Book: The Bhagavata Purana 1

The Bhagavata Purana 1






First Skandha

Second Skandha

Third Skandha

Fourth Skandha



First Skandha

Second Skandha

Third Skandha

Fourth Skandha


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Bibek Debroy is a renowned economist, scholar and translator. He has worked in universities, research institutes, industry and for the government. He has widely published books, papers and articles on economics. As a translator, he is best known for his magnificent rendition of the Mahabharata in ten volumes, the three-volume translation of the Valmiki Ramayana and additionally the Harivamsha, published to wide acclaim by Penguin Classics. He is also the author of Sarama and Her Children, which splices his interest in Hinduism with his love for dogs.

Praise for the Mahabharata

‘The modernization of language is visible, it’s easier on the mind, through expressions that are somewhat familiar. The detailing of the story is intact, the varying tempo maintained, with no deviations from the original. The short introduction reflects a brilliant mind. For those who passionately love the Mahabharata and want to explore it to its depths, Debroy’s translation offers great promise . . .’—Hindustan Times

‘[Debroy] has really carved out a niche for himself in crafting and presenting a translation of the Mahabharata . . . The book takes us on a great journey with admirable ease’—Indian Express

‘The first thing that appeals to one is the simplicity with which Debroy has been able to express himself and infuse the right kind of meanings . . . Considering that Sanskrit is not the simplest of languages to translate a text from, Debroy exhibits his deep understanding and appreciation of the medium’—The Hindu

‘Debroy’s lucid and nuanced retelling of the original makes the masterpiece even more enjoyably accessible’—Open

‘The quality of translation is excellent. The lucid language makes it a pleasure to read the various stories, digressions and parables’—Tribune

‘Extremely well-organized, and has a substantial and helpful Introduction, plot summaries and notes. The volume is a beautiful example of a well thought-out layout which makes for much easier reading’—Book Review

‘The dispassionate vision [Debroy] brings to this endeavour will surely earn him merit in the three worlds’—Mail Today

‘Debroy’s is not the only English translation available in the market, but where he scores and others fail is that his is the closest rendering of the original text in modern English without unduly complicating the readers’ understanding of the epic’—Business Standard

‘The brilliance of Ved Vyasa comes through, ably translated by Bibek Debroy’—Hindustan Times

Praise for the Valmiki Ramayana

‘It is a delight to read Bibek Debroy’s translation of the Valmiki Ramayana. It’s like Lord Ram has blessed Dr Debroy, and through him, blessed us with another vehicle to read His immortal story’—Amish Tripathi

‘Bibek Debroy’s translation of the Ramayana is easy to navigate . . . It is an effort for which Debroy deserves unqualified praise’—Business Standard

‘A nuanced translation of a beloved epic . . . There is much to recommend this three volume set that can renew our interest in the Ramayana, surely one of the greatest stories ever told’—Indian Express

For Yudhistir Govinda Das


The word ‘purana’ means old, ancient. The Puranas are old texts, usually referred to in conjunction with Itihasa (the Ramayana and the Mahabharata). 1 Whether Itihasa originally meant only the Mahabharata—with the Ramayana being added to that expression later—is a proposition on which there has been some discussion. But that’s not relevant for our purposes. In the Chandogya Upanishad, there is an instance of the sage Narada approaching the sage Sanatkumara for instruction. When asked about what he already knew, Narada says he knows Itihasa and Purana, the Fifth Veda. 2 In other words, Itihasa–Purana possessed an elevated status. This by no means implies that the word ‘purana’, as used in these two Upanishads and other texts too, is to be understood in the sense of the word being applied to a set of texts known as the Puranas today. The Valmiki Ramayana is believed to have been composed by Valmiki and the Mahabharata by Krishna Dvaipayana Vedavyasa. After composing the Mahabharata, Krishna Dvaipayana Vedavyasa is believed to have composed the Puranas. The use of the word ‘composed’ immediately indicates that Itihasa–Purana are smriti texts, with a human origin. They are not shruti texts, with a divine origin. Composition does not mean these texts were rendered into writing. Instead, there was a process of oral narration, with inevitable noise in the transmission and distribution process. Writing came much later.

Frederick Eden Pargiter’s book on the Puranas is still one of the best introductions to this corpus. 3 To explain the composition and transmission process, one can do no better than to quote him:

The Vayu and Padma Puranas tell us how ancient genealogies, tales and ballads were preserved, namely, by the sutas, 4 and they describe the suta’s duty . . . The Vayu, Brahmanda and Visnu give an account, how the original Purana came into existence . . . Those three Puranas say— Krsna Dvaipayana divided the single Veda into four and arranged them, and so was called Vyasa. He entrusted them to his four disciples, one to each, namely Paila, Vaisampayana, Jaimini and Sumantu. Then with tales, anecdotes, songs and lore that had come down from the ages he compiled a Purana, and taught it and the Itihasa to his fifth disciple, the suta Romaharsana or Lomaharsana . . . After that he composed the Mahabharata. The epic itself implies that the Purana preceded it . . . As explained above, the sutas had from remote times preserved the genealogies of gods, rishis and kings, and traditions and ballads about celebrated men, that is, exactly the material—tales, songs and ancient lore—out of which the Purana was constructed. Whether or not Vyasa composed the original Purana or superintended its compilation, is immaterial for the present purpose . . . After the original Purana was composed, by Vyasa as is said, his disciple Romaharsana taught it to his son Ugrashravas, and Ugrashravas the souti 5 appears as the reciter in some of the present Puranas; and the sutas still retained the right to recite it for their livelihood. But, as stated above, Romaharsana taught it to his six disciples, at least five of whom were brahmans. It thus passed into the hands of brahmans, and their appropriation and development of it increased in the course of time, as the Purana grew into many Puranas, as Sanskrit learning became peculiarly the province of the brahmans, and as new and frankly sectarian Puranas were composed.

Pargiter cited reasons for his belief that the Mahabharata was composed after the original Purana, though that runs contrary to the popular perception about the Mahabharata having been composed before the Puranas. That popular and linear perception is too simplistic, since texts evolved parallelly, not necessarily sequentially.

In popular perception, Krishna Dvaipayana Vedavyasa composed the Mahabharata. He then composed the Puranas. Alternatively, he composed an original core Purana text, which has been lost, and others embellished it through additions. The adjective ‘purana’, meaning old account or old text, became a proper noun, signifying a specific text. To be classified as a Purana, a Purana has to possess five attributes—pancha lakshmana. That is, five topics must be discussed—sarga, pratisarga, vamsha, manvantara and vamshanucharita. The clearest statement of this is in the Matsya Purana. A text like the Bhagavata Purana also mentions these five attributes, but adds another five, making it a total of ten. Unlike the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, there is no Critical Edition of the Puranas. 6 Therefore, citing chapter and verse from a Purana text is somewhat more difficult, since verse, if not chapter, may vary from text to text. With that caveat, the relevant shloka (verse) should be in the fifty-third chapter of the Matysa Purana. Sarga means the original or primary creation. The converse of sarga is universal destruction, or pralaya. That period of sarga lasts for one of Brahma’s days, known as kalpa. When Brahma sleeps, during his night, there is universal destruction.

In measuring time, there is the notion of a yuga (era) and there are four yugas—satya yuga (also known as krita yuga), treta yuga, dvapara yuga and kali yuga. Satya yuga lasts for 4,000 years, treta yuga for 3,000 years, dvapara yuga for 2,000 years and kali yuga for 1,000 years. However, all these are not human years. The gods have a different timescale and these are the years of the gods. As one progressively moves from satya yuga to kali yuga, virtue (dharma) declines. But at the end of kali yuga, the cycle begins afresh, with satya yuga. An entire cycle, from satya yuga to kali yuga, is known as a mahayuga (great era). However, a mahayuga is not just 10,000 years. There is a further complication. At the beginning and the end of every yuga, there are some additional years. These additional years are 400 for satya yuga, 300 for treta yuga, 200 for dvapara yuga and 100 for kali yuga. A mahayuga thus has 12,000 years, adding years both at the beginning and at the end. One thousand mahayugas make up one kalpa. A kalpa is also divided into fourteen manvantaras, a manvantara being a period during which a Manu presides and rules over creation. Therefore, there are 71.4 mahayugas in a manvantara. Our present kalpa is known as the Shveta Varaha Kalpa. Within that, six Manus have come and gone. Their names are (1) Svayambhuva Manu, (2) Svarochisha Manu, (3) Uttama Manu, (4) Tapasa Manu, (5) Raivata Manu and (6) Chakshusha Manu. The present Manu is known as Vaivasvata Manu. Vivasvat, also written as Vivasvan, is the name of Surya, the sun god. Vaivasvata Manu has that name because he is Surya’s son. Not only the Manus, but the gods, the ruler of the gods and the seven great sages, known as the saptarshis (seven rishis), change from one manvantara to another. Indra is a title of the ruler of the gods. It is not a proper name. The present Indra is Purandara. However, in a different manvantara, someone else will hold the title. In the present seventh manvantara, known as Vaivasvata manvantara, there will also be 71.4 mahayugas. We are in the twenty-eighth of these. Since a different Vedavyasa performs that task of classifying and collating the Vedas in every mahayuga, Krishna Dvaipayana Vedavyasa is the twenty-eighth in that series. Just so that it is clear, Vedavyasa isn’t a proper name. It is a title conferred on someone who collates and classifies the Vedas. There have been twenty-seven who have held the title of Vedavyasa before Krishna Dvaipayana and he is the twenty-eighth. His proper name is Krishna Dvaipayana—Krishna because he was dark and Dvaipayna because he was born on an island (dvipa). This gives us an idea of what the topic of manvantara is. This still leaves pratisarga, vamsha and vamshanucharita. The two famous dynasties/lineages were the solar dynasty (surya vamsha) and lunar dynasty (chandra vamsha) and all the famous kings belonged to one or other of these two dynasties. Vamshanucharita is about these lineages and the conduct of these kings. There were the gods and sages (rishis) too, not always born through a process of physical procreation. Their lineages are described under the heading of vamsha. Finally, within that cycle of primary creation and destruction, there are smaller and secondary cycles of creation and destruction. That’s the domain of pratisarga. In greater or lesser degree, all the Puranas cover these five topics, some more than the others.

There are Puranas, and there are Puranas. Some are known as Sthala Puranas, describing the greatness and sanctity of a specific geographical place. Some are known as Upa-Puranas, minor Puranas. The listing of Upa-Puranas has regional variations and there is no countrywide consensus about the list of Upa-Puranas, though it is often accepted that there are eighteen of them. The Puranas we have in mind are known as Maha-Puranas, major Puranas. Henceforth, when we use the word Puranas, we mean Maha-Puranas. There is consensus that there are eighteen Maha-Puranas, though it is not obvious that this number of eighteen existed right from the beginning. The names are mentioned in several of these texts, including a shloka that follows the shloka cited from the Matsya Purana. The listing is also included in the last sections of the Bhagavata Purana itself. Thus, the eighteen Puranas are (1) Agni (15,400); (2) Bhagavata (18,000); (3) Brahma (10,000); (4) Brahmanda (12,000); (5) Brahmavaivarta (18,000); (6) Garuda (19,000); (7) Kurma (17,000); (8) Linga (11,000); (9) Markandeya (9,000); (10) Matsya (14,000); (11) Narada (25,000); (12) Padma (55,000); (13) Shiva (24,000); (14) Skanda (81,100); (15) Vamana (10,000); (16) Varaha (24,000); (17) Vayu (24,000) and (18) Vishnu (23,000). A few additional points about this list. First, the Harivamsha is sometimes loosely described as a Purana, but strictly speaking, it is not a Purana. It is more like an addendum to the Mahabharata. Second, Bhavishya (14,500) is sometimes mentioned, with Vayu excised from the list. However, the Vayu Purana exhibits many more Purana characteristics than the Bhavishya Purana does. There are references to a Bhavishyat Purana that existed, but that may not necessarily be the Bhavishya Purana as we know it today. That’s true of some other Puranas too. Texts have been completely restructured hundreds of years later. Third, it is not just a question of Bhavishya Purana and Vayu Purana. In the lists given in some Puranas, Vayu is part of the eighteen, but Agni is knocked out. In some others, Narasimha and Vayu are included, but Brahmanda and Garuda are knocked out. Fourth, when a list is given, the order also indicates some notion of priority or importance. Since that varies from text to text, our listing is simply alphabetical, according to the English alphabet.

The numbers within brackets indicate the number of shlokas each of these Puranas has, or is believed to have. The range is from 10,000 in Brahma to a mammoth 81,100 in Skanda. The aggregate is a colossal 409,500 shlokas. To convey a rough idea of the orders of magnitude, the Mahabharata has, or is believed to have, 100,000 shlokas. It’s a bit difficult to convert a shloka into word counts in English, especially because Sanskrit words have a slightly different structure. However, as a very crude approximation, one shloka is roughly twenty words. Thus, 100,000 shlokas become two million words and 400,000 shlokas, four times the size of the Mahabharata, amounts to eight million words. There is a reason for using the expression ‘is believed to have’, as opposed to ‘has’. Rendering into writing is of later vintage, the initial process was one of oral transmission. In the process, many texts have been lost, or are retained in imperfect condition. This is true of texts in general and is also specifically true of Itihasa and Puranas. The Critical Edition of the Mahabharata, mentioned earlier, no longer possesses 100,000 shlokas. Including the Harivamsha, there are around 80,000 shlokas. The Critical Edition of the Mahabharata has of course deliberately excised some shlokas. For the Puranas, there is no counterpart of Critical Editions. However, whichever edition of the Puranas one chooses, the number of shlokas in that specific Purana will be smaller than the numbers given above. Either those many shlokas did not originally exist, or they have been lost. This is the right place to mention that a reading of the Puranas assumes a basic degree of familiarity with the Valmiki Ramayana and the Mahabharata, more the latter than the former. Without that familiarity, one will often fail to appreciate the context completely. Specifically for the Bhagavata Purana, more than passing familiarity with the Bhagavad Gita—strictly speaking, a part of the Mahabharata—helps. 7

Other than the five attributes, the Puranas have a considerable amount of information on geography and even geological changes (changes in courses of rivers) and astronomy. Therefore, those five attributes shouldn’t suggest the Puranas have nothing more. They do, and they have therefore been described as encyclopedias. Bharatavarsha is vast and heterogeneous and each Purana may very well have originated in one particular part of the country. Accordingly, within that broad compass of an overall geographical description, the extent of geographical information varies from Purana to Purana. Some are more familiar with one part of the country than with another. Though not explicitly mentioned in the five attributes, the Puranas are also about pursuing dharma, artha, kama and moksha, the four objectives of human existence, and are about the four varnas and the four ashramas. The general understanding and practice of dharma is based much more on the Puranas than on the Vedas. Culture, notions of law, rituals, architecture and iconography are based on the Puranas. There is beautiful poetry too, included in parts of the Bhagavata Purana.

Perhaps one should mention that there are two ways these eighteen Puranas are classified. The trinity has Brahma as the creator, Vishnu as the preserver and Shiva as the destroyer. Therefore, Puranas where creation themes feature prominently are identified with Brahma (Brahma, Brahmanda, Brahmavaivarta, Markandeya). Puranas where Vishnu features prominently are identified as Vaishnava Puranas (Bhagavata, Garuda, Kurma, Matsya, Narada, Padma, Vamana, Varaha, Vishnu). Puranas where Shiva features prominently are identified as Shaiva Puranas (Agni, Linga, Shiva, Skanda, Vayu). While there is a grain of truth in this, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are all important and all three feature in every Purana. Therefore, beyond the relative superiority of Vishnu vis-à-vis Shiva, the taxonomy probably doesn’t serve much purpose. The second classification is even more tenuous and is based on the three gunas of sattva (purity), rajas (passion) and tamas (ignorance). For example, the Uttara Khanda of the Padma Purana has a few shlokas along these lines, recited by Shiva to Parvati. With a caveat similar to the one mentioned earlier, this should be in the 236th chapter of Uttara Khanda. According to this, the Puranas characterized by sattva are Bhagavata, Garuda, Narada, Padma, Varaha and Vishnu. Those characterized by rajas are Bhavishya, Brahma, Brahmanda, Brahmavaivarta, Markandeya and Vamana, Those characterized by tamas are Agni, Kurma, Linga, Matsya, Skanda and Shiva.

Within a specific Purana text, there are earlier sections, as well as later ones. That makes it difficult to date a Purana, except as a range. Across Purana texts, there are older Puranas, as well as later ones. Extremely speculatively, the dating will be something like the following. (1) Agni (800–1100 CE); (2) Bhagavata (500–1000 CE); (3) Brahma (700–1500 CE); (4) Brahmanda (400–600 CE); (5) Brahmavaivarta (700–1500 CE); (6) Garuda (800–1100 CE); (7) Kurma (600–900 CE); (8) Linga (500–1000 CE); (9) Markandeya (250–700 CE); (10) Matsya (200–500 CE); (11) Narada (900–1600 CE); (12) Padma (400–1600 CE); (13) Shiva (1000–1400 CE); (14) Skanda (600–1200 CE); (15) Vamana (450–900 CE); (16) Varaha (1000–1200 CE); (17) Vayu (350–550 CE); (18) Vishnu (300 BCE to 450 CE); and (19) Bhavishya (500–1900 CE). Reiterating once again that there is no great precision in these ranges, by this reckoning, the Vishnu Purana is the oldest and some parts of the Bhavishya Purana are as recent as the nineteenth century.

