nature out of compassion showed the son of the teacher due respect. (43) She couldn't bear the sight of him brought in ropes and said: 'Release him, for he as a learned one [a brâhmana] is our teacher. (44) By his [Drona's] mercy you yourself have received the confidential knowledge of the martial arts and 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 Kripî [his wife] with a son present didn't follow her husband into death [by means of satî]. (46) Therefore, oh most fortunate one in knowing the dharma, by the goodness that is in you, cause no grief to the ever respectable and honorable family. (47) Do not make his mother, Drona's devoted wife, cry the way I do in constantly shedding tears in distress over a lost child. (48) If the noble administration is of no restraint in relating to the order of the learned, that rule will burn up in no time and will, together with its family members fall to grief.' "

(49) Sûta said: "O learned ones, the king [of the Pândavas, Yudhishthhira] supported the statements of the queen as they were in accord with the dharma of justice, merciful, without duplicity and glorious in equity. (50) And so did Nakula and Sahadeva [the younger brothers of the king] and also Sâtyaki, Arjuna, the Supreme Lord the son of Devakî, as well as the ladies and others. (51) Thereupon Bhîma said indignantly: 'About the fact that he without a good reason, neither for himself nor for his master, has killed sleeping children, is stated that he deserves death.'

(52) The four-armed one [Lord Krishna] who had heard the words spoken by Bhîma and Draupadî and had seen the face of His friend [Arjuna], 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 also act to the satisfaction of Bhîma as well as of Me.' "

(55) Sûta said: "Immediately understanding what the Lord meant, he separated with his sword the jewel from the head of the twice-born one along with his hair. (56) After releasing him from the ropes, he [As'vatthâmâ], who next to the loss of his bodily luster because of the infanticide, also had lost his strength in being deprived of his jewel, was driven out of the camp. (57) Cutting the hair, confiscating the wealth and banishment are the forms of physical punishment reserved for the relatives of the learned, not any other method of dealing with the body. (58) Thereafter the sons of Pându together with Draupadî, overtaken by grief performed the duties that were needed in respect of the deceased family members."



*: When the sun-god chased the demon Vidyunmâlî, darted Lord S'iva in anger against him with his trident. The sungod fleeing toppled at Kâs'î, where he became known as Lolârka.

   

Chapter 8: Parîkchit Saved and Prayers by Queen Kuntî

(1) Sûta said: "Thus they headed, along with Draupadî and the women put in front, 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 took a bath in the water of the Ganges that is purified by the dust of the lotus feet of the Lord. (3) There the king of the Kurus [Yudhishthhira] with his younger brothers, Dhritarâshthra and Ghândârî sat in deep bereavement together with Kuntî, Draupadî and the Lord Himself. (4) Lord Krishna together with the munis there 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 of cheating Yudhishthhira [the eldest of the Pândavas], who had no enemies, the unscrupulous ones [Duryodhana and his brothers] had been killed who cleverly seized the kingdom and had shortened their lifespan by their insult of touching the hair of the queen [Draupadî]. (6) By the proper performance of three horse sacrifices his [Yudhishthhira's] fame spread in all directions like the fame of Indra who performed that sacrifice a hundred times.

(7)
Worshiped by the wise and the learned, the Lord, in response to their farewell, invited the sons of Pându and also Uddhava [another relative and friend of Krishna]. (8) Seated on His chariot He, just as He wanted to leave for Dvârakâ, saw Uttarâ [the mother expecting Parîkchit] hurrying towards Him in fear. (9) She said: 'Protect me, protect me, oh Greatest of the Yogis, oh Worshiped One of the Worshiped and Lord of the Universe, apart from You I see no one fearless 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)
Sûta said: "Patiently hearing her words the Supreme Lord, who is the caretaker of the devotees, understood that this was the result of a brahmâstra weapon of the son of Drona who wanted to end the existence of all Pândava descendants. (12) Oh chief of the munis [S'aunaka], seeing the glaring brahmâstra heading towards them, the Pândavas each took up their own five weapons. (13) Seeing that they were in great danger with no other means available, 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 Uttarâ in order to protect the progeny of the Kuru dynasty. (15) Oh S'aunaka, even though the brahmâstra weapon cannot be stopped by counteractions, it was, being confronted with the strength of Vishnu, neutralized. (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 by means of His material potency of creation, maintenance and annihilation.

(17)
Being saved from the radiation of the weapon, the chaste Kuntî along with her sons addressed Lord Krishna who was about to leave. (18) Kuntî said: 'My obeisances unto You, the Purusha, the Original Controller of the Cosmos who is invisible and beyond all existing both within and without. (19) Covered by the deluding [material] curtain, being irreproachably transcendent and not discerned by the foolish, You are like an actor dressed up as a player. (20) You appear for the sake of the advanced transcendentalists and philosophers who can discriminate between spirit and matter, in order to execute the science that unites them in devotion. But how must we, the women, then exercise respect for You? (21) Therefore I offer You my respectful obeisances, You the Protector of the cows and the senses, the Supreme Lord, the son of Vasudeva and Devakî, the One of Nanda and the cowherd men of Vrindâvana. (22) My respects for You, who has a lotuslike depression in His abdomen, who is always decorated with lotus flowers, whose glance is as cool as a lotus flower and whose footprints show the mark of lotus flowers. (23) You are the master of the senses and have released the distressed Devakî [mother of Krishna] from being imprisoned for so long by the envious [uncle] King Kamsa. And oh Lordship, You have protected me and my children against a constant threat. (24) Saving us in the past from poison, a great fire, man-eaters, a vicious assembly, sufferings from exile in the forest and against weapons in battles with great generals, You have now fully protected us against the weapon of the son of Drona. (25) I wish we would have more of those calamities, oh Master of the Universe, so that we can meet You again and again, because meeting You means that we no longer see the repetition of births and death. (26) The ones intoxicated by striving for a good birth, opulences, education, and beauty will never ever deserve to address You, who are easily approached by the ones destitute. (27) All honor to You, the wealth of the ones living in poverty, who transcendental to the emotions one has with the material modes, are the One self-contented and most gentle; all my respect for You who are the master of beatitude. (28) I consider You the personification of Eternal Time, the Lord without a beginning or an end, the All-pervasive One distributing Your mercy everywhere equally among the beings who live in dissent with each other. (29) Oh Lord, no one understands Your pastimes, that appear to be as conflictuous 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, with Your vital energy taking birth although You are unborn and acting although You are inactive, You manifesting Yourself with the animals, the human beings, the wise and the aquatics, are veritably bewildering.(31) It is bewildering for me to see that at the time the gopî [Yas'odâ, 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. (32) Some say that You, like sandalwood appearing in the Malaya Hills, are born from the unborn for the glory of the pious kings or the pleasure of the family of dear King Yadu. (33) Others say that You descended from the unborn for the good of Vasudeva and Devakî who prayed for You and for the demise of the ones envious with the godly. (34) Still others say that You, like a boat on the sea, came to take away the burden of extreme worldly grief and were born from the prayers of Lord Brahmâ. (35) And yet others say that You appeared for the ones suffering from desire and nescience in the materially motivated world so that they may perform 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, who put the recurrence of rebirths to an end. (37) Oh Lord, with all that You did for us, You, today going to the kings engaged in enmity, are leaving us behind. Us, Your intimate friends living by Your mercy alone in dependence on Your lotus feet. (38) We, without You, will, along with the Yadus and Pândavas, be without the fame and name, like a body is without the senses after the spirit has left. (39) 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, because of Your glances, flourished more and more with their wealth of herbs, vegetables, forests, hills, rivers and seas. (41) Therefore, oh Lord of the Universe, oh Personality of the universal form, cut my tie of deep affection for my kinsmen the Pândavas and the Vrishnis. (42) Make my attraction to You pure and continuously overflowing, like the Ganges 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 distressed cows, the twice-born and the godly, oh Lord of Yoga incarnate, universal preceptor and original proprietor, unto You my respectful obeisances.' "

(44)
Sûta said: "Thus being worshiped in His universal glories with the choice of words of queen Kuntî, the Lord gave a mild smile that was as captivating as His mystic power. (45) Thus accepting all of that the Lord, after further paying respects to other ladies in the palace of Hastinâpura, upon leaving for His own residence, was stopped by the love of [Yudhishthhira] the king. (46) The learned, the sages and Lord Krishna, of all people the One of superhuman accomplishment Himself, could not convince the king in his distress, nor could he find any solace in the classical stories. (47) King Yudhishthhira, the son of Dharma, from a material conception thinking about the loss of his friends, got, oh sages, carried away by the delusion of his affection when he said: (48) 'Oh, just look at me who in the ignorance of his heart is immersed in the sin of with this body, which is meant to serve others, having killed so many formations of warriors. (49) I, having killed so many boys, twice-born ones, caretakers, friends, elders, brothers and teachers, for sure will never ever, not even for a million years, be freed from hell. (50) It is no sin for a king to kill when he fights his enemies for the right cause of protecting his people, but those words, instituted for the satisfaction of the administration, do not apply to me. (51) All the enmity that accrued because of the friends that I have killed who left women behind, I cannot expect to be undone with me serving the sake of material welfare. (52) J ust like one cannot filter mud through mud or clear wine stains with wine, it is of no avail to counteract one's sin of having killed with the reglementary sacrificing of animals.' "

