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  By Edwin Arnold

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"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



 Chapter 1

 The Degraded Dynasties and Corrupt Nature of the Rulers of Kali-yuga

(0) S'rî Parîkchit said: 'Please o sage 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'll 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 [hist. Bimbisâra] king, whose son Pâlaka will have Vis'âkhayûpa as his son with Râjaka then to be. (3) His son will be Nandivardhana; these five Pradyotana kings will enjoy the earth for one-hundred-thirty-eight years. (4) Then will S'is'unâga take birth and will Kâkavarna be his son, from whose son Kshemadharmâ, Kshetrajña will be born. (5) The son Vidhisâra [of Kshetrajña], will have Ajâtas'atru and Darbhaka will be his son of whom Ajaya will be remembered. (6-8) From Ajaya there will be [another] Nandivardhana whose son next is Mahânandi. These ten S'is'unâga kings, o best of the Kurus, will in the age of Kali rule over the earth 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, become no 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 that so will be born from him will as kings enjoy this earth for a hundred years. (11) A certain twice born brahmin [called Cânakya] trusted by the nine Nandas will overturn them, after which with them gone the Mauryas will rule the earth in Kali-yuga [**]. (12) The brahmin thus will put Candragupta on the throne of whose son Vârisâra then As'okavardhana will follow. (13) Suyas'â will be born of him; Sangata, Suyas'â's [grand-] son [born from his son Das'aratha] will be S'âlis'ûka of whom next there will be Somas'armâ who will father S'atadhanvâ of whom there will be Brihadratha. (14) These ten Maurya kings, o eminent hero of the Kuru-dynasty, will in Kali-yuga rule the earth 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 of whom Vajramitra will be born; of him will Bhâgavata be born of whom there will be Devabhûti, o eminent Kuru. These ten S'ungas will enjoy the earth for more than a hundred [112] 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, will Cibilaka be the king and from Cibilaka will come Meghasvâti of whom there will be Athamâna followed by Anishthakarmâ. Of Hâleya, his son, will Talaka appear of whose son Purîshabhîru then Sunandana will be the king. Cakora [his son] will be followed by the eight Bahus, among whom S'ivasvâti will be a great subduer of enemies. Of Gomatî, his son, there will be Purîmân, whose son will be Medas'irâ. S'ivaskanda of him will have Yajñas'rî for his son after whom next Vijaya, his son, will have 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 will in the city of Kilakilâ for one-hundred-and-six years rule the kings Bhûtananda followed by Vangiri with next S'is'unandi and then his brother Yas'onandi and Pravîraka. (32-33) Of them [the Kilakilâs] there will be thirteen sons 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 at the same time will be sure to rule as kings. (34) To the province of Mâgadha there will be Vis'vasphûrji, 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, protected in the city of Padmavatî ruling 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 from their vows and the ones coming 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, missing the 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 [zone-time...], leave little room for their subjects [economically]. (39) Destroying the lives of women, children, cows and converted people, do they, coveting the wives of other men, elated, moderate and [then again] depressed, poor in goodness mostly have short lives [or careers]. Lacking in sacrifice not fit for the job will they, these ignoramuses posing as kings, under the sway of passion and ignorance, virtually devour the citizens. (40) The people in the cities will, with these rulers their character, behavior and speech, pained by the 'kings' and by each other, find ruination [in wars, economic collapse and natural disaster, 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 does he, stating that there are many discrepancies with the cultural [manipulated?] records, also conclude 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 the 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.



Chapter 2  

Despair and Hope in the Age of Quarrel

(1) S'rî S'uka said: 'And then, o King, will 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 become ruined [see also 1.16]. (2) In the age of Kali will among men wealth alone be the sign of a good birth, behavior and qualities and will might be the only criterion in determining what would be just and right. (3) Marital relations will be based on superficial attraction, in business will deceit be the norm, to be a man or woman will depend on one's sexuality and a sacred thread [a 'diploma'] is then enough to call someone learned. (4) An outer mark will suffice to make out a person's spiritual status and it'll also be enough reason for switching between positions; not making so much money one looses credibility and being handy with words is one [supposedly] of scholarship. (5) Poverty is simply held unholy and hypocrisy is held a virtue; a promise is considered 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, being able to maintain a family is one an expert and serving religiously one does for a good name. (7) With the globe of the earth crowded by a populace corrupted this way, will whoever among the intellectuals, the merchants or the ruling or working class is the strongest, be the king of the hill. (8) The citizens, with their wives and property stolen away by the merciless and avaricious ruling class acting to the nature of ordinary thieves, will flee to the mountains and the forests. (9) With the consumption of vegetables, roots, meat, honey, fruits, flowers and seeds will they, suffering draught, be ruined, tormented by famine and taxes [see also 1.6: 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, suffer they as a consequence great 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; the dutifulness of the members of all status-orientations is lost; with the vedic path there for all men 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 extend no 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, will the Supreme Lord descend in the mode of pure goodness to protect 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 being born [repeatedly]. (18) In the village of S'ambhala will Lord Kalki appear in the home of the great soul, the brahmin Vishnuyas'â ['the glory of Vishnu']. (19-20) Mounting His swift-riding horse Devadatta, will the Lord of the Universe with His sword, transcendental qualities and endowed with the eight mystic opulences [siddhis], subdue the unholy. With His horse moving fast about the earth will He, unrivaled in His splendor, slaughter the thieves disguised in the grab of kings. (21) When all the robbers have been killed, will the minds clear up of all the city-people and country folk that were touched by the breeze carrying 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, will the culture of their progeny flourish as never. (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 to the lunar mansion of Tishyâ [or Pushyâ, viz. Cancer 3° 20´ to 16° 40´ see zodiac] simultaneously rise with Jupiter [Bhrihaspatî] in the same constellation, will at that time Krita- or Sathya-yuga begin.

(25) Thus have I briefly described all the kings of the past, the present and the future who belong to the solar and lunar dynasties [zie ook vams'a]. (26) Beginning from the birth of your good self up until the coronation of king Nanda [see 12.1: 12] will eleven hundred and fifty years 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, He, the sun known as Krishna having returned to heaven, entered this world the age of Kali in which people delight in sin. (30) As long as He, the Husband of Ramâ, remained touching [her] with His Lotusfeet, wasn't Kali really able to overtake the earth. (31) The time when the seven sages among the gods run in Maghâ is when Kali-yuga begins and it lasts for twelve hundred [godly] years [or 432.000 human years, see also kâla]. (32) When the seven sages from Maghâ pass to the lunar mansion of Pûrvâsâdhâ, will at that time, beginning with Nanda and his descendants, this age of Kali have reached its full strength. (33) The experts of the past say that the day that S'rî Krishna left for the spiritual realm thus the age of Kali was obtained. (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 men are self-luminous.

(35) Thus has this dynasty from [Vaivasvata] Manu been enumerated as it descended on earth; the situations age by age of the learned, the traders and the workers can be known the same way. (36) Of these personalities, these great souls, one remembers just their names; on this earth present by their glories are it only the stories that remain of them. (37) Devâpi, the brother of S'ântanu [9.22: 12-17] and Maru [9.12: 5-6] born in the Ikshvâku dynasty, both are living in Kalâpa, endowed with great mystic power. (38) They will at the end of Kali return to the human society and, instructed by Vâsudeva, as previously promulgate the varnâs'rama-dharma. (39) The four ages of Krita, Tretâ, Dvâpara and Kali go on [cycling] continuously in this sequential order among the living beings in this world [see also mahâyuga]. (40) O King, these kings, these gods among men, and others described by me, on earth exerting their possessiveness, in the end giving up this world all met destruction. (41) When, even though of living beings being an enemy, that what goes by the name of king, in the end is of worms, stool and ashes, then what does he, being so for the sake of the body and thereof suffering hell, know of his own best interest [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) Missing the intelligence accepting with a sense of 'I' this body composed of water, earth and fire and with a sense of 'mine' this earth, must, [by the earthly ruler] reaching his own absence, ultimately both be given up [see also 4.9: 34-35]. (44) Whatever that kings enjoy in the world with their power, has by the Time been turned into mere accounts and histories [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.'