As mentioned earlier, there is no Critical Edition for the Puranas. Therefore, one has to choose a Sanskrit text one is going to translate from. If one is going to translate all the Puranas, it is preferable, though not essential, that one opts for a common source for all the Purana texts. The common source for the Bhagavata Purana, and the subsequent Purana translations, is the one brought out by Nag Publishers, with funding from the ministry of human resource development. 8 A transliterated Sanskrit text is available through the University of Gottingen. 9 In Devanagari, the text is available at, with the transliterated Sanskrit text at The Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies at the University of Oxford has a lot of useful resources under the umbrella of the Bhagavata Purana Research Project. 10 Among other things, this research project has published a book that is a bit like an abridged translation of the Bhagavata Purana. 11 The Bhagavata Purana is divided into twelve skandhas. The word skandha means trunk, or largish branch. In this context, it means section or segment. Out of these twelve skandhas, the tenth is the longest and is also the most read. Therefore, there are translations of the Bhagavata Purana that are limited to only the Tenth Skandha. Edwin Bryant’s rendering of the Tenth Skandha is almost like such a translation. 12 For the entire Bhagavata Purana, there are unabridged translations in Indian languages. However, to the best of my knowledge, there are only five unabridged translations in English: (1) Manmatha Nath Dutt; 13 (2) Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada; 14 (3) Ganesh Vasudeo Tagare; 15 (4) Swami Tapasyananda; 16 and (5) C.L. Goswami and M.A. Shastri. 17 In 1901, Purnendu Narayana Sinha published a version that was close to a translation, but fell just short because it followed the path of retelling. 18 The Sanskrit texts used in these five translations vary a bit and the one used in this translation also varies a bit from the ones used in these five. The Bhagavata Purana is believed to have 18,000 shlokas. The table below shows what this particular Sanskrit version has: just over 14,000 spread across 335 chapters. One should not jump to the conclusion that a large number of shlokas are missing. A few are indeed missing. But sometimes, it is also a question of how one counts a shloka. With the content remaining identical, the text may be counted as one shloka in one place and as two shlokas elsewhere. Our numbering is exactly the same as in the Sanskrit text we have followed. Hence, even though there may be no difference in content between our version of the text and, say, that used by Swami Prabhupada, the numbering will vary a bit. (Sometimes, there are minor differences in the Sanskrit text though.) However, there are some shlokas that are indeed missing and Ganesh Vasudeo Tagare is a good source for translations of these missing shlokas, because those missing shlokas have been separately translated there. When we have enumerated all the chapters, there are two identifying numbers that have been provided. The first number refers to the skandha, the second to the number of the chapter within the skandha. Thus, Chapter 4(30) will be the thirtieth chapter in the fourth skandha. Skandha Number of chapters Number of shlokas 1 19 811 2 10 391 3 33 1412 4 31 1450 5 26 738 6 19 855 7 15 752 8 24 929 9 24 962 10 90 3948 11 31 1360 12 13 564 Total 335 14172

In the translations of the Bhagavad Gita, the Mahabharata, the Harivamsha and the Valmiki Ramayana, we followed the principle of not using diacritical marks. The use of diacritical marks (effectively the international alphabet of Sanskrit transliteration) makes the pronunciation and rendering more accurate, but also tends to put off readers who are less academically inclined. Since diacritical marks are not being used, there is a challenge of rendering Sanskrit names in English. Sanskrit is a phonetic language and we have used that principle as a basis. Applied consistently, this means that words are rendered in ways that may seem unfamiliar. Hence, the name of the jewel, often written as Kaustubha, will appear as Koustubha here. This is true of proper names, and, in a few rare cases, of geographical names. The absence of diacritical marks causes some minor problems. How does one distinguish Vasudeva Krishna from Krishna’s father, Vasudeva? Often, the context will make the difference clear. If not, we have written the son as Vaasudeva and the father as Vasudeva. In translating, the attempt has been to provide a word-for-word translation, so that if one were to hold up the Sanskrit text, there would be a perfect match.

The intention is also to offer a translation, not an interpretation. That sounds like a simple principle to adopt, and for the most part, is easy to follow. However, there is a thin dividing line between translation and interpretation. In some instances, it is impossible to translate without bringing in a little bit of interpretation. Inevitably, interpretation is subjective. We have tried to minimize the problem by (a) reducing interpretation; (b) relegating interpretation to footnotes and (c) when there are alternative interpretations, pointing this out to the reader through those footnotes. If a Purana text is just about the five attributes mentioned, the task isn’t that difficult. Take the Bhagavata Purana as an example. In Chapter 2(10), we are told about the ten characteristics of the Bhagavata Purana and these are sarga, visarga, sthana, poshana, uti, manvantara, isha-anukatha, nirodha, mukti and ashraya. These are (1) gross creation; (2) subtle creation; (3) preservation; (4) sustenance; (5) the addiction to the senses; (6) manvantaras; (7) accounts of the lord; (8) withdrawal; (9) liberation and (10) the ultimate refuge. Therefore, the text has much more than the five attributes cited. The word ‘bhagavat’ means the divine one, the illustrious one, the fortunate one, the prosperous one, the blessed one, the sacred one, the holy one. We are often more familiar with the nominative form, bhagavaan. Bhagavat/Bhagavaan occur frequently in our text and I have translated the word as ‘the illustrious one’. Since this is a Purana devoted to Vishnu, Bhagavat/Bhagavaan typically means Vishnu. But the text is not called Bhagavata Purana; it is in fact called Bhaagavata Purana. What does the word Bhaagavata mean? Taken as an adjective, the word means sacred and Bhaagavata Purana is simply the sacred Purana, a perfectly acceptable meaning. However, taken as a noun, Bhaagavata means a devotee or worshipper of Vishnu—and bhaagavata dharma is the dharma of devotion towards Vishnu. Therefore, Bhaagavata Purana is the text that describes this bhaagavata dharma that Vishnu devotees follow.

Hence, it isn’t only about stories. As mentioned earlier, the longest skandha, the tenth, is also the most popular and is read most often. This particular skandha describes Krishna’s exploits and pastimes. This includes rasa lila and this skandha has some exquisite poetry. The song of the gopis is an example of this. As is thus obvious, this skandha has its fair share of stories. But in the other skandhas, the emphasis is more on dharma and moksha and a mix of bhakti (devotion), advaita (monism), dvaita (dualism), samkhya and yoga, 19 with notions of avataras (Vishnu’s incarnations) brought in. There is the influence of pancharatra doctrines and texts. Literally, the term pancharatra means five nights, and is a reference to five nights over which sacrifices were performed. However, there were pancharatra doctrines too and these developed a metaphysical philosophy. If we so wish, we can call it a theology. Vaishnava dharma integrated this pancharatra tradition with the other strands that have just been mentioned. Since this is a synthesis of many different strands, there are bound to be nuances and different schools. What does the Bhagavata Purana teach? What is its philosophy? Beyond the obvious tenet of devotion to Vishnu and emphasis on bhakti yoga, this is extremely difficult to answer. As a text that builds a theology, the Bhagavata Purana is much more complicated than the Bhagavad Gita. Indeed, one could say it builds extensively on that Bhagavad Gita foundation. Down the years, there have been several commentaries on and interpretations of the Bhagavata Purana. Depending on the language and the timeline for beginning and ending the cut-off, there must be at least two hundred such commentaries and interpretations. Which of these schools or interpretations should one follow? Should one take cognizance of other possible interpretations? In principle, this dilemma can exist in the course of translating any Purana. But in no other Purana is it as serious, because no other Purana devotes such a large percentage of shlokas to philosophy.

The choice in this translation is conscious and is driven by the objective and the target audience. The target audience is the ordinary reader who desires a faithful rendering of the Sanskrit text. The target reader isn’t the academic who desires something like a survey of literature. Nor is the target reader a devotee of one particular Vaishnava school. To state it a bit more explicitly, Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Swami Tapasyananda and C.L. Goswami and M.A. Shastri follow one particular line of commentary or interpretation or school. From an academic’s perspective, Ganesh Vasudeo Tagare is the best. His translation also includes an excellent introduction and a detailed note on several different commentators of the Bhagavata Purana, certainly covering the major ones. However, apart from the language of the Tagare rendition not being very smooth, that edition is also layered with complexities which can deter the ordinary reader. On the other hand, I have consciously done what is akin to a contemporary Manmatha Nath Dutt translation. Without distorting, I have chosen the simplest possible interpretation or translation that fits. In a few minor instances, this meant choosing an interpretation that was marginally different from those chosen by these preceding translators. It is possible to criticize the avoidance of complexities, but it is a conscious choice and the dissatisfied reader can always go on to read more copious commentaries and annotations. There is plenty in the Bhagavata Purana to immerse oneself in and this translation is not meant to be the final item on that reading list. It can at best be the first.

The Bhagavata Purana 1

First Skandha

Chapter 1(1): 23 shlokas

Chapter 1(2): 34 shlokas

Chapter 1(3): 44 shlokas

Chapter 1(4): 33 shlokas

Chapter 1(5): 40 shlokas

Chapter 1(6): 39 shlokas

Chapter 1(7): 58 shlokas

Chapter 1(8): 52 shlokas

Chapter 1(9): 49 shlokas

Chapter 1(10): 36 shlokas

Chapter 1(11): 39 shlokas

Chapter 1(12): 36 shlokas

Chapter 1(13): 60 shlokas

Chapter 1(14): 45 shlokas

Chapter 1(15): 51 shlokas

Chapter 1(16): 37 shlokas

Chapter 1(17): 45 shlokas

Chapter 1(18): 50 shlokas

Chapter 1(19): 40 shlokasChapter 1(1)

Creation and everything else 1 flow from him. Directly, and indirectly, he knows of all the objectives. He rules over himself. He is the one who filled the heart of Brahma, 2 the original wise being. The gods are bemused by him. He is like the interaction between energy, water and earth. He is the certain cause behind the three types of creation. 3 He is always his own refuge. He is the one who casts out illusion. He is the absolute truth. We meditate on him. 4 This illustrious Bhagavata 5 was composed by the great sage. 6 It is about supreme dharma and is completely free from deceit. It is for the virtuous who are devoid of envy. Knowledge exists here about true reality and bliss and about uprooting the three kinds of misery. 7 What else is needed to obtain the lord? If a person has cleansed his soul and is faithful, through this, he instantly establishes him in his heart. The sacred texts are like trees that yield all the objects of desire and this represents their ripened fruit. It emerged from Shuka’s mouth, with the pulp and juice of amrita. Drink the Bhagavata, the store of juices. O those who possess taste! Savour it repeatedly and become happy on earth.

In Naimisha, the open ground, 8 Shounaka and the other rishis assembled to perform a sacrifice that lasted one thousand years, with the objective of attaining the world of heaven. On one occasion, the sages lit a fire and offered the morning oblations. Suta 9 was seated. They honoured him and started to ask him about these things. ‘O unblemished one! You have indeed studied the Puranas, the Itihasas, 10 the Dharmashastras and everything that has been said and have also explained them. The illustrious Badarayana 11 is supreme among those who know about the Vedas. O Suta! There are other sages who possess knowledge about the near and the distant. 12 O amiable one! Through his 13 favours, you know everything about the truth. Preceptors tell their gentle disciples everything, even if it happens to be a secret. O one with a long life! Thus, you have determined what will bring certain benefit to people. Therefore, you should instruct us about this. In this kali yuga, 14 people generally possess limited lifespans. They are wicked, with evil intelligence, unfortunate and suffering. There are many kinds of diverse rites, with their respective divisions, that deserve to be heard. O virtuous one! Therefore, use your intelligence to distil out their gist. Then tell us fortunate beings, so that our souls are extremely gratified. O Suta! O fortunate one! You know why the illustrious lord of the Satvatas 15 desired to be born through Devaki and Vasudeva. His descent 16 was for the benefit and welfare of beings. We are faithful and you should tell us about all the details that have been described. A person may be immersed in this cycle of birth and death and so helpless and distressed that Fear is itself scared of him. However, if he chants his name, he is instantly freed. The waters of the heavenly river 17 sanctify only when the waters are repeatedly touched and used. O Suta! However, sages who have served at his feet and have purified themselves can instantly sanctify others. 18 The auspicious deeds of the illustrious one are worshipped through these shlokas. Is there anyone, desiring to purify himself from the blemishes of kali, who does not want to listen to his fame? The gods chant his pervasive deeds. He assumes various forms in sport. Recount those to us, the faithful ones. O intelligent one! Therefore, recount to us the auspicious tale of Hari’s descent. As he wishes, he resorts to his own maya 19 and engages in his sport. Hearing about his valour in these excellent shlokas, we are never satiated. Those who have a taste for it find it savoury at every step. 20 Indeed, Keshava performed his deeds of valour with Rama. 21 The illustrious one is superhuman. But he concealed this by hiding himself in the form of a man. Having known that kali has arrived, we have assembled here, in Vishnu’s ground, to engage in this long sacrifice. There is time to hear about Hari’s account. Kali destroys good qualities in men. It is like an ocean that is extremely difficult to cross and we desire to cross it. The creator has indicated that you are like our helmsman. Krishna, the lord of yoga, has followed the path of the brahman 22 and of dharma and has now departed for his own abode. Tell us. Where else will dharma go for a refuge?’Chapter 1(2)

When he was respectfully asked by the brahmanas, Romaharshana’s son was delighted. He honoured their words and started to speak.

Suta said, ‘I bow down before the sage who is present in the hearts of all beings. 23 He left on his exile, without the sacred thread ceremony having been performed. Miserable at being separated from him, Dvaipayana called out, “My son!” Only the trees answered back. I seek refuge in Vyasa’s son, the preceptor of all the sages. Through his own experiences he distilled the single essence of all the sacred texts. It is the lamp of adhyatma. 24 Out of compassion for those who were blind in this cycle of life, he revealed this secret Purana. Jaya should be recited after bowing down to Narayana, Nara, supreme among men, the goddess Sarasvati and Vyasa. 25 O sages! Following virtue, you have asked me about the welfare of the world and also asked me about what Krishna did. Such questions completely please the soul. The supreme dharma for men is in devotion to Adhokshaja. 26 For the soul to be completely pleased, this must be without motive and without interruption. Through the yoga of devotion 27 to the illustrious Vasudeva, non-attachment and knowledge that is without motives are instantly generated. A man may be engaged in his own acts of dharma. However, if these do not generate a liking for Vishvaksena’s 28 accounts, they are nothing more than exertion. Dharma is for liberation. Artha has not been thought of as its objective. It has been said that someone who is devoted to dharma should not use artha for the gratification of kama. Kama should not be used to please the senses, obtaining the bit necessary to sustain life is sufficient. The purpose of life is to ask about the truth. The objective of deeds is nothing but this. Those who know about the truth speak of this as knowledge without duality and this is expressed in words as brahman, paramatman or bhagavan. Devoted sages who possess knowledge and non-attachment faithfully imbibe the sacred texts and behold the atman in their own souls. O best among the brahmanas! Therefore, for men, the best way to satisfy Hari is to properly base themselves on their own dharma, according to the divisions of varna and ashrama. 29 Therefore, single-mindedly, one must hear about the illustrious lord of the Satvatas, praise him, meditate on him and always worship him. Learned and self-controlled ones can use this sword to sever the knots in the bondage of action. Thus, who will not like to hear about his account? O brahmanas! Faithfully serving those who like to hear about Vasudeva’s account is a greater service than frequenting sacred tirthas. 30 The hearing and the recital of Krishna’s deeds is sacred. Krishna is affectionate towards the virtuous. He remains in the hearts of those who wish to hear about his account and wards off all evil. In general, by serving Bhagavata, 31 all wickedness is generally destroyed. The excellent shlokas of the Bhagavata result in faithful devotion. One is then pleased and established in the quality of sattva. One is not disturbed by the qualities of rajas or tamas, desire, avarice and other similar sentiments. Hence, one is pleased in one’s mind and follows the yoga of devotion towards the illustrious one. Knowledge of the truth about the illustrious one leads to freedom from attachment. The knots in the heart 32 are severed and all doubts are dispelled. When one sees the lord in one’s atman, all karma is destroyed. That is the reason wise ones always find great delight in devotion to the illustrious Vasudeva, thus pleasing their own selves. Sattva, rajas and tamas are the natural qualities of prakriti. 33 Though the supreme purusha is actually one, for the sake of the material world, he is united with these qualities and bases himself in forms like Hari, Virinchi and Hara. 34 Indeed, men obtain the best benefit from the quality of sattva. 35 Wood results from the earth, but smoke is superior to wood. The three kinds of fire are superior to the smoke. 36 Similarly, rajas is better than tamas. But because one can realize the brahman through it, sattva is the best. Hence, earlier, all the sages served the illustrious Adhokshaja, who is pure sattva. In this world, those who seek to follow them obtain welfare. Those who desire liberation abandon the terrible forms of the lords of the demons. 37 Free from malice, they worship the peaceful forms of Narayana. Those whose natures have rajas and tamas worship those who are similar in conduct, such as the ancestors, the bhutas and other lords of beings. They do this because they desire prosperity, wealth and offspring. Vasudeva is the supreme form of the Vedas. Vasudeva is the supreme form of sacrifices. Vasudeva is the supreme form of yoga. Vasudeva is the supreme form of rituals. Vasudeva is the supreme form of knowledge. Vasudeva is the supreme form of austerities. Vasudeva is the supreme form of dharma. Vasudeva is the supreme form of all objectives. Using his own maya, at the beginning of this creation, the illustrious lord created the forms of existence and non-existence 38 and the possession of qualities and lack of qualities. 39 He entered into the functioning of these qualities and seemed to assume qualities. In their midst, he seemed to possess attributes. However, he can only be comprehended through self-knowledge. 40 He is like fire hidden in wood. Purusha is one. He is the atman of the universe and is the source of all creation. He assumes different forms in beings. 41 Through his own creation, he enters these forms with attributes of qualities. In subtle form, he is in beings, in their senses and their atmans. He enjoys those attributes in the beings. Thus, the creator of the worlds thought of creatures and the worlds, the gods, the inferior species and men. In his sport, he assumes different kinds of avataras.’Chapter 1(3)