 

Chapter 9: The Passing Away of Bhîshmadeva in the Presence of Lord Krishna

(1) Sûta said: "Yudhishthhira in fear because he had killed went thereafter, from the full of his realization of the religious duty, to the battlefield where he found the dying Bhîshmadeva lying down. (2) Drawn by the best horses decorated with golden ornaments, all the brothers followed him hither, accompanied by Vyâsa, Dhaumya [the priest of the Pândavas] and other rishis. (3) Also the Supreme Lord came along with Arjuna on the chariot, oh sages among the learned, and thus appearing very aristocratic he [the king] was like Kuvera [the treasurer of the demigods] together with his companions. (4) When Yudhishthhira saw Bhîshma lying on the ground like a demigod fallen from heaven, he together with his brothers and the Lord who carries the disc, Krishna, bowed down before him. (5) At that place were present all the sages among the brahmins, the godly and the royalty, just to see the leader of the descendants of King Bharata [the common ancestor]. (6-7) Parvata Muni, Nârada, Dhaumya, Lord Vyâsa, Brihadas'va, Bharadvâja and Paras'urâma were present there with their disciples and also Vasishthha, Indrapramada, Trita, Gritsamada, Asita, Kakshîvân, Gautama, Atri, Kaus'ika and Sudars'ana had come. (8) Oh learned ones, also many other sages like S'ukadeva, the instrument of God, and other pure souls like Kas'yapa and Ângirasa arrived there accompanied by their disciples.

(9) Bhîshmadeva, the best among the Vasus knowing well how to behave in respect of the dharma according to time and circumstances, welcomed all the great and powerful ones who had assembled there. (10) Knowing of Krishna's glories he also in worship welcomed Him, the Lord of the Universe who, situated in the heart, manifests His form through His internal potency. (11) Seeing the sons of Pându sitting silently by his side, Bhîshma congratulated them warmheartedly. With tears in his eyes in ecstacy he was overtaken by feelings of love about the gathering. (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 learned, the religion and the Infallible One. (13) When after the death of the great general Pându, the children of Kuntî, my daughter in law, 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 happened I think, is the inescapable effect of Time; you, just like the rest of the world with its ruling demigods, fall under that control just like the clouds that are carried by the wind.(15) Why else would there be that misfortune with the presence of Yudhishthhira, the son of the ruler of religion, Bhîma with his mighty club, Arjuna carrying his Gândîva and our well-wisher Lord Krishna? (16) No one may fathom God's plan oh King; it bewilders even the great philosophers who are engaged in exhaustive inquiries. (17) Therefore, I assure you, oh best of the descendants of Bharata, that this was only due to His providence, His desire; 0h ruler - just take care of the helpless subjects 0 master. (18) He [Krishna] who inconceivably moves among the Vrishni family, is no one else but the Supreme Lord, the original, primordial, supreme enjoyer Nârâyana who bewilders each by His energies. (19) Oh King, Lord S'iva, Nârada the sage among the godly and the great Lord Kapila are the ones who have direct knowledge of the most confidential glories of His Lordship. (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, is, in His consciousness of making with everything He does a difference at each moment, free from whatever predilection. (22) Yet, despite of His impartiality with the devotees, see, oh King, how Krishna directly, at the end of my life, cared to be 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, find release from the desire proper to their materially motivated actions. (24) May He who in my meditations appears as 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) Sûta said: "Yudhishthhira, who heard that from him who was lying on a bed of arrows, asked him, with the rishis listening, about the diverse religious duties. (26) Bhîshma described to him the different stages of life and the vocations as determined by the qualities of the person next to the way how one should deal systematically with both the symptoms of attachment and detachment. (27) He explained about the duties of charity, rulership and liberation by giving their divisions and gave the general outline of the duties of women and devotional service. (28) Knowing the truth he described, oh sages, the [four basic civil virtues of] religious dutifulness, economy, fulfillment of desires and liberation, to which he cited various known histories. (29) During the time Bhîshma described the duties, the sun ran over the northern hemisphere, which is precisely the desired time preferred by the mystics when they want to leave this world [see B.G. 8: 24]. (30) Bhîshmadeva, the protector of thousands of sciences and arts, then fell silent and with a mind freed from all bondage he fixed his eyes wide open upon the Original Person Lord S'rî Krishna, the Fourhanded One who was standing before him in yellow garments. (31) Simply looking at Him, the Annihilator of the Inauspicious, his meditation purified and his pain from the arrows disappeared instantly. And while he prayed before the material tabernacle all the activities of his senses ceased when he departed for the Controller of All Living Beings. (32) S'rî Bhîshmadeva said: 'Let me being freed from desires prepare my mind 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 avâtara] takes pleasure in accepting this material world with her creation and destruction. (33) He is the most desirable person of the higher, lower and middle worlds. Bluish like a tamâla 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'rî 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, wearing His protective armor took pleasure in all of it. (35) After hearing the command of His friend He drove His 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) While the troops were looking 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 for His feet.

(37)
For the sake of the fulfillment of my duty factually to be more of violence and against His own sworn principle [to stay out of the fray], He got down from His chariot, took up its wheel and - while dropping His outer garment - paced towards me like a lion that is about to kill an elephant. (38) Wounded by the sharp arrows and without His shield He, smeared with blood, in the angry mood of the great aggressor moved towards me in order to kill me. May that Supreme Lord who awards salvation become my destination. (39) Let me, at this hour of death, be of love for the Personality of Godhead who, controlling the horses with a whip in His right hand and the reins in the 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. (40) Watching the attractive movements of His supremely spirited, fascinating acts and sweet smiles, the gopîs of Vrajadhâma [the village of Krishna's youth] imitating Him in ecstasy, found their original nature. (41) When King Yudhishthhira performed the [Râjasûya] 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 spirit soul, as the object of worship. (42) Having experienced the absorption of being freed from the misconceptions of duality, I have known [ever since] that He, now present before me, is the One Unborn in the heart of the conditioned soul. It is He who in His being situated as the Supersoul in the heart of all who are created by Him, just like the one sun, is looked upon differently from every angle.' "

(43) Sûta said: "With his mind, speech, sight and actions thus fixed upon Krishna only, he fell silent and stopped breathing, having merged in the living being of the Supersoul. (44) After hearing this all from Bhîshmadeva as he merged into the Supreme Absolute and Unlimited, 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 Lord Krishna's glories, then went back to their own hermitages with Him installed in their hearts. (48) King Yudhishthhira went together with Lord Krishna to Hastinâpura and consoled his uncle [Dhritarâshthra] and ascetic aunt Ghândhârî. (49) With the approval of his uncle and consent of Lord Vâsudeva he thereafter, faithful to the greatness of his forefathers, executed the royal duties over the kingdom."

 

Chapter 10: The Departure of Lord Krishna for Dvârakâ

(1) S'aunaka Muni asked: "How did King Yudhishthhira, the greatest of the strict followers of the religion, together with his younger brothers rule the kingdom after having killed the aggressors who wanted to usurp the legal inheritance? They had to accept a restriction on the joys of life, didn't they?"

(2)
Sûta 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) After having heard what Bhîshma and the Infallible One had said, Yudhishthhira, enlightened by perfect knowledge, was freed from his bewilderment and 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, nature or because of others, any living being troubled by anxieties, diseases or extreme temperatures, as always happens with a king who has no enemies.

(7)
In order to appease His family and please His sister [Subhadrâ, who was married to Arjuna], the Lord stayed for a few months in the city of Hastinâpura. (8) After that time He, after duly asking permission, was permitted to leave. After embracing the king and bowing down to him He ascended His chariot, receiving from others the same respects and embraces. (9-10) His sister, [the wife of the Pândavas] Draupadî, [their mother] Kuntî, [Parîkchit's mother] Uttarâ and also [the blind grandfather] Dhritarâshthra and [his wife] Gândhârî, [their son] Yuyutsu, [the Kuru priest] Kripâcârya, [the twin brothers] Nakula and Sahadeva together with Bhîma, and [the Pândava priest] Dhaumya and the other ladies from the palace and [Vyâsa's mother] Satyavatî, had great difficulty with the departure of the One with the conch in His hands, and almost fainted. (11-12) An intelligent person will, concerning the fame that is sung, in good company being liberated from materialistic association, never think of giving it up when he but once has heard the pleasing. How could the Pândavas who gave Him their heart 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, bound as they were 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 Devakî. (15) At that time mridangas [drums used in devotional service], conch shells, horns, strings, flutes and more drums, 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 [Arjuna] the conqueror of sleep took up an embroidered sunshade decorated with perls and lace that had a handle inlaid with jewels. (18) He, as the master of Madhu, resplendently sitting on flowers scattered all around was on His way fanned by Uddhava, His cousin brother and His driver Sâtyaki.