Chapter 3  

The Song of Mother Earth and Kali-yuga its Remedy

(1) S'rî S'uka said: 'Seeing the kings busily engaged in conquering her, laughed the earth and said: 'Ah, how these kings, these playthings of death, wish to conquer me! (2) This lust of the rulers of men and even the wise is doomed to fail with those kings putting their faith in this lump [of matter, the body] that compares to bubbles [of foam on water]. (3-4) '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 will we, step by step conquer the earth and her girdle of seas.' Thinking thus 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 at the sea they by their strength enter the seas; what is the value of this 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 their eternal 'fame'] while the Manus and their sons as well, all had to give it up, leaving the way they came [viz. helplessly]. (7) For my sake so arises conflict among materialistic persons, among fathers and sons and brothers as well, who in their hearts are bound up politically to possess the power. (8) 'This sure is my land and not yours, you fool', thus speaking do the rulers of man quarreling with each other kill 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 known with everything who unconquerable conquered all. Living for me, o Mighty One, they expressed great possessiveness and have, by the force of Time subjected to death, not [as permanently or fully as the Lord] accomplishing their goals, turned into mere historical accounts [while He is still practiced religiously, see also B.G. 4: 7].'

(14) [S'uka continued:] These narrations related to you of 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] to dilate on the renunciation and wisdom [of God]. (15) It is still the always recounting and singing the qualities of the Lord Praised in the Verses that destroys everything inauspicious; he who desires untainted devotional service unto Lord Krishna should indeed more and more regular be of that hearing.'

(16) The honorable king [Parîkchit] said: 'By what means, my Lord, do the people living in Kali-yuga eradicate the faults accumulated of the time, 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, the Time that represents the movement of the Controller, of Lord Vishnu the Supreme Soul [see also timequotes page]'.

(18) S'rî S'uka said: 'In Krita-yuga is by the people of the time the religion maintained 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 [then] 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 [each of] the legs of dharma gradually lost by the irreligious counterparts: the falsehood, violence, dissatisfaction and quarrel [compare 1.17: 25]. (21) Then devoted to rituals, penances, no excess of violence nor wanton desire and the three ways [of regulating the religion, the economy and the sense gratification], are the four classes, prospering of the three Vedas, predominantly brahminical, o King. (22) The austerity, compassion, truth and charity of dharma 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, eager for glory, absorbed in vedic study and opulent with large families and joyful, with the four classes for the greater part being of brahminical nobility. (24) Then in Kali-yuga are because of the increase of adharmic principles the legs of religiousness decreasing to one fourth [of their strength, compare 1.17: 25] and will in the end also that one fourth be destroyed. (25) In that will the people be greedy, ill-mannered, lacking in compassion, prone to useless quarrel [politicizing], unfortunate, obsessed with material desires and predominantly be enslaved to [fruitive] labor. (26) Impelled by the power of time indeed are within a person's mind thus [the gunas of] goodness, passion and ignorance observed in their being mixed [***]. (27) When the mind, the intelligence and the senses are predominantly manifest in the mode of goodness, should that time of taking pleasure in knowledge and austerity be understood as the time of Krita. (28) O intelligent one, when the conditioned souls in their duties are of ulterior motives and devoted in service strive for honor, should you understand that predominance of passion as the time of Tretâ. (29) When greed and dissatisfaction, false pride, envy and hypocrisy are evident and selfhood dominates the actions is that [predominance of] passion and ignorance the time of Dvâpara.

(30) When there in the mode of ignorance is deceit, false testimony, sloth and drowsiness, violence, depression, lamentation and delusion, fear and poverty is that time remembered as Kali. (31) As a consequence will the mortals be shortsighted, unfortunate, eating too much, lusty, lacking in wealth and will the women acting on their own accord 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 twiceborn ones will be dedicated to their bellies and genitals. (33) The youngsters [students] will be strange to vows and be unclean, the householders [advertising themselves] will tend to be beggars, the withdrawn ones [the middle-aged with no nature left to retreat in] will be city-dwellers and the renounced order will be eager in financial matters [in 'reli-business']. (34) Short statured and voracious having many children [will the women] loose their timidity and constantly speaking harshly with great audacity deceitfully be like thieves. (35) The merchants will, for no reason full of cheating, in their business dealings be truly miserly and the people will consider a degraded occupation [like e.g. in the sex-industry] a good job. (36) Servants will abandon a master lacking in property even if he is of the best of all, 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 will men controlled by women be wretched, and, giving up on their immediate relatives, friends, brothers and fathers, in a sexual conception of friendship on a regular basis associate with the sisters and brothers of their wives. (38) Laborminded 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 in 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, will they anxiously live in fear. Lacking in clothing, food, drink, rest, change, bathing and personal ornaments will the people in Kali-yuga appear just like ghostly creatures. (41) In the age of Kali will one even for a small coin develop enmity [5.14 and 5.14: 26] abandoning friendly relations and even killing one's own relatives and oneself. (42) Not even born of a proper family will men protect the elderly, the parents, the wife and the children; simply in support of the petty interest of their own bellies and genitals. (43) O King, in Kali-yuga will the mortals mostly atheistically offer in sacrifice with their intelligence being diverted from The Infallible One, the Supreme Personality of Godhead who is the Supreme Spiritual Master of the three worlds to whose feet the various masters do bow. (44) In Kali-yuga are the people not of worship for Him unto whom a person dying, in distress collapsing 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 men are as a result of Kali-yuga all faulty, but Bhagavân, the Supreme Personality installed in the heart takes it all away.

(46)  Of the human beings who but even heard, glorified, meditated, worshiped or venerated the Supreme Lord, is the inauspicious in their hearts of a thousand births cleansed away. (47) Just as the discoloration found in gold due to other metals is undone by fire are the same way the impurities of mind of the yogîs undone by Lord Vishnu entering [stepping forward in] the soul. (48) Knowledge ['demigod worship'], penance, halting the breath, friendship, bathing in holy waters, vows, charity and doing the rosary gives not such a complete purification of mind as one can achieve with Him, the Unlimited Personality of Godhead, present in the heart. (49) Therefore with all your being o King, fix Lord Kes'ava within your heart; upon dying [here after this week] will you thus concentrated go to 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 own 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] can one, liberated from the material bondage, go to 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 by worshiping with sacrifices and in Dvâpara-yuga 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, is the king Râma mentioned here not the incarnation of Godhead Râmacandra. This is corroborated by the M.W. dictionary mentioning the demigod Varuna, writers, teachers and other great personalities 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 to 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.'



