See for the online version with illustrations, music and links to the previous translation: http://bhagavata.org/
"The story of the fortunate one"
CANTO 12: The Age of Deterioration
Chapter 1 The Degraded Dynasties and Corrupt Nature of the Rulers of Kali-yuga
Chapter 2 Despair and Hope in the Age of Quarrel
Chapter 3 The Song of Mother Earth and Kali-yuga its Remedy
Chapter 4 Pralaya: The Four Types of Annihilation
Chapter 5 Final Instructions to Mahârâja Parîkchit
Chapter 6 Mahârâja Parîkchit Liberated and the Veda Handed Down in Four
Chapter 7 The Devotion in Samhitâ Branches and the Ten Topics of the Purânas
Chapter 8 Mârkandeya Resists All Temptation and Prays to Nara-Nârâyana Rishi
Chapter 9 Mârkandeya is Shown the Lord's Bewildering Potency
Chapter 10 S'iva, Lord and Helper Glorifies Mârkandeya Rishi
Chapter 11 Vishnu His Attributes and the Order of the Month of Him as the Sun-god
Chapter 12 The Topics of S'rîmad Bhâgavatam Summarized
Chapter 13 The Glories of S'rîmad Bhâgavatam
IntroductionThis book tells the story of the Lord and His incarnations since the earliest records of Vedic history. It is verily the Krishna Bible 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.
The Degraded Dynasties and Corrupt Nature of the Rulers of Kali-yuga
(0) S'rî Parîkchit said: 'Please o sage can you tell me whose dynasty ruled over the earth after Krishna, the jewel of the Yadu dynasty, had left for His heavenly abode?' [*]
(1-2) S'rî S'uka said: 'The last descendant there will be of Brihadratha in the future [see 9.22: 49] is named Purañjaya [not the one in 9.6: 12]; but his minister S'unaka will assassinate his master to make his own son named Pradyota [historical: Bimbisâra] king. His son Pâlaka will have Vis'âkhayûpa as his son with Râjaka next as the king to be. (3) His son will be Nandivardhana; these five Pradyotana kings will enjoy the earth for one-hundred-thirty-eight years. (4) Then S'is'unâga will take birth and Kâkavarna will be his son, from whose son Kshemadharmâ, Kshetrajña will be born. (5) The son Vidhisâra [of Kshetrajña], will have Ajâtas'atru as his son and Darbhaka will be his son of whom Ajaya will be the successor. (6-8) From Ajaya there will be [another] Nandivardhana whose son is Mahânandi. These ten S'is'unâga kings, o best of the Kurus, will rule over the earth in the age of Kali for three-hundred-and-sixty years. O King, the son of Mahânandi, a certain Nanda, taking birth from the womb of a working class woman, will, powerful as he is as a master over millions, be the destroyer of the royal class; the kings will then, falling to irreligion, be not better than s'ûdras. (9) He, that ruler over millions [also known as Ugrasena], will as the single lead over the entire earth be undefied and in his sovereignty of rule be like a second Paras'urâma [see 9.15 & 16]. (10) The eight sons headed by Sumâlya who so will take birth from him, will enjoy as kings this earth for a hundred years.(11) A certain twice-born brahmin [called Cânakya] who is trusted by the nine Nandas will overturn them, and with them being gone the Mauryas will rule the earth in Kali-yuga [**]. (12) The brahmin will put Candragupta on the throne and his son Vârisâra will next be succeeded by As'okavardhana. (13) Suyas'â will be born to him; Sangata, Suyas'â's [grand-] son [born to his son Das'aratha] will be S'âlis'ûka of whom next there will be Somas'armâ who will father S'atadhanvâ from whom there will be Brihadratha. (14) These ten Maurya kings, o eminent hero of the Kuru-dynasty, will rule the earth in Kali-yuga for over one-hundred-thirty-seven-years. (15-17) From Agnimitra [the son of Pushpamitra, the general who murdered Brihadratha] will follow Sujyeshthha from whom there will be Vasumitra with next Bhadraka and his son Pulinda. His son will be Ghosha to whom Vajramitra will be born; to him Bhâgavata will be born to whom there will be Devabhûti, o eminent Kuru. These ten S'ungas will enjoy the earth for more than a hundred  years after which this earth will fall under the rule of the Kânva-dynasty poor in qualities, o ruler of man. (18) Vasudeva, a most intelligent minister from the Kânva-family, (through a female slave) killing the lusty S'unga king Devabhûti, will then himself assume rulership. (19) His son will be Bhûmitra and his son Nârâyana. These Kânva kings will rule the earth for three-hundred-forty-five more years in Kali-yuga. (20) A low class man of the Andhra race called Balî will as a servant kill Sus'armâ, the [last] Kânva king and most degraded rule the earth for some time. (21-26) His brother, named Krishna, will then become the next ruler of the earth and the son of S'ântakarna, his son, will be Paurnamâsa. After Lambodara, his son, Cibilaka will be the king and after Cibilaka will be born Meghasvâti to whom there will be Athamâna followed by Anishthakarmâ. To Hâleya, his son, Talaka will appear to the son of whom named Purîshabhîru next Sunandana will be born to be the king. Cakora [his son] will be followed by the eight Bahus, among whom S'ivasvâti will be a great subduer of enemies. To Gomatî, his son, there will be born Purîmân, whose son will be Medas'irâ. S'ivaskanda born to him will have Yajñas'rî for his son after whom next Vijaya, his son, will father Candravijña along with Lomadhi. These thirty kings will rule the world for four-hundred-fifty-six years, o son of the Kurus [***]. (27) From the city of Avabhriti then will follow seven Âbhîra kings, ten Gardabhîs, and sixteen Kanka kings who as earthly rulers will be most greedy. (28) Then will eight Yavanas follow, fourteen Turushkas and furthermore ten Gurundas and eleven Maulas. (29-31) These [first six dynasties] will rule the earth for one thousand ninety-nine years, and the eleven Maulas will rule for three hundred years, my dear. With them all dead and gone in the city of Kilakilâ for one-hundred-and-six years the kings Bhûtananda followed by Vangiri with next S'is'unandi and then his brother Yas'onandi and Pravîraka will rule. (32-33) To them [the Kilakilâs] thirteen sons will be born called the Bâhlikas after whom Pushpamitra and next his son king Durmitra as well as also seven Andhras, seven Kaus'alas and also the rulers of Vidûra and the Nishadhas then in the same period will reign. (34) In the province of Mâgadha Vis'vasphûrji will appear, who like another Purañjaya will turn the people of all classes into inferior Pulindas, Yadus and Madrakas [low-class, uncivilized men, see *4]. (35) The unintelligent king, who protected in the city of Padmavatî will rule over the earth from the source of the Gangâ to Prayâga, will, predominantly being unbrahminical with the citizens, ruin the almighty class of the kshatriyas. (36) The twice-born living in the provinces S'aurâshthra, Avantî, Âbhîra, S'ûra, Arbuda and Mâlava will [at that time] fall away from their vows and the ones ranking first among the people will become no better than s'ûdras. (37) The lands at the river Sindhu, as well as the districts of Candrabhâgâ, Kauntî and Kâs'mîra, will be ruled by uncivilized men [mlecchas], s'ûdras and others who, lacking spiritual strength, deviate from the standard.
(38) O King, these mostly ignorant earthly caretakers dedicated to irreligious and unrealistic practices will, with fierce tempers [competing to rule] at the same time allow their subjects hardly any freedom [economically]. (39) Destroying the lives of women, children, cows and converted people, they, then elated, then moderate and [then again] depressed, will, coveting the wives of other men, mostly miss the goodness and have short lives [or careers]. Lacking in sacrifice not being fit for the job they, these ignoramuses posing as kings, under the sway of passion and ignorance, will virtually devour the citizens. (40) The people in the cities will, led by these rulers their character, behavior and speech, plagued by these so-called 'kings' and by each other, find their lives ruined [in wars, economic collapse and natural disasters, see also kles'a, Kali-yuga and B.G. 16: 6-12].'
* The paramparâ of ISKCON left out this first line of Parîkchit questioning, where other sources like S'astri C.L. Gosvâmî do begin this chapter thus.
** The paramparâ adds: 'The great historical narration S'rîmad Bhâgavatam, which began with the events prior to the cosmic manifestation, now reaches into the realm of modern recorded history. Modern historians recognize both the Maurya dynasty and Candragupta, the king mentioned in the following verse.' [pp. 12.1.11]
*** According an academic translator of the Bhâgavatam, Ganesh Vasudeo Tagare [1989, Morilal Banarsidass], this period would be found short before the beginning of the christian year count. Analyzing this text in reference to historical sources he, stating that there are many discrepancies with the cultural [manipulated?] records, also concludes that historically the Kanva-dynasty would have only ruled for forty-five years from 75 to 30 B.C., and not for the three hundred forty five as the Sanskrit text states here. According to him this part of the Bhâgavatam would have been of a later date and consist of a mishmash of hearsay historical knowledge, which is a position contested by the paramparâ of course since it is more likely to err in the discordance of worldly interest than in the harmony of a consciousness motivated by spiritual discipline.
*4 The total span of generations covered here from the first Purañjaya to the last one in the line of the Kali-yuga decay, so would have stretched from about 2000 B.C. to about the twelfth century AD.
Despair and Hope in the Age of Quarrel
(1) S'rî S'uka said: 'And then, o King, day after day under the strong influence of the time [of Kali-yuga] the religiousness, truthfulness, cleanliness, tolerance and mercy as well as the duration of life, the strength and the memory will diminish [see also 1.16]. (2) In the age of Kali among man wealth alone will be the sign of a good birth, behavior and qualities and material power will be the only criterion in determining what would be just and right. (3) Marital relations will be based upon outer appearances, in business deceit will be the standard, whether one is considered manly or feminine will depend on one's sexuality and a sacred thread will suffice to be considered learned. (4) An outer mark will be enough to determine a person's spiritual status and will also suffice for changing one's confession, making little money one looses one's credibility and a little word jugglery is enough to be considered a scholar. (5) Poverty is taken for something unholy and hypocrisy is considered a virtue; a promise is enough to be married [to have premarital sex] and to take a bath [without any other morning routine] is enough to appear for the day. (6) A reservoir of water somewhere far away is considered a holy place, beauty depends on one's coiffure, life's purpose is to fill one's belly, audacity is considered truthfulness, able to maintain a family one is an expert and religious service is attended for one's reputation. (7) With the earth overpopulated with a populace thus corrupted, anyone among the intellectuals, the merchants or the ruling or working class who is the strongest, will be the King of the Hill. (8) The citizens whose wives and property is stolen by a merciless and avaricious ruling class behaving like ordinary thieves, will flee to the mountains and the forests. (9) Resorting to the consumption of vegetables, roots, meat, honey, fruits, flowers and seeds they will be ruined, suffering draught, tormented by famine and taxes [see also 1.16: 20, 4.20: 14, 4.21: 24, B.G. 3: 14]. (10) By cold, wind, heat, rain and snow plagued as well as by hunger, thirst and diseases, they suffer as a consequence a great deal of distress and anxiety. (11) The maximum duration of life for human beings in Kali-yuga will be fifty years. (12-16) When the bodies of all living entities by the contamination of Kali-yuga are in decay and the dutifulness of the members of all status-orientations is lost, when the vedic path fit for all man has changed into an atheistic conception of duty, when the kings predominantly act as thieves and men in their various occupations in truth are all lying bandits of meaningless slaughter, when the classes are predominantly [profit-]labor-minded, the cows are no better than goats, the hermitages are just like materialistic homes, family ties do not reach further than the bonds of marriage, when the plants and herbs have reduced in size and all trees are like s'amî trees, when there is always lightning in the clouds and the homes are ruled by loneliness [voidism, impersonalism, see Pranâti], when Kali-yuga is running at its end and the people have become like asses, the Supreme Lord will descend in the mode of pure goodness to defend the dharma.
(17) The spiritual master of all the moving and nonmoving beings, Lord Vishnu, the Controller of All, will for the protection of the religion and the saintly put an end to the fruitive activities and the [repeatedly] being born. (18) In the village of S'ambhala Lord Kalki will appear in the home of the great soul, the brahmin Vishnuyas'â ['the glory of Vishnu']. (19-20) Mounting His swift horse Devadatta, the Lord of the Universe endowed with His sword, transcendental qualities and the eight mystic opulences [siddhis], will subdue the ones who turned away from the holy. On His horse moving with speed about the earth He, unrivaled in His splendor, will slaughter the thieves disguised in the garb of kings. (21) When all the robbers have been killed, the minds of all the citizens and the people living in the countryside will clear up being touched by the breeze which carries the most sacred fragrance of the [with sandalwood paste] decorated body of Lord Vâsudeva. (22) When Vâsudeva, the Supreme Lord, is situated in their hearts in His transcendental form of goodness, the culture of their progeny will flourish as never before. (23) When the Supreme Lord Kalki, the Lord and Master of Dharma, incarnates, will Satya-yuga and the creation of progeny in the mode of goodness begin [see yuga]. (24) When the moon and the sun together with Jupiter [Bhrihaspatî] in the same constellation [of Karkatha or Cancer] enter the lunar mansion of Tishyâ [or Pushyâ, 3° 20´ to 16° 40´ see zodiac] that very moment Satya-yuga - or Krita - will begin.
(25) Thus I have briefly described all the kings of the past, the present and the future who belong to the solar and lunar dynasties [see also vams'a]. (26) Beginning from the birth of your good self up until the coronation of king Nanda [see 12.1: 12] eleven hundred and fifty years will pass [*]. (27-28) When the constellation of the seven sages (Ursa Major, the Great Bear) rises are the first two of them (Pulaha and Kratu) seen in the sky, in between them on the same line [northwest] in the night sky is their [ruling] lunar mansion seen. The sages [the stars] connected remain with that lunar mansion for a hundred human years. Now, in your time, are the twice-born situated in the nakshatra called Maghâ. (29) With Vishnu, the Supreme Lord, the sun known as Krishna having returned to heaven, this world has entered the age of Kali in which people delight in sin. (30) As long as He, the Husband of Ramâ, touched the earth with His lotus feet, Kali couldn't really take possession of her. (31) When the [constellation of the] seven sages among the gods enter[s] Maghâ, Kali-yuga begins. That period covers twelve hundred [godly] years [or 432.000 human years, see also kâla]. (32) When the seven sages pass from Maghâ to the lunar mansion of Pûrvâsâdhâ, will from the time of [Mahâpadma] Nanda and his descendants on, this age of Kali gain its full strength. (33) The historians say that the day that S'rî Krishna left for the spiritual abode, the age of Kali commenced. (34) At the end of the thousand celestial years of the fourth [Kali-] age, will Krita-yuga start again, the time when the minds of man are self-luminous.