Suta said, ‘In the beginning, desiring to create the worlds, the illustrious one assumed the form of Purusha. He created sixteen different kalas, 42 Mahat 43 and the others. The extensive one was lying down in the waters, in his sleep of yoga. A lotus sprouted from his navel and Brahma, the lord of all the creators of the universe 44 was born from this lotus. It is thought that the worlds are spread out, established on his body. The illustrious one’s form is extremely pure, excellent with sattva. Those whose eyes are full of knowledge can see that wonderful form—with thousands of legs, thighs, arms and faces. There are thousands of heads, ears, eyes and noses. There are thousands of glittering diadems, garments and earrings. This is the source of the descents. 45 This is the seed without decay. Gods, inferior species and humans are created from the parts and sub-parts of this. At first, the god resorted to creation in the form of the Kumaras. 46 They were brahmanas and performed extremely difficult austerities, not deviating from brahmacharya. 47 The earth had been taken down to rasatala. 48 To ensure welfare, the lord of sacrifices assumed the form of a boar, raised it up from there and established it. The third creation was that of the rishis and he assumed the form of the divine rishi. 49 He collated the texts known as the Satvata Tantra. 50 If one follows these, the fruits of action do not bind down a person. In the fourth creation, he was born as the twin rishis, Nara and Narayana, sons of Dharma’s wife. 51 He controlled his senses and performed extremely difficult austerities. In the fifth, his name was Kapila, foremost among the Siddhas. 52 He instructed Asuri 53 about the true principles of samkhya. 54 Over time, this knowledge has been lost. In the sixth, Anasuya prayed that she might obtain him as Atri’s son. 55 He taught Alarka, Prahlada and others about metaphysics. In the seventh, he was born as Yajna, the son of Akuti and Ruchi. 56 With Yama and large numbers of other gods, he ruled over the period of Svayambhu. 57 In the eighth, Urukrama 58 was born as the son of Nabhi and his queen, Meru. He exhibited the path to all the persevering ones and was honoured by all the mendicants. O brahmanas! Worshipped by the rishis, he assumed the ninth form of Prithu. He milked the earth of herbs and other products and made it attractive. 59 At the time of Chakshusha Manu, 60 when the entire earth was flooded in water, he assumed the form of a fish, 61 saved Vaivasvata Manu and made him ascend the boat. In his eleventh, when the gods and the asuras were churning the ocean, the lord assumed the form of a tortoise and sustained Mount Mandara on his back. 62 In his twelfth, he was in the form of Dhanvantari. 63 In his thirteenth, he assumed the form of a woman, Mohini, making the gods drink and confounding the others. 64 The Indra among the daityas 65 was extremely energetic. In his fourteenth, he assumed the form of Narasimha and placing him on his thighs, used his talons to rip apart his chest, just as a maker of mats tears reeds. 66 In his fifteenth, he assumed the form of a dwarf and went to Bali’s sacrifice. Desiring the world of the gods, he sought the space that could be covered in three strides. 67 In the sixteenth descent, he saw that the kings were causing injury to the brahmanas. Enraged, he 68 exterminated kshatriyas from the earth twenty-one times. In the seventeenth, he was born as the son of Satyavati and Parashara. 69 On seeing that people were limited in intelligence, he classified the Vedas into different branches. Desiring to accomplish the tasks of the gods, he assumed the form of a god among men. 70 He restrained the ocean and performed many other acts of valour. In the nineteenth and the twentieth, to remove the burden of the earth, he took birth in the lineage of the Vrishnis as Rama and Krishna. 71 When kali yuga ensues, to confound the enemies of the gods, he will be born as Jina’s son, in the land of Kikata and will be named Buddha. 72 When it is the conjunction of two yugas, kings will generally be like bandits. The lord of the universe will be born as Vishnuyasha’s son and will be named Kalki. 73 Thousands of streams flow from an inexhaustible lake. O brahmanas! Like that, Hari, the store of sattva, has innumerable descents. The rishis, humans, gods, Manu’s immensely energetic sons and the Prajapatis are all said to be born from Hari’s portions. These are the parts and sub-parts of the illustrious Purusha, Krishna himself. Whenever the senses of the worlds are afflicted, they offer protection, from one yuga to another yuga. The births of the illustrious one are mysterious. If a man controls himself and, morning and evening, devotedly chants accounts of the births, he is freed from all miseries. The form of the illustrious one consists of the supreme consciousness of his atman. Using Mahat and other attributes of his soul, he uses the qualities of maya to fashion these forms. Those who are ignorant say that torrents of clouds are created in the sky and the dust of the earth is created by the wind. However, the one with insight can distinguish what is seen. 74 Beyond this, there is a form that is not manifest, arranged through the attributes. Since it is like that, it cannot be seen and cannot be heard. This is the jivatman, which is born again. Through self-realization, one can counter the appearance of the gross and the subtle forms, which appear because one is ignorant. When this is countered, one achieves sight of the brahman. When the intelligence becomes accomplished, the taints that result from the goddess of maya subside. Such a learned person becomes accomplished and obtains glory in his greatness. Thus, the wise ones describe the births and the deeds of one who does not act and is not born. Even the Vedas find this lord of the heart to be mysterious. Invincible in his sports, he creates, maintains and destroys the universe, but is not attached to any of this. He controls himself and is inside all living creatures. He only seems to enjoy the six characteristics and the six qualities. 75 An unaccomplished person cannot comprehend the movements of an actor. Like that, an ignorant creature cannot use his mind and words to comprehend the accomplished acts of the creator and his names and forms. He cannot be crossed in his valour and he holds a part of the chariot in his hand. 76 His maya is unobstructed and pervasive. If a person devotedly serves him at his lotus-scented feet, only then will the person be able to understand the supreme glory of the creator. He is the lord of all the worlds. O illustrious ones! You are fortunate. With all your souls, you have accepted Vasudeva. Therefore, you will no longer suffer from the fierce cycle. 77 This is the Purana named Bhagavata and it is full of the brahman. The illustrious rishi composed it in excellent shlokas. It is blessed and is beneficial for the worlds. It brings great welfare. He extracted the essence of all the Vedas and the ancient accounts. Having extracted the essence, he made his son, 78 supreme among those who know about the atman, receive it. Surrounded by the supreme rishis, when the great king, Parikshit, was engaged in praya 79 on the banks of the Ganga, he 80 made him hear it. This Purana has arisen now, in kali yuga, when all learning has been destroyed, after Krishna returned to his own abode. It is like the sun and is full of knowledge about dharma. O brahmanas! When the greatly energetic brahmana rishi recited it, I was there. Through his favours, I attentively learnt it. According to my learning and according to my intelligence, I will make you hear it.’Chapter 1(4)

The sages were engaged in that long sacrifice. When Suta said this, Shounaka, the aged and extremely learned leader of the congregation, praised him. He said, ‘O Suta! O immensely fortunate one! O supreme among eloquent ones! O Suta! Tell us the account of the sacred Bhagavata, as spoken by the illustrious Shuka. What urged Krishna, the sage, to compile this samhita? 81 In what yuga was this done? Where and for what reason? His son was a great yogi, impartial and without any sense of discrimination. 82 He was single-minded and had woken up from his sleep. 83 He secreted himself and pretended to be stupid. When he followed his son, the rishi was not naked. On seeing him, out of modesty, the divine maidens covered their bodies with garments. But they had not done this for his son. 84 Amazed to see this, the sage asked and they replied, “In you, the sense of difference between a man and a woman exists. But that’s not the case with your son, whose attitude is pure.” When he arrived in Kurujangala, how did the citizens recognize him? 85 He arrived and wandered around in Gajasahvya, like one who was mad, dumb and stupid. How did a conversation occur between the rajarshi Pandaveya and the sage, in the course of which, the Satvata text was recited? 86 The immensely fortunate one tarried at the house of a householder only for as long as it takes to milk a cow, thereby transforming the place into a tirtha and a hermitage. 87 The emperor extended the honour of the Pandu lineage. Disregarding the prosperity of an empire, why did he engage in praya on the banks of the Ganga? For the sake of their own welfare, enemies brought riches and worshipped him, seeking refuge at his feet. The brave one was handsome and young. Why did he give all of this up, including his own life? These are very difficult to cast aside. It is amazing. There are excellent people who are devoted to the world and other people, to the welfare of the worlds and the prosperity of others. They do not live for themselves, but as refuges for others. How could a person like that free himself from his own body? Tell us everything about what has been asked. Other than the Vedas, I think that you are skilled in speaking about all these subjects.’

Suta replied, ‘When dvapara, the third yuga arrived, the yogi was born from Hari’s portion as the son of Parashara and Vasavi. 88 On one occasion, when the solar disc had arisen, he touched the sacred waters of the Sarasvati and was seated alone. The rishi knew about the past and the future. He perceived that because of the progression of time, the dharma of the different yugas had got mixed up. From one yuga to another yuga, this is what happens on earth. He perceived a diminished strength in the attributes of everything made up of the elements. There was a lack in faith and spirit. Because of evil intelligence, lifespans became shorter. With his divine insight, the sage perceived the misfortune of people. Infallible in his vision, he thought about what would bring welfare to all the varnas and the ashramas. He saw that the four kinds of sacrificial rites in the Vedas would purify people. Therefore, to continue the sacrifices, he expanded the single Veda into four. The Vedas were divided into four—Rig, Sama, Yajur and Atharva. The Itihasa and Puranas are said to be the fifth Veda. Paila received the Rig, the wise Jaimini the Sama and Vaishampayana alone became accomplished in the Yajur. The terrible sage, Sumantu, was given Atharva, associated with Angiras. My father, Romaharshana, was given the Itihasa and the Puranas. Those rishis divided their respective Vedas into many different parts. Through their disciples, the disciples of their disciples and further disciples, different branches of the Vedas resulted. The illustrious Vyasa was compassionate towards those who were miserable. Thus, he divided the Vedas so that even men with limited intelligence could sustain them. The sacred texts are not accessible to women, shudras and the worst among the brahmanas. 89 There are foolish ones who do not know which beneficial acts ensure welfare in this world. Out of compassion towards them, the sage composed the Bharata account. 90 O brahmanas! In this way, with all his soul, he was always engaged in the welfare of all creatures. However, his heart was still not satisfied. His heart was still not satisfied and he was seated alone on the sacred banks of the Sarasvati, debating within himself. The one who knew about dharma said, “Firm in my vows, I have honoured the Vedas, the preceptors and the fire. Avoiding everything unreal, I have accepted those instructions. For the sake of women, shudras and others, I have demonstrated the meaning of the teachings in Bharata, so that they can also see. Despite this, my body and my atman, though immersed in the supreme atman, appear incomplete. The radiance of the excellent brahman cannot be discerned. Is that because I have generally not directed myself towards the dharma of the Bhagavata? It is loved by those who have attained the supreme state and is also loved by Achyuta.” 91 He was regretting in this way, taking himself to be inferior. At that time, Narada approached Krishna’s 92 hermitage, the one mentioned before. Having got to know that he had come, the sage quickly got up. In the proper way, he worshipped Narada, who was worshipped by the gods.’Chapter 1(5)

Suta said, ‘The extremely learned devarshi 93 seated himself comfortably. With the veena in his hand, he seemed to smile as he spoke to the brahmana rishi.

‘Narada asked, “O son of Parashara! Are you satisfied with yourself and with your body, atman and mind? You have performed the extremely wonderful task of composing Bharata, explaining all the objectives of existence. 94 You have successfully obtained answers to everything that you asked. You have sought and studied about the eternal brahman. 95 O lord! Despite this, why are you grieving, as if you take yourself to have been unsuccessful?”

‘Vyasa replied, “Everything that you have said is true. Nevertheless, my soul is not satisfied. O one who is fathomless in knowledge! You have been generated from the one who created himself. 96 Therefore, I am asking you about the reason for this latent disquiet. You know about everything that is mysterious. You have worshipped the ancient Purusha. 97 His mind is the master of the past and the future. Without being attached, he uses his qualities to create and destroy the universe. Like the sun, you wander around in the three worlds. Like the wind, you course inside everything and are a witness to their atmans. I have followed the vows of dharma and have submerged myself in the brahman, the source of cause and effect. Tell me why this has not been sufficient.”

‘Narada said, “You have generally not described the unblemished fame of the illustrious one. Since he has not been satisfied with this, I think the insight has been limited. O supreme among sages! You have described dharma, artha and the others. 98 However, Vasudeva’s greatness has not been described in it. Hari sanctifies the universe. Colourful words that do not describe his glory are like a tirtha frequented by crows. Those whose minds dwell in the supreme spirit are like swans and do not find any pleasure there. If the creation of words is not in proper shlokas and is badly structured, as long as it describes the names and fame of the unlimited one, virtuous people hear and sing it. It destroys the sins of people. Action without a desire for the fruit does not dazzle, if it is devoid of attachment to Achyuta. Nor does pure and spotless knowledge. How can action without any reason 99 dazzle, if it is not offered to the eternal lord? It remains imperfect. O immensely fortunate one! O illustrious one! O one whose insight is infallible! O one famous for purity! O one who is devoted to the truth! O one who is firm in vows! For the sake of freeing everyone from all bonds, be attentive and remember Urukrama’s deeds. Whatever else you desired to describe, since they were distinct from this, 100 they assumed uncleansed names and forms. Like a boat that is struck by the wind, an agitated mind can never find a stable place of refuge anywhere. Generally, people are naturally addicted. You have committed a great and reprehensible transgression. For the sake of dharma, you have instructed them in words that speak of dharma. However, they will not pay heed and this will not restrain them. 101 Only an accomplished person who has withdrawn from happiness 102 is capable of comprehending the lord, whose boundaries are unlimited. They are whirled around by qualities and do not understand their own atmans. Therefore, you must instruct them about the lord’s deeds. If a person abandons his own dharma and worships Hari’s lotus feet, even if he falls down while he is still immature, there is nothing unfavourable that occurs as a consequence. If a person follows his own dharma, but does not worship him, what gain does he obtain? That is the reason a wise person must strive for that which is not obtained by circling above and below. 103 Everywhere, any happiness that is obtained follows the subtle progress of time and ends in unhappiness. O dear Vyasa! A person who worships Mukunda 104 does not have to be born again and go through this cycle. A person who has grasped Mukunda’s lotus feet remembers it again, and savouring it, does not desire to let go again. The illustrious one is this universe, but is also distinct from it. The creation, preservation and destruction of the universe result from him. You know this yourself. Nevertheless, I have given you a small indication. Your insight is without blemish. You know your atman and that you have been born as a portion of the supreme Purusha, the paramatman. Though you are without birth, this has happened for the welfare of the worlds. Therefore, enumerate the arising of the one who is great in powers. Wise ones have determined that the infallible objective of a man’s austerities, learning, sacrifices, recital of hymns, intelligence and charity is the description of his 105 qualities, through excellent shlokas. O sage! In ancient times, I was born as the son of a servant-maid who attended to those who spoke about the Vedas. As a child, during the rainy season, I was engaged by those yogis to serve them and lived with them. Though I was a boy, I did not possess any kind of fickleness. I was self-controlled and was not interested in playing. I followed and served the sages and spoke little. Though they were impartial vis-à-vis everyone, they took compassion on me. I took the permission of the brahmanas and ate their leftover food, once a day. Through such conduct, my sins were destroyed and my consciousness was purified. At that time, an attraction was generated in me towards this kind of dharma. Through their favours, I heard enchanting accounts about Krishna being sung. O dear Vyasa! As I heard every pada, faith developed in me and I developed a taste for this beloved account. O great sage! As I obtained this taste, my intelligence did not deviate from this beloved account. I realized that existence and non-existence 106 were all the consequence of my own illusions. I saw in me the brahman, who has been thought of as the supreme. Thus, during the autumn and the rainy seasons, I continuously 107 and incessantly heard the great-souled sages chant about Hari’s unblemished fame. This created devotion in me and dispelled all rajas and tamas. Though I was a child, I was faithful and self-controlled and followed them. I was devoted and obedient and my sins were destroyed. They were compassionate and kind towards those who were distressed. As they left, they instructed me about the most secret knowledge, uttered by the illustrious one himself. Thereby, I came to comprehend the maya and power of the illustrious creator, Vasudeva. Knowing this, one can reach his feet. O brahmana! It has been determined that this is the medication for the three kinds of misery, 108 the dedication of all action to the illustrious lord, the brahman. O one who is excellent in vows! Something may cause a disease in creatures. However, when applied as medication, it can also cure the disease. Thus, all the action undertaken by men is the cause of their being in this cycle. 109 However, when dedicated to the supreme, they are capable of destroying the consequences. 110 In this world, any action that is undertaken for the satisfaction of the illustrious one and any knowledge that is dependent on him has the attributes of bhakti yoga. 111 When one constantly undertakes action in accordance with the will of the illustrious one, one accepts Krishna and remembers him, his names and his qualities. O illustrious Vasudeva! I bow down before you. Oum! I bow down before Pradyumna, Aniruddha and Samkarshana. 112 We meditate on you. These are forms only in name. He has no form and these are forms resulting from mantras. A man who sacrifices to the Purusha who warrants all sacrifices is one who is perfect in perception. O brahmana! This is the knowledge I obtained because of what I had done. Because of my devotion to him, Keshava himself bestowed on me the wealth of this knowledge. You are vast in your knowledge and have heard about the lord. Those who desire learning become successful through this. Describe this, for the sake of souls who are repeatedly suffering. There is no other means to be liberated from this misery.”’Chapter 1(6)

Suta said, ‘The illustrious devarshi became silent, after describing his birth and deeds. However, Vyasa, Satyavati’s son, again asked the brahmana.