Chapter 4

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) After those is there the dissolution described as the night of Brahmâ that is of the same duration; to the end of that time remain these three worlds dissolved. (4) This is said to be the occasional annihilation [or naimittika pralaya] in which [Nârâyana] the creator of the universe lies down like lord Brahmâ, to absorb upon His bed Ananta the universe. (5) With the complete of two parârdhas of the highest situated living being, lord Brahmâ are then the seven elements [mahat, ahamkâra and the tanmâtras], subject to destruction. (6) This, o King, is the elemental annihilation, after which this universal egg, this aggregate [of these seven universal principles] dissolves, as the time of its disruption has been reached. (7) For a hundred years will the clouds, o King, not pour rain upon the earth and will then, with the following famine, the people confounded by the time, accordingly distressed by hunger consuming [even] one another, gradually find themselves destroyed. (8) The sun with its terrible rays not giving the slightest in return, will be drinking up the all the juice of the earth, the ocean and the living bodies. (9) Then the fire of destruction will issue from the mouth of Lord Sankarshana and raised by the force of the wind burn thereafter the empty regions of the planets [3.11: 30, 8.5: 35]. (10) Burning from all sides with the flames of the fire below and the sun above, will the universal egg glow like a ball of cow-dung. (11) Then will a terrible wind blowing for more than a hundred years bring annihilation covering the sky gray with dust. (12) Clusters of multicolored clouds, my dearest, will then pour down rain for a hundred years with tremendous claps of thunder. (13) The shell of the universe will, filling up, then be one single [cosmic] body of water. (14) When the water at the time of the flooding takes away the quality of fragrance will the element earth, being deprived of its fragrance, 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; then follows the fire deprived by the air of its form. With the fire merged in the wind takes the ether 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 [or false ego in ignorance]. With the ether subsequently merging in that takes the vital power [false ego in passion] hold of the senses, my best, and are the gods seized subject to modification [to the false ego of goodness] . The cosmic intelligence seizes that [vaikârika] again along with its qualities [or manifest functions] and that mahat is then taken in by the gunas of sattva and such. These three modes o King are then, impelled by the Time, overtaken by the inexhaustible doer [the original unmanifest form of nature] of whom there are not the transformation and such by the divisions of time; unmanifest without a beginning and an end it is the infallible eternal cause. (20-21) Therein is found no speech, no mind, nor the mode of goodness, passion or ignorance; there are not the elements of the greater reality - the vital air, the intelligence, the senses and so on - nor are there the gods or is there the arrangement of the different planetary orders. There is not the sleeping, the waking or the deep sleep, no water, air, ether, fire, earth or sun; that, defying all logic being like a void or someone fast asleep, is the substance serving as the root [the pradhâna], so say the authorities. (22) This time when the energies helplessly merge, completely dismantled by the Time, is the [prâkritika pralaya] dissolution of all the material elements of the nature of the unseen Original Person.

(23) It is the 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 denomination, compare 11.28: 31]. (24) A lamp, an eye perceiving and the form perceived are [as its modifications] not different from the light, the same way do the intelligence, the senses and the sense perceptions not differ from the [one] reality diversified [see also siddhânta and B.G. 9.15]. (25) The wakefulness, the sleep and deep sleep to the intelligence thus are called a deception of the senses, this o King is the duality experienced by the soul. (26) Just as clouds in the sky are there and are not there within the Absolute of the Truth is similarly this whole universe there and not there with its different parts generating and dissolving. (27) The ingredient cause, my best, of any composite entity out here, can, so is stated [in the vedânta-sûtra], be perceived apart from its manifested product, just like the threads of a cloth can [see also 6.3: 12, 11.12: 21]. (28) Whatever is experienced in terms of a general cause and a specific effect is, in that mutual dependence, a form of perplexity, for all that is subject to a beginning and an end is insubstantial [viz. the fixation is the illusion, the matter is real]. (29) Subject to transformation is a single atom, although it manifests, without the Direct Evidence of the Supreme Self [in the form of Time] not conceivable [or perceivable even], even if it is so equally [to the immutable soul] remaining without change. (30) There is accordingly to the Absolute Truth no duality; if a person not in knowledge thinks of it being dual 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 Adhokshaya inconceivable to the senses, described in various terms as well by the commoner as by the vedic person. (32) The way a cloud as a product of the sun is made visible by the sun and verily as an 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 serving as an individual soul [with a clouded vision] living in bondage relative to the Supreme Soul. (33) When the cloud as a product of the sun is riven sees the eye then the sun in its own form, so also acquires one, when the superficial false-ego covering of the spirit soul is destroyed by spiritual inquiry, at that time the proper remembrance. (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 one 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 of all created beings beginning with Brahmâ is there constantly. (36) Of the things subject to change which swiftly are being taken away by the force of the mighty current of Time, are the various conditions [stages of existence] the causes of their constantly being born and annihilated [nityah pralaya]. (37) The different stages created by the Time that, without a beginning and an end, is the representation of Î'svara, 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 is the progress of Time [kâla] described as being of a continuous [nitya], occasional [naimittika], natural [elemental or prâkritika] and final [âtyantika] annihilation.

(39) In summary have these narrations about the lîlâ of the creator of the universe, Nârâyana, the reservoir of all existences, been related to you o best of the Kurus; not even the Unborn One [Brahmâ] is capable to enumerate them entirely. (40) For the person distressed by the fire of the various forms of misery who desires to cross over the hard to overcome ocean of material existence, there is no other boat apart from the rendering of service to the personal taste for the narrations of the pastimes of the Fortunate One, the Supreme Personality. (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-dvaipayana [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) This will be spoken by Sûta Gosvâmî, sitting here with us, 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].  



Chapter 5  

Final Instructions to Mahârâja Parîkchit

 (1) S'rî S'uka said: 'Already I have elaborately described the Supreme Lord Hari, the Soul of Everyone from the satisfaction of whom Lord Brahmâ was born [3.8] from whose anger S'iva [3.12: 7] took birth. (2) O King, you, thinking 'I am going to die', must give up this animalistic mentality; you were not born in the past, nor are you nonexistent today, nor will you, like the body is, be destroyed [see also B.G. 2: 12 & 2: 20]. (3) You will, like a sprout from a seed, not come into being becoming your children or assume the form of your grandchildren and so on; you are as distinct from the body and what belongs to it as a fire is [from firewood *]. (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 remains the air in the pot the air as before; similarly returns, when the body is given up, the individual soul to his spiritual origin [brahma]. (6) The mind is causal to the bodies, the qualities and the activities of the soul; while it is mâyâ, the illusory potency of the Lord, that brings about the mind [through ahankâra] and thus the material existence of the individual living being [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 is there, developed and destroyed by the action of the modes of passion, ignorance and goodness, the material existence of [an individual soul to] a functioning body. (8) The soul, that is not there as the gross [deha] or the subtle [linga], is self-luminous, and thus, as unchanging as the sky, the basis [âdhâra] eternal and beyond comparison. (9) O prabhu, this way in meditation upon Vâsudeva engaging your intelligence in logical reasoning, consider carefully your true self and how it with your mind is situated within the bodily covering. (10) Takshaka [the snake-bird] sent by the words of the brahmin [1.18] will not burn you; the agents of death cannot burn [you in the role of] the self its Controller who is the very death of these causes of death [see also 11.31: 12]. (11-12) 'I am the Original Spirit Supreme, the Abode of the Absolute, I am the Supreme Destination'; with this consideration placing yourself within the Supreme Self free from material designations, will you, with the entire world thus separate from the self, not even notice Takshaka and your body when he, licking his lips and with his mouth full of poison, bites your foot. (12) My dear, what do you more want to hear to this what I to your questions, o King, narrated of 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."



Chapter 6

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, went up to 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 have I 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 tormented by distress. (4) We [so] heard from you this collection of classical stories in which indeed 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 revealed by you as, exclusive of everything material, being free from fear. (6) Please allow me, o brahmin, to offer my speech [and other sensory functions] to Adhokshaja so that, absorbing my mind having given up all lusty desires, I may give up my life air. (7) With the help of you showing the all-auspicious supreme shelter of the Supreme Lord, have I become fixed in the immaterial knowledge and wisdom and has my ignorance been eradicated'."