(35) Thus has this dynasty from [Vaivasvata] Manu been enumerated as it descended on earth; and also the positions from age to age of the learned, the traders and the workers may be understood the same way. (36) Of these personalities, these great souls, one only remembers their names; all that remains of their glory on this earth are their stories. (37) Devâpi, the brother of S'ântanu [9.22: 12-17] and Maru [9.12: 5-6] who took birth in the Ikshvâku dynasty, both live in Kalâpa, endowed with great mystic power. (38) They will at the end of the age of Kali return to the human society and, deriving from the instructions they received from Vâsudeva, as previously promulgate the varnâs'rama-dharma. (39) The four ages of Krita, Tretâ, Dvâpara and Kali that the living beings undergo in this world continuously repeat themselves in this sequential order [see also mahâyuga]. (40) O King, these kings, these gods among man and the others I have described who arriving on this earth exert their possessiveness, in the end all have to forsake this world and face their destruction. (41) Even if someone's body carries the name of king it is nevertheless destined to end as stool, ashes or food for the worms. For the sake of that body he was of enmity towards other living beings and for that reason he ends up in hell. How can one possibly say of such a person that he knows what is good for him [compare 6.18: 35, 7.15: 37, 10.10: 10, 10.51: 50]? (42) [A king may think:] 'How can this same undivided earth held by the personalities of my predecessors and now under my sway, be of my son, grandson or other descendant?' (43) When one accepts this body that is composed of earth, water and fire, with a notion of 'I' and when one says 'mine' to this earth, one lacks in intelligence, because one in the end reaching one's own absence has to forsake this body as well as this earth [see also 4.9: 34-35]. (44) Whatever that kings may enjoy in the world with all their power, is by Time all turned into accounts and histories only [compare with 2.9: 33, 5.19: 28, 11.19: 16, 11.28: 21].'
* From this statement can be derived, that the Candragupta that after Nanda by Cânakya was put on the throne must have been another Candragupta than the one who 1500 years later supposedly defeated Alexander the Great in the fourth century B.C. The paramparâ adds to the discrepancy of three centuries further: 'Although S'ukadeva Gosvâmî previously described approximately fifteen hundred years of royal dynasties, it is understood that some overlapping occurred between kings.'
The Song of Mother Earth and Kali-yuga its Remedy
(1) S'rî S'uka said: 'When the earth saw the kings busily engaged in conquering her, she laughed and said: 'Ah, just see how these kings, these playthings of death, wish to conquer me! (2) This lust of the rulers of man and even the wise is doomed to fail with those kings who put their faith in this lump [of earthly matter] that compares to bubbles [of foam on water]. (3-4) They may think: 'First of all conquering the division of six [the senses and the mind], we will conquer the leading ministers, then the advisors and then rid ourselves of the thorns [or the thugs], the citizens, the friends and the elephant keepers. This way we will step by step conquer the earth and her girdle of seas', but thus being bound by the hopes in their heart, they do not see their own finality [compare B.G 16: 13-18]. (5) After having conquered the lands by the sea they with all their might enter the seas; what's the use of this kind of victory of self-control? Spiritual liberation is the [actual] fruit of self-control!
(6) O son of the Kurus[, she said:] 'Unintelligently they in that struggle try to conquer me [for the sake of eternal 'fame'] while the Manus and their sons, all had to give it up and had to leave [this world] the way they came [viz. helplessly]. (7) For my sake conflict thus arises among materialistic persons, a conflict wherein fathers fight with sons and sons with each other, because in their striving for power their hearts are bound to politics. (8) Saying things like: 'This for sure is my land and not yours, you fool', the rulers of man thus quarreling kill each other and get killed for my sake [compare e.g. 2.5: 13, 2.7: 42, 4.29: 5, 5.5: 8, 6.16: 41; 7.8: 7-10; 9.4: 2-12]. (9-13) Prithu, Purûravâ, Gâdhi, Nahusha, Bharata, Kârtavîryârjuna, Mândhâtâ, Sagara, Râma [*], Khathvânga, Dhundhuhâ [or] Kuvalayâs'va [9.6: 23-24], Raghu [9.10: 1], Trinabindu [9.2: 30], Yayâti, S'aryâti [9.3: 1], S'antanu [9.22: 12-13], Gaya [5.15: 6-13], Bhagîratha [9.9: 2-17], Kakutstha [9.6: 12], Naishadha [Nala, 9.9: 16-17, 9.23: 20-21, from the descendants of Nishadha, 9.12: 1], Nriga [Nâbhâga, 10.64: 10], Hiranyakas'ipu, Vritra, Râvana, who made the whole world lament, Namuci [8.11: 29-49], S'ambara [10.36: 36], Bhauma, Hiranyâksha and Târaka [8.10: 19-24], as well as many other demons and kings of great control over others, were each and everyone heroes who well informed were unconquerable and subdued everyone. Living for me, o mighty one, they expressed great possessiveness but, by the force of Time being subjected to death, they failed to accomplish their goals, all that remained of them are the historical accounts [see also B.G. 4: 7].'
(14) [S'uka continued:] These narrations that were related to you about great kings who spread their fame in all worlds and then departed, do not express the highest purpose; they, o mighty one, are but a wealth of words [a backdrop] for dilating on the renunciation and wisdom [of God]. (15) It is still the repeatedly discussing and singing about the qualities of the Lord who is Praised in the Verses which destroys everything inauspicious; he who desires Lord Krishna's untainted devotional service should therefore forthwith engage in regularly being of that listening.'
(16) The honorable king [Parîkchit] said: 'By what means, my Lord, do the people living in Kali-yuga eradicate the faults that accumulate because of that age, please explain that as-it-is to me. (17) [Explain to me] the yugas, the duties prescribed for them, and the time they last and find their end, and the Time itself that constitutes the movement of the Controller, of Lord Vishnu the Supreme Soul [see also timequotes page]'.
(18) S'rî S'uka said: 'In Krita-yuga the people of the time maintain the religion with all its four legs of truth [satya], compassion [dayâ], penance [tapas] and charity [dâna, or also s'auca, purification [**], compare 1.17: 24, 3.11: 21 and see niyama]. (19) The [hamsa-]people [of that age] are content, merciful, friendly, peaceful, self-controlled, tolerant, satisfied within, equal-minded and mostly ascetic [see also 3.13: 35 and 11.17: 10]. (20) In Tretâ-yuga is one fourth of [the strength of each of] the legs of dharma gradually lost because of opposite, irreligious qualities: falsehood, violence, dissatisfaction and quarrel [compare 1.17: 25]. (21) They are in that time devoted with rituals and penances, without any excessive violence or wanton desires. Prospering in their respect for the three Vedas they follow the three paths [of regulating the religion, the economy and sense gratification], and the four classes are predominantly oriented on the brahminical, o King. (22) The dharmic qualities of austerity, compassion, truth and charity are in Dvâpara-yuga reduced to one half because of the adharma qualities of violence, discontent, lies and hatred. (23) One is [in that age] of moral fiber and one loves the glory and is absorbed in vedic study. One is opulent with large families and joyful, and the four classes are for the greater part of brahminical nobility. (24) Next in Kali-yuga the legs of religiousness are decreasing to one fourth because of an increase of adharmic principles [compare 1.17: 25] and that one fourth will in the end also be destroyed. (25) In that era the people will be greedy, ill-mannered, lack in compassion, prone to useless quarrel [politicizing], unfortunate, obsessed with material desires and predominantly enslaved to [fruitive] labor. (26) The modes of the goodness, passion and ignorance of a person are set in motion by the Time and are observed in different combinations within the mind [***]. (27) When the mind, the intelligence and the senses flourish in the mode of goodness, that time of taking pleasure in knowledge and austerity should be understood as the time of Krita. (28) O intelligent one, when the conditioned souls in their duties are of ulterior motives and in their devotional service strive for honor, that predominance of passion must be considered the time of Tretâ. (29) When greed and dissatisfaction, false pride, envy and hypocrisy are seen everywhere and what one does is dominated by selfhood one speaks with that [predominance of] passion and ignorance of the time of Dvâpara.
(30) When there is deceit, false testimony, sloth and drowsiness, violence, depression, lamentation and delusion, fear and poverty is that time remembered as Kali, the time of ignorance. (31) As a consequence the mortals will be shortsighted, unfortunate, eating too much, lusty and poverty-stricken and the women will act on their own accord and be unchaste. (32) The populated areas will be dominated by impious people [or thieves], the vedic scriptures will be slighted by false doctrines [heretics], the political leaders will devour the people and the twice-born ones will be dedicated to their bellies and genitals. (33) The youngsters [students] will averse to vows be impure in their engagements, the householders will [with what they claim] tend to be beggars, the withdrawn ones [the middle-aged with no nature left to retreat into] will be city-dwellers and the renounced order will greedily endeavor for financial profits [be engaged in 'reli-business']. (34) Smaller in size and voracious having many children [the women will have] lost their timidity and constantly speak harshly and with great audacity be as deceitful as thieves. (35) The merchants will for no reason be of cheating so that their business dealings are truly miserly and the people will consider a degraded occupation [like e.g. in the sex industry or gambling business] a good job. (36) Servants will abandon a master lacking in property even if he is the best one around, masters will abandon a handicapped servant even when he belonged to the family for generations and cows will be [killed] when they have stopped giving milk. (37) In Kali-yuga men under the control of women will be wretched and forsake the association of their own family members, friends, brothers and father, in favor of an upon their sexuality based friendship with the sisters and brothers of his wife's family. (38) Labor minded people will for their living appearing as renunciates acquire funds religiously and climbing a high seat speak about the religious principles without any sense of duty concerning the knowledge [of sacrificing, or false preachers...]. (39-40) With their minds constantly upset, troubled by taxes and famine in times of scarcity with droughts on the surface of the earth, they will, being troubled by countless worries, live in fear. Lacking in clothing, food, drink, rest, change, bathing and personal ornaments the people of Kali-yuga will appear like ghostly creatures. (41) In the age of Kali one will even over a single coin develop enmity [5.14 and 5.14: 26]. Rejecting friendly relations one will kill oneself and even kill one's relatives. (42) Not even born in a decent family one will protect the elderly, the parents, the wife and the children; simply in support of the petty self-interest of one's own belly and genitals. (43) O King, in Kali-yuga the mortals will predominanly be of sacrifice for atheistic reasons with their intelligence which factually originated from The Infallible One, the Supreme Personality of Godhead who is the Supreme Spiritual Master of the three worlds and at whose feet the various masters bow down. (44) In Kali-yuga the people do not worship Him unto whom a person dying, in distress collapsing and with a faltering voice helplessly chanting His name, is freed from the chains of karma and achieves the topmost destination [see also B.G. 8: 10 and 6.2]. (45) The things, the place and the individual nature of man are as a result of Kali-yuga all faulty, but when one installs Bhagavân, the Supreme Personality in one's heart, He takes it all away.
(46) Of those human beings who but even heard, glorified, meditated, worshiped or venerated the Supreme Lord, the inauspicious which accumulated from a thousand births in their hearts is cleansed away. (47) Just as the discoloration one finds in gold because of other metals is undone by fire are the same way the impurities of mind of the yogis undone by Lord Vishnu residing in the soul. (48) Knowledge ['demigod worship'], penance, arresting one's breath, friendship, bathing in holy waters, vows, charity and praying with prayer beads gives not as much purification of mind as is achieved with Him, the Unlimited Personality of Godhead present in the heart. (49) Therefore o King do your utmost best to establish Lord Kes'ava in your heart; the moment you die [here after this week] you will thus concentrated attain the highest destination. (50) The Supreme Lord meditated upon by those who are dying is the Supreme Controller, the Soul and Shelter of All, who leads them to their true identity, my dearest. (51) In the ocean of faults that is Kali-yuga, there is luckily one great good quality: just by chanting about Krishna [see bhajans] one can, liberated from material bondage, attain the kingdom of heaven [see also bhâgavata dharma and kîrtana]. (52) The same result in Satya-yuga achieved by meditating on Vishnu, in Tretâ-yuga achieved by worshiping with sacrifices and in Dvâpara-yuga achieved by serving the lotus feet [of Him as a King], is in Kali-yuga achieved by singing about the Lord [see also 11.5: 38-40].'
* According to S'rîla S'rîdhara Svâmî, and as confirmed by S'rîla Vis'vanâtha Cakravartî Thhâkura, the king Râma mentioned here is not the incarnation of Godhead Râmacandra. This is corroborated by the M.W. dictionary mentioning the demigod Varuna, writers, teachers and other great personalities addressed with that name. Probably is Bhârgava also known as Us'anâ meant who most powerful formed a dynasty descending from the sages Bhrigu and Mârkandeya [see: 9.16: 32 and 4.1: 45].
** In the M.W. dictionary three meanings are given for the word dâna: 1. donating, giving gifts 2. sharing or communicating and 3. purification. The last meaning confirms the use of the term s'auca in the First Canto of S'rîmad Bhâgavatam as the fourth leg of the bull of religion. This alternative definition of the word dânam is confirmed by S'rîla Vis'vanâtha Cakravartî Thhâkura.
*** The paramparâ adds to this: 'The particular age represented by goodness (Satya), passion (Tretâ), passion and ignorance (Dvâpara) or ignorance (Kali) exists within each of the other ages as a subfactor.'