(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 talking amongst each other about Him hailed in the scriptures, in such a manner that it sounded more attractive than the hymns of the Vedas themselves: (21) 'Him we will definitely remember as the Personality of Godhead, as the Original One who existed materially unmanifested in His own Self before the creation of the modes of nature. He is that Supersoul, that Supreme Lord, in whom the living beings merge with their energies suspended, like going asleep at night. (22) He as the one who puts the revealed scriptures in practice thus gives, when He excercizes His own personal potency, the individual soul time and again names and forms when He [in the form of an avatâra] creates the outer illusion of material nature. And these names He assigns to that what factually cannot be named. (23) He happens to be the same Personality of Godhead as the one by those great devotees seen who managed to control their senses and life and who, by the grace of their devotion, may see the development of a pure mind; it is they who by dint of this, only this, deserve a purified existence. (24) Oh friends, it is He who for His excellent pastimes, that are confidentially described in the Vedas as also discussed by the intimate devotees, is respected as the one and only Supreme Controller and Supersoul of the complete creation, as 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 go against the divine principles, He manifests, for sure out of goodness, His supreme power and positive truth, mercy and wonderful activities in various forms for the sake of maintaining [the dharma] in the different periods and ages [see also B.G 4: 7]. (26) O, how supremely glorified the dynasty of King Yadu is and how elevated the virtue of the land of Mathurâ, for He who has appeared and roamed here is the supreme leader of all the living beings and the husband of the goddess of fortune. (27) How wonderful Dvârakâ is [the island where Krishna resides], that place that, adding to the virtue and fame of the earth, defeats the glory of the heavenly worlds, that place of which the inhabitants are used to constantly see the soul of the living being [Krishna] who bestows His grace with the benediction of His smiling glance. (28) For the wives He married to relish His lips again and again, they 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 Dvârakâ [Rukminî, 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'upâla, and of the other ladies that were similarly brought home after the killing of thousands of wicked kings [headed by Bhaumâsura], there are the children like Pradyumna, Sâmba and Amba. (30)
All these very fine women of the highest stature who were bereft of their individuality and purity were, being touched by their lotus-eyed husband who drew them in His heart, thus never left alone in their homes.'

(31)
While the ladies of the capital were praying and talking this way about Him, He granted them the grace of His glance and greeting them with a smile on His face the Lord departed. (32) Yudhishthhira, the man without enemies, out of affection and being anxious, engaged four divisions of soldiers [on horseback, elephant, chariot and foot] for the protection of the enemy of the atheists. (33) After thus having accompanied Him over a long distance, the Lord persuaded politely and full of affection the determined Pândavas to return. They were overtaken by the thought of their future separation. Thereafter He with His dear companions proceeded towards Dvârakâ. (34-35) Traveling through Kurujângala [the province of Delhi], Pâñcâlâ [part of Punjab], S'ûrasenâ, Brahmâvarta [Uttar Pradesh its north] and the districts along the Yamunâ river, He passed Kurukshetra where the battle was fought and traversed the province of Matsyâ, Sârasvatân [another part of Punjab] and so on. Then crossing the land of deserts [Rajasthan] and the land where there is hardly any water [Madhya Pradesh], and after passing through the provinces of Sauvîra [Saurastra] and Âbhîra [part of Gujarat], He, oh S'aunaka, finally reached the western side of the province of Dvârakâ with His horses slightly overtaken by fatigue from the long journey. (36) In several places it so happened that the Lord was welcomed and served in different ways when He arrived in the evening after the sun had passed the eastern sky to be gone where the ocean is."

 

Chapter 11: Lord S'rî Krishna's Entrance Into Dvârakâ

(1) Sûta said: "Reaching the border of the land of the Ânartas [the land of the ones free from the unwanted, Dvârakâ], He for the arrival in His own prosperous city sounded His conch shell [the Pâñcajanya], which, evidently, ended the dejection of the inhabitants. (2) The brilliant white of the round form of the conch shell, even though it was reddened by the lips of the Great Adventurer, looked, as it was loudly sounded in His hands, like a swan ducking at the stems of lotus flowers. (3)  Having heard the sound that is even feared by the fear of a material existence itself, all the citizens rapidly proceeded in the direction of the sound to have an audience with the protector of the devotees they had awaited for so long. (4-5) Thereupon they offered their presentation of welcome to the Self-contented One who by dint of His own 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, the way friends and protégées do for their guardian.

(6)
They said: 'We have always bowed down to Your lotus feet like one does within the worship of Brahmâ and his sons and the king of heaven, because You, for the one who desires the supreme welfare in this life, are 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 idol and supreme lordship we have succeeded in our lives. (8) Oh how lucky we are to see Your all-auspicious form and enjoy again the protection of Your good Self, because the sight of Your affectionate, loving, smiling face
even by the demigods is rarely seen. (9) Whenever, oh lotus-eyed One, You leave from here to meet Your friends and relatives among the Kurus [in Hastinâpura] and the people of Mathurâ, 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 of these words of the citizens in His ears the caretaker of the devotees, He who teaches humanity humaneness by the distribution of His glances, entered the city of Dvârakâ.
(11) The way the city of Bhogavatî was protected by the Nâgas, Dvârakâ was protected by the strength of the descendants of Vrishni [Krishna's family], Bhoja, Madhu, Das'ârha, 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 also with the hermitages that were found there, formed beautiful parks around ponds filled with lotuses which made the city extra beautiful. (13) The gateway of the city as well as the different roads were decorated with arches and flags that, painted with all the known signs, were casting shadows in the sunshine. (14) The lanes, alleys, 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 father Vasudeva and the magnanimous Akrûra, Ugrasena, Krishna's superhumanly powerful elder brother Balarâma, Pradyumna, Cârudeshna and Sâmba the son of Jâmbavatî, were all by the force of an extreme happiness alerted from their resting, sitting and dining. (18) Headed by elephants, with auspicious articles, the sound of conch shells and the glorifying chanting of hymns, they hurried, together with the brahmins excited in cheerful expectancy on their chariots towards Him. (19) Hundreds of courtesans with dazzling earrings that enhanced the beauty of their cheeks, very anxious to meet Him followed in their vehicles. (20) There were entertainers, dancers, singers, historians, genealogists and learned speakers who spirited sang the praises of the superhuman activities of the Lord. (21) The Supreme Lord approached each of the friends and citizens who came to receive and welcome Him, as it should with due honor and respect. (22) He, the Almighty One, with the encouragement of His glancing smile bowed His head, greeted them in words, embraced them and shook hands with them, down to the lowest as desired giving His benedictions. (23) Then, accompanied by the esteemed elders and the brahmins and their wives, He entered the city where He was welcomed with blessings and praises from other admirers.

(24)
While He passed through the public roads of Dvârakâ the ladies of standing climbed on the roofs of their houses, oh learned ones, 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 Dvârakâ could never get enough of the compelling sight of the reservoir of 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 flower garlands resembled a cloud surrounded by the sun, the moon, lightening and a rainbow combined.

(28) But after He entered 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 joyously were headed by Devakî to whom He bowed His head down in obeisance. (29) After they all had put Him on their laps, their breasts got wet of their affection and delight and also of the water of the tears that overwhelmed them. (30) Thereafter He entered His personal 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
within their minds rejoicing rose up at once from their seats and meditations with a coyly looking face. (32) As soon as they saw Him the shy ones first sent their sons and embraced Him in their hearts in an insuperable ecstasy but, oh leader of the Bhrigus, in spite of that they 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 nevertheless 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 when he creates fire by friction. (35) The Supreme Lord, from His own causeless mercy, out of His own appeared 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 convinced 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 who is as affected as they are. (38) Such is the divinity of the Personality of Godhead that He, despite of being in touch with material nature, is never affected by its qualities; and the same is true for the intelligence of the ones situated in the eternal of the Lord who is their refuge. (39) The women in their simplicity and weakness held it for true that He would be like someone who follows because he is dominated and isolated by his wife. They, unaware of the glories of their husband, were the way the atheists think of Him who do not know Him as the supreme controller."

 

Chapter 12: The Birth of Emperor Parîkchit

(1) S'aunaka said: "The [embryo in the] womb of Uttarâ, that was tormented by the enormous heat of the invincible weapon released by As'vatthâmâ, was brought back to life by the Lord. (2) How was Emperor Parîkchit born who was highly intelligent and proved to be a great soul? How exactly did his demise take place and where did that death take him? (3) Please tell it to us, we all want to hear everything about what you deem worth mentioning about him. We are of the greatest respect for you to whom S'ukadeva Gosvâmî delivered the knowledge of the Supreme."

(4)
Sûta said: "King Yudhishthhira brought wealth, the way his father did, in pleasing his subjects without in his observance of Krishna's feet being motivated for the ulterior of any material gain or sense gratification. (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 heavens. (6) But, just as only food may satisfy a hungry man and nothing else, he in his hunger as a God-fearing person, oh brahmins, was not moved by all those earthly desirables that are aspired by even the denizens of heaven.

(7)
At the time Parîkchit the great fighter, as a child in his mother's womb, was suffering from the heat of the brahmâstra weapon, oh son of Bhrigu, he could see 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 circling the club around like it was a torch. (10) As He was vanquishing the radiation of the brahmâstra 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 upon which 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 as being of a prowess equal to that of Pându, took his birth as the heir apparent of Pându. (13) King Yudhishthhira gladdened 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 for the occasion the learned ones with good food and gifts of gold, cows, land, housing, elephants and horses. (15) The brahmins happily addressed the king, the chief of the Purus, communicating that they felt very obliged to the descent in the line of the Purus [of the descendants of their ancestor King Puru]. (16) They said: 'For the purpose of obliging you to Him this son by the all-pervasive and all-powerful Lord has been saved from being destroyed by the irresistible, supernatural weapon. (17) Therefore he shall become well known in all the worlds as the one protected by Vishnu. No doubt he will 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, to the honor of his family name, be meritorious and true to his word in his achievements?'