(8) Sûta said: "Thus addressed gave the powerful saint, the son of Vyâsa, him the permission and went he, worshiped by that god among the people and the renounced sages, away. (9-10) Parîkchit, the saintly king, him after, put his mind to his soul by the power of reason and meditated upon the Supreme with his air as motionless as a tree. Sitting upon darbha grass laid to the east on the bank of the Ganges broke the great yogî, facing the north, in perfect realization of God with all doubts. (11) O learned ones, Takshaka, sent by the angered son of [Samika] the twice-born one, wishing to kill the king, saw, as he went on his way, Kas'yapa Muni [see 1.18]. (12) Satisfying him, an expert in countering poison, with valuables, he made him return whereupon 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 turned, being burned by the fire of the snake's poison, the body of the fully selfrealized saint among the kings immediately to ashes. (14) There was a great cry of lamentation from all directions of the earth and the sky as 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 with it 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 kept by him has the snake thus not landed 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 performed the learned ones the ritual for offering Takshaka along with Indra: 'O Takshaka, may you quickly come to fall here in the fire together with Indra and his host of demigods'. (22) Indra along with Takshaka and his vimâna was by the insulting words thus spoken by the brahmins thrown from his position with his mind unsettled. (23) When Brihaspati saw him with Takshaka in his vimâna falling down from the sky, addressed the son of Angirâ 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 is he, unquestionably free from old age, virtually 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 no other agent giving happiness and distress than that. (26) Someone born may find death from snakes, thieves, fire and lightening, hunger, thirst, disease and other agents o King, but he undergoes with all of that the reactions to the things he did in the past. (27) Therefore o King should this sacrifice performed with the intent to harm the serpents be stopped; with the innocent ones burned has indeed by persons the bid to be suffered' [see also the Mahâbhârata 1.43]."

(28) Sûta said: "Thus addressed said he in respect of the words of the great sage: 'So be it!', and ceasing with the snake sacrifice he worshiped the master of eloquence [Brihaspati]. (29) This very mahâmâyâ of Vishnu cannot be checked or discerned by those who as part-and-parcel spiritual souls become bewildered of Him because of their common bodily functioning to the modes of nature. (30-31) The visible illusory energy in which one missing the peace thinks 'that's a fraud' is not [dominating] when one is of constant inquiry into the nature of the soul - in that of which the transcendentalists speak is one not of materialistic arguments taking many forms or of the mind with its functions of decisions and doubts based on that. In that is the living entity not of worldly matters and their causes and the benefits achieved by them, not of the I-ness strong in being joined with the modes which is excluded there; a sage should indeed take pleasure in warding off the waves of the worldly conditioning and the ones so entangled [see also e.g. 6.4: 31-32]. (32) The supreme refuge of Lord Vishnu do those desirous of giving up designate as that which is 'nor this, nor that' [see also neti neti]; thus do they, with their affection nowhere else, reject the petty materialism in embracing the 'not-that' [the Soul, Him] in their hearts as captured by the ones absorbed. (33) They for whom there is not the corruption of the 'I' and 'mine' based upon home and body, thus come to know this which is the supreme abode of Vishnu. (34) Insulting words one [so] 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 meditating I have assimilated this collection of wisdom [samhita]'."

(35) S'rî S'aunaka said: "Please tell us this: how did Paila and the other greatly intelligent disciples of Vyâsa who constitute the vedic authority, speak of and divide the Vedas?"

(37) Sûta said: "O brahmin, within the heart of lord Brahmâ the most elevated being, was, composed of mind stopping the functioning of the ears, the subtle transcendental sound [of ta-pa, 2.9: 6] perceived that arose from the ether [see also s'abda]. (38) By the worship of it, o brahmin, cleanse yogîs from the heart away the contamination known as the substance, the activity and the doer [**] and achieve they freedom from rebirth. (39) From that came the threefold omkâra into being which, unseen of influence manifesting itself, is the representation of the Supreme Lord [bhagavân], of the Absolute Truth [brahman] and of the Supersoul [paramâtmâ, see also 1.2: 11, B.G. 7: 8]. (40-41) He [the Supreme Self] hears this unmanifest subtle sound with [even] the sense of hearing asleep and the power of vision absent; from it, evolving from the soul and manifesting in the ether, is everything vedically said elaborated. Of the self-originating brahman and the paramâtmâ is it 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) Of it, o eminence of Bhrigu, came indeed into being the three sounds [A, U and M] of the alphabet beginning with A, that sustain the threefold aspects of material existence of the gunas, the names [of the three Vedas] the goals [the three types of lokas] and states of consciousness [avasthâtraya]. (43) The powerful lord unborn [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) With them created he, the almighty one, to his omkâra along with his vyâhriti invocations [of the names of the seven lokas], from his four mouths the four Vedas to his intention to describe the four sacrifices [see ritvik]. (45) He taught them to his sons 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) So were they throughout the four yugas one after the other, generation by generation [in paramparâ] received by the disciples firm in their vows and then at the end of dvâpara-yuga divided by the prominent sages. (47) Observing that from kâla lesser intelligent and short lived [the people] 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], requested the rulers over the worlds - Brahmâ and S'iva and others - the Supreme Lord, the Protector of the Universe, to protect the principles of religion. The Lord descending as a part [Vishnu] then appeared as a part of His plenary expansion [Sankarshana], in the womb of Satyavatî as the son [named Krishna Dvaipâyana Vyâsa] of Parâs'ara to split the Veda in four. (50) He, just like sorting out gems separating the accumulation of mantras, made the four specific categories of collections [samhitas]: the Rig, Atharva, Yajur and Sâma Veda [see Vedas]. (51) To them called the greatly intelligent and powerful sage, one by one four of his disciples near to give each of them a collection, 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 to the names of 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 and the latter further spoke it, dividing his collection in four, o son of Bhrigu [S'aunaka], to his disciples Bodhya, Yâjñavalkya, Parâs'ara and Agnimitra. Indrapramiti, self-controlled, taught his collection to the learned seer [his son] Mândûkeya, whose disciple Devamitra taught it to Saubhari and others. (57) S'âkalya, his son, divided his collection in five parts whom he gave to Vâtsya, Mudgala, S'âlîya, Gokhalya and S'is'ira. (58) Sage Jâtûkarnya, also a disciple of him [S'âkalya] added to the collection he received a glossary in passing it down to Balâka, [a second] Paila, Jâbâla and Viraja. (59) Bâshkali [the son of Bâshkala] made from all the different branches [of the Rigveda] the collection called the Vâlakhilya-samhitâ which so next was accepted 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; hearing of the distribution of these sacred verses is one freed from all sins.

(61) The disciples of Vais'ampâyana, became authorities in 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 of having 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 got his spiritual master angry and said: 'Go away, enough of you insulting the learned; give right now everything up you learned from me!'

(64-65) The son of Devaratâ then regurgitated the collected Yajur mantras and left from there. The sages greedily looking at these Yajur mantras, turning into partridges picked them up; thus became these branches of the Yayur-veda known as the most beautiful Taittirîya-samhitâ ['the partridge collection']. (66) O brahmin, Yâjñavalkya, thereafter seeking for additional mantras not even known to his spiritual master, carefully offered prayers to the mighty controller of the sun.

(67) S'rî Yâjñavalkya said: 'My obeisances unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead who, appearing as the sun, in the form of the Supersoul is present [as the Controller] in the form of Time 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]. The same way as the sky is not covered by material designations ['clouds'] do You alone by 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 giving back 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 burns all the sins, their consequent suffering and that what lead to it [see also 11.14: 35 and the Gâyatrî]. (69) You in this world indeed are the Lord dwelling in the hearts of all the moving and nonmoving living beings that depend on the shelter of You who animates the nonliving matter of the mind, the senses and the different vital airs [the vâyus]. (70) You, most magnanimous alone mercifully glancing over with the gift of sight, raise up the sleeping people of this world that, seized and swallowed by the horrible mouth of the python acknowledged as darkness, as if dead fell into the unconscious; to the beginning, half way and at the end of the day You so, day after day, engage, for the soul to be found, the pious in the ultimate benefit known as their personal duty and nature of service [svadharma]. (71) Like an earthly king You travel all around creating fear among the unholy while the controlling deities of the directions holding lotusflowers from different sides with folded palms offer their respects. (72) Thus am I, in the desire for yajur-mantras unknown to others, with worship indeed approaching the two of Your lotusfeet, o Lord, 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, assuming the form of a horse, presented the yajur-mantras never learned by any other mortal to the sage [see also 5.18: 6]. (74) With the hundreds of yajur-mantras contrived the mighty sage fifteen branches and accepted by the disciples of Kânva and Mâdhyandina are they, produced from the manes of the horse, thus known as Vâjaseneyi. (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, most advanced in spiritual realization, took charge of the sâma-mantras. (78) There were in total five hundred disciples of Paushyañji and Âvantya who are called the Sâma Veda singers of the north, as also differently [in later times, some of them] the eastern singers. (79) Other disciples of Paushyañji, namely Laugâkshi, Mângali, Kulya, Kus'îda and Kukshi, each took a hundred collections of mantras. (80) Krita, the disciple of Hiranyanâbha, spoke twenty four samhitâs to his disciples; the remaining ones were spoken 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].