Pralaya: The Four Types of Annihilation
(1) S'rî S'uka said: 'Time beginning with the smallest of the atom and culminating in the two halves [or parârdhas] of the life of Brahmâ, o King has been described [in 3.11] together with the duration of the yugas; now listen to the annihilation of the kalpa. (2) A thousand cycles of four yugas is said to be a kalpa, a day of Brahmâ, in which there are fourteen original progenitors of mankind [Manus]. (3) When they are done there is the dissolution described as the night of Brahmâ that is of the same duration; the three worlds remain dissolved till the end of that time. (4) This is said to be the occasional annihilation [or naimittika pralaya] in which [Nârâyana] the creator of the universe lies down upon His bed Ananta, to absorb the universe including Lord Brahmâ. (5) After the completion of two parârdhas [viz. the two half life times] of the highest situated living being, Lord Brahmâ, are the seven elements [mahat, ahamkâra and the tanmâtras], subject to destruction. (6) This, o King, constitutes the elemental annihilation. Therafter this universal egg, this aggregate [of these seven universal principles] reaching the time of its disruption, will dissolve. (7) For a hundred years the clouds, o King, will not shower rain upon the earth. The people confounded by the time will, with the famine that follows, in the distress of their hunger [even] consume each other and gradually find themselves destroyed. (8) The sun with its terrible rays not giving the slightest [precipitation] in return, will drink up all the juice of the earth, the ocean and the living bodies. (9) Then from the mouth of Lord Sankarshana will issue the fire of destruction that raised by the force of the wind will burn the empty regions of the planets [3.11: 30, 8.5: 35]. (10) The universal egg burning on all sides with the flames of the fire from below and the sun above, will glow like a ball of cow-dung. (11) Next a terrible wind will blow for more than a hundred years and bring annihilation covering the sky gray with dust. (12) Clusters of multicolored clouds, my dearest, then will pour down rain for a hundred years with tremendous claps of thunder. (13) The shell of the universe will, filling up, thereupon be one single [cosmic] body of water. (14) When the water at the time of the flooding drives away the quality of fragrance, the element earth, being deprived of its fragrance, will dissolve [see also 3.26: 49-61, 11.3: 9, 11.24: 22-27]. (15-19) Fire then takes away the taste of water, after which it, deprived of its unique quality, dissolves. Next follows fire that by air is deprived of its form. With the fire merged with the wind the ether takes from the air away its quality [of touch] and then follows the quality of the ether, sound, that is taken away by the original elemental of nature [or false ego in ignorance]. With the ether subsequently merging, the vital power [false ego in passion] takes hold of the senses, my best, and are the gods subject to modification seized [by the false ego of goodness]. Cosmic intelligence seizes that [vaikârika] again along with its qualities [or manifest functions] and that mahat is then absorbed by the gunas of sattva and such. These three modes o King, are then, under the pressure of Time, overtaken by the inexhaustible doer [the original unmanifest form of nature] from whom there is not the transformation and such in divisions of time [shath-ûrmi]; unmanifest without a beginning and an end it is the infallible eternal cause. (20-21) Therein is speech, mind, nor the mode of goodness, passion or ignorance found; the elements of the greater reality - the vital air, the intelligence, the senses and so on - there are not, nor the gods or the arrangement of the different planetary orders. There is no sleeping, waking or deep sleep, nor water, air, ether, fire, earth or sun. That, being like a void or like someone fast asleep, is the substance which defying all logical explanation serves as the root [the pradhâna], so say the authorities. (22) This is the [prâkritika pralaya] dissolution wherein all the material elements of nature and energies of the unseen Original Person are completely dismantled by Time and helplessly merge.
(23) It is [nothing but] spiritual knowledge [the consciousness, the Absolute Truth] that manifests in the form of these elements of intelligence, the senses and the sense objects. Whatever that is perceived as having a beginning and an end is, having no existence apart from its cause, insubstantial [being only a reference to it, compare 11.28: 21]. (24) A lamp, an eye perceiving and the form perceived do not stand apart from the light [that is treated by them]. The same way intelligence, the senses and sense perceptions do no stand apart from the [one] reality that is quite different [see also siddhânta and B.G. 9.15]. (25) Wakefulness, sleep and deep sleep belong to the intelligence and are thus called a deception of the senses. This o King is the duality as it is experienced by the soul. (26) Just as clouds in the sky are there and are not there within the Absolute of the Truth, similarly this whole universe with its different parts being generated and dissolved is there and not there. (27) The ingredient cause, my best, of any composite entity out here, is something real thus is stated [in the Vedânta-sûtra], just as it is with the threads of a fabric that can be perceived apart from the cloth they form [see also 6.3: 12, 11.12: 21]. (28) Whatever one may experience in terms of having a general cause and a specific effect is a form of illusion, because everything that in depending on something else is subject to a beginning and an end is insubstantial [viz. a fixation of matter is an illusion, but the energy constituting that matter is real]. (29) A single atom subject to transformation is, even though it manifests, without the Direct Evidence [in the form of Time] of the Supreme Self not conceivable [or even perceivable], even if it the same way [as the immutable soul] remains without change. (30) There cannot be different types of Absolute Truth; if an ignorant person thinks of it in terms of opposites is that as having two skies, two daylights or two winds. (31) Just as gold to men appears in many forms depending on its use is similarly the Supreme Lord Adhokshaja who is inconceivable to the senses, described in various terms by the commoner as well as by the vedic person. (32) The way a cloud as a product of the sun is made visible by the sun and factually as a partial expansion of the sun is darkness [of casting a shadow] to the eyes, is likewise the I-awareness a quality of God, that visible through Him and as a partial expansion of Him the same time serves as an individual soul [with a clouded vision] who lives in bondage relative to the Supreme Soul. (33) When a cloud that was produced by the sun is riven the eye then sees the sun in its proper form, the same way is, as soon as the superficial false ego which covers the spirit soul is destroyed by spiritual inquiry, the proper remembrance acquired. (34) When one this way by means of this sword of discrimination has cut away the deluding false ego [of fixations] that is the cause of the bondage of the soul and has developed a firm realization of the Infallible Supreme Soul [of the Living Being], is that what one calls the ultimate annihilation [âtyantika pralaya], my dear.
(35) O subduer of the enemies, by some expert knowers of the subtle is asserted that the creation and destruction that all created beings beginning with Brahmâ undergo is something constantly taking place. (36) The various conditions [stages of existence] of the things subject to change are swiftly overtaken by the force of the mighty current of Time; they constitute the proof of their constantly being born and annihilated [called nityah pralaya]. (37) The different stages created by beginningless and endless Time - itself representing Îs'vara [the Controller in the impersonal sphere] - are, as you know, not directly seen, just as the movements of the planets in outer space [or one's different conditionings] are not immediately seen [see also 3.10; 10-14]. (38) This way the progress of Time [kâla] is described as being of a continuous [nitya], occasional [naimittika], natural [elemental or prâkritika] and final [âtyantika] annihilation.
(39) These narrations about the lîlâ of the creator of the universe, Nârâyana, the reservoir of all existences, have in summary been related to you o best of the Kurus; not even the Unborn One [Brahmâ] can enumerate them completely. (40) For the person who suffers as a consequence of the fire of the various forms of misery and desires to cross over the hard to overcome ocean of material existence, there is no other boat but the rendering of service to the Fortunate One, the Supreme Personality, according to the personal taste for the narrations of His pastimes. (41) This essential compendium of all the classical stories was previously by the infallible Lord Nara-Nârâyana spoken to Nârada who repeated it to Krishna Dvaipâyana [Vyâsa, the writer; see 5.19: 10-15]. (42) He, that powerful Lord Bâdarâyana, was sure to teach this Bhâgavatam, this anthology equal in status to the four Vedas, to me o Mahârâja. (43) Sûta Gosvâmî, sitting here with us, will [on his turn] pass it on to the sages present in the forest of Naimishâranya for a lengthy sacrifice presided by S'aunaka, o best of the Kurus [see 1.1].'
Final Instructions to Mahârâja Parîkchit
(1) S'rî S'uka said: 'In this [narration] I have elaborately described the Supreme Lord Hari, the Soul of Everyone from whose grace Lord Brahmâ was born [3.8] from whose anger Lord S'iva [3.12: 7] took birth. (2) O King, you who think 'I am going to die', must give up this animalistic mentality; contrary to the body that didn't exist before and shall perish again you never took your birth nor will you ever be destroyed [see also B.G. 2: 12 & 2: 20]. (3) You will not get a new life as a child of yours or in the form of a grandchild the way a plant sprouts from its own seed; you differ from the body and what belongs to it as much as fire [differs from the wood in which it is found *]. (4) Because one, alike in a dream seeing one's head cut off, is the witness of one's own self composed of the five material elements, is therefore the body it's soul undoubtedly unborn and immortal [see also B.G. 2: 22]. (5) When a pot is broken the air in the pot remains the air as before; similarly returns, when the body is given up, the individual soul to his spiritual origin. (6) The physical bodies, qualities and actions of the spirit soul are the result of having a materially oriented mind; and it is mâyâ, the illusory potency of the Lord, that brings about the mind with the consequent material existence of an individual living being [through ahankâra, see also 2.5: 25, 3.26: 31-32, 3.27: 2-5]. (7) The combination of oil, a vessel, a wick and fire is what one sees together in the functioning of a lamp, similarly one finds, developed and destroyed by the action of the modes of passion, ignorance and goodness, the material existence of [an individual soul inhabiting] a functioning body. (8) The soul being different from the gross [deha] and the subtle [linga], is self-luminous, and constitutes, because it is as unchanging as the sky, the foundation [âdhâra] that is eternal and beyond comparison. (9) O prabhu, this way in meditation upon Vâsudeva engaging your intelligence for the sake of that what is true, you should carefully consider your essence that is covered by your physical frame. (10) Takshaka [the snake-bird] sent by the words of the brahmin [1.18] will not burn you; the messengers of death cannot supersede you who [now] have mastered the causes of death and death itself [see also 11.31: 12]. (11-12) 'I am the Original Supreme Spirit, the Abode of the Absolute and the Supreme Destination'; with this consideration placing yourself within the Supreme Self that is free from material designations, you will, with the entire world thus set apart from the self, not even notice Takshaka or your own body when he, licking his lips and with his mouth full of poison, bites your foot. (12) Dearest soul, is there anything more you want to know, o King, after all that I in response to your questions told you about the pastimes of the Lord?'
* In the s'ruti-mantra it is said: pitâ putrena pitrimân yoni-yonau: "A father has a father in his son, because he may take birth as his own grandson."
Mahârâja Parîkchit Liberated and the Veda Handed Down in Four
(1) S'rî Sûta said: "Mahârâja Parîkchit, the one protected by Vishnu, hearing what by the sage, the equalminded seer of the Supreme Soul, the son of Vyâsa, was said, approached his lotus feet, bowed his head down and said with his hands folded to him the following. (2) The king said: 'With the great mercy shown by your goodness I have attained perfection, because a compassionate soul like you has described directly to me the Lord Without a Beginning or and End. (3) I do not consider it surprising for great souls absorbed in the Infallible One to be of mercy with the ignorant conditioned souls who are tormented by distress. (4) We [thus] heard from you this collection of classical stories in which the Supreme Lord Uttamas'loka is fittingly described [*]. (5) My lord, I do not fear Takshaka or any other living being, nor do I fear repeated deaths; I have entered the Spirit of the Absolute you have revealed as standing apart from everything material and free from fear. (6) Please allow me, o brahmin, to dedicate my speech [and other sensory functions] to Adhokshaja so that I, with an absorbed mind having given up all sensual desires, may give up my life air. (7) With the help of you showing the all-auspicious, supreme shelter of the Lord Almighty, I have become fixed in non-material knowledge and wisdom and my ignorance has been eradicated'."
(8) Sûta said: "Thus addressed the powerful saint, the son of Vyâsa, gave him the permission. Then, after being worshiped by that god among the people and the renounced sages, he went away. (9-10) Parîkchit, the saintly king, putting his mind to his soul by the power of reason, meditated upon the Supreme and arrested his breath so that he became as motionless as a tree. Sitting upon darbha grass laid to the east on the bank of the Ganges the great yogi, facing the north, broke in perfect realization of God with all doubts. (11) O learned ones, when Takshaka, triggered by the angered son of the twice-born one [Samika], went on his way to kill the king, he met Kas'yapa Muni [see 1.18]. (12) Satisfying him, an expert in countering poison, with valuables, Takshaka persuaded him to return home. Thereupon he, who could assume any form he wished, disguised himself as a brahmin and bit the king. (13) While all embodied beings were looking on the body of the fully selfrealized saint among the kings that was consumed by the fire of the snake's poison turned immediately to ashes. (14) There was a great cry of lamentation from all directions of the earth and the sky expressing how verily all the demigods, demons, human beings and other creatures were stunned. (15) The godly resounded kettledrums, the Gandharvas and Apsaras sang and rained down a shower of flowers and the wise spoke words of praise. (16) Janamejaya hearing that his father was bitten by Takshaka, most enraged accordingly offered together with the twice-born the snakes [of all the world] as oblations in a great sacrifice. (17) Takshaka seeing the great serpents being burned in the blazing fire of the snake sacrifice, very disturbed with fear went to Indra for shelter. (18) King Janamejaya not seeing Takshaka among them said to the brahmins: 'Why has Takshaka, the lowest of all serpents not been burned?'
(19) [They answered:] 'O best of the kings, he has approached Indra for shelter and under his protection the snake therefore didn't end up in the fire.'
(20) The mighty intelligent son of Parîkchit hearing these words replied to the priests: 'O learned ones then why not throw Takshaka along with Indra into the fire?'
(21) Hearing that the learned ones performed the ritual for offering Takshaka along with Indra: 'O Takshaka, may you quickly fall here into this fire together with Indra and his host of demigods'. (22) Indra who along with Takshaka and his vimâna saw his position undermined by the derogatory words of the brahmins was greatly disturbed about what he heard. (23) When Brihaspati spotted him with Takshaka in his vimâna falling from the sky, the son of Angirâ addressed the king: (24) 'This snake-bird doesn't deserve to be killed by you, o great ruler of men; by him, the king of the snakes, has the nectar of the gods been drunk and therefore he is unquestinably free from old age and practically immortal! (25) The life and death of a living being and his destination in his next life o King, are only the result of his karma; for him there is apart from that no other agent giving happiness and distress. (26) Someone born may die because of snakes, thieves, fire and lightening, hunger, thirst, disease and other agents o King, but in any of these cases he undergoes the reactions to what he did in the past. (27) For that reason o King, this sacrifice that is performed with the intent to harm the serpents should be stopped. When we burn the innocent for certain persons will have to suffer for that bid [see also the Mahâbhârata 1.43]."