‘Vyasa asked, “The mendicants instructed you about that knowledge and departed. At that age in your life, what did you do then? O Svayambhu’s son! What conduct did you follow in your subsequent life? In the course of time, how did you give up the body that you had then obtained? O supreme among gods! Time destroys everything. All this concerns an earlier era. How has your memory not been erased?”

‘Narada replied, “After having instructed me about that knowledge, the mendicants departed. I was at that age in life and I did the following. I was the only son of my mother. She was limited in her intelligence and was a servant. She had no refuge other than her son and she bound me in her affection. Though she desired my welfare, she was not independent and could not think of anything. Like wooden dolls, people are under the subjugation of the lord. Though I disregarded it, 113 I was a child who was five years old. I dwelt in a brahmana’s family and had no idea about different directions, countries and time. Once, in order to milk a cow, she had gone out in the night. Goaded by destiny, along the path, she touched a snake with her foot and was bitten. The lord desires the welfare of his devotees and I thought that this was one of his favours. 114 I left in the northern direction. I saw prosperous habitations, cities, villages, pastures, mines, fields, valleys, parks, forests and groves there. There were mountains with colourful minerals. There were trees whose branches had been broken by elephants. There were lakes with sparkling water and lotuses, frequented by the gods. There were the beautiful tones of birds, rendered more beautiful by being mixed with the buzzing of bees. I passed through clumps of rushes, bamboo, reeds, kusha grass, cane and caves. Alone, I then reached a vast and desolate forest that was difficult to pass through. It was terrible and fearful because it was the sporting ground of predatory beasts, owls and jackals. My body and senses were exhausted. I was hungry and thirsty. I bathed in a pool in a river. Having touched the water, my fatigue was dispelled. In the forest that was devoid of humans, I sought refuge and seated myself under a pippala. 115 I thought about what I had been taught and used my atman to meditate on the atman. 116 As I meditated on his lotus feet, my consciousness was overwhelmed with devotion. Because of my eagerness, tears rolled down from my eyes and slowly, Hari manifested himself in my heart. O sage! I was overwhelmed by great love and all my limbs were excited and submerged in it. I was immersed in an ocean of bliss and could no longer see both of us. The illustrious one’s form is loved by the mind and dispels all sorrow. When I could no longer see it, I suddenly stood up. I suffered and my mind was distressed. I wished to see him again and fixed my mind in my heart. But though I concentrated, I could not see him. I was dissatisfied and afflicted. While I struggled in that desolate place, the one who cannot be reached through speech addressed me in deep and gentle words, seeking to pacify my grief. ‘Alas! In this life, you do not deserve to see me. It is extremely difficult for imperfect yogis, those not ripened by cleansing their sins, to see me. O unblemished one! Because of your good deeds and because of your desire, you have seen this form of mine once. A virtuous person who desires me, gradually casts aside all the desires of his heart. By serving the virtuous for a short period of time, your intelligence has been firmly fixed on me. After giving up this inferior world, you will go and become my attendant. An intelligence that is fixed in me never perishes. Because of my favours, at the time of the creation and destruction of subjects, your memory will remain.’ The great being, the lord, had no form. The sky was his form. After saying this, he stopped. He is the greatest of the great and had shown me compassion. I bowed my head down and worshipped him. With all my bashfulness destroyed, I recited the name of the infinite one. I remembered his mysterious and auspicious deeds. I no longer possessed any desire, pride or jealousy. Satisfied in my mind, I roamed around the earth and bided my time. 117 O brahmana! Thus, a person whose intelligence is fixed in Krishna is not attached and there is no blemish in his soul. In the course of time, like a flash of lightning, death appeared. As I was united with the pure form of that illustrious one, the body that consisted of the five elements fell down and obtained the fruits of the actions I had undertaken. At the end of the kalpa, the lord withdraws everything into himself and lies down and sleeps on the water. Together with the lord, 118 I also entered his breath. After one thousand yugas, 119 he arose and desired to create again. Marichi and the other rishis, and I, were created out of his breath. 120 Not deviating from my vows, I wander in and out of the three worlds. Through the favours of the great Vishnu, my movements are not impeded anywhere. This veena was given to me by the god. 121 It is ornamented with the sound of the brahman. It vibrates with accounts of Hari. I sing and wander around. His feet are tirthas and his exploits are pleasant to hear. Whenever I sing about his valour, he swiftly shows himself in my heart, as if he has been summoned. There are those whose intelligence is afflicted, they are repeatedly agitated by the objects of the senses. For them, this world is like an ocean and recounting Hari’s exploits is like a boat that can be used to cross this. There are those who are repeatedly struck by desire and avarice and are not pacified by techniques of yoga like self-restraint. For them, serving Mukunda satisfies the soul. O unblemished one! I have told you everything that you asked me about, the mystery of my birth and deeds. I have now satisfied your soul.”’

Suta said, ‘The illustrious Narada spoke in this way to Vasavi’s son. Taking his leave, the sage went away where he wished, stringing his veena. This devarshi is blessed. He sings about the deeds of the one who wields the Sharnga bow. 122 He sings and plucks the strings and delights the afflicted universe.’Chapter 1(7)

Shounaka asked, ‘O Suta! After Narada left, what did the illustrious lord, Badarayana do? He had heard what was desired.’

Suta replied, ‘On the western banks of the Sarasvati, Brahma’s river, there is a hermitage. The rishis refer to it as Shamyaprasa. It is a place that extends sacrifices. Vyasa sat down there, in his hermitage, which was adorned with clumps of badari trees. 123 He touched water and concentrated his mind. He fixed his pure mind properly on bhakti yoga. He saw the complete Purusha and the maya that depended on him. It is because of this that a living being is deluded and the atman comes under the subjugation of the three qualities, though it is actually beyond these and is supreme. It thus suffers hardship because of what it has done. The means for mitigating this hardship are in bhakti yoga to Adhokshaja. Since people do not know this, the learned one composed the Satvata Samhita. By listening to this, a man develops devotion to Krishna, the supreme Purusha. All sorrow, confusion and fear are destroyed. Having composed the Bhagavata Samhita and arranged it, the sage taught it to his son, Shuka, who was fixed on renunciation.’

Shounaka asked, ‘The sage 124 was indifferent towards everything and was fixed on renunciation. He had found delight in his own atman. Why did he study this large text?’

Suta replied, ‘There are sages who are free of bondage, finding delight in their own atmans. However, Hari Urukrama possesses such wonderful qualities that they too find delight in him, even though it is without motives. The intelligence of Badarayana’s illustrious son was attracted to Hari’s qualities. He was also always loved by those who were devoted to Vishnu. Hence, he studied this great account. I will now start to describe Krishna’s account by beginning with the birth, deeds and death of the royal sage, Parikshit, and the departure of the sons of Pandu. In the battle, the brave Kouravas and Srinjayas went to the destination meant for heroes. 125 Struck by Bhima’s club, the thigh of Dhritarashtra’s son was shattered and he was lamenting. At that time, Drona’s son desired to do what would bring pleasure to his master. Seeing that Krishna’s 126 sons were asleep in the night, he severed their heads and brought them as a gift. However, he 127 found this disagreeable and condemned the deed. When the mother of the children heard that the sons had been slain, she was severely tormented. Tears started to flow from her eyes and she wept. The one with the diadem 128 comforted her and said, “O fortunate one! I will bring you the head of the assassin, the inferior brahmana, 129 severing it with arrows released from Gandiva. I will thus wipe away your tears. Having cremated your sons, you can then bathe, while standing on his head.” Achyuta was his friend and charioteer. 130 Having comforted his beloved with these sweet and colourful words, the one who wielded a fierce bow donned his armour. The one with the ape on his standard advanced towards his preceptor’s son on his chariot. 131 From a distance, the slayer of the princes saw him advancing. Anxious in his mind, he fled on his chariot. To save his life, he fled swiftly, just as Arka was scared of Rudra and fled. 132 When the brahmana’s son found that his horses were exhausted and there was no other means of saving himself, he thought that he could only save himself with the brahmashira weapon. 133 He touched water, controlled himself and affixed it, even though he did not know how to withdraw it, a danger to his life having presented itself. 134 A terrible energy was manifested and enveloped all the directions. Seeing that his life was in danger, Jishnu spoke to Vishnu. 135 “O Krishna! O mighty-armed one! O Krishna! O one who grants devotees freedom from fear! For those who are consumed in this cycle of life, you alone are the means of salvation. You are the original Purusha. You are the lord himself, superior to nature. 136 Using the power of your consciousness to cast aside maya, you station your atman in absolute bliss. You are he. The intelligence of this world of the living is confounded by maya. For welfare and for dharma and other attributes, 137 you use your own valour to destroy it. Desiring to remove the burden of the earth and to ensure the welfare of your devotees who think of nothing but you, you descend in the form of an avatara. This extremely terrible energy is advancing from all the directions. O god of the gods! What is it? Where has it come from? I do not understand it.” The illustrious one replied, “Know this to be the Brahma weapon used by Drona’s son. Even though he does not know how to withdraw it, because a threat to his life presented itself, he has invoked it. Except itself, no other weapon is capable of countering it. You know about this extremely powerful weapon. Therefore, use the energy of your own weapon to counter the energy of this weapon.” 138 Hearing the words spoken by the illustrious one, Phalguna, 139 the destroyer of enemy heroes, touched water and circumambulated him. 140 He then invoked his own Brahma weapon against the other Brahma weapon. The energy from both these arrows engulfed each other and mingled. The earth, the firmament and the space between the earth and the firmament were enveloped, as if by the sun and the fire. The energy of both the weapons was seen and it was as if a great burning down of the three worlds was about to take place. All the subjects thought that the fire of destruction that comes at the end of a yuga would burn them down. Witnessing the destruction of the subjects and the devastation of the worlds, and ascertaining Vasudeva’s view, Arjuna withdrew both the weapons. 141 His eyes were coppery red with rage. He advanced towards Goutami’s terrible son 142 and bound him up with ropes, like an animal. He used his strength to tie up the enemy with ropes and wished to take him to the camp. However, the illustrious one, with eyes like lotuses, spoke to Arjuna. “O Partha! You should not save this brahma-bandhu. Kill him. While the innocent children were asleep, he killed them in the night. A person who knows about dharma does not kill an enemy who is distracted, mad, intoxicated, without a chariot, terrified, or one who seeks refuge. Nor does he kill a child, a woman, or someone who is foolish. If a person preserves his life by taking away the lives of others, he is wicked and devoid of compassion. Killing such a man is better for him too. Otherwise, he will be brought down because of what he does. I heard what you promised Panchali. 143 You told the beautiful one that you would bring her the head of the person who killed her sons. O brave one! Therefore, this evil person should be killed. He is an assassin and has slain your relatives. He is the worst of his lineage and has done what is disagreeable to his own master.” Krishna urged Partha, wishing to test his sense of dharma. However, though the grave act of killing his son 144 had been committed, he did not desire to kill his preceptor’s son. Govinda was his beloved charioteer. He took him 145 to his own camp and presented him to his beloved, who was lamenting because her sons had been killed. Krishna 146 saw the preceptor’s son, brought there, bound with ropes like an animal. Because of the contemptible act he had done, his face was cast downwards. Compassionate because of her feminine nature, she bowed down before him. The virtuous one could not tolerate the sight of his having been brought there, bound in this fashion. She said, “Release him. A brahmana is always a preceptor. Release him. You became accomplished in all the weapons through his 147 favours and learnt how to release, control and withdraw them. You learnt dhanurveda 148 and its mysteries. In the form of his son, the illustrious Drona is still present. It is because of him 149 that Kripi, his wife, did not give up her life. O one who knows about dharma! O immensely fortunate one! You should not do anything that is a sin. This one belongs to a lineage that must be constantly honoured, revered and worshipped. Let his mother Goutami, who revered her husband like a divinity, not weep. I am tormented because my children have been killed. Tears are repeatedly flowing down my face. Let her not be like me. If kings do not control themselves and enrage a lineage of brahmanas, their own families are swiftly burnt down, with their relatives, and are afflicted by grief.” O brahmanas! The king who was Dharma’s son 150 applauded the queen’s words, which were just, compassionate, guileless, impartial and great, and in conformity with dharma. Nakula, Sahadeva, Yuyudhana, 151 Dhananjaya, 152 Devaki’s illustrious son 153 and the other women also agreed. However, the intolerant Bhima said, “It has been said that it is best to kill someone like him. This futile act of killing the children while they were asleep has not served his interests, nor those of his master.” Hearing the words spoken by Bhima and Droupadi, Chaturbhuja 154 looked towards his friend’s 155 face and seemed to smile. He said, “A brahma-bandhu must not be killed. An assassin deserves to be killed. Both of these injunctions have been laid down by me and must be carried out. You comforted your beloved and you must make that pledge come true. You must do what is agreeable to Bhimasena, Panchali and me.” Arjuna suddenly understood Hari’s intention. He used his sword to sever the gem that was on the brahmana’s head, along with some locks of hair. 156 He released the one who was bound with the ropes, who had lost his lustre because of the act of killing the children. Without the gem, he lost his energy and was cast out of the camp. Slaying the physical body of a brahma-bandhu is not recommended. Instead, his head should be shaved, his wealth should be taken away and he should be exiled from that place. With Krishna, 157 all the Pandavas were afflicted by grief on account of their sons. They performed the funeral rites for their dead relatives.’Chapter 1(8)