Chapter 7

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 ['he from the line of Angirâ'], then the same manner learned two samhitâs and so did other disciples headed by Sâvarna [learn from them]. (4) With Nakshatrakalpa, S'ântikalpa as also Kas'yapa and Ângirasa belonging 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 - these are factually 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 from the disciple of Vyâsa four basic collections. (8) O brahmin, please hear with attention about the characteristics of a purâna, which in accordance with the vedic scriptures by the brahmin seers in their resorting to the intelligence 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 characteristic topics of a purâna as understood by the authorities on the matter; some state that relative to the greater ones, the lesser purânas deal with five [see also S'uka on this 2.10.1-7 and *].

(11) Creation [sarga] is what the generation is called from the primordial state from which by the agitation of the modes the cosmic intelligence raised from which the identification with the matter rose as divided in three aspects [or types of beings to the modes], which further manifested as 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 vâsanas] of the moving and nonmoving living beings, the propensities that, to the grace of the Original Person [purusha], are produced the same way as seed produces more seeds.

(13) The sustenance [vritti] is the subsisting of the moving beings on the nonmoving ones, or, more specifically humane, the acting for one's livelihood in accord with one's personal nature in which one indeed either lives to one's lust or to the rules.

(14) Rakshâ [or protection] is there with the Incarnations of the Infallible One, age after age present among the animals, the mortals, the seers and the demigods; by them are the enemies of the threefold Veda killed [see also B.G. 4: 7].

(15) To each 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 from His potency concerns the dissolution in four aspects of this universe thus by the scholars described [as samsthâ or pralaya, see also 12.4].

(18) The motive [hetu] of the creation [sarga] and so on of this all, is the individual living soul [jîva], who out of ignorance is the performer of fruitive activities [karma]; or differently do others speak of the unmanifest underlying personality.

(19) God as the supreme shelter [apâs'raya] is there, separately and conjoint, within the waking, the sleeping and the dreamless state, within the things presented by the illusory energy and within the functions of individuality. (20) Just as the basic substance of material objects is connected to, as well as apart from, their sheer existence as things having names and form, is it [with God] so, throughout the various phases of a bodily existence, from the seed in the beginning to the five elements [one returns to] in the end [compare 8.6: 10]. (21) Of its own or through yoga, may thought stop to the threefold state [vritti-traya]; one, ceasing from the material endeavor, then knows the Supreme Soul [see also 3.25: 32-33].

(22) This way distinguished by their characteristics are there, so say the sages expert in the ancient stories, eighteen big and [eighteen] small purânas [from 9000 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) In full I described to you, o brahmin, this devotion in branches of the sage [Vyâsadeva], his disciples and the disciples of his disciples, which increases the spiritual potency [of the hearer]." 


 * 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].


Chapter 8

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, for you are for men wandering in the endless darkness the seer of the opposite. (2-5) People say that the son of Mrikandu, the seer [called Mârkandeya], with an exceptionally long life span indeed was the only one to remain at the ending of the kalpa which engulfed this entire universe. He, the foremost descendant of Bhrigu, was this kalpa factually born in my own family and we haven't seen any great deluge of all creation yet taking place in our age. Alone wandering this great ocean he saw, so one says, but 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 yogî by everyone regarded the greatest in respect of the purânas, put for us so curious about an end to that."

(6) Sûta said: "O great sage this question of you takes away the giddiness of the entire world in making for 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] was he peaceful with matted hair and bark for clothes carrying a waterpot, a mendicant's staff, the sacred thread and the belt of the celibacy. With the skin of a black deer and lotus-seed prayerbeads did he for the good of his regulated practice [see niyama] worship 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 with a controlled voice brought he what he had collected begging to his spiritual master and partook he once being invited by his guru or would he, not being so, fast [see also 7.12; 5 and 7.14: 17]. This way of penance and study worshiping for endless numbers [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 became most amazed with that [achievement]. (13) In this manner maintaining the great vow by his austerities, recitations and restraint, meditated the yogî upon the Lord in the Beyond and rid he with his mind turned inwards himself of all hindrances. (14) As he was fixing his mind thus with the great of yoga, passed by the enormous lapse of time consisting of six manvantaras [of 71 mahâyugas each]. (15) In the seventh period of Manu did Purandara [Indra] learning of the austerities become fearful, o brahmin, and decided he 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 so 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, appeared springtime there in rows of new sprouts and blossoms from the multitude of creepers in close embrace with the trees. (22) Followed by groups of gandharvas singing and playing musical instruments was the god of love, the master of hordes of heavenly women, seen there holding his bow and arrows. (23) The servants of Indra in that place found him who, having offered his oblations, 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) As the servants of Indra, the child of greed and the child of the spring attempted to agitate the mind of the sage, fixed five-headed Cupid (to the sight, smell, sound, touch and taste) an arrow on his bow. (26-27) From the hair of Puñjikasthalî [an apsara] who with her waist greatly challenged by her heavy breasts was playing with a number of balls, fell the flowers from her wreath. Running after the balls, with eyes glancing here and there, loosened the belt of her thin garment and lifted the wind 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 of this 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, like children having aroused a snake. (30) O brahmin, though the followers of Indra had violated the great muni, did he not yield to the sentiments of ego, which is something not so surprising for great souls at all.

(31) Seeing and hearing how from the influence of the brahmin seer Kâmadeva along with his associates had proved powerless, fell the mighty king of heaven in great astonishment. (32) As he thus was fixing his mind in austerity, recitation and restraint manifested the Supreme Lord Himself as Nara-Nârâyana to be of 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] represented they, worshiped by the chief demigods, effulgent yellowish of color standing tall indeed radiating with light, the austerity. (35) Seeing Them, Nara and Nârâyana, indeed the personal manifestations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, stood he up with great respect to offer his respects and prostrated he himself. (36) He, because of seeing Them with all his body, mind and senses being happy and his bodily hairs standing on end, was, with tears filling his eyes, unable to fix his eyes upon Them. (37) Standing humbly with folded hands spoke he eager as if to embrace Them choking thus 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, was he of worship with incense and flower garlands. (39) Sitting comfortably on their places ready to bestow Their mercy spoke he, again bowing down at Their feet, the following to the Ones Supremely Worshipable.