(28) Sûta said: "Thus being addressed he with respect for the words of the great sage said: 'So be it!', and ceasing with the snake sacrifice he worshiped the master of eloquence [Brihaspati]. (29) This very mahâmâyâ of Vishnu cannot be discerned or checked by those who, as part-and-parcel spiritual souls belonging to Him, get bewildered because of Him as a consequence of their normal bodily functioning according to the modes of nature. (30-31) The visible illusory energy in which one missing the peace thinks 'that's a fraud' is not [prevailing] when one constantly watches what is going on in the soul. This because one in that about which the transcendentalists speak is not of the materialistic arguments that assume so many forms nor of the mind with its functions of decisions and doubts that is a consequence of that. In that [transcendental consciousness] the living entity is not of worldly concerns or of their causes and the benefits achieved by them, nor is he then of the I-awareness that is so strong when one is associating with the modes. That is all excluded then. Someone wise should take pleasure in warding off the waves of worldly conditioning as well as those who are entangled thus [see also e.g. 6.4: 31-32]. (32) The supreme refuge of Lord Vishnu is by those who are desirous to forsake [the world] designated as that which is 'nor this, nor that' [see also neti neti]. And thus they, who direct their emotions nowhere else, reject the petty materialism and embrace thereto in their hearts the 'not-that' [of the Soul, of Him] that the ones who are of absorption hold on to. (33) They for whom there is not the corruption of the 'I' and 'mine' that is based upon having a home and a body, that way find out what the supreme refuge of Vishnu is. (34) Insulting words one should tolerate, one should never disrespect anyone, nor identify with this material body or hold a grudge against whomever. (35) I offer my obeisances to Him, the Supreme Personality of Godhead S'rî Krishna whose power is never impeded and upon whose lotus feet I meditating have assimilated this collection of wisdom [Samhitâ]'."
(35) S'rî S'aunaka said: "Please tell us this: in what way spoke Paila and the other greatly intelligent disciples of Vyâsa who constitute the vedic authority, about the Vedas and how divided they them?"
(37) Sûta said: "O brahmin, Lord Brahmâ, the most elevated being, had his mind perfectly under control and heard in his heart the subtle transcendental sound [of ta-pa, 2.9: 6] which arose from the ether. One can hear that sound when one closes one's ears for sounds from the outside [see also s'abda]. (38) By the worship of that sound, o brahmin, yogis cleanse away from the heart the contamination known as the substance, the activity and the doer [**], and thus achieve freedom from rebirth. (39) From that activity the threefold omkâra came into being which, manifesting itself without that its power is seen, is the representation of the Supreme Lord [Bhagavân], the Absolute Truth [Brahman] and the Supersoul [Paramâtmâ, see also 1.2: 11, B.G. 7: 8]. (40-41) He [the Supreme Self] perceives this unmanifest, subtle sound outside of the physical sense of hearing and power of vision. The complete of the vedic sound one employs is an elaboration thereof: an elaboration of the omkâra which appears from the soul in the ether. Of the self-originating Brahman and Paramâtmâ it is the direct expression. It is the eternal seed of the Vedas that is the secret of all mantras [see also 7.15: 31, 9.14: 48, 11.14: 34-35, 11.21: 36-40]. (42) O eminence of Bhrigu, the three sounds [A, U and M] of the alphabet beginning with A originated therefrom [from that sound]. They are fundamental to the threefold aspect of material existence, viz. the gunas, the names [of the three Vedas] the destinations [the three types of lokas] and states of consciousness [avasthâtraya]. (43) The mighty unborn Lord [Brahmâ] created from it the different sounds of the total collection of vowels, sibilants, semivowels, and consonants as they are known by their short and long measures. (44) The almighty one created with them from his four faces the four Vedas, along with his omkâra and his vyâhriti invocations [of the names of the seven lokas]. He did this because he desired to give instruction on the four sacrifices [see ritvik]. (45) He taught them to his sons who were the great rishis among the brahmins most expert in the art of vedic recitation, and they on their turn imparted them to their own sons as their teachers of the dharma [âcâryas]. (46) This way throughout the four yugas one after the other, generation after generation the disciples who were firm in their belief received them [these Vedas, through the paramparâ]. Then, at the end of Dvâpara-yuga they were divided by the prominent sages. (47) Observing that under the influence of kâla [the people became] lesser intelligent and short-lived and that their strength was diminished, divided the chief sages, inspired by the Infallible Lord situated in their hearts, the Vedas [see also 1.4: 16-18]. (48-49) O brahmin, in this period [of Manu], the rulers over the worlds - Brahmâ and S'iva and others - requested the Supreme Lord, the Protector of the Universe, to protect the principles of religion. The Lord [in the form of Krishna Dvaipâyana Vyâsa], begotten by Parâs'ara in the womb of Satyavatî, then decended as a partial expansion of His plenary portion [as a partial expansion of Sankarshana thus], with the purpose of dividing the Veda in four. (50) Just like sorting out gems, he separated the collection of mantras, providing four specific categories of collections [Samhitâs]: the Rig, Atharva, Yajur and Sâma Veda [see Vedas]. (51) The greatly intelligent and powerful sage, one by one asked four of his disciples to approach him in order to give each of them one of the [four] collections, o brahmin. (52-53) He taught Paila the first collection [the Rig Veda] naming it Bahvrica ['many verses'], to Vais'ampâyana he spoke the collection of Yajur mantras naming them Nigada ['the recited'], the Sâma mantras named Chandoga ['singer in metre'] he taught Jaimini and the mantras named Atharva and Angirâ he entrusted his dear disciple Sumantu [see also 4.21: 22]. (54-56) Paila spoke his Samhitâ [divided in two] to Indrapramiti and Bâshkala. The latter one, dividing his collection in four o son of Bhrigu [S'aunaka], handed it down to his disciples Bodhya, Yâjñavalkya, Parâs'ara and Agnimitra. Indrapramiti, self-controlled, taught his collection to the learned seer [his son] Mândûkeya, and his disciple Devamitra taught it to Saubhari and others. (57) S'âkalya, his son, divided his collection in five parts he one by one gave to Vâtsya, Mudgala, S'âlîya, Gokhalya and S'is'ira. (58) Sage Jâtûkarnya, also a disciple of his added to the collection he received a glossary when he passed it down to Balâka, Paila, Jâbâla and Viraja. (59) Bâshkali [the son of Bâshkala] assembled from all the different branches [of the Rig Veda] the collection called the Vâlakhilya-Samhitâ which next was received by [the daitya sons] Vâlâyani, Bhajya and Kâs'âra. (60) Thus were the collections of these many verses by these brahmin rishis maintained in [disciplic] resolve. The one who hears about the distribution of these sacred verses is freed from all sins.
(61) The disciples of Vais'ampâyana, became authorities of the Atharva Veda and are known as the Carakas ['the ones vowed'] because they executed strict vows to atone for the sin of their guru who had killed a brahmin. (62) Yâjñavalkya, one of his disciples, in this respect had said: 'O master, what would be the value of the endeavors of these weak fellows? I'll perform a most difficult penance!'
(63) Thus addressed his spiritual master got angry and said: 'Go away, enough of you insulting the learned; right now give everything up you learned from me!'
(64-65) The son of Devaratâ then regurgitated the collected Yajur mantras and left thereafter. The sages greedily looking at these Yajur mantras turned into partridges and picked them up. Thus these branches of the Yayur Veda became known as the most beautiful Taittirîya-Samhitâ ['the partridge collection']. (66) O brahmin, Yâjñavalkya, who next sought for additional mantras his spiritual master not even knew, carefully offered prayers to the mighty controller that is the sun.
(67) S'rî Yâjñavalkya said: 'My obeisances unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead who, appearing as the sun, as the Supersoul in the form of Time is present [as the Controller] in the hearts of the four kinds of living entities beginning from Brahmâ down to the blades of grass [as born from wombs, eggs, moist and seed, see also 2.10: 37-40]. You who, the same way as the sky [by its clouds], cannot be covered by material designations, all by Yourself, with the flow of years made up of the tiny fragments of kshanas, lavas and nimeshas [see 3.11: 7], carry out the maintenance of this universe by taking away and returning the water [as rain]. (68) O Lord of the Sun, o glowing one, o Best Among the Ones Awakened, by the rules of the sacred tradition I daily meditate at the [three] junctures of the day with full attention upon the glowing sphere of You, the mighty controller, who of all those who offer prayers burn all the sins, as also the resultant suffering and that what lead to it [see also 11.14: 35 and the Gâyatrî]. (69) You, who in this world indeed are the Lord dwelling in the hearts of all the moving and nonmoving living beings who depend on Your shelter, animate the nonliving matter of the mind, the senses and the different vital airs [the vâyus]. (70) You alone, most magnanimous mercifully glancing over [the creation] awaken, with the gift of sight, the sleeping people of this world who, seized and swallowed by the horrible mouth of the python that is known as darkness, fell into unconsciousness like they were dead. At the beginning, half way and at the end of the day You so, day after day, for the sake of finding the soul engage the pious in the ultimate benefit that is known as their personal duty and nature of service [svadharma]. (71) Like an earthly king You travel around everywhere creating fear among the sinners while the controlling deities of the directions holding lotusflowers from different sides with folded palms offer their respects. (72) Thus my Lord I, desirous for Yajur mantras that are not known to others, with prayer approach Your two lotus feet that are honored by the spiritual masters of the three worlds [lokas, and see 5.23: 8]'."
(73) Sûta said: "He, the Supreme Lord of the Sun being satisfied assumed the form of a horse and presented to the sage the Yajur mantras that were never learned by any other mortal being [see also 5.18: 6]. (74) With the hundreds of Yajur mantras the mighty sage contrived fifteen branches and accepted by the disciples Kânva and Mâdhyandina under the name Vâjaseneyi: 'produced from the manes of the horse'. (75) Of Jaimini Rishi, the reciter of the Sâma Veda, there was a son Sumantu as well as his grandson Sutvân; to each of them he spoke one of the two parts of the collection. (76-77) Sukarmâ, another disciple [of Jaimini] and great thinker, divided the tree of the Sâma Veda into a thousand collections of Sâma mantras after which, o brâhmin, the two disciples Hiranyanâbha - the son of Kus'ala - and Paushyañji, plus another one, Âvantya who was most advanced in spiritual realization, took charge of them. (78) There was a total of five hundred disciples of Paushyañji and Âvantya who are called the Sâma Veda singers of the north, but they are on the contrary [in later times, some of them] also known as the eastern singers. (79) Other disciples of Paushyañji, namely Laugâkshi, Mângali, Kulya, Kus'îda and Kukshi, each took care of a hundred collections of mantras. (80) Krita, the disciple of Hiranyanâbha, communicated twenty four Samhitâs to his disciples; the remaining ones were handed down by the self-realized sage Âvantya."
* The S'rîmad Bhâgavatam is also known by the name of 'Paramahamsa Samhitâ': the collection of stories about the Supreme Swanlike Lord.
** The substance, the activity and the doer as impurities are understood as manifestations of the ego-inspiring modes of the ignorance of inert matter, the passion of movement and the goodness of knowledge, also known as the adhibhautika hindrance of the body, the adhyâtmika hindrance of the organs of action and the adhidaivika hindrance of the senses of perception [see kles'a].
The Devotion in Samhitâ Branches and the Ten Topics of the Purânas
(1) S'rî Sûta said: "Sumantu Rishi, the expert on the Atharva Veda as you know [see 6: 52-53], instructed his collection to his disciple [named Kabandha], who [dividing it in two] was pleased to speak it to Pathya and Vedadars'a. (2) Please listen: S'auklâyani, Brahmabali, Modosha and Pippalâyani, the disciples of Vedadars'a and the disciples of Pathya, my dear brahmin, Kumuda, S'unaka and Jâjali, were all authorities on the Atharva Veda as well. (3) Babhru and Saindhavâyana, disciples of S'unaka, then the same manner learned two Samhitâs and so did other disciples headed by Sâvarna [learn from them]. (4) Nakshatrakalpa, S'ântikalpa, Kas'yapa and Ângirasa belong to these âcâryas of the Atharva Veda. Now hear, o sage, about the authorities of the Purânas.
(5) Trayyâruni, Kas'yapa, Sâvarni, Akritavrana, Vais'ampâyana and Hârîta are the six masters of the Purânas. (6) They learned the collection from the mouth of Vyâsa's pupil, my father [Romaharshana], and I, as a disciple from each of them learning one portion, became well versed in them all. (7) Kas'yapa, I, Sâvarni and Akritavrana, who is a disciple of Râma [of the Bhârgavas or Pâras'urâma, see also 10.74: 7-9], have assimilated four basic collections from the disciple of Vyâsa. (8) O brahmin, please listen attentively to what the characteristics of a Purâna are, which in accordance with the vedic scriptures by the most intelligent brahmin seers have been ascertained. (9-10) The creation [of this universe, sarga], the subsequent creation [of different worlds and beings, visarga], the maintenance [the sustenance, the vritti or sthâna] and protection [the rakshâ or poshana of the living beings], the reigns [of the various Manus], the dynasties [vams'as], the narrations about them [vams'a-anucaritam], the annihilation [of different kinds, pralaya or samsthâ], the motivation [of individuality or hetu] and the supreme shelter [of the Fortunate One or apâs'raya], o brahmin, are the ten topics characterizing a Purâna as understood by the authorities on the matter; some state that relative to the greater ones, the lesser Purânas deal only with five of these subjects [see also S'uka on this 2.10: 1-7 and *].
(11) Creation [sarga] is what is called the generation from the primordial state. From that state the agitation of the modes raised the cosmic intelligence from which the identification with matter rose the way it is divided in three aspects [or types of beings to the modes]. This further led to the manifestation of the subtle forms of perception, the senses and the objects of perception [formation by the conditioning of and identification with Time, compare 2.10: 3].
(12) The secondary creation [visarga] is the assemblage consisting of the inherent properties [the vâsanâs] of the moving and nonmoving living beings. These propensities are, to the grace of the Original Person [purusha], produced the same way seed produces more seeds.
(13) Living beings subsist on [vritti] other living beings that move around or else do not move around. For specifically human beings this means that one for one's livelihood acts according to one's personal nature in which one either lives one's lust or acts in agreement with the [religious] rules.
(14) Rakshâ [or protection] is there with the Incarnations of the Infallible One. Age after age being present among the animals, the mortals, the seers and the demigods, are by these incarnations the enemies of the threefold Veda killed [see also B.G. 4: 7].
(15) With every reign of a Manu there is the sixfold of the Lord: the Manu, the demigods, the sons of the Manu, the different controllers of the enlightened [the Indras], the seers [or rishis], and the partial incarnations [the Lord His ams'a-avatâras].
(16) Dynasties [vams'as] originating from Brahmâ extend into the threefold of time [trikâlika] as series of kings and their histories [vams'a-anucaritam] describe the activities of the prominent members in succession.
(17) The occasional, elemental, continuous and ultimate annihilation that is effected by His potency constitutes the four aspects of what the scholars describe as the dissolution of this universe [as samsthâ or pralaya, see also 12.4].