Suta said, ‘They then desired to offer water to their dead relatives. With Krishna 158 and placing the women at the forefront, they went to the Ganga. Having offered water, all of them grievously lamented again. They bathed in the waters, sanctified by the dust of Hari’s lotus feet. The lord of the Kurus 159 was seated there, along with his younger brothers, Dhritarashtra, Gandhari, grieving because of her sons, Pritha 160 and Krishna. 161 Along with the sages, Madhava comforted the ones who were sorrowing because their relatives had been killed. He showed them the reaction that the progress of time has on living beings. Ajatashatru 162 had got his own kingdom back, which had been taken away from him by the deceitful ones. The wicked ones had been killed. Those who had dared to touch the queen’s hair had diminished their own lifespans. 163 Three excellent and well-prepared horse sacrifices had been performed. 164 His fame and purity had spread in all directions, like that of the one who performed one hundred. 165 He 166 took his leave from the sons of Pandu, accompanied by Shini’s son 167 and Uddhava. He was worshipped by Dvaipayana and the other brahmanas and worshipped them back in return. O brahmana! 168 Having made up his mind to go to Dvaraka, he ascended his chariot. However, he saw Uttara 169 rushing towards him, overwhelmed by fear. Uttara said, “Save me. O great yogi! Save me. O god of the gods! O lord of the universe! When people cause each other’s deaths, I do not see anyone other than you who can grant freedom from fear. My lord! O lord! A hot iron arrow is rushing towards me. O protector! If you so desire, let it burn me down. But let it not bring down my embryo.” 170 The illustrious one, devoted to his devotees, heard her words patiently. He understood that Drona’s son had released the weapon to destroy the last of the Pandavas. O best among sages! 171 On seeing that five arrows were headed in their respective directions, the Pandavas picked up their own weapons. Their souls were on him and on no one else. On seeing that a catastrophe was about to descend on them, the lord wished to protect his own and picked up his sudarshana weapon. 172 Hari, the lord of yoga, is inside the atmans of all living creatures. For the sake of the descendants of the Kuru lineage, he used his maya to cover the embryo of Virata’s daughter. 173 O descendant of the Bhrigu lineage! The brahmashira weapon is invincible and cannot be countered. However, when it faced the Vaishnava energy, it was pacified. Do not think that this is especially wonderful. Achyuta is wonderful in every possible way. He has not been born. Yet, he creates, preserves and destroys everything through his divine maya. They were freed from the energy of Brahma’s weapon. With her sons and Krishna, 174 the virtuous Pritha addressed Krishna, who was about to depart, in these words. “I bow down before the Purusha. You are the original lord. You are superior to Prakriti. Though you cannot be seen, you are inside and outside all living beings. I am ignorant and you are Adhokshaja, who is without decay. You are concealed behind this curtain of maya. You cannot be discerned by a foolish person like me, just as an actor in a play is not recognized for what he is. You have yourself had to explain bhakti yoga to enlightened ones, sages who have unblemished souls. How can women know you? I bow down to Krishna, Vasudeva, Devaki’s son, Nandagopa’s son 175 and Govinda. I bow down before the one with the lotus in his navel. I bow down before the one who is adorned in a garland made out of lotuses. I bow down before the one whose eyes are like lotuses. I bow down to you, whose feet are marked by the signs of lotuses. O Hrishikesha! 176 For a long time, Devaki was imprisoned by the deceitful Kamsa and had to suffer. 177 O lord! Just as you saved her, you are my protector and have repeatedly saved me and my sons from several difficulties. O Hari! You have protected us from poison, the great fire, sight of flesh-eaters, the wicked ones in the assembly hall, the hardships in the forest, the weapons of maharathas 178 from one battle to another battle and now, the weapon of Drona’s son. 179 O preceptor of the universe! Let those dangers occur eternally. In that way, we will see you and will no longer have to go through the cycle of rebirth. You can never be properly approached by a man who is proud of his birth, prosperity, learning and wealth, but can certainly be approached by a person to whom these are nothing. You are the wealth of someone who possesses nothing. I bow down to you. O one who has withdrawn from any attachment to the qualities! O one delighted with your own atman! O peaceful one! O lord of emancipation! I bow down. I think of you as time, the master and the lord, who is without beginning and without end. You roam around impartially in all beings and create dissension in their interactions. 180 O illustrious one! No one knows what you desire to do. Though you behave as if you are human, you cause perplexity. There is no one you love especially and there is no one you particularly hate. It is the minds of men that take you to be partial. O atman of the universe! You have no birth or deeds. You are without birth and have no deeds to perform. However, you take life in inferior species, as men and rishis, and as aquatic creatures. That causes bewilderment. When you committed a crime, the cowherd lady tied a rope around you. 181 In that state, the tears washed away the black collyrium from your eyes. Your face was cast downwards and seemed to be overcome by fear and thoughts. This puzzled me, because even fear is terrified of you. Some say that you have been born to establish the deeds of Punyashloka and your beloved Yadu, just as a sandalwood tree grows in Mount Malaya. 182 Though you are not born, others say you took birth because Vasudeva and Devaki sought you, for welfare and to slay the enemies of the gods. Others say that the earth was like an overburdened boat in the ocean and was suffering. The self-born one 183 asked you to be born so that this burden might be reduced. There are those who are suffering from ignorance, desire and deeds. Some others say you were born so that such people could hear, remember and worship your deeds. People who hear, sing, continuously chant, remember and take delight in your beneficial deeds, are ones who will soon see your lotus feet that bring an end to this cycle of birth on earth. O lord! You have yourself performed all these beneficial deeds. You are abandoning us well-wishers today, though our lives depend on you. We are devoted to you and all the kings seek to harm us. Other than your lotus feet, we have no refuge. Without being able to see you, what will the names and the forms of the Yadus and the Pandavas be? They will be like senses, without the soul. O wielder of the mace! This place is marked by the impressions of your feet and is radiant because of your signs. It will no longer be as beautiful as it is now. This country is flourishing and prosperous with well-ripened herbs and creepers. The forests, mountains, rivers and oceans are certainly seen to flourish because of you. O lord of the universe! O atman of the universe! O one whose form is the universe! Sever the firm bondage of affection that I have towards my own relatives, the Pandus and the Vrishnis. O lord of the Madhus! 184 Let my intelligence incessantly be focused on nothing but you. Just as the flows of the Ganga head towards the ocean, let my overflowing affection be directed towards you. O Shri Krishna! O Krishna’s friend! 185 O bull among the Vrishnis! You are the one who burns down the wicked lineages of the kings. Your valour does not diminish. O Govinda! You descend to destroy the affliction of cows, brahmanas and gods. O lord of yoga! O preceptor of everyone! O illustrious one! I bow down to you.” All of his glory was completely expressed in the sweet padas articulated by Pritha. Vaikuntha 186 smiled a little, as if deluding with his maya. He accepted what she said. Taking her leave and that of the other women, he entered Gajasahvya. When he prepared to leave for his own city, he was affectionately restrained by the king. 187 Though he was comforted by Vyasa and the others and by the lord Krishna, the performer of extraordinary deeds, himself, he was afflicted by sorrow and did not comprehend the illustrations from history. The king who was Dharma’s son thought of the death of his well-wishers. O brahmanas! He was overwhelmed by affection and confusion and spoke like an ordinary person. “Alas! Behold the ignorance that exists in the heart of an evil-souled person like me. This body is meant for others, but has destroyed many akshouhinis. 188 I have killed children, brahmanas, well-wishers, friends, fathers, brothers and preceptors. Even in one hundred million years, I will not be able to free myself from hell. There are words of instruction to the effect that this does not affect a king who is a master of his subjects and kills enemies in a battle full of dharma. But I do not think this applies to me. 189 I have killed the relatives of women and have reaped the consequences of that deed. I cannot think of any acts done by a householder that can counter this. Mud cannot be cleaned with muddy water. Nor can a sin caused by drinking be cleaned with drink. In that way, even a single act of killing a living being cannot be countered through sacrifices.”’Chapter 1(9)

Suta said, ‘He 190 was terrified at having caused harm to all the subjects and wished to understand dharma. He therefore went to the place of destruction, where Devavrata had fallen down. 191 All his brothers followed him on chariots yoked to well-trained horses with golden harnesses. So did the brahmanas, Vyasa, Dhoumya 192 and the others. O brahmana rishi! The illustrious one 193 also followed on a chariot, along with Dhananjaya. The king was as resplendent as Kubera with the guhyakas. 194 They saw Bhishma lying down on the ground, like a god who had been dislodged from the firmament. The Pandavas and their followers, and the wielder of the chakra, bowed down before him. O excellent one! Desiring to see the bull among the Bharatas, the brahmana rishis, the devarshis and the rajarshis assembled there—Parvata, Narada, Dhoumya, the illustrious Badarayana, Brihadashva, Bharadvaja, Renuka’s son 195 and his disciples, Vasishtha, Indrapramada, Trita, Gritasmada, Asita, Kakshivat, Goutama, Koushika and Sudarshana. O brahmana! There were other unblemished sages, Brahmarata 196 and others, Kashyapa, Angiras and others. They arrived there, along with their disciples. The supreme among the Vasus 197 knew about dharma and knew about what should be done at the right time and place. On seeing that those immensely fortunate ones had assembled, he welcomed and worshipped them. He knew the powers of Krishna, the lord of the universe who is in every heart and who had used his maya to assume this embodied form. On seeing him seated there, he worshipped him. Pandu’s sons were seated there, overwhelmed by their love and affection. Tears flowed down his eyes and he was overwhelmed by his love and affection for them. He said, “Alas! O sons of Dharma! 198 You have suffered what is unjust. You sought refuge in brahmanas, dharma and Achyuta. You did not deserve to live amidst this hardship. When the atiratha 199 Pandu departed, my daughter-in-law Pritha’s sons were young. She suffered many hardships on account of you and again suffered them when you grew up. I think all these disagreeable things have been inflicted on you because of destiny, which is like a guardian that has the entire world under its subjugation, just as dense clouds are controlled by the wind. The king is Dharma’s son. Vrikodara wields the club in his hand. Krishna 200 knows about weapons and wields the Gandiva bow, with Krishna as his well-wisher. How could calamity have resulted? O king! No man is capable of knowing what destiny desires. When one tries to ascertain this, even wise people are confounded. O bull among the Bharata lineage! Therefore, everything that has happened is because of destiny. O lord! The subjects are without a protector. Following destiny, be a protector and save them. This illustrious one is the original man, Narayana himself. Confounding the world with his maya, he is secretly roaming around amidst the Vrishnis. O king! The illustrious Shiva, devarshi Narada and the illustrious Kapila know his fame and mysteries and that he is the illustrious lord himself. You think that he is your maternal uncle’s son, 201 that he is your beloved friend and the best among well-wishers. Because of affection, he has performed the tasks of an adviser, a messenger and a charioteer. He is in everyone’s atman. He is impartial towards everyone. He has no second and he is without any sense of ego. He does not do anything out of attachment, nor does his intelligence have any partiality. O lord of the earth! However, behold his compassion towards devotees who are devoted to him. Since I am giving up my life, Krishna has himself come here to see me. If a yogi gives up his body when his mind is full of affection and when he meditates, chanting his name with words, he is freed from all desire and action. He is the illustrious god of the gods and he is waiting for me to give up this body. He is smiling pleasantly. His eyes are like the rising sun and are delightful. Chaturbhuja’s face is like a lotus and he is the object of my meditation.” He was lying down on that bed of arrows and Yudhishthira heard him. While the rishis heard, he asked him about many kinds of dharma. He 202 enumerated the varna and ashrama of a person, as determined by his natural traits. He then systematically described the attributes of both non-attachment and attachment. He explicitly described the different divisions and modes of the dharma of donations, the dharma of kings, the dharma of liberation, 203 the dharma for women and Bhagavata dharma. O sage! He explained the modes for attaining dharma, artha, kama and moksha. The one who knew about the truth also expounded many accounts and Itihasa. Yogis who can die at will desire the time of uttarayana. 204 While he was describing, this time arrived. The one who was the leader of thousands stopped speaking. Freed from attachment, he fixed his mind on the original Purusha. Chaturbhuja Krishna, dazzling in yellow garments, was standing in front of him and he closed his eyes and fixed his sight on him. He was purified and his inauspicious sentiments were destroyed. Through looking at him, the wounds from the weapons and his exhaustion were swiftly removed. His senses were withdrawn and the confusion of his intelligence disappeared. Ready to quit the physical body, he praised Janardana. “Let my intelligence be freed of all thirst and let it be fixed on the illustrious lord who is a bull among the Satvatas. He obtains pleasure from within himself. All creation and destruction flows from him. However, he sometimes playfully unites with Prakriti. 205 He is desired by the three worlds. His complexion is like that of a tamala tree. He wears excellent yellow garments that are like the rays of the sun. His body is etched with sandalwood paste and his face is like a lotus. He is Vijaya’s 206 friend. Let my devotion to him be unparalleled. On the field of battle, the dust raised by the horses made his hair turn grey and it flowed around and decorated his face, together with the perspiration from the exhaustion. My sharp arrows pierced his skin and his armour, but he enjoyed it. Let my atman be in Krishna. He heard his friend’s request and placed the chariot in between the forces of his side and that of the enemy. Placing it there, Partha’s friend took away the lifespans of the enemy soldiers with his glance. Let my devotion be in him. Polluted in his intelligence, standing in front of the leaders of the armies, he 207 was reluctant to kill his own relatives. However, he 208 used knowledge of the atman to dispel that evil intelligence. Let my devotion be fixed on his supreme feet. For the sake of making my pledge come true, he abandoned his own pledge and leapt down from the chariot. Wielding the wheel of a chariot in his hand, he quickly advanced to kill me, like an elephant against a lion, and his upper garment fell down. 209 He was pierced by sharp arrows and his armour was shattered. He was covered by wounds and I was trying to kill him. For the sake of killing me, he advanced angrily. Let the illustrious Mukunda 210 be my objective. He protected Vijaya’s chariot like a relative and held the whip and held the reins of the horses. 211 He was beautiful to behold. I am about to die. Let my devotion be fixed on the illustrious one. In this world, those who are killed after seeing him get their own forms back after death. The cowherd ladies saw his attractive gait, his sports and his sweet smiles and were stricken by love. Mad with infatuation, they mentally sought to copy his extensive movements and merged into his nature. Large numbers of sages and the best among kings assembled at the gathering on the occasion of Yudhishthira’s royal sacrifice. He was a sight to behold and received the honours. He has appeared before my atman. He is without birth. He is in the heart of every living being, whom he has himself created. He can be seen like the sun, which though it is one, appears in different forms. I have been cleansed of all differences and confusion and am meditating on him.” In this way, he merged his atman into the atman of the illustrious Krishna, in thoughts, words, sight and conduct. He ceased to breathe. Everyone understood that Bhishma was completely immersed in the brahman. Like birds, when the day is over, they became silent. The gods and men sounded their drums. Virtuous kings praised him and flowers showered down from the sky. O Bhargava! For some time, Yudhishthira was miserable. After that, he arranged for all the funeral rites to be performed for the dead body. Using all kinds of secret names, the cheerful sages praised Krishna. With Krishna in their hearts, they again returned to their own hermitages. With Krishna, Yudhishthira went to Gajasahvya and comforted his father 212 and the ascetic Gandhari. With the permission of his father and with Vasudeva’s sanction, the lord and king followed dharma and ruled over the kingdom of his fathers and grandfathers.’Chapter 1(10)

Shounaka asked, ‘Yudhishthira was supreme among the upholders of dharma. After killing the murderers who wished to rob him of his inheritance, what did he and his younger brothers do thereafter? What was their conduct? Was their enjoyment restricted?’ 213

Suta replied, ‘The lineage of the Kurus was burnt down, like a clump of bamboos in a fire. Hari, the preserver of creation, seeded it again. 214 The lord instated Yudhishthira in his own kingdom and was delighted. He 215 heard the words spoken by Bhishma and Achyuta. With his confusion dispelled, his conduct was based on knowledge. He ruled over the earth, extending up to the oceans, like Indra, whose refuge is also the unvanquished one. 216 His younger brothers followed him. Parjanya 217 showered down as desired and the earth yielded all the objects of desire. The udders of the delighted cows were so swollen with milk that they sprinkled the grazing ground. All the rivers, oceans, mountains, trees, creepers and herbs yielded every seasonal fruit that he 218 wished for. The king had no enemies 219 and creatures were not subjected to anxiety, disease or hardships caused by destiny, the elements or any other reason. Hari dwelt for some months in Hastinapura, to dispel the sorrow of his well-wishers and to bring pleasure to his sister. 220 He then took his leave and permission and embraced and honoured him. 221 Embraced and honoured by others, he ascended his chariot. Subhadra, Droupadi, Kunti, Virata’s daughter, 222 Gandhari, Dhritarashtra, Yuyutsu, Goutama, 223 the twins, 224 Vrikodara, Dhoumya, the women, the daughter of Matsya 225 and the others could not tolerate the separation from the wielder of the Sharnga bow and were bewildered. A learned person who associates with the virtuous and disassociates from the wicked does not wish to give up listening to his good deeds, even if he has heard about his deeds and fame once. The Parthas 226 had fixed their minds on him. How could they bear a separation from him? They had seen him, touched him, conversed with him, slept with him, sat down with him and eaten with him. All of them looked at him and their eyes did not blink. Their minds followed him. Tied with bonds of affection, they glanced at him and moved around, here and there. When Devaki’s son emerged from the residence, the women relatives also came out. They held back their overflowing tears of anxiety, since these would be inauspicious. Drums, conch shells, trumpets, veenas, cymbals, cow horns, dhundhuris, 227 kettledrums, bells and larger drums were sounded. Wishing to see him, the Kuru women ascended to the top of the palace. They looked at Krishna and smiled, shy and affectionate, showering down flowers. Gudakesha 228 picked up a white umbrella that was adorned with a net of pearls and had a handle made out of jewels. He held it above his beloved friend. Uddhava and Satyaki fanned him with extremely wonderful whisks. As the lord of Madhu advanced, the road was strewn with flowers and was resplendent. Here and there, true benedictions pronounced by the brahmanas were heard. They were appropriate, but also inappropriate, since he didn’t possess attributes, but had himself assumed attributes. 229 With their intelligence thus engaged, the Indras among the Kouravas and the women of the city conversed about him in excellent shlokas and this was more pleasant to hear than all the sacred texts. “He is certainly the ancient Purusha. He is the single one, whose atman is not manifest. He is the lord who is the soul of the universe and he comes before all the qualities. When all the energy has withdrawn into him, he sleeps during the night. 230 He is the one who used his valour and maya and urged Prakriti to create living creatures. His atman is without names and forms, but he desired to impart names and forms to them. He is the one who entrusted the creation of the sacred texts. He is the one whose feet the gods, those who have conquered their senses and those who have controlled their breath of life, seek. Those who have unblemished souls and hanker, full of devotion, can see him. There is no one else who is capable of cleansing the spirit. O friends! He is the one whose virtuous deeds have been recited in the mysterious parts of the Vedas by those who speak about secrets. He is the lord who sports and creates, preserves and destroys the universe, without being attached to it. Whenever kings are immersed in tamas and live in adharma, the supreme one uses sattva to assume form. From one yuga to another yuga, to ensure truth, uprightness, compassion, fame and welfare, he assumes different forms. Wonderful is the one who deserves to be praised the most. Wonderful is the lineage of the Yadus. Madhuvana is most sacred. 231 The bull among men and the consort of Shri 232 was born there and roamed around there, glorifying it. Kushasthali 233 is wonderful. It is sacred and famous on earth and has surpassed the glory of the heavenly bodies. The residents there have been favoured by him and can always see him. The lord always looks at them smilingly. There are women whose hands he has accepted in marriage. They must indeed have observed vows, bathed, offered oblations and worshipped properly to have obtained the lord. O friends! They can repeatedly drink the amrita from his lips. Hoping for this, the women of Vraja 234 repeatedly fainted. There were those who were abducted through viryashulka and obtained through svayamvara, 235 crushing powerful ones, Chaidya being the most important. They were the mothers of Pradyumna, Samba, Amba and other sons. 236 There were thousands of others who were abducted after Bhouma had been killed. 237 Their feminine nature suffered and they were sullied. However, since the lotus-eyed one accepted them, they were sanctified. Their husband never goes away from them. He touches their hearts by bringing them desired objects.” The women of the city spoke about him in such words. Glancing at them and smilingly greeting them, Hari departed. Ajatashatru suspected danger from Madhu’s 238 enemies. Therefore, out of affection, he arranged an army consisting of the four kinds of forces 239 for their protection. Afflicted at being separated from him and deep in their affection, the Kouravas followed Shouri 240 for a long distance. However, he made them return and proceeded towards his beloved city. O Bhargava! After passing through Kurujangala, Panchala, Shurasena, the area around the Yamuna, Brahmavarta, Kurukshetra, Matsya, Sarasvata, deserts, barren regions, Souvira and Abhira, they reached Anarta, 241 which lies beyond all these. The lord and the mounts were slightly exhausted. Here and there, Hari was worshipped and gifts were brought to him. Whenever the sun went into the ocean, 242 he faced the western direction and stopped for the evening rites.’Chapter 1(11)