(19) The brahmins answered: 'Oh son of Prithâ [Kuntî], he will be the maintainer of all living entities, exactly like King Ikshvâku, the son of Manu, and he will be faithful to his promises and have respect for the learned just like Râma, the son of Das'aratha. (20) He will be as charitable as King S'ibi of Us'înara and protect the ones of surrender, and like Bharata, the son of Dushyanta who performed many sacrifices, he will 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], 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 Brahmâ, 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 with whom the Goddess of Fortune resides. (24) Following in the footsteps of Lord Krishna he will be of the majesty of all divine virtues, he will have the greatness of King Rantideva and be as pious as Yayâti. (25) Being as patient as Bali Mahârâja this child will be as devoted as Prahlâda was unto Lord Krishna and he will perform As'vamedha [horse] sacrifices and be faithful to the elderly and experienced. (26) He will bring forth kings as good as sages, will chastise the upstarts and crush the quarrelsome for the sake of world peace and the religion. (27) After having heard of his personal death, that is caused by a snakebird sent by the son of a brahmin, he will free himself from his attachments and take to the shelter of the Lord. (28) Having inquired after the right self-knowledge with the son of sage Vyâsa he, oh King, will abandon his material life on the banks of the river Ganges and attain a life of fearlessness.'

(29)
After they thus had informed the king and were generously rewarded, they who are learned in matters of astrology and birth ceremonies returned to their homes. (30) He, oh master [S'aunaka], would become famous in this world as Parîkchit, the examiner, because he from what he had seen before his birth, keeping Him constantly in mind would be examining all men. (31) Just like the waxing moon growing day by day, the royal prince under the care of his protective parents day by day soon grew up to what 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, advised by the Infallible One, went north to collect sufficient riches. (34) With the result of that collected wealth Yudhishthhira, the pious king who was so anxious, managed to conduct three horse sacrifices with which he worshiped Lord Hari perfectly. (35) The Supreme Lord, with the help of whom the twice-born could perform the sacrifices, then invited by the king stayed for a few months more to please the ones who loved Him. (36) Thereafter, dear brahmins, He, with the permission of the king, Draupadî and His relatives, went back to Dvârakâ accompanied by Arjuna and other members of the Yadu dynasty."


Chapter 13: Dhritarâshthra Quits Home

(1) Sûta said: "Vidura [*] as he was traveling to the different places of pilgrimage, had received knowledge about the destination of the self from the great sage Maitreya, and since he by that knowledge was sufficiently acquainted with everything to be known, he returned to the city of Hastinâpura. (2) After all the questions that Vidura put before Maitreya in his presence an undivided devotion unto Govinda had grown in him and he refrained from further questioning. (3-4) Arriving in Hastinâpura he, oh brahmins, was welcomed by Yudhishthhira and his younger brothers, Dhritarâshthra, Sâtyaki and Sañjaya, Kripâcârya, Kuntî, Gândhârî, Draupadî, Subhadrâ, Uttarâ, Kripî, other wives of the family members of the Pândavas and other ladies with their sons. (5) Like awakened from death they approached him in great delight to receive him with all respect with embraces and obeisances. (6) In their affection they emotionally shed tears because of the anxiety and grief they had felt because of the separation. King Yudhishthhira offered him a seat and then arranged for a reception.

(7) After he was fed sumptuously, had rested and was seated comfortably, the king humbly bowed down to address him in front of everybody. (8) He 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) How 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; having the Supreme Personality in your heart, 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, who with Krishna are rapt in their love for God, all happy where they are living?'

(12) Thus being questioned by the king he properly described, discussing one subject after the other, all he had experienced, but did not mention the destruction of the dynasty. (13) Because he didn't want to upset them he was as graceful not to expound on this in fact so unpalatable and unbearable aspect of mankind's behavior. (14) The sage, who was treated like a god, thus resided for a few days with them so that he could mean something to his eldest brother and all would be happy. (15) Because of a curse of Mandûka Muni [who under Yama's responsibility was treated unjustly], Vidura for the time of a hundred years had to play the part of a s'ûdra [a working class man]. During that time it was Aryamâ 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 that he had retrieved and enjoyed together with his politically gifted brothers a life of great wealth. (17) But Time, insurmountable and imperceptible in its being, surpasses  inimitably those who are inattentive and engrossed in the mind of attachment to family affairs. (18) Vidura who knew this said to Dhritarâshthra: 'Oh King, [dear brother], please withdraw yourself without delay, just see how fear has taken the lead in your life. (19) In this material world there is no help of anyone or anything to escape from 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, don't hear that well 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 its 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 Bhîma [your Pândava 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 if he, unconcerned in being freed from all obligations, accepts that he has to head for an unknown destination when he is no longer able to use his body properly. (27) Anyone in this world who, by his own understanding or having it learned from others, arrives at consciousness when he has awakened from his material attachment and next leaves 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 where you are heading for; hereafter soon the time will arrive of a general diminishing of the qualities of men [Kali-yuga].' (29) Having heard this the old king of the Ajamîdha family, in respect of the wisdom of his younger brother Vidura, broke determined with the strong family ties and left in that direction which was set for the path of liberation. (30) He was followed by the chaste and worthy daughter of King Subala [Gândhârî] who went along with 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 the legitimacy of a good beating.

(31) Returning to the palace he who considered no one his enemy [Yudhishthhira], having worshiped the demigods with oblations, obeisances and gifts for the brahmins, wanted to pay his respects to the elderly. But he couldn't find his two uncles or aunt Gândhârî. (32) Anxiously, he turned to Sañjaya the son of Gavalgana [the assistant who gave the blind Dhritarâshthra the account of the battle], and said to him: 'Where is our old, blind uncle? (33) Where is my well-wisher Vidura and mother Gândhârî who was grieving over losing her offspring? Has the old king, ungrateful to me for having lost his sons, distressed in a mind of doubt about my offenses drowned himself together with his wife in the Ganges? (34) After the downfall of my father King Pându they were the well-wishers who protected us all who were still small children - where have my uncles gone from here?' "

(35) Sûta said: "Sañjaya, who worried in the love for his master couldn't 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 and tried to regain his composure to answer King Yudhishthhira. (37) Sañjaya said: 'I do not know what your uncles or Gândhârî had in mind, oh descendant of the Kuru dynasty - oh great King, these great souls have led me by the nose.' (38) At that moment the supreme personality Nârada appeared on the scene with his musical instrument and after Yudhishthhira and his younger brothers had got up from their seats to welcome him properly by offering him their obeisances, the king said: (39) 'Oh Supreme One, I do not know in which direction my uncles and my ascetic aunt who is so aggrieved about the loss of her sons, have left. (40) Just 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 Nârada, the greatest among the wise philosophers of the eternal, began to speak: (41) 'Oh King, never lament for whatever reason, for you are controlled by the Supreme Lord. All living beings and their leaders in this world perform their ceremonies in order to be protected. He is the one who brings everybody together and also disperses us again. (42) The way a cow is tied by a rope through the nose, one is likewise tied by the hymns and precepts of the Veda so as to follow in accordance with the demands of the Supreme. (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 of that state because one is emotionally involved or has lost one's mind. (45) Therefore, oh King, give up the anxiety you feel because of a lack of self knowledge, and stop thinking 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, materially motivated action and the modes of nature [kâla, karma and the gunas], capable of protecting others when it is just as well bitten by that snake? (47) 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 and thus one living being feeds on the other. (48) Therefore only have eyes for the outer form of Him who by the power of illusion appears as a diversity; He, oh King, is the Supreme Personality, the Supersoul who self-illuminating manifests Himself as the object as well as the subject of the different living beings. (49) That Unborn One, the Father of Creation, has, oh King, at present descended in this world in a form of [the all-devouring] Time in order to eliminate all the enemies of the enlightened. (50) The Lord did for the enlightened souls what had to be done and is now awaiting the rest. You Pândavas  must observe in the same way and wait for as long as He is present in this world.

(51) Dhritarâshthra, his brother Vidura and his wife Gândhârî 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 the heavens [the Svardhunî] sprouted there and to the satisfaction of the respective wise divided herself into the seven currents we know as her branches. (53) By bathing regularly there, sacrificing in the fire according the regulative principles and fasting on drinking water only, Dhritarâshthra has completely subdued his mind and senses and is thus freed from the dependency he had with his family. (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 witness, he has united with the Absolute [brahman], the reservoir of pure being, the same way the air within a pot merges with the space outside of it. (56) With his breaking with the effects of the operation of the natural modes, his senses and mind will no longer be fed and come to a stop when he, no longer hindered in renouncing all his duties, sits concentrating his mind without moving a limb. (57) I expect that he will quit his body five days from now, oh King, and will allow it to turn to ashes. (58) While she outside observes the body of her husband being [mystically set] afire along with his cottage, his chaste wife fully conscious will follow him in the fire. (59) Vidura, witnessing that wonderful incident, oh son of the Kuru dynasty, will, with mixed feelings of delight and grief, leave that place to embark on an inspiring pilgrimage.' (60) After thus having addressed the king Nârada, along with his stringed instrument, rose up into heaven. Yudhishthhira, taking his instructions at heart, thereupon gave up all his lamentation."