(40) S'rî Mârkandeya said: 'O Almighty One how can I describe You by whom indeed of all embodied living beings as well as of Brahmâ, S'iva as of myself the vital air stirred to action comes alive, the power of speech is following and the mind and senses begin to act; nevertheless do You for the ones who are of worship become the loving friend. (41) These personal forms of the Fortunate One, o Supreme Lord, do You manifest for the ultimate benefit of the cessation of the material misery and the conquest of death; and just as You, for the protection variously manifest other transcendental bodies, do You once having created this universe, again, just like a spider, swallow it up entirely. (42) Of Him the Protector, the Supreme Controller of the moving and nonmoving ones, is the one situated at the soles of His feet never touched by the emotions of karma, guna and kâla; it is to You indeed that the sages with the Veda in their heart at every moment in praise bow down to worship and meditate, so that they may reach. (43) Nothing else but the attainment of Your feet, the very form of liberation, does benefit the person who has to fear from all sides o Lord; we know that Brahmâ, whose time takes two parârdhas, on account of this is most afraid, afraid because of the Time that You are - and what to speak of the worldly entities created by him? [see 10.13: 56] (44) So therefore do I give up this covering of the self, the material body and all thereto that temporal, for a moment only remembered, being insubstantial is so meaningless, and do I worship the soles of the feet of You, the Intelligence of the Real and Master of the Soul who is the Supreme Truth and from whom one obtains everything desirable. (45) O Lord, o Friend of the Soul, although 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, is it 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 do the sâtvatas consider that and never any other [mode] the form of the Original Person; and for that reason do the spiritual authorities in this world worship as most dear to them the transcendental personal form [Vishnu] of You and the form of the ones with only You in their eyes [the vaishnava's], 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 that is the best of the humans who, as the master of the vedic scriptures in control of His speech, is situated in perfect purity [see hamsa]. (48) He indeed who deceived by the deceptive veil over his eyes becomes diverted in his intelligence about the Presence within his own senses, heart and even the objects perceived, can, even though his understanding originally was covered over by Your mâyâ, know You, the Spiritual master of All, when he obtains the vedic knowledge. (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 in their endeavors of adjusting with all kinds of philosophies to their way of life the subject matter of Him escaping the understanding of the [conditioned] spirit soul, He, the Supreme Personality whom I offer my homage [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]."


Chapter 9

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 are you directed toward 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 have enough. (5) Brahmâ and others with a mind matured in yoga all received the sight of the all-opulent of Your lotusfeet and He, You Yourself, are now perceptible to my eyes. (6) Nonetheless do I, o Crest Jewel of Fame with the Lotus Eyes, desire to witness the illusory potency by which the entire world along with its rulers considers the material differentiation of the absolute.' [compare B.G. 11: 3-4]

(7) Sûta said: 'Glorified in these words by the rishi said He, the Supreme Lord, to His satisfaction being worshiped smiling, 'So be it', upon which the Controller departed for Badarikâs'rama. (8-9) The rishi thus thinking of that goal just remaining at his own hermitage meditated in all circumstances upon the Lord with all the things he had - the fire, the sun, the moon, the water, the earth, the wind, the lightning as well as his own heart - and thus offering worship he sometimes forgot the proof of his respect as he drowned in the flood of the pure love of God [prema]. (10) While the sage one day, o best of Bhrigu, was performing his evening worship on the bank of the Pushpabhadrâ, o brahmin, arose a great wind. (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 appeared the four oceans 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 got the sage afraid seeing how the earth flooded and all the four types of inhabitants of the universe [from moist, seed, embryos and eggs] including himself by the waves rising higher than the sky, the fierce winds and the bolts of lightning, were greatly distressed within and without. (14) As he was looking on were the waters of the great ocean 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 did the great sage, as the only one remaining, wander about like a person dumb and blind, with His matted locks scattered. (16) In the grip of hunger and thirst, attacked by monster crocodiles and whale-eaters and plagued by the winds moved he, tormented by the waves, 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 was he at times threatened with being eaten by the monsters which then again attacked each other, and experienced he in distress sometimes disease and 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 by as he with his mind covered wandered in that mâyâ, that deluding material energy of Vishnu. (20) At one occasion, as he roamed out there, saw the twiceborn one upon a raised mound of earth a young banyan tree beautiful with fruits and blossoms. (21) Upon a branch of that tree toward the northeast he even more 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 did that king of the scholars drank with his eyes in the sight of its complexion as dark-blue as a great gemstone, its beautiful lotus face, its conchshell striped throat, its broad chest, fine nose and beautiful eyebrows; its splendid hair trembling to its breath, its beautiful shell-shaped ears resembling pomegranate flowers, its coral lips that by their effulgence slightly reddened its nectarean smile; its countenance with a charming smile with the corners of its eyes like the reddish whorl of a lotus, the by its breath moved lines of its abdomen contorted by its deep leaf like navel, and ... how the infant with the graceful fingers of its two hands grabbed one of its lotus feet and placed it in its mouth [*]. (26) Seeing it was his weariness dispelled and expanded out of pleasure wide the lotus of his heart and his lotus eyes. Confused about the identity of that wonderful appearance approached he, with his hair standing on end, the child from the front in order to inquire. (27) Right then was with the breathing of the infant the man of Bhrigu like a mosquito drawn into its body and saw he in that position there the entire universe as it was before, upon which he utterly surprised stood perplexed. (28-29) He saw the entire expanse of all the stars, the mountains and oceans, and the directions of the great islands and the 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 real. (30) As he of the universe observed the Himâlayas, the Pushpabhadrâ River and his hermitage where he had seen the rishis [Nara and Nârâyana], was he 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, was there, lying in the fold of its leaf, the child again, glancing at him with a nectarean smile of love from the corner of its eyes. Placing that infant by his looking eyes within his heart ran he greatly excited to embrace the Lord of the Beyond. (33) That moment became He the Supreme Lord, directly the Original One of Yoga hidden in the heart of all living beings, suddenly invisible before the rishi, the same way as that what by an incompetent person is made suddenly may fail to serve. (34) O brahmin, following Him disappeared next the banyan and the waters of the annihilation of the world, and found he himself the next moment 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'.


Chapter 10

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 of whom the illusory potency, in the appearance 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 though 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 to 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, Bhavanî, 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 went he, the master of all knowledge, the controller of all the embodied and the great lord and shelter of the righteous, to him. (9) He, having arrested the functions of his mind, had no knowledge, nor of himself or the outer world, nor of the arrival of the two powers of control over the universe in person. (10) Understanding that, entered Giris'a the Controller, the great lord, by his mystic potency the ethereal secrecy of him, just as the wind passes through an opening. (11-13) Within himself then arrived S'iva with blonde locks like lightening, having three eyes and ten arms, rising as tall as the sun. Together with a tigerskin as his garment, exhibited he his bow and trident, arrows and sword, shield, prayer beads, damaru (a small drum), ax and skull. Seeing him manifesting suddenly in his heart desisted the sage thereupon from his trance surprised wondering: 'Who is this and from where did he arrive?'

(14) Opening his eyes and seeing that lord Rudra had arrived with Umâ and his associates, offered the sage 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 the 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 whom, fully satisfied in your own experience of ecstasy, the entire world indeed 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 with these words spoke he, the mighty lord, the foremost of the demigods and shelter of the truthful, perfectly satisfied, happy of mind smiling at him. (19) The great lord said: 'Please, as you like, choose a boon from us the three [guna-avatâra-] lords in control by whom a mortal being in audience 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 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 do honor 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 carry our forms represented by the three Vedas, and who by penances, study and yogic concentration [samyama] are absorbed in the True Self, we do offer our respects. (25) Even the greatest sinners and outcastes find purification by seeing you and hearing about you, and what to speak of directly speaking to you? [see also 7.14: 17, 10.64: 41-42]"

(26) Sûta Gosvâmî said: "Thus filled with the words from the one decorated with the moon reflecting essence of the religion was the sage, with his ears drinking in the reservoir of nectar, not sated. (27) He who of the mâyâ of Vishnu made to wander for a long time was worn out terribly, saw a heap of trouble undone by 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 in which they offer those who are controlled by them their respects! (29) In general is it for the acceptance of the religion that the authoritative speakers act in proving their sympathy and praising the conditioned souls. (30) By such activities made up of His material potency is, just as with the tricks of a magician, the power of the Fortunate One not spoiled. (31-32) As the Supersoul from His mind [by Himself in the form of Time] creates this universe and subsequently enters it [as avatâras] does He, like a person witnessing [himself in] a dream, by the modes of action appear to be the doer; unto Him, the Supreme Personality who [operating] by the three gunas is the true Self to the modes, unto the pure unequaled spiritual master who is the form of the Absolute, my obeisances [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 may a person achieve all he desires, irrespective of what he desires. (34) From Him, the Complete Bringing the Fulfillment of All desires, I request one benediction though: the unfailing devotional service for as well the Supreme Personality of Godhead as for those dedicated to Him like you'."