Suta said, ‘The prosperous region of Anarta was his own. Having arrived there, as if to dispel the sorrow, 243 he blew on his excellent conch shell. The conch shell was thick and white in the middle and touched by Urukrama’s mouth, became red. As it was blown, it was held in the cup of his hands, which were like lotuses. 244 It was as if a white swan was singing amidst a clump of red lotuses. Its sound generated fear among those who caused fear to the world. On hearing this, all the subjects, who were eager to see their master, arose and advanced. Like a lamp being offered to the sun, they gave him their offerings. He is completely satisfied and finds pleasure in his own atman. He is the one who always finds his own gratification. However, all those well-wishers were like wards before a guardian and a father. Their faces bloomed in delight and they spoke in voices that choked with joy. “O protector! We always bow down before your lotus feet, worshipped by Virinchi, Varinchya and Indra of the gods. 245 You are the supreme benefit for those who desire the supreme. You are the supreme lord and time is powerless before you. O creator of the universe! Be the one who brings us welfare. You are our mother, well-wisher, master and father. You are our virtuous preceptor and supreme divinity. We will become successful by serving you. It is wonderful that we have got you back as a protector. Even the residents of heaven find it extremely difficult to see you. We can now behold your loving, smiling and gentle face and your form, which brings all kinds of good fortune. O lotus-eyed one! Wishing to see your well-wishers, you withdrew to the land of the Kurus and Madhu. 246 O Achyuta! Every moment of that seemed like a crore of years. It is as if our eyes were deprived of the sight of the sun. The subjects spoke these words and he heard them. Affectionate towards his devotees, he distributed the favour of his glance and entered the city. It was protected by the Madhus, Bhojas, Dasharhas, Arhas, Kukuras, Andhakas and Vrishnis. 247 They were like him in valour and it was like Bhogavati, 248 protected by the nagas. 249 Everywhere, there were sacred trees and creepers characterizing all the seasons, and hermitages. There were gardens, groves, pleasure gardens and beautiful ponds with lotuses. There were arches and gates along the roads and the turrets were marked with signs of festivities. There were colourful standards with flags at the top and these sheltered from the heat of the sun. The important roads, smaller roads, markets and squares had been cleaned and sprinkled with fragrant water. Fruits, flowers, unbroken grain 250 and sprouts were strewn around. 251 The doors of every house were decorated with pots full of curds, unbroken grain, fruits, sugar cane, and other offerings, and incense and lamps. Hearing that the beloved one was coming, the great-minded Vasudeva, 252 Akrura, 253 Ugrasena, Rama, 254 extraordinary in his valour, Pradyumna, Charudeshna 255 and Samba, Jambavati’s son, were so happy that they stopped lying down, sitting or eating. Full of respect and love, they happily advanced on their chariots. An Indra among elephants was in front and there were brahmanas with auspicious articles. There was the sound of conch shells and trumpets and the chanting of the brahman. Eager to see him, there were hundreds of excellent courtesans on vehicles. Brilliant earrings dangled from their ears and rendered their foreheads and faces even more beautiful. There were actors, dancers, gandharvas, sutas, magadhas and bandis. 256 In excellent shlokas, they sang about his extraordinary deeds. The illustrious one approached his relatives, the citizens and the other followers. He met all of them and showed them the appropriate honours. He bowed his head down and greeted them. He embraced and touched them with his hand and glanced at them, smilingly. The lord comforted them and granted them the boons they sought, including the shvapakas. 257 Seniors, brahmanas and their wives and aged ones pronounced benedictions over him and he was praised by bandis. He thus entered the city. O brahmana! As Krishna advanced along the royal road, women from the noble families of Dvaraka climbed up to the tops of their mansions, so as to witness the great festivities. The residents of Dvaraka were used to seeing him all the time. Even then, they were not satiated by looking at Achyuta, the abode of beauty. His chest is the abode of Shri. The eyes regard his face as a vessel to drink from. His arms are the guardians of the world. His feet are dappled. 258 There was a white umbrella above his head and he was fanned with whisks. Ahead of him, flowers were showered down along the road. His garments were yellow and he was adorned with a garland of wild flowers. He looked like a dark cloud, adorned by the sun, the moon, a rainbow and lightning. He entered his father’s residence and was embraced by his own mothers. He cheerfully bowed his head down before the seven mothers, of whom, Devaki was the foremost. 259 Because of their affection, milk began to flow from their breasts and the mothers placed their son on their laps. They were senseless with joy and sprinkled him with tears of delight. Thereafter, he entered his own residence, which was filled with all the objects of desire. There were more than sixteen thousand wives in that mansion. The wives saw that their husband had returned home, after being away, and it was as if their minds were filled with a sense of great festivity. They quickly stood up from their couches and their vows, with shyness writ on their eyes and faces. Overwhelmed with love for their husband, they first embraced him through their sons, then through their glances, and finally, they themselves did it. O foremost among the Bhrigu lineage! Though they tried to restrain the tears of joy in their eyes, they were helpless in preventing them. Though he alone was by their side, his feet seemed to be new and newer still. Though fickle, Shri does not desert his feet. Having been at his feet, how can anyone be separated from those feet? Those kings had led to a burden on earth. Those energetic ones had been surrounded by akshouhinis. He had not wielded a weapon. But just as blowing generates a fire, he had created enmity amongst them, making them kill each other. Using his own maya, he descended into this world of men. The illustrious one behaved like an ordinary person, finding pleasure amidst jewels among women. Their unrestrained nature, exciting and pure smiles and bashful glances could have slain Madana 260 and those excellent women could have made him cast aside his bow. However, their guiles were incapable of agitating his senses. Ordinary people think he is attached, just as they are attached. Ignorant men think that, like themselves, he is engaged in pursuits. Such is the divinity of the lord that he is not attached to the qualities of Prakriti. Nor are those virtuous atmans who use their intelligence to seek refuge with him. Those feeble and foolish women thought that he followed them alone. Their minds were such that they did not know about the greatness and divinity of their husband.’Chapter 1(12)

Shounaka asked, ‘Ashvatthama released the energetic brahmashira and destroyed Uttara’s embryo. However, the lord made it come alive again. How was the immensely intelligent one 261 born? What were the great-souled one’s deeds? How did he die? Where did he go after death? We wish to hear this. If you so desire, tell us. We are faithful. Tell us about the knowledge Shuka imparted.’

Suta replied, ‘Dharmaraja ruled and delighted his subjects, like a father. He served at Krishna’s feet and was not attached to any object of desire. His prosperity, sacrifices, subjects, queen, the brothers, the earth, the lordship over Jambudvipa 262 and his fame reached heaven. O brahmanas! What are objects of pleasure, desired by the gods, to someone whose mind is in Mukunda? Like a person who is hungry, the king was only content and happy with that. 263 O descendant of the Bhrigu lineage! The brave one 264 was in his mother’s womb and was being burnt by the weapon’s energy. At that time, he saw a being advance towards him. He was the size of a thumb and sparkled. He blazed in his golden diadem. Achyuta was dark and excellent to behold. His garments were like lightning. He was handsome and tall, with four hands. His earrings were made out of molten gold. His eyes were as red as blood. The mace in his hand was being repeatedly whirled around in all the directions around him, circling like a meteor. With his own mace, he drove away the energy of the weapon, like the sun dispelling mist. He 265 wondered—“Who is this near me?” Having destroyed it, the illustrious lord Hari, immeasurable in his soul and the protector of dharma, vanished, while the ten-month-old looked on. After this, when auspicious planets arose, Pandu’s descendant was born, progressively imbibed with all the qualities. He was like Pandu in his energy. The king was delighted and had the rites of birth performed. The brahmanas, Dhoumya, Kripa and the others, pronounced auspicious benedictions. The king, who knew about auspicious occasions, gave gold, cattle, land, villages, elephants and the best of horses and food to brahmanas, on the auspicious occasion of an offspring being born. The brahmanas were content and satisfied. They said, “O bull of the Puru lineage! This is Puru’s descendant. This pure one was almost destroyed by invincible destiny. However, he was restored through the favours of Vishnu and the powers of Vishnu. Therefore, he will be known in this world by the name of Vishnurata. 266 O immensely fortunate one! There is no doubt that he will be great and greatly devoted to the illustrious one.” Yudhishthira asked, “O great-souled ones! Will he follow this lineage of royal sages? Will he be pure? O excellent ones! Will his deeds be applauded by the virtuous?” The brahmanas answered, “O Partha! This offspring will be like Ikshvaku, Manu’s son himself. Like Rama, Dasharatha’s son, he will serve brahmanas and be devoted to the truth. Like Shibi, Ushinara’s son, he will be generous and provide refuge to those who seek it. 267 He will extend the fame of his lineage, like Dushyanta’s son, the performer of sacrifices. 268 Like the two Arjunas, 269 he will be a foremost archer. He will be as invincible as the fire and like the ocean, will be impossible to cross. He will be as valiant as the Indra among animals. 270 As a refuge, he will be like the Himalayas. He will be as patient as the earth and as tolerant as his fathers. He will be like his grandfather 271 in impartiality and like Girisha 272 in granting favours. Like the god who is Rama’s refuge, 273 he will be a refuge for all creatures. He will follow Krishna in all the qualities and in greatness. He will be like Rantideva 274 in his generosity. In following dharma, he will be like Yayati. He will be like Bali in perseverance. In his faith towards Krishna, he will be like Prahlada. He will serve the elders and perform many horse sacrifices. He will give birth to royal sages. He will chastise those who follow evil paths. For the sake of ensuring dharma on earth, he will restrain Kali. 275 He will hear about his own death, through Takshaka, sent by the son of a brahmana. 276 He will then free himself from all attachment and seek refuge at Hari’s feet. He will ask about the nature of the atman from the sage who is Vyasa’s son. 277 O king! He will then cast aside all fear and go to the banks of the Ganga.” The brahmanas, who knew about someone who has been born, instructed the king in this way. Having obtained what they deserved, all of them went away to their own respective homes. The lord had said that he would be famous in the world as Parikshit. He meditated on the one he had seen and tested every man in this way. 278 The prince grew up quickly, like the moon during shukla paksha. 279 From one kashtha to another kashtha and from one day to another day, he grew up, looked after by his fathers. 280 At that time, the king 281 desired to free himself from the sin of having caused enmity to his relatives and wanted to perform a horse sacrifice. Since there wasn’t enough revenue through taxes, he thought about acquiring the requisite wealth. Urged by Achyuta, his brothers discerned his intentions. They brought a lot of riches from the northern direction. 282 Yudhishthira, Dharma’s son, became prosperous through those riches. Terrified, 283 he performed three horse sacrifices and dedicated them to Hari. The illustrious one was invited by the king and the brahmanas acted as officiating priests at the king’s sacrifice. Desiring to ensure pleasure to his well-wishers, he 284 stayed there for a few months. O brahmana! Having taken leave of the king, Krishna 285 and the relatives, he then went to Dvaravati with Arjuna, surrounded by the Yadus.’Chapter 1(13)

Suta said, ‘Having been on a visit to tirthas, Vidura got to know about the atman’s destination from Maitreya. 286 Having thus satisfied his wishes, he went to Hastinapura. In Kousharava’s 287 presence, Kshatta 288 asked questions. However, when devotion towards Govinda was generated in him, he ceased. With his younger brothers, Dhritarashtra, Yuyutsu, suta, 289 Sharadvata 290 and Pritha, Dharma’s son saw that his relative had arrived. O brahmana! Gandhari, Droupadi, Subhadra, Uttara, Kripi, many other women from Pandu’s lineage, and relatives, with their sons and wives, were also there. They approached him with delight, as if life had returned to their bodies. They approached him in the proper way, embracing and greeting him. They were anxious and suffering, separated from him and shed tears of affection. After he had seated himself, the king offered him the signs of respect. He ate and rested and was happily seated on his seat. In the presence of those who heard, the king started to ask him questions.

‘Yudhishthira asked, “Do you remember how we grew up under your shadow and how you protected us? With our mother, you saved us from dangers like poison and fire. How did you maintain yourself when you roamed around the surface of the earth? On this earth, which are the tirthas and kshetras you visited? 291 O lord! A devotee like you is himself a tirtha. With the wielder of the mace inside you, you yourself make a tirtha a true tirtha. O father! 292 What about our well-wishers, the relatives of the divinity Krishna? Did you see, or hear about, the Yadavas? Are they happily residing in their own city?”

Suta said, ‘Thus addressed by Dharmaraja, he described everything in due order, as he had experienced it. But he left out the destruction of the Yadu lineage. 293 He was unable to tolerate anything that was disagreeable to men. That incident was miserable and impossible to behold. It presented itself. Out of pity, he did not state it. He was honoured like a god and brought happiness to everyone. He ensured the welfare of his elder brother 294 and resided there for some time. Yama was cursed that he would be a shudra for one hundred years. 295 During that time, Aryama used the appropriate rod of chastisement on those who committed crimes. 296 Yudhishthira obtained his kingdom and saw his grandson, 297 who would bear the burden of the lineage. With his brothers, who were like guardians of the world, he was delighted in his supreme prosperity. There are those who are maddened, excessively attached to homes and desires of this world. However, time is extremely difficult to cross and creeps in, unnoticed.

‘Discerning this, Vidura spoke to Dhritarashtra. “O king! Behold. The fear has arrived. Leave quickly. O lord! In this world, there is no counter to this. This illustrious time has come before all of us. Overcome by this, people have to immediately give up their beloved lives, not to speak of things like riches. Your father, brother, well-wishers and sons have been killed. Age has passed. You yourself have been overcome by old age and are residing in another person’s house. Alas! The desire to remain alive is extremely great in a living being like you. Like a domesticated animal, you are accepting scraps of food flung towards you by Bhima. Fire was applied to them. They were given poison. Their wife was abused. Their dominion and riches were seized. How can you subsist on what they give? Despite this, like a miserable person, you wish to remain alive. Even though you do not desire it, like an old garment, your body will decay. If a person abandons selfish motives, is detached and free from bondage and gives up this body, heading for an unknown destination, he is said to be unperturbed. The best among men is a person who learns on his own or from others, becoming indifferent and realizing the atman. With Hari in his heart, he departs from his residence. Therefore, leave for the northern direction, without letting your relatives know where you have gone. After this, time, which destroys qualities in men, will arrive.” Thus King Ajamidha’s 298 insight of wisdom was awoken by his younger brother, Vidura. Firm, he severed the bonds of affection towards his relatives. As instructed by his brother, he left. When her husband left, Subala’s virtuous daughter, 299 devoted to her husband, followed him to the Himalayas. Unlike those who strike, virtuous and spirited ones find delight in casting aside the rod of chastisement. Ajatashatru performed the morning prayers 300 and offered oblations into the kindled fire. He gave sesamum seed, land and gold to brahmanas. When he entered the house to worship the seniors, he did not see his father and Subala’s daughter.

‘He was anxious in his mind. Sanjaya was seated there and he asked, “O Gavalgana’s son! 301 Where is our aged father, who doesn’t possess eyesight? Where is our mother, afflicted by grief on account of her sons? Where has our uncle and well-wisher 302 gone? I am ungrateful and have killed my relatives. As one who has committed a crime, has he suspected me? With his wife, has he submerged himself in the Ganga? After our father, Pandu’s, downfall, all of us were children. We were without protection and faced hardships. These uncles and well-wishers protected us. Where have they gone from here?” Suta 303 was also afflicted by the separation, unable to see his own master. 304 He was bewildered, overcome by pity and affection. Suffering greatly, he could not reply. He wiped away the tears with his hands and found the steadiness within his own self. Remembering his master’s feet, he replied to Ajatashatru. Sanjaya said, “O delight of the lineage! O mighty-armed one! I do not know what the two fathers 305 have done. Those great-souled ones have deceived me as well.” At that time, the illustrious Narada came there with Tumburu. 306 With his younger brothers, he arose and greeted and worshipped the sage. Yudhishthira said, “O illustrious one! I do not know where my fathers have gone. My mother is afflicted by grief on account of her sons. Where has that ascetic lady gone? O illustrious one! This is very difficult to cross and you are like a helmsman. You can show us the other shore.”