*: Vidura is a younger brother of Dhritarâshthra. He was born as a s'ûdra, a laborer, because of being conceived by Vyâsa from a maidservant of the mother of Pându.

**: Aryamâ was a son of Aditi and Kas'yapa officiating for Yamarâja the Lord of punishment. Vidura is considered the s'ûdra incarnation of Yamarâja.



Chapter 14: The Disappearance of Lord Krishna

(1) Sûta said: "Arjuna went to the city of Dvârakâ to see his friends and Krishna, the One Glorified by the Vedic Hymns, in order to know what His further plans were. (2) After a few months, when Arjuna did not return from there, Yudhishthhira observed various fearful signs. (3) The time had taken an inauspicious turn: he observed seasonal irregularities and saw that the people in their human sinfulness turned to anger, greed and falsehood in heartening their means of livelihood. (4) There was cheating in ordinary transactions, misunderstanding rose 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 as wantonness and such. The king facing these serious matters and bad omens, spoke with his younger brother about it.

(6) Yudhishthhira said [to Bhîma]: 'Arjuna went to see his friends and also wanted to know what Krishna's plans were. (7) It is now seven months ago that your younger brother left, oh Bhîmasena, and I do not know exactly why that is the case. (8) Is it so, as Nârada instructed, that the Supreme Personality has decided it is time to leave this manifest world? (9) From Him we have our wealth, kingdom and wives - through Him the existence of the dynasty and the life of our subjects has become possible and by 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 the fear I have. This is all indicative of undesirable happenings. (12) See, oh Bhîma, how the jackal frantically cries at sunrise and how the dog barks at me without any fear. (13) Oh tiger among man, the cows treat me indifferently and the asses and such 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 Bhîma, 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, 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're 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 quality of the Supreme Person will be unfortunate without those auspicious signs.'

(22) Oh brahmin, while King Yudhishthhira who observed the bad omens thus was thinking to himself, 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 the anxious heart and pale appearance of Arjuna, the king, who remembered what Nârada had said, questioned him in the midst of the friends. (25) Yudhishthhira said: 'Are our Yadu relatives of Madhu, Bhoja, Das'ârha, Ârha, Sâtvata and Andhaka all happy passing their days in Dvârakâ? (26) Is my respectable [maternal] grandfather S'ûrasena 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 seven sisters headed by Devakî in person, with their sons and daughters-in-law all happy? (28-29) Are King Ugrasena, whose son was the mischievous one [Kamsa], and his younger brother, Hridîka and his son Kritavarmâ and Akrûra, Jayanta, Gada, Sârana as well as S'atrujit and the rest all happy? Is also the Supreme Personality Balarâma, who is the protector of the devotees, all right? (30) Are the great warrior Pradyumna [a son of Krishna] and all others of the Vrishni family happy? And is the plenary expansion of Krishna Aniruddha [a grandson of Krishna] faring well? (31) And how are Sushena, Cârudeshna and Sâmba, the son of Jâmbavatî, doing, and the other eminent sons of Krishna as also their very best sons? (32-33) Are likewise the constant companions of Krishna like S'rutadeva, Uddhava and others, Sunanda, Nanda and other leaders doing well? And are the other liberated souls, those best of men in order as well? And are all who are bound in friendship under the protection of Balarâma 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 devoted and the brahmins [the ones versed in sacred knowledge], enjoying the pious assembly of His friends around Him in Dvârakâ? (35-36) For the benefit of the protection and elevation of all worlds the Original, Supreme Enjoyer together with Ananta [Balarâma] resides there in the company of the ocean of members of the Yadu dynasty. Because they deserve it, the members of the Yadu family relish in His city under the protection of His arms the transcendental pleasure alike the residents of heaven. (37) By most importantly managing the comforts at the feet, the sixteen thousand companions of the fair sex who are headed by Sathyabhâmâ, made the Lord subdue the denizens of heaven, so that they could enjoy what is normally the privilege of the wives of the controller of the thunderbolt. (38) The Yadus, enjoying the protection of His arms, always fearlessly enter the Sudharmâ 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 being neglected or, my brother, because you were away so long? (40) Have you lost your grip because you were addressed unfriendly or have been threatened, or couldn't you give in charity or keep to the hope of doing so? (41) Were you who are approached for the protection of the learned ones, the children, the cows, the old aged, the diseased and the women, unable to offer shelter to any living being who deserves your care? (42) Have you contacted a reprehensible woman or have you maybe treated an acceptable woman improperly or has your good self on the road been defeated after all by a superior power or by equals? (43) Have you disregarded old men or boys who deserved to dine together with you or did you do something abominable which 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 Lord 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 Pândavas Retire

(1) Sûta said: "Arjuna, the friend of Krishna, emaciated as he was 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 lotuslike heart had dried up and his bodily luster had vanished. Preoccupied with thoughts about the Supreme Lord S'rî Krishna he wasn't able to reply properly. (3) The more he with great difficulty checked the force of his sadness while he wiped the tears out of his eyes, the more he eagerly thought about Him in his affection and the more distressed he became. (4) Remembering Him as well-wisher, benefactor, intimate associate and charioteer, Arjuna, overwhelmed and heavily breathing, began to speak to his eldest brother the king. (5) He said: 'Oh my King, the Personality of Godhead Hari who treated me like His intimate friend has left me. Now I am bereft of the astounding power that even astonished the gods. (6) I lost Him from whom being separated but for a moment all universes appear unfavorable and void of all life, like they are all dead bodies. (7) By the strength of His mercy I could vanquish all the princes who lusted for power during the selection of the bridegroom at King Drupada's palace where I gained Draupadî's hand by piercing the fish-target with my bow. (8) Because of His support I was able to defeat Indra and his godly associates, I managed to enable the god of fire to set ablaze his forest, and we could realize our wonderfully decorated assembly house built by Maya [out of gratitude for saving him from that fire in the forest named Khândava] where all the princes assembled to your honor bringing presents collected from everywhere. (9) Under His influence our younger brother [Bhîma], who has the strength of a thousand elephants, for the sake of the [râjasûya] sacrifice managed to kill him [Jarâsandha] who was worshiped by many a king. It was He who saved the kings who by Jarâsandha had been brought [to his capital] to be sacrificed to the lord of the ghosts [Mahâbhairava]. They all paid you tribute afterwards. (10) He [in turn] took the life of the husbands of the wives [of the Kurus] whose hair was condemned to be loosened because of the fact that the cluster of your wife's [Draupadî's] hair had been loosened, which was beautifully dressed and blessed for the great ceremony. Being caught by the miscreants [the Kurus headed by Duhs'âsana] 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 in association with Durvâsâ Muni who arrived there to eat with his ten thousand disciples. By simply before they came to it accepting the remnants of the food, He satisfied the three worlds as well as the munis who at the moment were bathing, by giving them the thought that they had been fed already. (12) Under His influence I once could astonish the Personality of God with the Trident [Lord S'iva] and his wife the daughter of the Himalaya, because of which he and other gods rewarded me with their own weapons. And thus I living in this body succeeded 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 my bow Gândîva, Indra and all the gods, because of being empowered by Him, the Supreme Personality whom at present I am bereft of, kill the demon Nivâtakavaca oh descendant of King Ajamîdha. (14) Because of His friendship alone I, seated on the chariot, could cross the insurmountable ocean of the invincible existence of the military strength of the Kauravas, and thanks alone to His friendship, 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 ended the mental agitation that sprouted from the motivation for results of all the fighters who with the wealth of their chariots were positioned on the battlefield oh great King, and from whose ranks I stepped forward with before my eyes the immensity of great royal personalities like Bhîshma, Karna, Drona and S'alya. (16) Under His protection the very powerful invincible weapons wielded by Drona, Bhîshma, Karna, Bhûris'ravâ, King Sus'armâ, S'alya, King Jayadratha, Bâhlika [a brother of Bhîshma] etc., could not touch me, just like when Prahlâda [the famous devotee of Nrisimhadev, the lion-incarnation] was threatened by the demons. (17) Thinking erroneously of Him as being only my chariot driver He to whose feet the intelligent ones for the sake of salvation render service delivered me. By His mercy my enemies were absentminded and did not attack me when I alighted for my thirsty horses. (18) With His smiling face He made jokes and being frank with me He addressed me with 'son of Prithâ', 'friend' and 'son of the Kuru dynasty' and such; heartfelt sayings of my Mâdhava [Krishna] that touch and overwhelm my soul as I remember them. (19) When we were sleeping, sitting, walking and dining together and truthfully confronted each other and so on, I took Him by mistake for a friend just like me, while He, despite of my seeing Him lower in my offenses, tolerated me in the glory of His magnanimity 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, and being the same Arjuna and chariot fighter to whom all the kings offered their respects, all of this in a single moment, with me missing Him, 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 Dvârakâ I can say that they were cursed by the brahmins. As a consequence of that curse they, being drunk with rice wine, like fools killed one another with sticks, not even recognizing each other in that intoxicated state. Only four or five of them remained. (24) It is the Supreme Personality, our Lord, His program that sometimes the living beings kill and at other times protect each other. (25-26) Like in the ocean where the bigger ones eat the smaller and the stronger ones devour the weaker oh King, the same way the Omnipotent One removed the burden of all the Yadus in one stroke from the earth by having the stronger Yadu kill the weaker one and the bigger Yadu kill the smaller one in a fight. (27) Bearing in mind the words spoken by Govinda, I remember how attractive they are, and how they, imbued with importance and appropriate to the time and circumstance, put an end to the pain in the heart.' "