(35) Sûta Gosvâmî said: "Thus worshiped and glorified by the well-spoken words of the sage, spoke the great lord S'arva, thereto being encouraged by his consort: (36) 'O great sage so full of devotion for Adhokshaja, may all that is desired by you come true as well as fame till the end of the kalpa, piety and freedom from old age and death. (37) With knowledge of the threefold of time [tri-kâlika] o brahmin, and with wisdom plus renunciation, let there for him who is given the brahminical potency, for you, be the status of being a teacher of the purâna'."

(38) Sûta Gosvâmî said: "With granting the sage these blessings went he, the controller with the three eyes, away recounting to the goddess all that he [Mârkandeya] before had done and had experienced. (39) He, the best one of Bhrigu, indeed having obtained the greatest of the great of yoga, even today travels about at will, gone for his exclusive devotion to the Lord. (40) This is what I could describe to you of the amazing opulence of the illusory energy of the Supreme Personality as experienced by the intelligent Mârkandeya. (41) Unprecedented as it [this seven kalpas long life of the sage] is, do some who are not so 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 those two kinds of people, o best one of Bhrigu, who thus either hear or describe this [narration] infused with the potency of the Lord with the Wheel [of Time] in His hand, will there not be the course of mundane existence based on karma."  


Chapter 11

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, do we with you, the possessor of the broadest knowledge, inquire 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, eager to learn, that practical method of cultivating the yoga [kriyâ-yoga] by the expertise of which a mortal being may attain immortality."

(4) Sûta said: "With offering obeisances to the gurus will I even [though difficult] 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 seen in the created reign [the virâth rûpa] in the conscious existence of which the three worlds [lokas] are found [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 can one the same way indeed 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, and the S'rîvatsa mark on the chest of the Almighty represents the expansive effulgence of that [gem/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 does the Godhead carry 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 is the undeveloped of 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 to the meaning of the word bhaga [His opulences] carries the lotus of His pastimes, and the fan and whisk that the Supreme Lord accepted for His worship are the 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 directly the inner nature [*]; 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 so considered the separated forms [the vyûha expansions] of the Original Person Himself, o brahmin. (22) Bhagavân is by the functions of external objects [vis'va, Pradyumna], physical power [taijasa, Sankarshana], thought [prâjña, Aniruddha] and spiritual realization [turîya, Vâsudeva] thus conceived in the terms of waking consciousness, dreaming, dreamless sleep and the transcendental position [see avasthâtraya]. (23) In His four personal forms does Bhaga-vân [the possessor of the fullness], the Lord and Controller, with His major [arms; as in verse 14-15] and minor limbs [His extra limbs, His guardians], weapons and ornaments, maintain these four states. (24) O best of the twiceborn, 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 being conceived as if He, uncovered as He is in His transcendental awareness, would be materially divided, can He by those who are devoted to Him be realized 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, bringing the auspicious just hearing about them, are sung by Vraja's cowherd man and woman and their servants; please protect Your servants! (26) Anyone who, rising at dawn, with his mind on God to himself chants [recites] these characteristics of the Supreme Original Person, comes to the realization of the Absolute Truth 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 sungod his associates who month by month reside in seven groups, could you please tell us, so faithful, 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 worlds, forms the basis for all ritualistic activities as differently described by the sages in all the Vedas. (31) The Lord in terms of the material energy is thus, given 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) Beginning with Madhu is the Supreme Lord assuming the form of time, for the planetary motion there to the rule of twelve [months or mâsas, see also B.G. 10: 21], moving separately with twelve sets of associates. (33) Dhâtâ [as the sun-god], 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) [Like wise do 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) These ones constitute the glories of Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the form of the sungod; they do, of those men who at the junctures of each day remember them, take away the sinful reactions. (46) Thus with each of the twelve months and six types of associates moving through this universe, is the Godhead, for its population, 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, do the Gandharvas sing loudly about Him, dance the Apasaras in front of Him, ready the Nâgas the chariot, harness the Yakshas the horses and do the strong Râkshasas push it from the rear. (49) In front of the chariot go the sixty thousand Vâlakhilya brahmin sages pure of praise with prayers to the Almighty [see also 4.1: 39]. (50) The Unborn Lord Hari, the Supreme Controller, the Beginningless Possessor of All Opulences, expanding Himself each kalpa into various forms, thus protects all the worlds.  


 * 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.



Chapter 12

The Topics of S'rîmad-Bhâgavatam Summarized

(1) Sûta said: "Offering obeisances to Lord Krishna, to the creator, to the brahmins and to the supreme of the dharma, shall I now speak of its enduring nature [in terms of the topics discussed in the Bhâgavatam]. (2) I related on your request o sages to you these wonderful pastimes of Lord Vishnu suitable for people in respect of the person. (3) In this [recounting] is directly glorified the Lord, the Remover of All Sins, Nârâyana, the Lord of the Senses, the Supreme Personality and Master of the Sâtvatas. (4) Herein is the creation and annihilation of this universe and the confidential knowledge of the One Self-existent Supreme Spirit discussed, together with the wisdom and means of its cultivation.

(5-6) At length are discussed the bhakti-yoga and renunciation belonging to it [in 1.2, 7.5-10 & canto 11.29], just as the history of Nârada [1.4-6] and the history of Parîkchit: the fast until death of Parîkchit, the sage among the kings, because of his being cursed by [the son of] a learned one and the conversation between Parîkchit and S'uka, the best of the brahmins [see canto 1.8-18]. (7) [Next is discussed] to attain liberation at death by concentrating in yoga [2.2: 15-21], the conversation between Nârada and Brahmâ [2.5], the row of avatâras [1.3 & 2.7] and the process of creation from the primary nature [of pradhâna, 3.26: 10-72]. (8) There is the discussion Vidura had with Uddhava [3.1: 25-3.4] and the one Vidura had with Maitreya [3.5- 4.31], then what the purâna entails [in general, see 2.1o: 1 and 12.7: 9-10], and then there are the inquiries on 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 from [the modes of] material nature and the generating of the seven derivatives [of mahat, ahamkâra and the tanmâtras, see 3.20: 12-17], spreading with with the construction 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 in connection with the deliverance of the earth from the ocean [3.17-19]. (11) [And so are there] 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 as the two male and female halves of the Lord [see 3.12: 49-53, 4.1]. (12-13) [Discussed are the] the progeny of the excellent consort of the first woman S'atarûpâ, and the offspring [the nine daughters of] of the pious wife [Devahûti] of the founding father Kardama [see 3.24: 20-25 and 4.1], the descent 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], 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 is there] 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: 19-19] of the candra-vams'a as also about the celebrated dynasty of Yadu, the eldest son of Yayâti [9.23: 19-29]. (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 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 arrives Akrûra [10.38] and is there the departure of Râma and Krishna, the lamentation of the women of Vraja [10.39] and the tour around Mathurâ [10.41]. (35) There is 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 [10.45]. (36) Residing in Mathurâ in the company of Uddhava and Balarâma, were by the Lord, o brahmins, pastimes performed for the satisfaction of the circle of the Yadus [10.48]. (37) [Next there is] the annihilation many times 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 receiving [from Indra, 10.50: 54] of the pârijâta from heaven 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 men 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 to the sun [as conceived] of the Mahâpurusha, the self of the living being of the universe [12.11].