‘The illustrious Narada, supreme among sages, started to speak. “O king! Do not grieve. The entire universe is under the lord’s control. The world and its guardians bear the lord’s burden. He is the one who engages beings and disengages them. Cows are tethered with a string around the noose and bound with ropes. They bear the lord’s burden. They are bound and addressed by different names. A person playing a game engages and disengages the pieces according to his wishes. Like that, the lord plays with humans. Whether you think objects in this world are permanent, impermanent, or both, out of affection that results from delusion, you should not grieve. O dear one! Therefore, give up this lassitude that results from ignorance about your own self. ‘Without me, how will those miserable ones subsist without a protector?’ This body is made out of five elements and is controlled by time, deeds and qualities. It is as if one is being devoured by a snake. How can a person offer protection to another? Those without hands are subsistence for those with hands. 307 Those without feet are subsistence for quadrupeds. 308 Those who are weak are subsistence for those who are strong. One living being is subsistence for another living being. O king! The illustrious one is one and himself holds everything up through his atman. He shines, inside and outside. Behold his maya, resulting in different forms. O great king! The illustrious one, the creator of all beings, has descended in the form of time, to ensure the destruction of the enemies of the gods. He has performed the task of the gods and is waiting for what remains to be done. As long as the lord is in this world, you need to wait and watch. With his brother and his wife, Gandhari, Dhritarashtra has gone to the southern slope of the Himalayas, to the hermitage of the rishis. The place is known as Saptasrota. 309 To please the seven, 310 the seven flows of the heavenly river 311 were divided into seven streams there. There, he will bathe constantly. 312 Following the ordinances, he will offer oblations into the fire. He will subsist on water and control his atman. He will free himself from all desire. He will control his posture and control his breath. He will withdraw his six senses. 313 Immersing himself in thoughts of Hari, he will cleanse taints associated with rajas and tamas. He will engage in knowledge about the atman and merge into the supreme. With his atman in the reservoir of the brahman, it is like the space inside a pot merging into broader space. He will destroy the results of all qualities associated with maya. He will stop everything that results from action. He will withdraw from all kinds of food. He will be as immobile as a pillar. He will abandon all action and you should not become an impediment to him. O king! On the fifth day from today, he will give up his body for the hereafter and it will be reduced to ashes. In the cottage, the body of the husband will be burnt down in a fire. 314 Standing outside, the virtuous wife will see the fire and follow her husband into the fire. O descendant of the Kuru lineage! Vidura will hear about this wonderful account. Therefore, filled with joy and sorrow, he will go and visit the tirthas.” Having said this, with Tumburu, Narada ascended to heaven. Yudhishthira’s heart accepted his words and he cast aside all sorrow.’Chapter 1(14)

Suta said, ‘Jishnu went to Dvaraka, wishing to see his friend and relatives and to know what Punyashloka 315 Krishna would do. Several months passed, but Arjuna did not return. The extender of the Kuru lineage 316 witnessed portents that were terrible in form. The progress of time became terrible and the natural advent of the seasons turned contrary. Men became wicked in conduct and were full of anger, greed and falsehood. Even among well-wishers, transactions were generally characterized by deceit, mixed with fraud. There was dissension between fathers, mothers, well-wishers, brothers, and husband and wife. In the course of time, people became naturally prone to avarice and other kinds of adharma. On witnessing these inauspicious portents, the king spoke to his younger brother. 317

‘Yudhishthira said, “Jishnu was sent to Dvaraka because he wished to see his relatives and to find out what Punyashloka Krishna would do. O Bhimasena! Seven months have passed, but your younger brother has not returned. I do not know the true reason for this. Has the time the devarshi 318 told us about arrived, when the illustrious one desires to cast aside his body, which he had himself assumed in his pastimes? Our prosperity, kingdom, wives, lineage, subjects, victory over the enemy and the worlds are because of his favours. O tiger among men! Behold the terrible omens in heaven, the earth and our bodies. They are confounding our intelligence and telling us that fear is not very far away. My thigh, eye and arm are repeatedly quivering. 319 My heart is trembling. These signify something disagreeable. This female jackal is howling in the direction of the sun and its mouth is vomiting fire. O dear one! Without any fear, this dog is barking at me. O tiger among men! Auspicious animals are passing me on the left, while the others are passing me on the right. On seeing me, my mounts seem to be weeping. This pigeon is a messenger of death. This owl is making my mind tremble. The owl’s rival 320 is shrieking, as if it wishes to render everything empty. The directions are covered in smoke. The earth, with its mountains, is quaking. O son! 321 There is a great storm, with the sound of thunder. A wind harsh to the touch is blowing. Dust is creating darkness. In every direction, the clouds are showering down blood, creating terror. Behold. The sun has lost its splendour. In the sky, the planets are fighting amongst themselves. The area between heaven and earth seems to be full of large numbers of blazing demons. The calves are not sucking at the udders. The mothers are not yielding milk. With their faces full of tears, the cows are weeping. The bulls are no longer happy in the pastures. The images of the gods seem to be weeping, perspiring and moving. The countryside, villages, cities, gardens, mines and hermitages have lost their prosperity and are cheerless. What futility is it displaying to us? Indeed, because of these great portents, I think that the earth will be robbed of its good fortune and prosperity. It will lose this unique being and the illustrious one’s feet.”’

Suta said, ‘O brahmana! Witnessing these ominous signs, this is what the king thought in his mind. At that time, the one with the ape on his banner 322 returned from the city of the Yadus. He fell down at his feet and this kind of affliction had never occurred earlier. His face was downcast and tears descended from his lotus eyes. On seeing that his younger brother was like a shadow, the king was anxious in his heart. He remembered what Narada had said. In the midst of the well-wishers, he asked him.

‘Yudhishthira asked, “In the city of the Anartas, are our relatives, Madhus, Bhojas, Dasharhas, Arhas, Satvatas, Andhakas and Vrishnis, residing happily? Is my revered maternal grandfather, Shura, 323 well? Is my maternal uncle, Anakadundubhi, 324 well, along with his younger brothers? His seven wives, our aunts, are sisters. With Devaki as the foremost, are they hale? Are their sons and daughters-in-law well? Are King Ahuka, 325 whose son was wicked, and his younger brother alive? What about Hridika and his son, Akrura, Jayanta, Gada and Sarana? 326 Are Shatrujit and the others well? Are Rama and the illustrious lord of the Satvatas well? Is Pradyumna, a maharatha among the Vrishnis, happy? Is the deep and dexterous Aniruddha, the illustrious one’s descendant, growing up? Are Sushena, Charudeshna, Samba, Jambavati’s son, and the other bulls among the foremost of Krishna’s sons well, along with their sons? What about Shouri’s followers, Shrutadeva, Uddhava, Sunanda, Nanda and the others and other foremost bulls among the Satvatas? Are all those who seek refuge in the arms of Rama and Krishna well? Bound to us in affection, do they remember our welfare? The illustrious Govinda is devoted to brahmanas and his devotees. Surrounded by his well-wishers, is he happy in the city, in Sudharma? 327 For the welfare of the people and the benefit of the earth, the original being has resided in the ocean that is the lineage of the Yadus, along with Ananta’s friend. 328 He has dwelt in his own city, worshipped by the Yadus, who have been protected by the rod of chastisement exerted by his arms. Like great beings, they have sported in great delight. There were sixteen thousand women, Satya 329 and the others. Their foremost task was to serve at his feet. In a battle, he defeated the residents of heaven and seized that which the wives of the wielder of the vajra enjoyed. 330 The foremost among the Yadus sustained their lives on the basis of the rod of chastisement his arms exercised. They could stride in the assembly hall known as Sudharma, deserved by the best among the gods, which had been seized through force. O son! 331 Tell me if you are well. To me, your radiance seems to have lost its energy. O son! Because you resided there for a long time, were you dishonored and ignored? Were you struck by inauspicious sentiments and words? After having taken a pledge, were you unable to give a suppliant what he wished for? Were you unable to give protection to a brahmana, a child, a cow, an aged person, a diseased person, a woman or some other living being who sought refuge? Did you have intercourse with someone you shouldn’t have had intercourse with? Have you shown disrespect to a woman? Along the road, were you defeated by someone who was an equal or an inferior? Have you eaten while ignoring the aged and children who deserved to be fed? Have you committed a reprehensible and unpardonable deed? He was the beloved person in your heart. Do you think that you are without a protector and everything is empty because you are separated from him? There can be no other reason for this dejection.”’Chapter 1(15)

Suta said, ‘In this way, the king who was his brother speculated, based on many kinds of doubts and spoke to the Krishna 332 who was Krishna’s friend and was afflicted by grief at being separated from Krishna. His face was dry with grief. Like a plucked lotus, he had lost his radiance. Remembering the lord, he was incapable of saying anything in reply. He controlled his sorrow with great difficulty. He wiped his eyes with his hands. Since the object of his affection was absent, he became increasingly anxious and miserable. He remembered the friend, companion, well-wisher and charioteer. In a voice that choked with tears, he spoke to his elder brother, the king.

‘Arjuna said, “O great king! I have been deceived by Hari, who appeared in the form of a friend. He is the one who has deprived me of my great energy, which astounded even the gods. Separation from him, even for an instant, makes all the worlds unpleasant to see. It is just as a person without the breath of life, who is spoken of as dead. At the forefront of the svayamvara, there were kings who had arrived in Drupada’s house, impossible to crush because of their desire. It is by resorting to him that I robbed them of their energy and was able to strike the fish, stringing my bow and winning Krishna. 333 It was because of his presence that I was able to quickly defeat Indra and large numbers of immortals and bestow Khandava on Agni. 334 I obtained the assembly hall fashioned by Maya, 335 extraordinary in artisanship because of his maya. That is where kings assembled from all the directions and offered tributes to you. O noble one! It is through his energy that your younger brother 336 possessed the spirit and valour of ten thousand elephants. For the sake of a great sacrifice, there was one 337 who placed his feet on the heads of kings. He abducted these kings for a sacrifice to the lord of the pramathas. 338 He killed him and released them 339 and they offered tributes to you. On the occasion of the great sacrifice for the consecration, your wife’s hair was braided. That beautiful braid of hair was praiseworthy and was touched and dragged by the deceitful ones in the assembly hall. With tears flowing from her face, she fell down at his 340 feet. It was he who killed them and their women had loosened hair. 341 He protected us from an extremely dangerous calamity in the forest. Plotted by the enemy, Durvasa, who should eat first, arrived with ten thousand disciples. 342 He ate the leftover vegetables and the three worlds were satisfied. While their bodies were submerged in the water, they thought that they were also satisfied. It is through his energy that I could surprise the illustrious wielder of the trident 343 and the daughter of the mountain 344 in an encounter and he gave me his own weapon. 345 I reached the great Indra’s residence in my physical body. I obtained half of his throne and weapons from others. O Ajamidha! While I resided there, the gods used the power of my arms, marked with imprints left by Gandiva, to slay the enemies of the gods. He is the one who made it possible for Indra to find support in me. Today, I am deprived of that supreme Purusha. The army of the Kurus was like an impassable and spirited ocean. It was because of his friendship that I was able to cross it, alone on a chariot. I seized a lot of riches that belonged to the enemy. I robbed them of their energy and seized the bejewelled diadems from their heads. That large array had Bhishma, Karna, the preceptor 346 and Shalya. There were other noble kings in a circle of chariots. O lord! He proceeded ahead of me and through his glance, robbed the leaders among the charioteers of their minds, lifespans and energy. The weapons of the asuras could not touch Nrihari’s servant. 347 In that way, great weapons that were invincible in form were unleashed on me by the preceptor, Bhishma, Karna, Drona’s son, Trigarta, 348 Shalya, Saindhava, 349 Bahlika and others. But they could not harm me. He is the lord who delivered me. It is through evil intelligence that I engaged him as a charioteer. Those who are fortunate worship his lotus feet so that they are not born again. When my mounts were exhausted, I descended from the chariot on to the ground. 350 My mind was distracted and it is through his favours that the enemy could not strike me. O lord of men! His words were generous, adorned with a sweet smile. In sport, he addressed me as, ‘O Partha! O Arjuna! O friend! O descendant of the Kuru lineage!’ That conversation touched my heart. On remembering Madhava’s words, my heart is overwhelmed. We slept, sat, walked, conversed, ate and did other things together. Truly, evil in intelligence, I misbehaved with him. But like a friend unto a friend and a father unto a son, in his great glory and affection, he pardoned all this. O Indra among men! I am now separated from Purushottama. He was my beloved friend and well-wisher and my heart is empty. I was protecting the bodies of Urukrama’s wives. However, like a woman, I was defeated by wicked cowherds. 351 I have the same bow and arrows, the same chariot and horses. I am the same charioteer to whom the kings bowed down. But in an instant, without him, all that became useless, like oblations rendered into ashes, the act of a juggler, or sowing seeds on barren land. O king! You asked about our well-wishers in the city of well-wishers. Because of the curse of brahmanas, they slew each other with their fists. Having drunk varuni liquor, their minds were maddened and intoxicated and they did not recognize each other. Only four or five are left. It is almost as if this was a deed done by the illustrious lord. Sometimes, creatures kill each other and sometimes, they protect each other. O king! In the water, large aquatic creatures swallow smaller ones. The large and the strong eat the weak and the feeble. Thus, the lord made strong Yadavas kill others and made the Yadavas kill each other. In the past too, he reduced the burden of the earth in this way. I remember the words spoken to me by Govinda, full of meaning that was appropriate to the time and the place. As I remember them, my torment is extinguished and my mind is enchanted.”’

Suta said, ‘Thus, Jishnu thought about Krishna’s lotus feet. Because of his extremely deep affection, his mind became peaceful and clear. He meditated on Vasudeva’s feet and his devotion and intelligence rapidly increased and became unlimited, it having subsided earlier. In the forefront of the battle, the illustrious one had sung of the knowledge. 352 In the course of time and deeds, it had become enveloped in darkness. 353 But the lord revived it again. He lost his sorrow and attained the brahman. All his doubts about duality were destroyed. He merged and lost all qualities associated with Prakriti. Since he transcended the physical body, he would not be born again. Having heard about the path taken by the illustrious one and about the end of the Yadu lineage, in seclusion, Yudhishthira made up his mind about the path he would himself take. Pritha heard what Dhananjaya had said about the destruction of the Yadus and the destination taken by the illustrious one. She was single-minded in her devotion to the illustrious Adhokshaja. With concentration, she thus withdrew from the material world. A thorn is removed with a thorn. In that way, the one who has no birth gave up the body he used to remove the earth’s burden. He is the one who controlled both equally. 354 Like an actor, he assumed many different forms, a fish and others. 355 He assumed those bodies to relieve the earth of its burdens. The illustrious Mukunda’s deeds are worth hearing about. When he left the earth and his body, on that day, Kali manifested itself. It is the cause of wicked action by those whose intelligence is imperfectly developed. The intelligent Yudhishthira discerned the increasing spread of avarice, falsehood, deceitfulness, violence and adharma in the city, the kingdom and homes and in his own soul. He donned an attire that was appropriate to his departure. In his own kingdom, he instated his grandson, 356 who was like his own self in the possession of excellent qualities. He was instated on the throne in Gajasahvya and became the lord of the earth, up to the frontiers of the ocean. Vajra 357 was instated in Mathura, as the lord of the Shurasenas. Having performed a prajapatya sacrifice, the lord then drank up the fires. 358 He gave up his garments, bracelets and similar things. He gave up all sense of self and ego. He severed all the bonds that remained. He offered his speech into his mind and his mind into prana. 359 He offered apana to death and offered death to panchatva. 360 The sage then offered panchatva into the three 361 and into the unity. He offered everything into the atman and the atman into the undecaying brahman. He attired himself in bark and controlled his food. He restrained his speech and his hair was loose. He showed himself in a form that was like that of a dumb or mad person, or a pishacha. 362 He did not expect anything from anyone. Like a person who was deaf, he did not hear. He entered the northern direction, one traversed by great-souled ones earlier. Wherever he went, in his heart, he meditated on the supreme brahman. All his brothers saw that Kali, the friend of adharma, had touched the subjects on earth. They made up their minds to follow him. All of them had performed virtuous deeds. They knew in their inner souls that Vaikuntha’s lotus feet was the objective of everything and they fixed this in their minds. Their intelligence was purified and their devotion increased because of the meditation. They single-mindedly fixed themselves on Narayana’s feet as the destination. They reached a state that is extremely difficult for wicked ones attached to material objects to attain. Their sins were cleansed and they reached a state where they were free from all taints. Vidura also gave up his body in Prabhasa. His consciousness was submerged in Krishna. With the ancestors, he went to his own abode. 363 Droupadi saw that her husbands were ignoring her. Single-mindedly, she fixed herself on the illustrious Vasudeva and obtained him. This is the account of the departure of Pandu’s sons, loved by the illustrious one. It is sacred and brings good fortune. If a person listens to it faithfully and frequently, he obtains devotion to Hari and success.’Chapter 1(16)

Suta said, ‘Parikshit was devoted to the extremely illustrious one and ruled the earth in accordance with the teachings of the noble brahmanas. O brahmana! He exhibited the great qualities which had been foretold by learned and accomplished ones at the time of his birth. He married Uttara’s daughter, Iravati. 364 He had four sons, Janamejaya and the others. He made Sharadvata 365 his preceptor and performed three horse sacrifices on the banks of the Ganga, donating a lot of gifts. The gods showed themselves at these. On one occasion, in the course of his conquests, the brave one used his energy to capture Kali. He was a shudra, in the form of a king, and was kicking a cow and a bull with his feet.’

Shounaka asked, ‘In the course of his conquest, why did the king capture Kali? 366 After all, the wicked shudra was in the form of a king and had kicked a cow with his feet. O immensely fortunate one! Is that story connected with accounts about Krishna? Or is it about the virtuous ones who lick the honey from his lotus feet? What is the point of wasting one’s lifespan on other impermanent topics that decay and are not permanent? O best among men! The lifespan is limited and mortal ones desire amrita. Illustrious Death has been invited here for rites connected with the sacrifice of animals. Therefore, no one is going to die as long as Death is here. O illustrious one! That is the reason the supreme rishis have summoned you, so that the world of men can drink the wonderful and immortal words about Hari’s pastimes. The wicked, evil in intelligence, have a lifespan that is evil and limited. Their nights pass in sleeping and their days in futile deeds.’