(28) Sûta said: "Thus thinking of the lotus feet of the Lord and what He had instructed in the intimacy of deep friendship, Arjuna with his mind freed from all material concerns found his calm. (29) Constantly remembering the feet of Vâsudeva, Arjuna's devotion increased rapidly and the endless ruminations ended. (30) Recalling the instructions of the Supreme Lord about the transcendental in the midst of the battle and thinking of His time and actions he dispelled the darkness of his ignorance and became 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) Listening to the deliberations about the disappearance of the Supreme Lord to His abode and the end of the Yadu dynasty, Yudhishthhira for the sake of the soul decided to withdraw and also left. (33) Also Queen Kuntî, who had overheard what Arjuna told about the end of the Yadus and the disappearance of the Lord, found, as well as all the others did who were undivided in their devotion for the Lord's transcendence, in her soulful commitment release from her material existence. (34) By taking away the burden of the world that body [of the Yadu dynasty] by the Unborn One was relinquished the way a thorn is thrown away after having been used to extract another thorn, because all those thorns to the Lord are one and the same. (35) Just like with His Matsya incarnation and other incarnations, as a magician giving up one body in order to accept another, He relinquished the body He manifested to diminish 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 very day on Kali[-yuga] manifested itself in full, being inauspicious to all whose minds have not awakened.

(37) Yudhishthhira who keenly in his capital, state and home as also in the self saw things grow worse with the vicious circle of avarice, falsehood, dishonesty, irreligion and violence and such, understood that it was time to leave and dressed himself accordingly. (38) His grandson [Parîkchit], who was properly trained and as for his qualities was alike himself in all respects, was by the emperor for the occasion in the capital of Hastinâpura enthroned as the master of all land bordered by the seas. (39) At Mathurâ he made Vajra [the son of Aniruddha] king of S'ûrasena, after which he had a prâjâpatya sacrifice performed for being able to find the fire in himself in order to attain his goal. (40) Renouncing his belt, ornaments and all of that, he became uninterested perfectly being detached from the unlimited bondage. (41) He withdrew his speech into his mind, his mind with his other senses into his breath, his breath he withdrew in death, and in full dedication he united that with the body made of the five elements. (42) Having offered those five elements to the three qualities of nature, he united the thoughtfulness in one indifference, fixing the sum total of that in the soul directed to the spiritual soul of the inexhaustible Brahman. (43) Accepting torn clothes, refusing solid food, stopping to talk and untying his hair, he began to look like a dumb madman and an unengaged urchin not listening to anyone as if he had become deaf. (44) Heading for the north he trod, as all others do who go there, the path of his mindful forefathers, passing his days constantly thinking from within his heart of the Supreme Beyond wherever he went.

(45) In accord with their friend seeing that the Age of Kali and its irreligion had overtaken the citizens on earth, all the brothers followed the eldest one and left home. (46) All of them having performed with all the virtue and knowledge of holiness, kept themselves, with the ultimate goal of the living being in mind, steadfast to the lotus feet of the Lord of Vaikunthha. (47-48) That is the destination of those who by positive meditation being purified in devotion found liberation in fixing their mind on the transcendental feet of the One Nârâyana. They with their material contaminations washed away, attained in the same bodies as they were born with, the abode which for the materialists absorbed in material concerns is so very difficult to attain. (49) Also Vidura who with his mind and actions was devoted to Krishna returned to his own abode [Yama's realm] after quitting his physical self at Prabhâsa in the company of his forefathers. (50) Also Draupadî who realized that her husbands did not care anymore, concentrated on Lord Vâsudeva, 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 Pându who are so dear to the Supreme Lord, will find nothing but good fortune and purity and will, gaining in perfection, thus arrive at the devotional service of the Lord."


Chapter 16: How Parîkchit Received the Age of Kali

(1) Sûta said: "Oh learned ones, thereafter Parîkchit, the great devotee, instructed by the twice-born ruled over the earth with all the qualities the astrologers, who predicted the future at the time of his birth, had thought he would have. (2) He married with Irâvatî, the daughter of King Uttara, and begot four sons in her with Janamejaya as the first. (3) At the Ganges he performed three horse sacrifices with proper rewards for Kripâcârya, whom he selected for his spiritual master, and the God-conscious who came into view with it. (4) Once on a chastising campaign he, the valiant hero, by dint of his prowess managed to rebuke the master of Kali-yuga who was disguised as a king but lower than a s'ûdra was hurting the legs of a cow and a bull."

(5) S'aunaka inquired: "Why did he during his campaign reprimand the master of Kali who was dressed up as a king but as someone lower than a śūdra was striking the legs of a cow?  Please oh fortunate one describe all this to us, viz. as far as it relates to the topics of Krishna. (6) Because for what reason would the ones of liberation who relish the honey at His lotus feet, waste their lives with endless illusory discussions? (7) Oh Sûta, in this world of mortal human beings whose lifespan is but short, for the salvation of those among them who desire eternal life is called for the presence of the Lord of Death, Yamârâja who rules over the propitiatory sacrifice [of animal flesh]. (8) No one will die [so one is convinced] as long as he who rules over death has his place here. For that reason he as the [representative of  the] great lord has been invited by the sages. Let [therefore] the ones who fall under his grip drink  from  the nectar of the narrations about the divine pastimes of the Lord. (9) Is it not so that those who are lazy, of a trivial interest and short-lived, pass their days and nights with aimless activities and sleeping?"

(10) Sûta said: "When Parîkchit, residing in the Kuru capital, heard that the signs of Kali-yuga had entered the domain of his jurisdiction, he thought the news was not very palatable and therefore took, in his responsibility of maintaining authority by military means, up his bow and arrows. (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) Bhadrâs'va, Ketumâla, Bhârata, 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 both about his own deliverance from the powerful rays of the weapon of As'vatthâmâ and about the devotion for Lord Kes'ava [Krishna as the killer of the demon Kes'î, the mad horse] among the descendants of Vrishni and Parthâ. Extremely pleased he with eyes wide open of joy, rewarded the people magnanimously with clothes, necklaces and other riches. (16) Serving as a chariot driver, presiding in assemblies, acting as a servant, being a friend and a messenger and keeping the watch at night He who is of Vishnu and Himself obeyed by everyone [Krishna], had acted with prayers and obeisances in relation to the God-fearing sons of Pāndu. This filled the king with devotion for His lotus feet.

(17) Thus absorbed in thoughts about the good qualities of his forefathers he in his everyday activities kept himself close to their example. Now hear from me about a most peculiar incident that took place not far away from where he was. (18) The personality of religion who stood on one leg only [the so-called 'bull' of dharma whose legs stand for the four fundamental human values] wandering around met with the aggrieved cow [mother Earth] who had tears in her eyes like a mother who has lost her child. (19) Dharma said: 'Madam, are you hale and hearty? Looking aggrieved with a gloomy face you appear to be affected by a disease or to be preoccupied with a relative far away from you, oh mother. (20) Are you lamenting about the diminishing of three of my legs as I am standing on one leg only, or is it because the meat-eaters want to exploit your body? Or is it because the enlightened ones and such are bereft of their share of the sacrifice due to a lack of ceremonies 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 miss the protection of their husbands and fathers or are you sorry about the way one in the families of the learned speaks against the principles of the goddess [of learning]? Or do you lament the fact that most of them act against the brahminical culture  in taking shelter of the ruling class? (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 wonts that have developed in society to take one's food and drink and how one sleeps, bathes and has intercourse? (23) Could it be, oh mother Earth, that you are thinking of the salvation brought by the activities of the incarnation of the Lord who diminished your heavy load but is now out of sight? (24) Please inform me, oh reservoir of all riches, about the reason of your sadness that reduced you to such a weakness. Or has oh mother, powerful Time stolen away from you the good fortune that was even extolled by the enlightened souls?'

(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 everlasting qualities of the Supreme Lord, the never diminishing higher nature which can be attained by those who are worthy of that greatness. Thanks to Him I myself am, just as the Goddess of Fortune, such a reservoir of qualities, but in the absence of Him who is the pivot, Kali, the source of all sins, is seen in all worlds. (31) I am lamenting for me and also for you, for the best of the enlightened, the gods and the ancestors in heaven, the sages and the devotees, and for all people in their status orientations in society. (32-33) Lakshmî [the Goddess of Fortune] whose grace was sought by demigods like Lord Brahmâ and for whom the gods so often were doing penance in surrender to the Lord, has for the sake of worship forsaken her own abode in the forest of lotus flowers out of attachment to the all-blissful feet. As a consequence of what He did I, who on my skin experienced the impressions of the footprints of the Supreme Lord, the proprietor of all opulence, succeeded magnanimously to be victorious in all the worlds, decorated as I was with the special powers of the lotus flower, thunderbolt, flag and driving rod that I myself had obtained. But in the end, just when I was feeling so fortunate, He has left me. (34) He who relieved me of the burden of the hundreds of military divisions of atheist kings, incarnated also for you in the Yadu family, and that He did because you lacking in strength had difficulty to keep standing. (35) Who, I ask you,  can tolerate it to be separated from the love, glances, smiles and hearty appeal of the Supreme Original Person who conquered the passionate wrath and gravity of women like Satyabhâmâ and made my hair [my grasses] stand on end out of the pleasure of being imprinted by His feet?'