(18) The motive [hetu] of the creation [sarga] and everything that belongs to it, is the individual living soul [jîva], who out of ignorance is the performer of fruitive activities [karma]. Others on the contrary speak of the unmanifest underlying personality.
(19) God as the supreme shelter [apâs'raya] is, separately for Himself as well as conjoint, present within the waking, sleeping and dreamless state, within the things presented by the illusory energy and within the functions of individuality. (20) The basic substance of material objects is connected to, as well as independent from, their separate existence as things that have a name and form. The same way it is [with God who] throughout the various phases of a bodily existence, [is connected to as well as independently present] from the seed in the beginning up to the five elements [one returns to] in the end [compare 8.6: 10]. (21) Of its own or through yoga, thought may stop in transcendence of the threefold state [vritti-traya]. When one ceases from material endeavoring one knows the Supreme Soul [see also 3.25: 32-33].
(22) This way distinguished by their characteristics there are, so say the sages expert in the ancient stories, eighteen big and [eighteen] small Purânas [from 9.000 up tot 81.000 verses, see also Upa-purâna]. (23-24) They are known as the three times six Purânas [to each guna-avatâra] called Brahmâ, Padma, Vishnu, S'iva, Linga, Garuda, Nârada, Bhâgavata, Agni, Skanda, Bhavishya, Brahma-vaivarta, Mârkandeya, Vâmana, Varâha, Matsya, Kûrma and Brahmânda [see Purânas]. (25) O brahmin, I thus described thoroughly the knowledge conducive to one's spiritual potency the way it is divided by the sage [Vyâsa], his disciples and the disciples of his disciples."
* The vedic verse (Amarkhasa) to this secondary status of a Purâna says: sargas' ca pratisargas' ca vams'o manvantarâni ca vams'ânucaritam ceti Purânam pañca-lakshanam; "Creation, secondary creation, the dynasties of kings, the reigns of Manus and the activities of various dynasties are the five characteristics of a Purâna."
S'rîla Jîva Gosvâmî has explained to this that the ten principal topics of S'rîmad Bhâgavatam are found within each of the twelve cantos. One should not try to assign each of the ten topics to a particular canto. Nor should the S'rîmad Bhâgavatam be artificially interpreted to show that it deals with the topics successively. The simple fact is that all aspects of knowledge important to human beings, summarized in the ten categories mentioned above, are described with various degrees of emphasis and analysis throughout the S'rîmad Bhâgavatam [pp. 12.7: 9-10].
Mârkandeya Resists All Temptation and Prays to Nara-Nârâyana Rishi
(1) S'rî S'aunaka said: "O Sûta, may you live long, o saintly one; o best of speakers, please speak to us, because you are for a mankind wandering in the endless darkness the seer of the opposite. (2-5) People say that the son of Mrikandu, a seer [called Mârkandeya] blessed with an exceptionally long life span, was the only one to remain at the end of the kalpa when this entire universe is engulfed. He, the foremost descendant of Bhrigu, was this kalpa factually born in my own family and we as yet haven't any great deluge of all creation seen taking place in our age. Alone wandering this great ocean he spotted, so the story goes, a single wonderful personality, an infant boy, lying within the fold of a banyan leaf. About this, o Sûta we are in great doubt; please o yogi who by everyone are regarded the greatest authority on the Purânas, put for us eager to know about it an end to that."
(6) Sûta said: "O great sage this question of you takes away the giddiness of the entire world because it leads to the discussion of the story of Nârâyana which removes the dirt of kali-yuga. (7-11) Mârkandeya having received the second-birth initiation rituals from his father, orderly studying the vedic hymns along with the religious duties, was complete in his austerities and studies. Keeping to the great vow [see yama] he was peaceful with matted hair and bark for clothes carrying a waterpot, a mendicant's staff, the sacred thread and the belt of the celibates. With the skin of a black deer and lotus-seed prayerbeads he for the good of his regulated practice [see niyama] worshiped at the junctures of the day the Lord in the form of the fire, the sun, the guru, the learned ones and the Supreme Soul. In the morning and the evening he with a controlled voice brought what he had collected begging to his spiritual master and once being invited by his guru joined in the eating or, not being asked, he would fast [see also 7.12; 5 and 7.14: 17]. This way of penance and study worshiping for countless [or millions of] years the Master of the Senses, he had conquered what is impossible to conquer: death. (12) Brahmâ, Bhrigu, S'iva, Daksha, the sons of Brahmâ and the other human beings, the demigods, forefathers and ghostly spirits all were most astonished about that [achievement]. (13) This way maintaining the great vow by his austerities, recitations and restraint, the yogi meditated upon the Lord in the Beyond and with his mind turned inwards he rid himself of all hindrances. (14) As he was fixing his mind thus by means of yoga, passed by the enormous lapse of time consisting of six manvantaras [of 71 mahâyugas each]. (15) In the seventh period of Manu Purandara [Indra] learned of the austerities. He became fearful, o brahmin, and decided to obstruct them. (16) He sent to the sage celestial singers and dancing girls, Cupid, the spring season, the [sandalwood scented] Malaya breeze, the child of passion and the child of intoxication. (17) O mighty one, they all went to his hermitage on the northern side of the Himâlaya mountains where there is the river Pushpabhadrâ and the peak named Citrâ. (18-20) The good site of the âs'rama where many twice-born souls had come to live was marked with fine trees and creepers and reservoirs of pellucid water everywhere. Humming with maddened bees it was filled with families of birds - excitedly cooing cuckoos and busily dancing, proud peacocks. The winds blowing there transported the cooling drops of mist from the waterfalls and called, being embraced by the charm of flowers, for the god of love. (21) With the moon rising at night showing its face, springtime appeared there with series of new sprouts and blossoms from the multitude of creepers closely embracing the trees. (22) Followed by groups of singing Gandharvas playing musical instruments the god of love, the master of hordes of heavenly women, was seen there holding his bow and arrows. (23) The servants of Indra found him in that place. Having offered his oblations, he sat in meditation with his eyes closed, invincible as fire personified. (24) The women danced in front of him and the celestial singers sang making charming music with drums, cymbals and vînâs. (25) And while the servants of Indra, the child of greed and the child of spring attempted to agitate the mind of the sage, five-headed Cupid (to the sight, smell, sound, touch and taste) fixed an arrow on his bow. (26-27) Flowers fell from the wreath of hair of Puñjikasthalî [an Apsara] who with her waist greatly challenged by her heavy breasts was playing with a number of balls. Running after the balls, with eyes glancing here and there, the belt of her thin garment loosened and the wind lifted up her fine garment [see also 3.20: 35-36, 3.22: 17, 5.2: 14, 8.12: 17-24]. (28) Cupid, thinking he had conquered him, then shot his arrow, but all these actions directed at the sage proved to be as futile as the endeavors of a disbeliever. (29) O sage, they this way trying to compromise the sage, felt themselves being burned by his potency and thus they desisted, just like children having aroused a snake. (30) O brahmin, even though the followers of Indra had violated the great muni, he didn't yield to the sentiments of ego. And that is something not that surprising at all for a great soul.
(31) Seeing and hearing how, because of the strength of the brahmin seer, Kâmadeva along with his associates had proven powerless, the mighty king of heaven was greatly amazed. (32) When Mârkandeya thus fixed his mind in austerity, recitation and restraint the Supreme Lord manifested Himself as Nara-Nârâyana to show His mercy. (33-34) Of the two of Them was one white and the other black; Their eyes were like blooming lotuses, Their arms were four, Their clothes black deerskin and bark, Their hands most purifying, carried a waterpot and a straight staff of bamboo, and Their sacred thread was three-stranded. With prayer beads of lotus seeds which purify all living beings and with the Vedas [in the form of bundles of darbha] they, worshiped by the chief demigods, of an effulgent yellowish color and standing tall, represented the austerity radiating with light. (35) Seeing Them, Nara and Nârâyana, the direct personal manifestations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he stood up with great respect to offer his obeisances and prostrate himself. (36) Because he, when he saw Them, experienced happiness all over his body, mind and senses and the hairs on his body stood on end, he was unable, from the tears filling his eyes, to see Them clearly before him. (37) Standing humbly with folded hands he addressed Them eagerly as if he wanted to embrace Them, and choking he managed to say to the two Lords the syllables 'na-ma-ha, na-ma-ha' (my obeisances, my obeisances). (38) Offering Them sitting places, bathing Their feet and anointing Them with sandal wood and other fragrant substances, he was of worship with incense and flower garlands. (39) Sitting comfortably on Their places ready to bestow Their mercy he, again bowing down at Their feet, spoke the following to the Ones Supremely Worshipable.
(40) S'rî Mârkandeya said: 'O Almighty One, how can I describe You because of whom of all embodied living beings as well as of Brahmâ, S'iva as of myself the vital air, with in its wake the power of speech, the mind and the senses is stirred into action; nevertheless You [despite of this physical imposition] become the loving friend of the ones who are of worship. (41) These personal forms of the Fortunate One, o Supreme Lord, You manifest for the ultimate benefit of the cessation of the material misery and the defeat of death; and just as You, for the protection variously manifest other transcendental bodies, You, once having created this universe, again, just like a spider, swallow it up entirely. (42) Because of Him, the Protector, the Supreme Controller of the moving and nonmoving living beings, the one situated at the soles of His feet is never touched by the emotions of karma, guna and kâla; it is before You indeed that the sages with the Veda in their heart at every moment in praise bow down to worship and meditate to attain You. (43) Nothing else but the attainment of Your feet, the very form of liberation, is what benefits the person who has to fear from all sides o Lord. We know that Brahmâ, whose time takes two parârdhas, is most afraid on account of this, he is afraid because of the Time that is You - and how much more wouldn't that be true for the worldly entities who are created by him [see 10.13: 56]? (44) So let me therefore give up this covering of the self, the material body with everything to it that being temporal, being remembered for only a moment, insubstantial as it is, is so meaningless. Let me worship the soles of Your feet, of You, the Intelligence of what is real and the Master of the Soul who is the Supreme Truth from whom one obtains everything desirable. (45) O Lord, o Friend of the Soul, even though the products of Your illusory potency known by the names of sattva, rajas and tamas, for the causes of the maintenance, destruction and creation of this universe exist as [Your] pastimes, it is the goodness [the sattvic] that [with You] continues for the liberation and not the other two which for men bring danger, bewilderment and fear [see also guna-avatâras and 10.89: 18]. (46) Because fearlessness, the happiness of the soul and the spiritual world are attained through the mode of goodness the Sâtvatas are of that consideration and never of any other [mode or] form of the Original Person. For that reason the spiritual authorities in this world worship as most dear to them the transcendental personal form [Vishnu] of You as well as the form of the ones with only You in their eyes [the Vaishnavas], o Supreme Lord [see also 1.2: 26]. (47) Him, the All-pervading, All-inclusive Manifestation and Master of the Universe, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, I offer my obeisances, for He is the supremely worshipable deity, Nârâyana, the sage who is the best of the humans situated in perfect purity who, as the master of the vedic scriptures, has the command over His word [see hamsa]. (48) He who deceived by the deceptive veil over his eyes becomes diverted in his intelligence about Your presence within his own senses, heart and even within the objects perceived, can know You, the Spiritual master of All, when he obtains the vedic knowledge, even though his understanding was originally covered by Your mâyâ. (49) The vision of the Supreme Soul, the mystery revealed by the vedic texts, is what the great scholars headed by the Unborn One [Brahmâ] become bewildered about when they try to adjust with all kinds of philosophies the subject matter of Him to their way of life. For He escapes the understanding of the [conditioned] spirit soul, He, the Supreme Personality whom I offer my respects [compare 1.3: 37, 4.31: 11, 4.18: 5, 5.6: 11, 5.14: 1, 7.15: 58, 11.19: 1, 11.20: 7 and B.G. 16: 23-24]."
Mârkandeya is Shown the Lord's Bewildering Potency
(1) S'rî Sûta said: "The Supreme Lord Nârâyana, Nara's Friend, this way by Mârkandeya, the intelligent sage, properly respected, spoke satisfied to the eminent descendant of Bhrigu. (2) The Supreme Lord said: 'O My pleasure, you, perfect in your fixation upon the soul, are the best of all brahmin seers; not deviating in your devotional service, austerities, recitations and concentration you are directed towards Me. (3) We have become perfectly satisfied with you in your keeping to a vow of lifelong celibacy; please choose a benediction to your desire, for I am the Giver of All Benedictions wishing you the best'.