(46) Thus has by Me, to your inquiry, o best of the twice-born, in here been discussed the activities of the lîlâ-avatâras to the full of their glory. (47) If one, falling, tripping, being hurt or sneezing spontaneously cries out aloud 'haraye namah' (obeisances to Hari), is one freed from all causes of fall-down. (48) Of persons, who properly chant about the Supreme Lord and hear about the Unlimited One His potency, is the misery that enters the heart cleansed away entirely, just as 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 fact dries for all persons up the ocean of misery, in which the glories of the Best One of the Verses, Uttamas'loka, are sung in repetition. (51) That expression of illustrative words which never describes the sanctifying glories of the Lord is alike a place of pilgrimage for the crows and is never served by the swanlike, the saints pure who are only into Acyuta [alike 1.5: 10]. (52) That creation of words revolutionizing the sins of the people in which, although imperfectly composed, each verse depicts the names and glories of the unlimited Lord, is heard, sung and accepted by the purified and honest [identical to 1.5: 11]. (53) In spite of self-realization free from material motives, does the transcendental knowledge of the infallible actually not look very well void of affection. Would indeed working for a result do any good when one fails in the work unsurpassed that is done for the Lord [alike 1.5: 11]? (54) With penance and listening to the scriptures and so on is one, for the sake of repute and material success, of great endeavor in serving the varnâs'rama system, but by the listening to and respecting and so on of the lotus feet of the Maintainer of the Goddess of Fortune, is one, living in confirmation of the qualities, of remembrance. (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, indeed are extremely fortunate being constant with Nârâyana, the Original Soul and Godhead of all, the Heavenly Lord Beyond Whom No Other is Found; thus should you, with unrelenting love being of worship, place Him in your hearts. (57) I also was made to remember this science of the Soul which I, [also] in an assembly of great sages all listening, previously heard from the mouth of S'uka, the greatest of sages, during the fast to death of king Parîkchit. (58) This what I narrated to you, o learned ones, about the glories of Vâsudeva, the One of Great Deeds Who is Most Worthy to Describe, completely puts an end to all inauspiciousness. (59) One who with unswerving attention every yâma [three hour period] and every kshana [a moment of 1.6 second] with faith makes others hear or faithfully listens himself to but one verse or half a one, but one line or half a line, he indeed purifies 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, see 3.11.1o], will one develop longevity and will one become purified from all that causes one to fall. (61) In self-control fasting, reciting this collection of verses at [the holy places of] Pushkara, Mathurâ or Dvârakâ, will one be freed from the fear [of Time, or a material life, see also 1.13: 19]. (62) Chanting or hearing being of that glorification will the demigods and sages, the perfected and the forefathers, the progenitors and the kings, bestow what is desired. (63) A twice-born soul studying [this text] obtains as a result the rivers of honey, ghee and milk one has 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) A man of learning studying it achieves spiritual insight, a king so the dominion, a businessman the lordship of treasures and a worker the purification from all causes of falling down. (66) Because in Kali-yuga Hari, the Lord of All and Annihilator of the Contamination, is not [really or as full] described anywhere else but here, is, to counter that, Bhagavân expanding in countless forms, in each and every verse described in the form of the stories as told. (67) To Him the Unborn, Unlimited, Real Self by whose energies there is the creation, maintenance and destruction of the universe, to Him unfathomable in His glory to [even] the masters of heaven lead by the one not seen [Aja or Brahmâ], the one mighty [S'akra or Indra], and the one beneficent [S'ankara or S'iva]; to the Lord Infallible, am I bowed down. (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 home of the moving and nonmoving living beings.

(69) I bow to him, the son of Vyâsa defeating everything inauspicious, 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 the reality.



Chapter 13  

The Glories of S'rîmad-Bhâgavatam

(1) Sûta said: "The Godhead whom Brahmâ, Indra, Rudra and the children of heaven [Maruts] praise with transcendental prayers; whom the Sâma-veda chanters with arrangements of mantras with the Vedas, their limbs [the angas], and the upanishads sing about; whom seeing in their mind the yogîs in the meditative position fix upon; and whose end is not known to any of the enlightened or unenlightened; unto Him I offer my obeisances. (2) By the scratching edges of the stones of Mandara mountain, most heavily rotating 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 and the eb and flow-tides of the water that are the traces remaining to the flow of His breathing. (3) Please listen to a summation of the counting [of the verses] of this [purâna], the purpose of its subject matter, the gifting and the glory of that gift-giving, and its reading and reciting and so on.

(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 eighteen thousand, the Nârada Purâna twenty-five thousand, the Mârkandeya Purâna nine thousand and the Agni Purâna fifteen thousand four hundred. The Bhavishya Purâna has fourteen thousand five hundred, the Brahma-vaivarta Purâna eighteen thousand and the Linga Purâna eleven thousand. The Varâha Purâna twenty-four thousand, the Skanda Purâna eighty-one thousand one hundred and the Vâmana Purâna is described in ten thousand. The Kûrma Purâna is said to have seventeen thousand, the Matsya Purâna fourteen thousand of them, next the Garuda Purâna with nineteen thousand and the Brahmânda Purâna so with twelve thousand. In sum are in the Purânas this way described a four hundred thousand of them [*]. Eighteen thousand, as said, are of the Bhâgavatam [see further under purâna].

(10) This [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 growing from His navel [see also 1.1: 1]. (11-12) From the beginning to the end full with accounts on detachment is it, with the nectar of its many narrations of the Lord's pastimes, delighting the saintly and godly. To the essence of all vedânta philosophy has it the One Reality Without a Second, that is characterized as the Absolute Truth [brahma, the impersonal] 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 as a gift gives the Bhâgavatam in full glory ['in the full of the 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] shine forth in the assembly of the saintly only for as long as the great ocean of nectar of the Bhâgavatam isn't heard. (15) The S'rîmad Bhâgavatam indeed is said to be the essence of all vedântic philosophy; for the one satisfied by its nectarean taste is there never an attraction elsewhere. (16) To all purânas is this one just like the Ganges is to all rivers flowing to the sea, Acyuta is to all deities and S'ambhu [S'iva] is to all devotees. (17) The same way that Kâs'î [Benares] indeed is unexcelled among all holy places is the S'rîmad-Bhâgavatam so among the many Purânas, o twice born ones. (18) The S'rîmad Bhâgavatam is the spotless purâna in which, most dear to the vaishnavas, by the topmost devotees only, the spiritual knowledge perfectly pure and supreme is celebrated; in there is, together with the knowledge, the detachment and the devotion, the freedom from all fruitive labor revealed which will deliver a person who, with devotion hearing and properly reading and reciting, is of serious consideration.

(19) I meditate upon the incomparable torch light of the Immortal Truth Free from Sorrow, long ago revealed to the deity ['Ka' or Brahmâ], by which this transcendental knowledge pure and uncontaminated was spoken to Nârada the great sage who delivered it by his personal form to Krishna-dvaipâyana Vyâsa who then clarified it to the king of the yogîs [S'ukadeva] who out of mercy then enlightened [Parîkchit] the grace of the Fortunate One with it. (20) Obeisances to Him, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Vâsudeva, the Supreme Witness who mercifully explained this to the deity in want of liberation. (21) Obeisances to him, the king of the yogîs, 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, because You are our Master, the Lord of the Divinity, please make it so that life after life the bhakti at Your feet will arise. (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 ends the twelfth and last Canto of 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 at the one hand and personalist religion of detachment and personal sentiment in civil attachment at 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

The sourcetexts, illustrations and music to this translation one can find following the links from: http://bhagavata.org/ 

For this original translation next to the Sanskrit dictionary a one-volume printed copy has been used with an extensive commentary by A.C. Bhaktivedânta Swami Prabhupâda. ISBN: o-91277-27-7. See the S'rîmad Bhâgavatam treasury: http://bhagavata.org/treasury/links.html for links to other sites concerning the subject.

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