 
(36) While the earth and the personality of religion were thus conversing, Parîkchit, who was renown for being the saint among the kings, arrived at the Sarasvatî river that was flowing to the east."



Chapter 17: Punishment and Reward of Kali

(1) Sûta said: "There [at the Sarasvatî river] the king observed how a s'ûdra who was dressed like a king was beating a cow and a bull with a club, as if there was no one to protect them. (2) The bull, that was as white as a lotus, terrified of being beaten by the s'ûdra urinated and trembled out of fear, standing on one leg only. (3) The cow also, on itself a religious example but now rendered poor and distressed because of the s'ûdra who 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) From his with gold embossed chariot Parîkchit, well equipped with bow and arrows, asked with a thundering voice: (5) 'Who are you to think that you in this place can violently kill the helpless who fall under my protection! As an actor you make a powerful appearance dressed up like a God-conscious man, but you behave like someone who never saw the light of civilization [of being twice born]. (6) Do you think that because Lord Krishna and the carrier of the bow the Gândîva [Arjuna] have disappeared from the scene, you can secretly beat an innocent cow? Being a culprit that way you 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 and has lost three legs or are you some demigod who in the form of a bull makes us sad? (8) Except for the case of you having tears in your eyes because of someone else, under the protection [of the arms] of any of the kings of the Kuru dynasty there  has never been such grievance on earth. (9)  Oh son of Surabhi [the celestial cow], in my kingdom there will be no lamentation and therefore do not fear the s'ûdra, and dear mother cow, do not cry. As long as I am alive as the ruler and subduer of the envious you will fare well! (10-11) Oh chaste one, he in whose state the living beings are terrified because of miscreants, will lose his fame, longevity, fortune and good birth. It is certainly the supreme duty of the kings to subdue in order to put an end to the misery of the ones who suffer and therefore I shall kill this most wretched man who is so violent with other living beings. (12) Who is the one who has cut your three legs, oh son of Surabhi? What happened to you has never happened before in this royal state of kings who live in respect of Lord Krishna. (13) Oh bull, you are honest and without offenses, tell me therefore about him who mutilated you and tarnished the reputation of the sons of Prithâ. (14) Those who make the sinless suffer may fear me wherever they are, for I will curb the actions of the miscreants and restore the welfare of the ones who are honest. (15) The upstart who offends innocent living beings I shall forthwith defeat, whether he is a demigod from heaven with armor and decorations or not. (16) It is certainly the holy duty of the head of state to always protect the ones who faithfully perform their duty and, safely according to the scriptures, chastise those in this world who have strayed from the path.'

(17) The personality of religion said: 'All you said speaking for the sake of the freedom from anxiety of those who are suffering is befitting for someone of the Pândava dynasty, the dynasty of which the qualities led Lord Krishna to behave like a servant and such. (18) Oh greatest among the human beings, because the person is bewildered as a consequence of all the differences of opinion, we cannot tell who [or what] would be the cause of all human suffering. (19) Some declare in defiance of all duality that one suffers because of one's own actions, others speak of supernatural causes, while still others say that it is all due to the operation of material nature or the consequence of accepting outside authorities. (20) Some also conclude that it is a matter which defies explanation and comprehension. Who of them would be right in this matter o sage amongst the kings, is left to your own power of judgement.' "

(21) Sûta said: "Parîkchit, who attentively had followed what the personality of religion had to say, oh best among the brahmins, mindfully replied. (22) 'You oh knower of the duties, oh dharma in the form of a bull, speak this way [of the unknown cause] only because you know that [just as it is with a guru who pointing out the karma takes the karma upon him] he who points out the culprit ends up in the position of doing wrong himself. (23) In other words: the Lord His ways with the material world cannot be put in words nor be conceived by living beings. (24) Penance, cleanliness, compassion and truthfulness [tapas, s'auca, dayâ, satya] are the legs that established the age of truth [Satya-yuga, the 'old days'], 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) Through the actions of the Supreme Lord personally mother earth has been relieved of a great burden. His all-auspicious footprints brought good fortune everywhere. (27) Lamenting with tears in her eyes the unfortunate and chaste one [mother earth] who was deserted by Him is now enjoyed by lower-class people who, devoid of the culture of learning, pose as rulers in my place.'

(28) Thus the personalities of religion and mother earth were pacified by the great warrior who took up his sharp sword in order to kill Kali, the root cause of irreligion. (29) Realizing that the king wanted to kill him, Kali, stressed from the fear, abandoned his royal atire and in full surrender bowed his head down at the feet. (30) Out of compassion he who is kind to the poor and capable of handling worship with a smile refrained from killing the one who had fallen at the feet of the hero that he was, he, the hero of whom one says that he is worthy of being glorified. (31) The king said: 'Do not fear, for you have surrendered yourself with folded hands. We certainly inherited the fame of Arjuna, but that does not mean that you can be allowed to stay in my kingdom. You are a friend of irreligion after all. (32) With you physically present as a god of man, everywhere the irreligion of greed, falsehood, robbery, incivility, treachery, misfortune, cheating, quarrel and vanity and all of that will be abound in the masses. (33) For that reason, oh friend of irreligion, you do not deserve it to remain in the vicinity of those places where the experts of religion and the 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 to all desires inviolable Supersoul who is present both inside and outside, just like the air is for all that moves and does not move.' "

(35) Sûta said: "That way being addressed by king Parîkchit, the personality of Kali seeing him ready with a raised sword speaking like Yamarâja, the Lord of Death, trembled. (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 chief of the protectors of the religion, allot me a place where I may count on a permanent stay under your rule.' "

(38) Sûta said: "Thus being petitioned, he gave Kali permission to dwell in places where the four sinful activities of gambling, drinking, prostitution and animal slaughter [dyûtam, pânam, striyah, sûnâ] were taking place. (39) Next to that  the master, upon his insistent begging, allotted him the place where there is gold, for gold by passion is the fifth sin bringing falsity, intoxication, lust and enmity. (40) Thus under the direction of the son of Uttarâ the five dwelling places were given to Kali where irreligion is encouraged. (41) For that reason a person desiring his well-being should never resort to any of these places, especially not those persons who follow the path of liberation, the royalty, the state officials 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 King Parîkchit]. (43-44) The present rule we have of him; the throne that was handed over by the king, grandfather [Yudhishthhira] when he wished to withdraw into the forest. From that rule that sage among the kings and chief of the Kuru dynasty is now known in Hastinâpura as the most fortunate and famous emperor. (45) Because of this experience of the son of Abhimanyu the king, thanks to his rule over the earth, you may all now have the initiation of the performance of sacrifices like this one."


Chapter 18: Mahârâja Parîkchit Cursed by a Brahmin Boy

(1) Sûta said: "He [Parîkchit] 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 S'rî Krishna whose actions are so wonderful. (2) Cursed by a brahmin to die by a snake-bird, he was never overwhelmed by the great fear of death because he had consciously surrendered himself to the Supreme Lord. (3) After he had left behind all the ones surrounding him and had understood the actual position of the Invincible One, he as a disciple of the son of Vyâsa [S'ukadeva Gosvâmî] gave up his material body at the bank of the Ganges. (4) They who remembering His feet occupy themselves with His hymns and appreciate the nectarine stories in which He is glorified, will not even at the time of their death be confounded. (5) Even though he is present everywhere, the personality of Kali cannot flourish as long as the mighty ruler, the son of Abhimanyu, is the one who factually rules. (6) The moment the Supreme Lord left this earth, Kali, he who promotes irreligion, appeared in this world. (7) The emperor who as a realist lived for the essence was never envious of the personality of Kali. Like a bee going for the nectar, he knew that auspicious things lead to immediate success, while working for the inauspicious one never attains. (8) Kali, who in the eyes of the weaker ones appears to be a great power, is to the self-controlled a cause of apprehension, and thus Parîkchit as a tiger among man was the one who among the careless took care. (9) Upon your request I have related almost all the stories that in relation to Vâsudeva can be told about the pious Parîkchit. (10) Those who want to develop and prove themselves should take notice of all and everything about the Supreme Lord His wonders, transcendental qualities and uncommon deeds I spoke about."

(11) The sages said: "O Sûta, may you live a long, happy and particularly eternally famous life, because you speaking so nicely about Lord Krishna grant us mortals certainly the nectar of eternity. (12) In this performance of sacrifice, of which the outcome is uncertain, we are black of the smoke, but by the pleasing of Govinda's feet of your good self we enjoy the nectar of a lotus flower. (13) Attaining higher worlds or liberation from matter, not even mentioning the worldly benedictions of 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 measured by even the greatest masters of mystic union like Lord Brahmâ 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 to the good self of you, our most important person in relation to the Supreme Lord, is the one and only shelter, the greatest of the great. (16) Evidently Parîkchit, as a first-class devotee, attained the lotus feet of Him who has Garuda in His banner, after he had strengthened his intelligence with the knowledge that was voiced by the son of Vyâsa in order to inform him about the path of liberation. (17) Please tell us therefore about the supreme and purifying that is so wonderfully contained in bhakti [devotion]. Describe to us, the way it was spoken to Parîkchit, the activities of the Unlimited One that are so particularly dear to the pure devotees."