(4) The honorable rishi said: 'You o Lord of Lords, o Infallible One, are victorious as the Remover of the Distress of the One Surrendered and with as much as the benediction of us having seen Your good Self we are satisfied. (5) Brahmâ and others with a mind matured in yoga all acquired the sight of Your omnipotent lotus feet and now You in person are visible before my eyes. (6) Nonetheless o Lotus-eyed Crest Jewel of Fame, I would like to witness the illusory potency because of which the entire world along with its rulers is of respect for the material differentiation of the absolute.' [compare B.G. 11: 3-4]
(7) Sûta said: 'By the rishi glorified with these words He, the Supreme Lord, to His satisfaction being worshiped said smiling, 'So be it'. Thereupon the Lord departed for Badarikâs'rama. (8-9) The rishi keeping only that [desire to witness the energy of the Lord] in mind thus remained at his hermitage to meditate under all circumstances upon the Lord with all that he had: the fire, the sun, the moon, the water, the earth, the wind, the lightning as well as his own heart. Thus being of worship he sometimes forgot to prove his respect at the moments he drowned in the flood of pure love of Godhead [prema]. (10) One day, o best of Bhrigu, when the sage was performing his evening worship on the bank of the Pushpabhadrâ o brahmin, a great wind arose. (11) It created a terrible sound followed by the appearance of threatening clouds as solid as wagon wheels that resounding loudly with lightning showered torrents of rain everywhere. (12) Then from all sides the four oceans appeared swallowing up the surface of the earth with wind-tossed waves in which, along with ominous sounds, there were terrible sea monsters and fearful whirlpools. (13) Perplexed the sage got afraid seeing how the earth flooded and all the four types of inhabitants of the universe [as born from moist, seed, embryos and eggs] including himself innerly and materially were plagued by the water rising higher than the sky, the fierce winds, the bolts of lightning, and the great waves towering higher than heaven. (14) As he was looking on the waters of the great ocean were by hurricanes swirled around in frightening waves as they swelled with the rain from the clouds that covered the entirety of the earth with its continents, islands and mountains. (15) With the three worlds, the earth, outer space, the celestial bodies and heavenly places flooded in all directions the great sage, as the only one remaining, wandered about like a dumb and blind person, with his matted locks scattered. (16) In the grip of hunger and thirst, attacked by monsterous crocodiles and whale-eaters and plagued by the winds he, tormented by the waves, moved overcome by fatigue and not knowing which direction of the sky or the earth he went, through the infinite darkness he had fallen into. (17-18) Sometimes drowning in a great whirlpool and then beaten by the waves he was at times threatened by monsters who wanted to eat him and at other times were attacking each other. He in distress sometimes felt sick and suffered pains with occasional depressions and bewilderment, misery, incidental happiness and fear of death at other times. (19) Countless and countless, hundreds and thousands of years passed while he with a clouded mind wandered around in that mâyâ, that deluding material energy of Vishnu. (20) Once, as he roamed out there, the twice-born one saw upon a raised mound of earth a beautiful young banyan tree with fruits and blossoms. (21) Upon a branch of that tree toward the northeast he in addition saw an infant boy lying within the fold of a leaf swallowing the darkness with His effulgence [see also 3.33: 4]. (22-25) Amazed the king among the scholars drank with his eyes from the sight of His complexion that was as dark blue as a great emerald, His beautiful lotus face, His conchshell striped throat, His broad chest, fine nose and beautiful eyebrows. He relished His splendid hair which trembled to His breath, His beautiful shell-shaped ears resembling pomegranate flowers, His coral lips that by their effulgence slightly reddened His nectarean smile, His countenance with a charming smile and with the corners of His eyes like the reddish whorl of a lotus, the by His breath moved lines of His abdomen contorted by His deep leaf like navel, and also... how the infant with the graceful fingers of His two hands grabbed one of His lotus feet and placed it in His mouth [*]. (26) The moment he saw the baby his weariness was dispelled and out of pleasure the lotus of his heart and his lotus eyes spread wide open. Confused about the identity of that wonderful appearance he, with his hair standing on end, approached the child from the front to find an answer. (27) That very moment the man of Bhrigu with a breath of the infant was drawn into His body like a mosquito whereupon he utterly surprised stood perplexed to see from that position the entire universe the way it was before. (28-29) He saw the entire expanse of all the stars, the mountains and oceans, and the directions of the great islands and continents, the ones enlightened and unenlightened, the forests, countries, rivers, cities and mines, the peasant villages, the cow pastures and the various engagements of the varnâs'rama society. He saw the basic elements of nature and all their gross manifestations, as also the Time itself of the different yugas and kalpas and whatever other object of material use in the universe that was manifested as if it was real. (30) Seeing the Himâlayas, the Pushpabhadrâ River and his hermitage where he had seen the rishis [Nara and Nârâyana], he, thus observing the universe, was by the breath of the infant again thrown outside to fall back into the ocean of dissolution. (31-32) On the raised stretch of land in the water where the banyan grew, there, lying in the fold of its leaf, was the child again, glancing at him with a nectarean smile of love from the corner of His eyes. Placing the infant by that vison within his heart he ran greatly excited to embrace the Lord of the Beyond. (33) That moment He, the Supreme Lord, the Original One of Yoga who is hidden in the heart of all living beings in person, suddenly became invisible for the rishi, the same way as that what by an incompetent person is made suddenly may fail to serve. (34) O brahmin, after Him next the banyan disappeared as well as the waters of the annihilation of the world, and the next moment he found himself as before in front of his own âs'rama."
* The infant putting its foot into its mouth is by S'rîla Vis'vanâtha Cakravartî Thhâkura interpreted as the Lord saying, 'see how sweet my feet are to the taste of the devotee'.
S'iva, Lord and Helper Glorifies Mârkandeya Rishi
(1) S'rî Sûta said: "He this way experiencing the might of the yoga-mâyâ as arranged by Nârâyana, went only for the shelter of Him. (2) S'rî Mârkandeya said [to this]: 'I am surrendered to the soles of the feet of You who bring fearlessness to the surrendered, o Lord who with Your illusory potency in the form of knowledge even bewilders the wise'."
(3) Sûta said: "The great lord [S'iva] accompanied by Rudrânî [Umâ] and surrounded by his entourage, saw, traveling through the sky on his bull, him thus absorbed in trance. (4-5) Umâ observing that seer then said to Giris'a: 'Look at this man of learning, who motionless with his body, senses and mind is as calm as the water and the fish of the ocean with the wind laid down. Please, o you who art the bestower of the perfection of penance, make it true for him.'
(6) The great lord said: 'I'm sure the brahmin seer doesn't desire any benedictions in any field, not even liberation; he has achieved the transcendental devotional service for the Supreme Lord, the Inexhaustible Original Person. (7) Nevertheless, Bhavânî, let's talk with this pure devotee, it is indeed man's highest achievement to associate with the saintly'."
(8) Sûta said: "Thus having spoken he, the master of all knowledge, the controller of all the embodied and the great lord and shelter of the righteous, approached him. (9) He, having arrested the functions of his mind, had no knowledge of himself or the outer world, nor of the arrival of the two powers of control over the universe in person. (10) Understanding that, Giris'a the Controller, the great lord, entered by means of his mystic potency the ethereal privacy of Mârkandeya's heart, just like the wind passing through an opening. (11-13) Within himself then S'iva arrived with blonde locks like lightening, having three eyes and ten arms, rising as tall as the sun. Together with a tigerskin for his garment, he exhibited his bow and trident, arrows and sword, shield, prayer beads, damaru (a small drum), ax and skull. Seeing him manifesting suddenly in his heart the sage thereupon desisted from his trance and wondered in surprise: 'Who is this and from where did he come?'
(14) Opening his eyes and seeing that Lord Rudra had arrived with Umâ and his associates, the sage offered with his head the one guru of the three worlds his obeisances. (15) Him together with his company and Umâ he offered worship with words of welcome, sitting places, water for their feet, water to drink, perfumed oil, garlands, incense and lamps. (16) He said: 'O mighty one, what can I do for you, o Lord, by whose full satisfaction in your experience of ecstasy the entire world is pacified? (17) My respects for you devoted to the mode of ignorance, to you terrible in choosing the mode of passion and to you giving pleasure in favor of the mode of goodness'."
(18) Sûta Gosvâmî said: "Praised by these words he, the mighty lord, the foremost of the demigods and shelter of the truthful, perfectly satisfied and happy of mind addressed him with a smile. (19) The great lord said: 'Please, choose a boon to your liking from us the three [guna-avatâra] lords in control by whose audience a mortal being achieves immortality. (20-21) The local rulers and inhabitants of all worlds, I, the great lord Brahmâ and Hari, the Controller in person, glorify, worship and sit near to those brahmins who are saintly, peaceful, free from material attachment, of care for all living beings and who, free from enmity with an equal vision, are single-minded devotees of us. (22) They [these devotees] do not even acknowledge the slightest difference between me, the Infallible One and the one unborn, nor between themselves and other people and for that reason we praise you. (23) Mere bodies of water are no holy places and deities on themselves are devoid of life; they cleanse the soul only after a long time, but you do so by simply being seen [see also 10.48: 31]. (24) The brahmins who embrace our forms that are represented by the three Vedas, and who by penances, study and yogic concentration [samyama] are absorbed in the True Self, we offer our respects. (25) Even the greatest sinners and outcasts find purification by seeing you and hearing about you, and what wouldn't that mean when one directly addresses you [see also 7.14: 17, 10.64: 41-42]?"
(26) Sûta Gosvâmî said: "Thus filled with the words of the one decorated with the moon who reflects the essence of the religion, the sage who through his ears drank from this reservoir of nectar wasn't satisfied. (27) He who by the mâyâ of Vishnu had to wander for such a long time and was terribly exhausted, saw a great load of trouble undone by the grace of Lord S'iva's nectarine words and addressed him. (28) S'rî Mârkandeya said: 'Ah, how inconceivable for embodied souls in praise of the rulers of the universe is this pastime of the great controllers who show respect for those who are controlled by them! (29) In general the authoritative speakers act for the acceptance of the religion and prove for that purpose their sympathy and appreciation for [the proper conduct of] the conditioned souls. (30) Just like a magician's powers are not spoiled by his tricks, is His authority not in any way compromised by these activities in the creation of His illusory energy. (31-32) He who as the Supersoul from His mind [by Himself in the form of Time] creates this universe and subsequently enters it [in the form of the avatâras], by the power of His modes of nature seems to be the doer like someone in a dream. Let me offer my obeisances to Him, the Supreme Personality who acting through the three gunas is the true Self on top of them. He is the pure unequaled spiritual master who is the original form of the Absolute Truth [see B.G. 4: 13, 13: 30, 14: 19]. (33) What other benediction indeed should I choose from you, o all-pervading one, whose presence itself is the highest [one may attain]? From seeing you a person may achieve all he desires, irrespective of what he desires. (34) From Him who stands for the Complete that brings the fulfillment of all desires, I request one benediction though: the unfailing devotional service for the Supreme Personality of Godhead as well as for those dedicated to Him like you'."
(35) Sûta Gosvâmî said: "Thus worshiped and glorified by the well-spoken words of the sage, the great lord S'arva, thereto encouraged by his consort, said: (36) 'O great sage so full of devotion for Adhokshaja, may all you desired be fulfilled. May you also enjoy fame till the end of the kalpa, as well as piety and freedom from old age and death. (37) May you have knowledge of the threefold of time [tri-kâlika] o brahmin, and wisdom plus renunciation. May there for you being given the brahminical potency be the status of teacher of the Purâna'."
(38) Sûta Gosvâmî said: "With granting the sage these blessings he, the controller with the three eyes, went away recounting to the goddess all that he [Mârkandeya] in the past had done and experienced. (39) He, the best one of Bhrigu, who had achieved the greatest of the great of yoga, even today travels about at will, on his way of serving in his exclusive devotion for the Lord. (40) This is what I could describe to you of the amazing potency of the illusory energy of the Supreme Personality as experienced by the intelligent Mârkandeya. (41) Unprecedented as it is [this seven kalpas long life of the sage], do some who are not that learned speak of it as [being nothing but] the from time immemorial cycling of the conditioned living beings through the mind-boggling creation of the Supreme Soul. (42) For the two kinds of people, o best of Bhrigu, who either hear or describe this [narration] infused with the potency of the Lord who has the Wheel [of Time] in His hand, there will never be the mundane course of existence based on karma."
Vishnu His Attributes and the Order of the Month of Him as the Sun-god
(1) S'rî S'aunaka said: "And now, o great devotee of God known with the essence, we enquire with you, the possessor of the broadest knowledge, about this matter of the definitive conclusion described in all the supplementary literatures [the tantras]. (2-3) In what way are the tântrikas of their regulated worship of the Husband of the Goddess, who is Pure Spirit, and how do they conceive of His limbs, His associates, His weapons and His ornaments? All good to you! Please describe to us, who are eager to learn, that practical method of cultivating the yoga process [kriyâ-yoga] by which expertly performed a mortal being may attain immortality."
(4) Sûta said: "With offering obeisances to the gurus I even [though it is difficult] will speak of the opulences belonging to Lord Vishnu which by the standard authorities beginning with the one born on the lotus [Padmaja or Lord Brahmâ] are described in the Vedas and tantras. (5) The nine elements of creation [tattvas] that, beginning with mâyâ [or prakriti], make up the transformations [vikâras], are found in the created reign [the virâth-rûpa], the conscious existence in which the three worlds [lokas] are discerned [see also 11.22: 4-25]. (6-8) This form of the Purusha, the Master, has the earth as His feet, heaven as His head, cosmic space as His navel, the sun as His eyes, the air as His nostrils, the directions as His ears, the Prajâpati as His genital, death as His anus, the local rulers [the demigods] as the many arms of the Absolute Controller, the moon as His mind, yama [or Yama] as His eyebrows, shame as His upper lip, greed as His lower lip, the moonlight as His teeth, delusion as His smile, the trees as the hairs on the body of the Almighty Lord, and the clouds as the hair on the head of the Purusha [see also e.g. 2.6: 1-11, 2.10: 24-32, 10.40: 13-14, 11.12: 18-20]. (9) Just as one can determine the dimensions of a normal individual by measuring the position of his limbs, one can the same way determine the dimensions of Him, the Gigantic Person, according the positions of the planetary systems [see also 5.20-24]. (10) The spiritual light of the individual soul is represented by the Kaustubha gem that is carried by the Unborn One. The S'rîvatsa mark on the chest of the Almighty represents its expansive effulgence [of the gem/the soul]. (11-12) His material energy composed of the various modes is represented by His flower garland, the yellow garment He wears stands for the vedic metres and His sacred thread represents the three syllable AUM. The processes of sânkhya and yoga are by the Godhead carried in the form of His makara ['sea-monster'] earrings, and His crown, bringing fearlessness to all the worlds, represents the superior [transcendental] position. (13) The personal seat upon which He sits is known as Ananta [the snakebed] and stands for unevolved matter and the lotus whereupon He is said to be found is the [pure of] goodness associated with the religion, the spiritual knowledge and so on. (14-15) The club He carries is the principle element [prâna or vital air] relating to the sensory power, physical power and the power of mind; His excellent conchshell is the element water and His Sudars'ana disc is the principle of tejas [the vital power, the dignity, the fire in opposition]. His sword is, [pure] as the atmosphere, the ether element, His shield consists of the mode of ignorance, His bow S'arnga is the specific order [or spirit, the rûpa] of time, and His quiver of arrows consists of the karma [the action or the karmendriyas]. (16) The senses, they say, are His arrows, His chariot the incitement to action, His external appearance constitutes the objects of perception [tânmatras], and his gestures [mudrâs] represent the essence of purposeful action. (17) The cyclic [of time, viz. the sun and the moon] constitutes the exercise of respect for the Godhead, spiritual initiation [dîkshâ] is for the spiritual soul the way to purify, and the devotional service of the Fortunate One is there for someone to put an end to a bad course. (18) Bhagavân carries - to the meaning of the word bhaga [His opulences] - the lotus of His pastimes, and the fan and whisk that the Supreme Lord accepted for His worship represent religion and fame. (19) O dear twice-born ones, His umbrella is Vaikunthha, His spiritual abode where there is no fear and the threefold Veda is there by the name of Suparna [Garuda], the carrier of the Personality of Sacrifice [Vishnu or Yajña]. (20) The Lord His inseparable goddess S'rî is the inner nature that can be directly perceived [*]; Vishvaksena is known as the personification of the tantra scriptures and the eight of Nanda and the other chief guardian associates [**] are the animâ and such [siddhis] of the Lord His qualities. (21) Vâsudeva, Sankarshana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha are, as you know, the names of the manifest forms [the vyûha expansions] of the Original Person Himself, o brahmin. (22) Bhagavân is with the help of the functions of external objects [vis'va, Pradyumna], physical power [taijasa, Sankarshana], thought [prâjña, Aniruddha] and spiritual realization [turîya, Vâsudeva] in this context conceived in the terms of waking consciousness, dreaming, dreamless sleep and the transcendental position [see avasthâtraya]. (23) In His four personal forms Bhaga-vân [the possessor of the fullness], the Lord and Controller, maintains these four states with the help of His major [arms; as in verse 14-15] and minor limbs [His extra limbs, His guardians], weapons and ornaments. (24) O best of the twice-born, He alone is the self-illuminating source of the One Self-existent Spirit who, perfect in His own greatness and completeness, by His own material energy creates, withdraws and maintains this universe. As such [a performer of various material functions] sometimes seen as if He - uncovered as He is in His transcendental awareness - would be materially divided, He can be realized by those who are devoted to Him as their one and true self, their Soul. (25) S'rî Krishna, o friend of Arjuna, o chief of the Vrishnis, o Annihilator of the Rebellious Royal Dynasties whose prowess never deteriorates, o Govinda, place of pilgrimage whose glories, which bring the auspicious just hearing about them, are sung by Vraja's cowherd men and women and their servants; please protect Your servants! (26) Anyone who, rising at dawn, with his mind turned to God for himself chants [recites] these characteristics of the Supreme Original Person, arrives at the realization of the Absolute Truth that is situated in the heart."
(27-28) S'rî S'aunaka said: "As for the description of S'ukadeva Gosvâmî to the one attending who is the grace of Vishnu [Parîkchit] about the sun-god his associates who month by month reside in seven groups, could you please tell us, faithful listeners, what the names and actions are of those who, engaged by his various forms of control, are the expansions of the Lord in His manifestation as Sûrya [see also 5.21: 18]?"
(29) Sûta said: "This regulator of all the planets [the sun] revolving in their midst [around mount Meru, see 5.22: 2] was [by the Lord in the form of Time] created from the beginningless material energy of Vishnu, the Supreme Soul of all embodied beings. (30) The sun being the one and only Lord, the original creator and self indeed of all the [planetary] worlds, constitutes the basis of all ritualistic activities of the Vedas that are differently described by the sages. (31) The Lord in terms of the material energy is thus, divided in nine, described as the time, the place, the endeavor, the performer, the instrument, the specific ritual, the scripture, the paraphernalia and the result, o brahmin [compare B.G. 18: 13-15].
(32) The Supreme Lord, [as the sun-god] assuming the form of Time, is there for the [regulation of the] planetary motion to the rule of twelve, beginning with Madhu [months or mâsas, see also B.G. 10: 21], to which He for each of the twelve separately moves with a different set of [six] associates [next to the Deva consisting of an Apsara, a Râkshasa, a Nâga, a Yaksha, a sage and a Gandharva]. (33) Dhâtâ [as the Deva], Kritasthalî [as the Apsara], Heti [as the Râkshasa], Vâsuki [as the Nâga], Rathakrit [as the Yaksha], Pulastya [as the sage] and Tumburu [as the Gandharva] are the ones ruling the month of Madhu [or Caitra at the vernal equinox, March/April]. (34) [Likewise respectively] Aryamâ, Puñjikasthalî, Praheti, Kacchanîra, Athaujâ, Pulaha and Nârada rule the month of Mâdhava [Vais'âkha, April/May]. (35) Mitra, Menakâ, Paurusheya, Takshaka, Rathasvana, Atri and Hâhâ are the ones ruling the month of S'ukra [Jyaisthha or Jeshthha, May/June]. (36) Varuna, Rambhâ, Citrasvana, S'ukra, Sahajanya, Vasishthha and Hûhû are the ones ruling the month of S'uci [Âshâdha, June/July]. (37) Indra, Pramlocâ, Varya, Elâpatra, S'rotâ, Angirâ and Vis'vâvasu are the ones ruling the month of Nabhas [S'râvana, July/August]. (38) Vivasvân, Anumlocâ, Vyâghra, S'ankhapâla, Âsârana, Bhrigu and Ugrasena are the ones ruling the month of Nabhasya (Bhâdrapada, August/September ***). (39) Pûshâ, Ghritâcî, Vâta, Dhanañjaya, Suruci, Gautama and Sushena are the ones ruling the month of Tapas [Mâgha, January/February]. (40) Parjanya, Senajit, Varcâ, Airâvata, Ritu, Bharadvâja and Vis'va are the ones ruling the month of Tapasya [Phâlguna, February/March]. (41) Ams'u, Urvas'î, Vidyucchatru, Mahâs'ankha, Târkshya, Kas'yapa and Ritasena are the ones ruling the month of Sahas [Mârgas'îrsha, November/December]. (42) Bhaga, Pûrvacitti, Sphûrja, Karkothaka, Ûrna, Âyu and Arishthanemi are the ones ruling the month of Pushya [Pausha, December/January]. (43) Tvashthâ, Tilottamâ, Brahmâpeta, Kambalâs'va, S'atajit, Jamadagni the son of Ricîka and Dhritarâshthra as the Gandharva are the ones ruling the month of Isha [Âs'vina, September/October]. (44) And Vishnu, Rambhâ, Makhâpeta, As'vatara, Satyajit, Vis'vâmitra and Sûryavarcâ are the ones ruling the month of Ûrja [Kârttika, October/November].
(45) All these [personalities] constitute the glories of Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead assuming the form of the sun-god; they take away the sinful reactions of those people who at the junctures of each day remember them. (46) Thus with each of the twelve months and six types of associates moving through this universe, the Deva, the Godhead [of the sun], for its population, is here and in the hereafter sure to disseminate pure consciousness. (47-48) With the sages glorifying Him with the Sâma, Rig and Yajur hymns which reveal His identity, the Gandharvas sing loudly about Him, the Apsaras dance in front of Him, the Nâgas ready the chariot, the Yakshas harness the horses and the strong Râkshasas push it from behind. (49) In front of the chariot the sixty thousand Vâlakhilya brahmin sages pure of praise go with prayers to the Almighty [see also 4.1: 39]. (50) The Unborn Lord Hari, the Supreme Controller, the Beginningless Possessor of All Opulences, thus protects all the worlds expanding Himself each kalpa into various forms."
* According the Skanda Purâna in the verses beginning with 'aparam tv aksharam yâ sâ' there are three infallible energies thus: the external material energy of mâyâ, the internal potency of Sr'î and the Supreme Energy of the Purusha, the Lord Himself.
** The Padma Purâna (256.9-21) lists eighteen guardians or attendants of the Lord: Nanda, Sunanda, Jaya, Vijaya, Canda, Pracanda, Bhadra, Subhadra, Dhâtâ, Vidhâtâ, Kumuda, Kumudâksha, Pundarîksha, Vâmana, S'ankukarna, Sarvanetra, Sumukha and Supratishthhita.
*** At this point is broken with the regular order of the months. The different translators do not agree about the cause of this break of order and some have suggested to correct the order of the verses given to correct this.
The Topics of S'rîmad Bhâgavatam Summarized
(1) Sûta said: "Offering my obeisances to Lord Krishna, to the creator, to the brahmins and to the supreme of dharma, I shall now discuss the eternal nature of religion [in terms of the topics discussed in the Bhâgavatam]. (2) O sages, upon your request I related to you these wonderous pastimes of Lord Vishnu that are especially suitable for people in respect of the person. (3) The direct interest of this narration is the glorification of the Lord, the Remover of All Sins, Nârâyana, the Lord of the Senses, the Supreme Personality and Master of the Sâtvatas. (4) The creation and annihilation of this universe and the confidential knowledge of the One Self-existent Supreme Spirit is discussed herein, together with the purity of perception and the means of cultivating that realization.
(5-6) Bhakti-yoga and the renunciation belonging to it are at length discussed [in 1.2, 7.5-10 & Canto 11.29], just as the history of Nârada [1.4-6] and the story of Parîkchit describing how the sage among the kings fasted until death because he was cursed by [the son of] a sage and then had his conversation with S'uka, the best of the brahmins [see Canto 1.8-18]. (7) What follows is a discussion of how one may attain liberation by concentrating in yoga in case one has to die [2.2: 15-21], a conversation between Nârada and Brahmâ [2.5], the row of avatâras [1.3 & 2.7] and how the process of evolution takes place from the primary of nature [or pradhâna, 3.26: 10-72]. (8) Next there is the discussion Vidura had with Uddhava [3.1: 25-3.4] and the one Vidura had with Maitreya [3.5-4.31], [preceded by] what a Purâna entails [in general, see 2.10: 1 and 12.7: 9-10], and then the subject is discussed of the winding up of the creation within the Mahâpurusha [2.10: 6, 3.11: 30, 8.5: 35, 11.3: 8-15, 12.4]. (9) What follows is the creation the way it occurs from [the modes of] material nature and the generation of the seven derivatives [of mahat, ahamkâra and the tanmâtras, see 3.20: 12-17], that come about with the evolution of the egg of the universe from which the universal form of the Lord arises [3.6]. (10) The gross and subtle movements of time [3.11], [are discussed as well as] the generation of the lotus [3.8] and the killing of Hiranyâksha relating to the deliverance of the earth from the ocean [3.17-19]. (11) [And thus we have] the creation of the higher beings, the animals and the lower ones [3.12: 37-48], the birth of Rudra [3.12], and the appearance of Svâyambhuva Manu from the male/female division of the Lord [see 3.12: 49-53, 4.1]. (12-13) [Discussed are] the progeny of the excellent consort of the first woman S'atarûpâ, and the offspring of [the nine daughters of] the pious wife [Devahûti] of the founding father Kardama [see 3.24: 20-25 and 4.1], the descend of the Supreme Soul, the Supreme Personality of Lord Kapila and the conversation of the scholarly Kapila with Devahûti [4.25-33]. (14-15) The descendants of the nine brahmins [who married Kardama's daughters, 4.1], the destruction of Daksha's sacrifice [4.2-7] and the history of Dhruva [4.8-13] is then followed by the stories of Prithu [4.15-23] and Prâcînabarhi [4.24-29], his conversation with Nârada [4.29], the stories of Priyavrata [5.1], o brahmins, Nâbhi [5.3], the life of Rishabha [5.3-6], and Bharata Mahârâja [5.7-13]. (16) The continents, subcontinents and oceans, the mountains and rivers are described in detail [5.19-20], as well as the celestial sphere [5.21-23] and the arrangement of the subterranean regions and hell [5.24-26]. (17) [Described are] Daksha's [re-]birth as the son of the Pracetâs [6.4] and the progeny of his daughters from which there were the demigods, demons and human beings, the animals [the mammals], serpents, birds and other species [6.6]. (18) [Also there is] the birth and death of [Vritra, 6.9-12] the son of Tvashthâ and the two sons of Diti, Hiranyâksha [3.14-19] and Hiranyakas'ipu, o brahmins, together with the history of the great soul Prahlâda, the controller of the Daityas [7.2-8]. (19-20) In detail are described the reigns of the Manus [8.1], the liberation of the king of the elephants [Gajendra, 8.2-4] and the avatâras of Lord Vishnu in each period of Manu [8.5 & 13] like Hayas'îrshâ [8.24: 8 & 57; 5.18: 1], Nrisimha [7.9-10], Vâmana [8.18-22], Mâtsya [8.24] and Kûrma for the sake of churning the nectar from the milk ocean by the inhabitants of heaven [8.7-8]. (21) The great war between the demons and the gods is described [8.10] as also systematically the dynasties of the kings [9.2, 7, 9, 12, 13, 17, 20-24]; the dynasty of Sudyumna [9.1] and the birth of Ikshvâku and his dynasty [9.6]. (22) Related are the stories of Ilâ [9.1: 16-27] and Târâ [9.14: 4-13] as also an account of the descendants of the Sûrya-vams'a, like S'as'âda [Vikukshi, 9.6: 6-11] and Nriga [9.1: 11-12, 9.2: 17 & 10: 64]. (23) There are the stories of Sukanyâ [9.3], [the daughter of] S'aryâti, the intelligent Kakutstha [Purañjaya, 9.6: 12-19], Mândhâtâ [9.6: 33-37 & 9.7], Saubhari [9.6], Sagara [9.8] and Khathvânga [9.9: 41-47]. (24) [Presented are] the pastimes of Lord Râmacandra, the King of Kosala, which dispel all sin [9.10 & 11], Nimi who gave up his material body [9.13], and the appearance of the descendants of king Janaka [or S'îradhvaja, 9.13: 18-27]. (25-26) [Spoken is about] the elimination of the ruling class by Lord Paras'urâma, the Greatest One of Bhrigu [9.15 & 16]; about Aila [Purûravâ, 9.14 & 15], Nahusha [9.18: 1], Yayâti [9.18 & 19], Dushmanta's son Bharata [9.20], S'ântanu [9.22: 12-13] and S'ântanu's son Bhîshma [9.22: 18-19] of the Candra-vams'a as also about the celebrated dynasty of Yadu, the eldest son of Yayâti [9.23: 18-29]. (27) [It is] the dynasty in which - in the house of Vasudeva - the Supreme Lord known as Krishna, the Controller of the Living Being, descended; [following is described] His birth [10.3] and how He grew up in Gokula [10.4-10]. (28-30) His countless exploits are [next] glorified [in the descriptions of]: how He sucked the milk along with the life-air out of Pûtanâ [10.6], how He as a child broke the cart and trampled Trinâvarta [10.7], killed Baka, Vatsa [10.11], and Agha [10.12], [and how He dealt with] Brahmâ hiding away the calves and boys [10.13 & 14], how He destroyed Dhenuka [10.15] and Pralamba [10.18] with His companions, and how He saved them [the gopas] from a forest fire that entrapped them [10.17 & 19]. (31-33) [Recounted are] the subduing of the snake Kâliya [10.16-17]; the vows that to the contentment of the Infallible One were observed by the young gopîs [10.21 & 22]; the mercy for the brahmin wives feeling sorry [10.23]; the lifting of Govardhana Hill [10.25] and the worship and ritual bathing next performed by Indra and Surabhi [10.27]; Krishna's sporting with the gopîs during the nights [10.29-33], the rescue of Nanda Mahârâja from a great serpent [10.34] and the killing of the foolish S'ankhacûda [10.34], Arishtha [10.36] and Kes'î [10.37]. (34) Thereafter Akrûra arrives [10.38] and the departure takes place of Râma and Krishna, there is lamentation of the women of Vraja [10.39] and the tour around Mathurâ [10.41]. (35) Then the killing of the elephant Kuvalayâpîda [10.43], the wrestlers Mushthika, Cânûra, and Kamsa and others [10.44], as well as the retrieval of the son of Sândîpani, the guru are described [10.45]. (36) Residing in Mathurâ in the company of Uddhava and Balarâma, by the Lord, o brahmins, pastimes were performed for the satisfaction of the circle of the Yadus [10.48]. (37) [Next there is] the annihilation many times over of the troops assembled by Jarasândha [10.50], the founding of Dvârakâ and the killing of the barbarian king [10.51]. (38) There is the kidnapping of Rukminî with the Lord defeating His rivals in battle [10.53] and the pârijâta from heaven [from Indra, 10.50: 54] received together with the Sudharmâ assembly hall. (39) The killing of the master of Prâgjyotishapura [Bhauma or Naraka] and the rescue of the young maidens [is discussed in 10.59] with next the forced yawning of S'iva in the battle with Bâna and the cutting of Bâna's arms [10.63]. (40-41) The [Bhâgavatam also deals with the] prowess and death of Pañcajana [10.45: 40-41], S'ambara [10.55], Pîthha [10.59], Mura [10.59], Dvivida [10.67], the king of Cedi [10.74], S'âlva [10.76-77], the foolish Dantavakra [10.78], and others; how the Pândavas became the direct cause [for Krishna] to relieve the earth of its burden [10.49] and the burning of Vârânasî [10.66]. (42-43) [Dealt with is] the withdrawal of His own family [11.30] on the pretext of a curse from the learned [11.1] and the wonderful discussion of Vâsudeva with Uddhava in which the science of the true self came to its full expression in ascertaining the dharma [of how to live with Krishna not physically present anymore, see 11.6-29], with thereafter His forsaking of the mortal world by the strength of His own mystical power [11.31]. (44) [Also discussed are] the characteristics of the different yugas and their corresponding activities [11.17 & 12.3], the total annoyance of man in Kali-yuga [12.1-3] and the four types of annihilation and three [guna] kinds of creation [12.4]. (45) [At last there is an account of] Vishnurata [Parîkchit], the intelligent saintly king, relinquishing his body [12.5-6], how the seer [Vyâsa and others] conveyed the branches of the Veda [12.6-7], the pious narration about Mârkandeya [12.8-10] and the arrangement of the [limbs of the] Mahâpurusha and the arrangement [of time] in relation to the sun, the self of the living being of the universe [12.11].