(18) Sûta said: "See how we, this way being connected to the great ones in conversation,  despite of having a mixed background, today clearly are promoted to take [a higher] birth [in the spirit of the Lord]. By serving the ones who are advanced in knowledge one is quickly freed from the suffering that is a consequence of one's being born in a lower [material] sense. (19) And, again, what to say of those who exclusively take to the shelter of the great devotees and thereto chant the holy name of Him who is called Ananta because of the fact that He is unlimited in His potency and unmeasurably great by His attributes? (20) To give a description of Him unlimited in His attributes and equal to none, it suffices to say, that the Goddess of Fortune, with 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 [of the Ganges] collected by Brahmâjî emanated that via Lord S'iva purifies the whole universe. (22) Those 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 [sannyâsa], the stage of life in which nonviolence and renunciation is found. (23) Because you 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) Once upon a time when Parîkchit 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'amîka where he saw the sage silently sitting down with his eyes closed. (26) Having restrained his sense organs, breath, mind and intelligence he, in quality equal to the Supreme Absolute, had ceased all activity while he remained unaffected in trance elevated above the three modes of consciousness [wakefulness, dream and unconsciousness]. (27) He was covered by his long, compressed hair as also by the skin of a stag. The king, whose palate was dry of thirst, asked for water. (28) Not being properly received with a place to sit, water and nice words, he felt neglected and so he got angry. (29) Oh brahmins, given the circumstance of being distressed because of his hunger and thirst, 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 the sage's meditative state of withdrawing from the senses with closed eyes was a false, pretended trance to remain in avoidance of seeing a lower ruler.

(32) When the sage's son, 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 defy what is settled for servants, while they are nothing but dogs keeping watch at the door! (34) The sons of the ruling class are to guard the learned ones 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 plate? (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 discharged the following thunderbolt of words: (37) 'Verily, seven days from now the wretched one 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 wept aloud over that sorry plight.

(39) Oh S'aunaka, when the rishi heard his son crying in distress, he who was born in the family of Angirâ 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 should never have been condemned because he is the best among man, 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 such an insignificant offense! (42) In fact no one may ever place a transcendental man of God on the same footing with common men - your command of intelligence is immature... by his unsurpassable prowess his subjects completely protected enjoy the 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 ones unprotected like they were lambs. (44) Because of us negating the monarch, from this day on, the reaction upon this sin will overtake us causing great social disorder. The wealth will be taken by thieves and among the people there will be murder and molestation as also abuse of women and animals. (45) The righteous civilization of human progress in the vocations and stages of life according to the Vedic injunctions will at that time systematically be vanquished, and with 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 and a saint of nobility; a great performer of horse sacrifices - and when he hungry and thirsty is stricken with fatigue he never deserves it to be cursed by us like this.'

(47) Next the sage addressed the Supreme, All-pervading Lord in order to beg His pardon for the great sin that by the child immature of intelligence was committed 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) Thus the sage regretted the sin of his son while he personally did not consider the king insulting him sinful. (50) Generally the saints in this world prove themselves not distressed or happy when they because of others are engaged in worldly duality, because they are situated in the transcendence of the soul."



Chapter 19: The Appearance of S'ukadeva Gosvâmî

(1) Sûta said: "Going home the king thought that what he had done was something abominable and he was very depressed saying to himself: 'Alas, it was uncivilized and evil what I did to the faultless, grave and powerful brahmin. (2) I will no doubt because of going against the injunctions very soon meet with a very troublesome calamity. I certainly hope that that will happen as soon as possible 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 sinning against the Lord, the culture and the cows may not return to me.' (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 something auspicious because that expected happening would be the logical consequence of the indifference of an all too attached person. (5) He decided to give up on this world as also on the next, for he already had concluded that both worlds were inferior compared to a life of service at the feet of Krishna. So he sat down at the bank of the transcendental river [the Ganges] in order to fast. That was to his opinion the best thing he could do. (6) That river, always flowing mixed with tulasî 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]. What person destined to die would not turn to that river? (7) With that decision he, the worthy descendant of the Pândavas, with his sitting down at the river which flows from the feet of Vishnu, surrendered himself to the mercy of Mukunda till he died. He, free from all kinds of material attachment, would complete his fasting without deviating from the spirit of the vows respected by the sages.

(8)
All the great minds and thinkers who together with their pupils are capable of elevating the entire world, then came to gather there on the plea of a pilgrimage. It is because of their personal presence that the holy places enjoy their status of sanctity. (9-10) Atri, Cyavana, S'aradvân, Arishthanemi, Bhrigu, Vasishthha, Parâs'ara, Vis'vâmitra, Angirâ, Paras'urâma, Uthathya, Indrapramada, Idhmavâhu, Medhâtithi, Devala, Ârshthisena, Bhâradvâja, Gautama, Pippalâda, Maitreya, Aurva, Kavasha, Kumbhayoni, Dvaipâyana and the great personality Nârada 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) When all of them were seated comfortably he, with folded hands present before them as someone whose mind is detached from worldly affairs, after again having offered them his obeisances, thereupon humbly spoke about his decision to fast. (13) The king said: 'We are truly grateful to be the most fortunate of all the kings who are trained to be receptive to the favors granted by the greatest of souls, because at the feet of the brahmins the royal orders because of their reprehensible actions are but refuse to be kept at a distance. (14) Because of my sins the Controller of the transcendental and mundane worlds pronounced a curse against me via that brahmin, I who out of attachment always thought of family matters. Having assumed that form He, inspiring with fear, very soon will overtake my mundane attachment. (15) Therefore oh brahmins, just accept me as someone who with the Lord in his heart in surrender has taken to the divine mother Ganges. Let the snakebird, or whatever magical thing the twice-born called for, bite me forthwith. You please continue reciting the deeds of Lord 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 in obeisance to the twice-born.'

(17) And so it came to pass that the king, with the same perseverance as he had shown before, 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 and in approval said from the power of their goodness for the living beings, a goodness that in its quality is as beautiful as the divine praised in the scriptures: (20) 'It is not astonishing that this saintly king, the chief of all of us who strictly follow Krishna, being seated on the throne that is decorated with the helmets of kings, immediately gave up his life out of his desire to achieve association with the Fortunate One. (21) We all will stay at this place as
long as it takes the king to give up his body and return to the world of the Supreme, where this foremost devotee 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, Parîkchit
complimented them all with their appropriate show of respect and said, desirous to hear about the activities of Vishnu: (23) 'You all have assembled here as the representatives of the One above the three worlds [Brahmâ], 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 to tell me now, as trustworthy Vedic men of learning,  after due deliberation, what of all the different duties of each and especially of those who are about to die, to your opinion would be the proper and befitting conduct.'

(25) At that moment, as if called for, the powerful son of Vyâsa, S'ukadeva Gosvâmî appeared. He, looking like a mendicant satisfied in self-realization freely traveled around in the company of children without any concern about material comforts or an identity. (26) He, only sixteen years old, 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 [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 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 [Parîkchit] bowed before him and offered his obeisances, whereupon his less educated following of boys and women withdrew the moment 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 ones, S'ukadeva as the greatest lord shone 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) P
arîkchit said: 'Oh brahmin, what a blessing it is for us from the ruling class today to be chosen as a servant of the devotee, by  your mercy of being our guest to be considered worthy the visit of all these relations of your good self. (33) When we think of your person that immediately purifies all the places we inhabit, not to mention what it means to see you, touch you, wash your feet and offer you a seat. (34) Through your presence, oh great mystic, our gravest sins are immediately vanquished, just as the nonbelievers are by the presence of Vishnu. (35) Finally Krishna, the Supreme Lord so dear to the sons of Pându, is of mercy for me and has, for the satisfaction of His cousins and brothers, accepted me, their descendant, as one of theirs. (36) How else could it be possible that you, out of your own free will, specially for someone in his last hours before death have appeared here to meet us, while you normally, all-perfect as you are, cannot be found among the common people? (37) Therefore I beg you as the supreme spiritual master of all ascetics, to clarify what, in this life, the perfection, the final beatitude would be for a person and what for someone about to die all would be the duty. (38) Please explain what the people in general, oh master, should attend to and chant about, what they should do, what they should remember and share, as also what would be against the principle. (39) This I ask because, oh supreme devotee, in the house of the householders one rarely sees you staying for longer than the exact time of milking a cow.' "

(40) Sûta said: "Thus pleasantly being addressed and questioned by the king, the supreme son of Vyâsadeva who was so well versed in the knowledge of what is one's actual duty, began his reply."


 

Thus the first Canto of the S'rîmad Bhâgavatam ends named: Creation.



 

Translation: Anand Aadhar Prabhu, http://bhagavata.org/c/8/AnandAadhar.html

Production: the Filognostic Association of The Order of Time, with special thanks to Sakhya Devi Dasi for proofreading and correcting the manuscript. http://theorderoftime.com/info/guests-friends.html

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