(46) Thus I have discussed in this narration, in response to your inquiry o best of the twice-born, the activities of the lîlâ-avatâras. (47) If one, falling, tripping, being hurt or sneezing spontaneously cries out aloud 'haraye namah' (obeisances to Hari), is one freed from all that leads to a fall-down. (48) Of persons who properly chant about the Supreme Lord and hear about the Unlimited One His potency, the misery that enters the heart is cleansed away entirely, the same way the sun removes the darkness or a strong wind removes the clouds. (49) Vain indeed are those words and discussions about the relative truth wherein the Possessor of the Opulences, the Lord in the Beyond is not mentioned; that alone is true, that alone indeed is auspicious, that alone is meritorious which gives rise to the qualities of the Fortunate One. (50) That for true is attractive, is newer and newer; that indeed is a constant, great festival to the mind; that [way of speaking] in which the glories of the Best One of the Verses, Uttamas'loka, are sung repeatedly, dries up the ocean of misery for all persons. (51) An exposition of illustrative words which never describes the sanctifying glories of the Lord compares to a place of pilgrimage for crows and is never served by the swanlike, the pure saints who think of Acyuta only [alike 1.5: 10]. (52) That creation of words which revolutionizes the sins of the people and in which, although imperfectly composed, each verse depicts the names and glories of the unlimited Lord, is heard, sung and accepted by the ones who are purified and honest [identical to 1.5: 11]. (53) In spite of self-realization free from material motives, the transcendental knowledge of the infallible that is void of love [or devotion for the Supreme Lord] doesn't look very good actually. Would indeed working for a result do any good when one fails in the unsurpassable work that is performed for the Lord [alike 1.5: 11]? (54) When one is of penance and listens to the scriptures and so on, one is, for the sake of repute and material success, of great endeavor in serving the varnâs'rama system. But when one listens to and exercizes respect for - and so on - the lotus feet of the Maintainer of the Goddess of Fortune, one is of remembrance because one lives in confirmation of the qualities. (55) The remembrance of Lord Krishna's lotusfeet destroys everything inauspicious, leads to good fortune, purification of the heart and, connected in the wisdom and detachment, to spiritual knowing and devotion for the Supreme Soul. (56) You all, o most eminent brahmins, are indeed extremely fortunate being constant with Nârâyana, the Original Soul and Godhead of all, in having placed in your heart the Heavenly Lord Beyond Whom No Other is Found. Unrelenting in your love be now of worship. (57) I also was reminded of this science of the Soul as I, just as you present in an assembly of attentively listening great sages, heard it from the mouth of S'uka, the greatest of sages, when king Parîkchit was fasting until death. (58) This o learned ones, what I narrated to you about the glories of Vâsudeva, the One of Great Deeds Who is Most Worthy to Describe, completely puts an end to all inauspiciousness. (59) Someone who with unswerving attention every yâma [three hour period] and every kshana [a moment of 1.6 second] with faith makes others listen or faithfully listens himself to but one verse or even half a one, but one line or even half a line, will purify his very soul. (60) If one, not having eaten, with careful attention recites or listens [to the Bhâgavatam] on the eleventh or either twelfth day [of a 15-day lunar fortnight, on Ekâdas'î thus, see 3.11: 10], one will be blessed with a long life and be freed from all that causes one to fall. (61) In self-control fasting and reciting this collection of verses at [the holy places of] Pushkara, Mathurâ or Dvârakâ, one will be freed from the fear [of Time, or of a material life, see also 1.13: 19]. (62) Chanting or hearing being of that glorification, the demigods and sages, the perfected and the forefathers, the progenitors and the kings will bestow all that is desired. (63) A twice-born soul studying [this text] as a result may obtain the same rivers of honey, ghee and milk one acquires with studying the Rig, Yayur and Sâma verses. (64) Diligently studying this essential compilation of classical stories will a twice-born as a consequence attain that supreme position which is described by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. (65) An educated man studying it achieves spiritual insight, a king achieves this way the dominion, a businessman the lordship of treasures and a worker will rid himself of all that leads to a falldown. (66) Because in Kali-yuga Hari, the Lord of All and Annihilator of the Contamination, is not [really or as fully] described anywhere else but in here, for the justification of Bhagavân who expands in countless forms, each and every verse is describing Him in the form of the stories as they've been told. (67) I am bowed down to Him the Unborn, Unlimited, Real Self by whose energies there is the creation, maintenance and destruction of the universe, to Him the Lord Infallible who is unfathomable in His glory to [even] the masters of heaven who are lead by the unseen one [Aja or Brahmâ], the mighty one [S'akra or Indra], and the beneficent one [S'ankara or S'iva]. (68) My obeisances to the Eternal Lord, the Best of All the Gods, to the Fortunate One whose Manifestation is Pure Consciousness and who by His nine powers [s'aktis or potencies] arranged for His own Self as the safe haven of the moving and nonmoving living beings.
(69) I bow down to him, the son of Vyâsa who defeats everything inauspicious and who, attracted in his heart by the pastimes of His activities, in order to please the one Unconquerable, in denial of any other type of consciousness had the intelligence to give up his solitary happiness and mercifully disclosed the [Bhâgavata] Purâna, the light of reality."
The Glories of S'rîmad Bhâgavatam
(1) Sûta said: "The Godhead who by Brahmâ, Indra, Rudra and the children of heaven [the Maruts] is praised with transcendental prayers and about whom the Sâma Veda chanters with arrangements of mantras from the Vedas, their limbs [the angas] and the Upanishads are singing; the Godhead upon whom the yogis, seeing Him in their minds, concentrate in the meditative position; He whose end is not known to anyone among the enlightened or unenlightened - unto Him I offer my obeisances. (2) By the scratching edges of the stones of Mandara mountain that most heavily rotated upon His back the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the form of a tortoise [Kûrma] became sleepy. May all of you be protected by the winds that are the traces left behind by the flow of His breathing and the ceaseless tides of the eb and flow of the water which up to the present day follows that example of breathing in and out. (3) Please listen to a summation of the number [of verses] of this [Purâna], the purpose of its subject matter, how the book should be given away as a gift, what the glory is of that gift-giving and what the blessing is of the reading, reciting and so on of this text.
(4-9) The Brahmâ Purâna has ten thousand verses, the Padma Purâna fifty-five thousand, the S'rî Vishnu Purâna twenty-three thousand and the S'iva Purâna twenty-four thousand. The S'rîmad Bhâgavatam counts eighteen thousand, the Nârada Purâna twenty-five thousand, the Mârkandeya Purâna nine thousand and the Agni Purâna fifteen thousand four hundred verses. The Bhavishya Purâna has fourteen thousand five hundred verses, the Brahma-vaivarta Purâna eighteen thousand and the Linga Purâna eleven thousand. The Varâha Purâna offers twenty-four thousand of them, the Skanda Purâna eighty-one thousand one hundred and the Vâmana Purâna is described in ten thousand verses. The Kûrma Purâna is said to have seventeen thousand verses, the Matsya Purâna has fourteen thousand of them, the Garuda Purâna next has nineteen thousand and the Brahmânda Purâna counts twelve thousand. In sum in the Purânas are this way described some four hundred thousand of them [*]. Eighteen thousand, as said, is the number of verses in the Bhâgavatam [see further under Purâna].
(10) This [tale of wisdom] was by the Supreme Personality of God [Narâyâna, see 3.8-10] out of mercy first in full revealed to Brahmâ who fearful of a material existence sat upon the lotus that grew from His navel [see also 1.1: 1]. (11-12) From the beginning to the end filled with accounts on detachment it is delighting the saintly and godly with the nectar of its many narrations about the Lord His pastimes. In accord with the essence of all vedânta philosophy it has the One Reality Without a Second, that is characterized as the Absolute Truth [brahma, the impersonal] that is non-different from the One Soul [âtma, the personal], as its prime subject and the beatitude [of emancipation in devotional service or kaivalya] as the one ultimate goal [**]. (13) He who gives the Bhâgavatam as a gift in his full glory ['on a golden throne'] on the day of the full moon in the month Bhâdra [August/September] reaches the supreme destination. (14) Other classical collections of stories [other bibles, other Purânas or holy scriptures] are prominent in the assembly of the saintly only for as long as one does not listen to the great ocean of nectar which is the Bhâgavatam. (15) The S'rîmad Bhâgavatam indeed is said to be the essence of all Vedânta philosophy; someone satisfied by its nectarean taste is never attracted to any other influence. (16) Of all Purânas this one is just like what the Ganges is in relation to all rivers flowing towards the sea, what Acyuta is in relation to all deities and what S'ambhu [S'iva] is in relation to all devotees. (17) Just like Kâs'î [Benares] is unsurpassed among all holy places, S'rîmad Bhâgavatam is matchless among all the Purânas, o twice-born ones. (18) S'rîmad Bhâgavatam is the spotless Purâna most dear to the Vaishnavas in which the perfectly pure and supreme spiritual knowledge is celebrated of no one less but the best of devotees; in it is revealed, together with the knowledge, the detachment and the devotion, the freedom from all fruitive labor which will deliver that person who serious in his conviction with devotion listens, studies and does the mantras as should.
(19) I meditate upon the incomparable torch light of the Immortal Truth that is Free from Sorrow and long ago was revealed to the deity ['Ka' or Brahmâ], by whom this transcendental knowledge pure and uncontaminated was spoken to Nârada the great sage who delivered it by means of his personal form to Krishna Dvaipâyana Vyâsa who next expounded it to the king of the yogis [S'ukadeva] who out of his mercy on his turn revealed it to [Parîkchit] the grace of the Fortunate One. (20) Obeisances to Him, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Vâsudeva, the Supreme Witness who mercifully explained this to the deity who desired liberation. (21) Obeisances to him, the king of the yogis, S'ukadeva Gosvâmî, the personal manifestation of the Absolute Truth who freed [Parîkchit] the grace of Vishnu who was bitten by the snake of material existence. (22) O Lord, You are our Master, the Lord of the Divinity, therefore please make it so that we life after life at Your feet may find bhakti. (23) I offer my obeisances to Him, the Supreme Lord, whose congregational chanting of the holy name destroys all sins and to whom bowing down the misery is extinguished."
Thus the twelfth Canto of the S'rîmad Bhâgavatam ends named: The Age of Deterioration.
With this last Canto ends the Story of the Fortunate One, the Bhâgavata Purâna, also known as the S'rîmad Bhâgavatam and the Paramahamsa Samhitâ. All glories to the Brahmâ-Mâdhva-Gaudiyâ Sampradâya paramparâ of the foregoing Vaishnav âcâryas headed by Lord Gauranga, S'rî Krishna Caitanya Mahâprabhu, who through their commentaries, translations, bhajans and lectures made this presentation possible and brought the full of the Vaishnava culture to the humble western servant of Krishna, Anand Aadhar Prabhu, who in truth is never finished with his work.
* Next, so affirms the Matsya Purâna, are there to the Purâna also a hundred thousand verses found in the Itihâsa (the single history) of Vyâsa's Mahâbhârata and a 25.000 in the Itihâsa of Vâlmîki's Ramâyana. Thus the complete number of verses for the complete collection of classical stories amounts to 525.000 [the smaller Upa-purânas not counted].
** This reminds of the theme of Krishna as the Time, Kâla, and Krishna as the person, the Supreme Soul, the Original Person. The world seems to be divided in impersonalist science, philosophy and governance on the one hand and personalist religion of detachment and personal sentiment in civil attachmenton the other. But with respecting the Time as it should finding the person and with respecting the person as it should finding the Time is the problem solved knowing the oneness of the personal and impersonal to be our equal friend and guiding father in the beyond Lord Krishna who as the last word to it states: (in B.G. 18: 6) 'But with all these activities must without doubt, performing them out of duty, the association with their results be given up; that, o son of Prithâ, is My last and best word on it.' Thus are we, free from ulterior motives - the way this book was written in gratitude for a social security check -, of emancipation in devotional service.
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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