Suta replied, ‘Parikshit was residing in Kurujangala and heard that Kali had entered his own dominion. This news was unpleasant. The brave one picked up his bow and arrow. He left the city on an ornamented chariot that was yoked to dark horses, with a lion on the standard. He was surrounded by chariots, horses, elephants and foot soldiers. With his own army, he set out on this conquest. He conquered Bhadrashva, Ketumala, Bharata, Uttara Kuru, Kimpurusha and other territories and received tribute. Here and there, he heard the fame of his great-souled ancestors being sung, signifying Krishna’s greatness. He heard about himself being saved from the energy of Ashvatthama’s weapon, about the affection between the Vrishnis and the Parthas and their devotion towards Keshava. He was extremely satisfied at this and his eyes dilated in affection. The great-minded one gave away a large amount of riches, garments and necklaces. The universe bows down before Vishnu and he heard about how he had been a charioteer, a companion, an attendant, a friend, a guard and a follower, out of affection towards the sons of Pandu, praising them and bowing down before them. The king thus became devoted to his lotus feet. He was following the conduct of his ancestors. However, not very far away, an extraordinary event occurred. Hear about it. Dharma was wandering around on a single foot 367 and approached the earth, in the form of a grieving cow. Her face was covered with tears, like a mother separated from her calf and he questioned her. Dharma asked, “O fortunate one! Are you not well? Your face is distressed and pale. I can discern some kind of agony in you. O mother! Are you grieving because your relative is far away? Are you grieving because I have a single foot and have lost my other feet? Do you perceive that you will be devoured by vrishalas? 368 Alas! Have gods and others lost their shares in sacrifices? Are the subjects suffering because Maghavan 369 is not showering down? O earth! Are you grieving because women and children are not protected by men and are afflicted? Is the goddess of speech present in the families of brahmanas who perform perverse deeds? Is it because the foremost of brahmanas now have to serve the families of kings? Is it because the worst of kshatriyas 370 have been touched by Kali and the kingdoms are therefore in disarray? In the world of the living, here and there, people are eagerly engaged in eating, drinking, dressing, bathing and sexual intercourse. 371 O mother! O earth! Hari assumes a form and descends to remove the burden of the earth. He has vanished. Are you remembering all that he did and the deeds the liberation is dependent on? O earth! Tell me the cause of your distress. Why are you suffering? Time is the strongest among the strong. O mother! Has it taken away your good fortune, worshipped even by the gods?” The earth replied, “O Dharma! You know everything that you have asked me about. It is because of him 372 that you possessed the four feet which brought happiness to the worlds. O lord! Truth, purity, compassion, patience, renunciation, satisfaction, uprightness, concentration, self-control, austerities, impartiality, tolerance, indifference, learning, knowledge, non-attachment, prosperity, valour, energy, strength, perception, independence, dexterity, beauty, fortitude, ingenuity, gentleness, good conduct, skill, execution, enjoyment, depth, poise, belief, fame, pride and other great qualities always existed in him and never decayed. These are desired by those who aspire for greatness. He was the reservoir of these qualities. He was the abode of Shri. I am grieving because the world is deprived of him and because Kali has cast its wicked glance. I am grieving about myself and about you, supreme among the immortals and about the gods, the ancestors, the rishis, all the virtuous ones, the varnas and the ashramas. Desiring Shri’s sidelong glances, Brahma and the others performed austerities for many days. However, she left her own abode in a grove of lotuses and faithfully and devotedly sought refuge and good fortune at the illustrious one’s feet. My body was ornamented with the prosperous and illustrious one’s feet, with the marks of the lotus, the thunderbolt, the goad and the flag. Thus, I possessed a beauty that surpassed that of the three worlds. However, because I was arrogant, at the end he forsook me. I suffered excessively from the lineages of asura kings. But the self-reliant one destroyed one hundred of their akshouhinis. You also suffered because of your feet. But he assumed a beautiful form in the lineage of the Yadus and used his manliness to relieve you. Who can tolerate separation from Purushottama? His glance is full of love, his smile is beautiful and his conversation is sweet. His gravity and passion conquered the pride of the women of the Madhu lineage. Because I was marked with his footprints, my body hair 373 stood up in delight.” The earth and Dharma conversed in this fashion. At that time, the royal sage named Parikshit reached Sarasvati, which flowed in an eastern direction.’Chapter 1(17)

Suta said, ‘There, the king saw the cow and the bull being struck, as if they were without a protector. He saw the Vrishala with a rod in his hand, in the garb of a king. The bull was as white as a white lotus and was passing urine in its fear. Struck by the shudra, it trembled and was suffering, standing on one leg. The cow was milked for dharma. 374 Struck by the shudra’s foot, it was severely distressed. It was separated from its calf and its face was full of tears. It was weak and desired some fodder. He was astride his chariot, with an armour made out of molten gold. Wielding a bow, he asked in a voice that rumbled like thunder. “Who are you? This world is under my protection. You are strong and are using your strength to injure weak ones. You are in the attire of a lord of men, like an actor. But your action is like that of a person who is not a dvija. 375 Who are you? Krishna and the wielder of the Gandiva have gone far away. This is deplorable. In a secluded place, you are striking the innocent. You deserve to be killed. O one who is as white as a white lotus! 376 You have lost your feet and are roaming around on one foot. You are making us grieve. Are you a god in the form of a bull? As long as this land is protected by valiant Indras among the Kouravas, with your exception, tears of sorrow do not fall down on the surface of the ground. O Surabhi’s son! 377 Do not grieve. Let there be no fear on account of the Vrishala. O mother! 378 O fortunate one! Do not weep. I am here to chastise the wicked. O virtuous one! If a king is intoxicated and all the subjects and virtuous ones are terrified in his kingdom, his deeds, lifespan, good fortune and destination 379 are destroyed. It is the supreme dharma of kings to alleviate the afflicted and punish those who cause affliction. Therefore, I will slay this wicked one, who is causing injury to creatures. O four-legged son of Surabhi! Who severed three of your legs? In the kingdom of a king who follows Krishna, let there be no one in this state. O bull! O fortunate one! You are virtuous and innocent. Tell me who disfigured you and tainted the deeds of the Parthas. Those who cause sufferings to innocent creatures face fear from me and everywhere else. 380 By subduing the wicked, the welfare of the virtuous is ensured. If an uncontrolled person causes offence to innocent creatures, I shall tear apart his arms, with the bracelets, even if he happens to be an immortal himself. The supreme dharma for a king is to protect those who follow their own dharma and follow the sacred texts and chastise the others who deviate from the path.”

‘Dharma said, “These words, which dispel the fear of those who are afflicted, are worthy of someone from the Pandava lineage. It is because of their extensive qualities that the illustrious Krishna acted as their messenger and performed other deeds. O bull among men! We do not know the being who caused our hardship. We are confused because different doctrines do not agree. Some who deny duality say that one is the master of one’s atman. 381 Others think of destiny. Others mention action. 382 Some others think that nature is the master. 383 Some have determined that this cannot be decided through reasoning and arguments. O royal sage! That being the case, use your own intelligence to judge.” O supreme among brahmanas! Dharma said this to the emperor, who controlled his mind and replied without any confusion. The king replied, “O one who knows about dharma. You are speaking about dharma. You are Dharma, in the form of a bull. If a person speaks about a place where adharma has been perpetrated, he obtains the same destination. 384 Or indeed, it may be the case that the path of the god’s maya cannot be fathomed. Creatures cannot ascertain this through their intelligence and their words. In krita yuga, austerities, purity, compassion and truth constituted your four feet. Three of them were broken through adharma—arrogance, sexual intercourse and intoxication. O Dharma! You now subsist on your single foot of truth. But adharma in the form of the thriving Kali’s deceit is trying to destroy that too. The great burden of the earth has been removed by the illustrious one and by others. When the prosperous one was present, everything was rendered auspicious because of his footprints. But the virtuous one has been left desolate. The unfortunate one is grieving and shedding tears. Shudras are enjoying her and those who are not devoted to brahmanas are pretending to be kings.” In this way, the maharatha comforted Dharma and the earth. He seized his sharp sword to act against Kali, the cause of adharma.

‘Knowing that he 385 was going to kill him, he abandoned his garb of a king and full of fear, approached him, bowing his head down at his feet. The brave one was compassionate and caring about those who were distressed. He saw that he had fallen down at his feet, seeking refuge. Therefore, he did not kill him. He seemed to smile and said, “I am upholding Gudakesha’s 386 fame. Someone who has joined his hands in supplication need have no fear. However, you are a friend of adharma. Therefore, you should never remain in my dominion. While you were present in the body of a king, there was adharma among the masses—avarice, falsehood, theft, lack of nobility, sinfulness, misfortune, cheating, conflict and arrogance. O friend of adharma! You should not exist in a place like Brahmavarta where there is dharma and truth and those who know about sacrifices perform sacrifices to the lord of sacrifices. The illustrious Hari is worshipped there through sacrifices and he brings welfare to those who perform sacrifices to his different forms, so that their desires are met. Like the wind, his atman is inside and outside mobile and immobile objects.” Thus commanded by Parikshit, Kali started to tremble. He saw that he held an upraised sword, like the wielder of the rod. 387 Kali said, “O supreme emperor! Even if I follow your command, regardless of where I dwell, I will see you there, with a bow and arrows. O supreme among the upholders of dharma! Therefore, you should indicate the best place for me. I will control myself and reside there, abiding by your command.” Thus requested, he indicated four kinds of places for adharma—where there is gambling, where there is drinking, women and slaughterhouses. Requested once again, the lord gave him a place where there is gold. In such a place, falsehood, intoxication, desire, passion and enmity, as the fifth, exist. Uttara’s son indicated these five places as areas Kali could reside in and show its powers of adharma. Therefore, these should never be frequented by a man who desires his own welfare, in particular, by a king who is devoted to dharma and is a preceptor and master of men. He restored the three feet of the bull that had got destroyed—austerities, purity and compassion. He also comforted the earth and ensured its prosperity. Right now, he rules from a throne that is appropriate for a king, after his grandfather, 388 the king, wished to go to the forest and entrusted this to him. The royal sage, Indra among the Kouravas, spreads prosperity now. The immensely fortunate one is extremely famous and is the emperor in Gajasahvya. Such has been the experience of the king who is Abhimanyu’s son. Since he protects the earth, you have been able to consecrate yourselves for this sacrifice.’Chapter 1(18)

Suta said, ‘Through the illustrious Krishna’s favours, whose deeds are extraordinary, though he was burnt by the weapon of Drona’s son, he did not die in his mother’s womb. His life was destroyed because he invoked a brahmana’s rage and because of Takshaka. Despite this, he was not overwhelmed by confusion and fear and surrendered himself to the illustrious one. He knew the status of the one who cannot be conquered 389 and gave up all attachment. Becoming a disciple of Vyasa’s son, 390 he gave up his body in the Ganga. If one is engaged in the immortal account of the one who is spoken about in excellent shlokas, there is no fear, even at the time of death, since one remembers his lotus feet. As long as Abhimanyu’s great and powerful son is the single emperor, till then, Kali’s powers cannot enter anywhere in this world. On the day and the instant the illustrious one left the earth, Kali, whose powers lead to adharma, entered here. Like a bee that extracts the essence, 391 the emperor did not hate Kali. He knew that good deeds become successful quickly, while inferior deeds do not, until performed. 392 What can Kali do? It is brave before children and timid before those who are patient and not distracted. Like a wolf, it exists among men who are distracted. I have described to you the sacred account of Parikshit and Vasudeva. That is the account you asked me about. Men who desire their benefit should hear about the illustrious one’s account, Urukrama’s praiseworthy deeds and the qualities and action he resorted to.’

The rishis responded, ‘O Suta! O amiable one! May you live for an eternal number of years, especially because you have spoken about Krishna’s fame. For us mortals, this is like amrita. The outcome of the ritual we have started is uncertain. Because of the fumes, we have ourselves become covered in smoke. You have given us the intoxicating honey from Govinda’s lotus feet. Even for an instant, heaven, or the possibility of no more rebirth, is not comparable with the companionship of someone who is devoted to the illustrious one. What else brings benefit to mortals? His qualities are infinite. Foremost lords of yoga, like Bhava and the one who was born from the lotus 393 cannot approach his qualities. He is alone the refuge for all great beings. No discriminating person will be satisfied at hearing about his account. You are foremost among those who are devoted to him. He is the only refuge for those who are great. O learned one! The extensive Hari’s conduct is pure and we wish to hear about it. Therefore, tell us. Parikshit, unwavering in his intelligence, was a great devotee and used the knowledge of that account, imparted by Vyasa’s son, to obtain liberation. He obtained the feet of the one who has the Indra among birds 394 on his banner. The account of the Bhagavata, full of the conduct of the infinite one, was told to Parikshit. It is extraordinary and is loved by those who are devoted to yoga. It is supremely pure. Therefore, without concealing anything, tell us.’

Suta said, ‘This is wonderful. By following those who are wise, a person like me, born inferior, has been uplifted beyond his birth. The disqualification of birth is quickly purified if one has a conversation and association with great ones. 395 What need be said about someone who chants the name of someone who is the only refuge for those who are great? The illustrious and infinite one is infinite in his strength. He is known as the infinite one 396 because he possesses all the great qualities. His qualities are unmatched and superior to those of anyone else. Though he doesn’t desire it, prosperity 397 desires the dust of his feet, forgetting others. It is sufficient to state this. The water flowing from the nails of his feet has been collected by Virinchi 398 and used for worship, purifying the universe and Shiva. In this universe, who other than Mukunda can be given the status of the illustrious one? Patient ones who are devoted to him can suddenly cast aside foolish attachment to the body and other things. 399 They thus reach the state of being paramahamsa. 400 The natural dharma then is non-violence and tranquility. O those who are like the sun! You have asked me and I will tell you as much as I know. Just as birds rise up into the sky to the best of their strength, learned ones obtain Vishnu to the extent of their capacity. Once, he 401 raised his bow and was roaming around on a hunt in the forest. Following a deer, he became extremely tired, hungry and thirsty. Unable to see any water, he entered a hermitage. 402 He saw a tranquil sage seated there, with his eyes closed. His senses and breath of life were restrained and his intelligence was withdrawn. 403 He was in a state beyond the three, 404 unaffected and merged into the brahman. He was covered in dishevelled and matted hair and wore the hide of a ruru antelope. The king’s palate was dry and he asked him for water. He was not offered grass, earth, 405 arghya 406 or sweet words. He thought that he was being ignored and became angry. O brahmana! The king was afflicted by hunger and thirst. He suddenly felt intolerance and anger towards the brahmana, something that had never happened to him before. There was a lifeless snake. In his rage, as he left, he picked it up with the end of his bow, strung it around the brahmana rishi’s neck and went to his city. “Was he meditating, having controlled his senses, or were his eyes merely closed? Or was he pretending to meditate because he did not wish to engage with an inferior kshatriya?” 407 His 408 son was extremely energetic, though a child. At that time, he was playing with other children. Hearing that his father had been oppressed by the king, at that place, he said the following. “Alas! The adharma of those who are supposed to protect has become as plump as a crow. This is like a servant acting against his master, or a dog acting against the doorkeeper. Brahmanas have appointed kshatra-bandhus as the guards of houses. In that house, how does a doorkeeper deserve to eat from the same vessel? The illustrious Krishna, the chastiser of those who follow perverse paths, has departed. Therefore, I will protect the rules today. Behold my strength.” The son of the rishi said this to his friends, his eyes coppery red with rage. He touched the waters of the Koushiki 409 and released words that were like the vajra. “The one who has caused the injury, the worst of his lineage, has transgressed the rules. Therefore, urged by me, on the seventh day from today, Takshaka will bite him.” The child went to the hermitage and saw his father, with the dead body of the snake around his neck. He was afflicted by grief and wept loudly. O brahmana! Angiras’s descendant heard his son lamenting. He opened his eyes slowly and saw the dead snake around his neck. He hurled it away and asked, “O child! Why are you crying? Who has harmed you?” Thus asked, he 410 reported what had happened. The Indra among men should not have been cursed. On hearing, the brahmana did not applaud his son. He said, “Alas! Today, you have done something distressing. You have imposed a grave punishment for a small injury. O one whose intelligence is not yet ripe! A king is supreme and should not be equated with other men. His energy is impossible to withstand. Protected by him, subjects are without fear and obtain benefits. O dear one! The one with the chakra in his hand can no longer be seen and in this world, the king is his representative. There are plenty of thieves and he destroys them. If we are not protected by him, in an instant, we will be like sheep without a leader. That is the reason, from today, wickedness will descend on us. Our protector will be destroyed and our riches will be plundered. People will kill and strike each other. People will be like great bandits and steal animals, women and riches. Thus, noble dharma and conduct of the varnas and the ashramas, propounded in the three, 411 will decay among men. They will immerse themselves in artha and kama, like dogs and monkeys, and there will be a mixing up of the varnas. The lord of men is a protector of dharma. He is an emperor and great in his learning. He is a great devotee of the illustrious one himself. He is a royal sage and has performed horse sacrifices. He was hungry, thirsty and distressed. He did not deserve to be cursed.” “O illustrious one! 412 O one who is in all our atmans! He is a child whose intelligence has not yet ripened. He has committed a crime and harmed your own servant. You should pardon him. Because of your favours, your devotees do not strike back, even if they are abused, cheated, cursed, insulted or struck.” Thus, the great sage repented the harm done by his son. Though he had been injured by the king, he did not think about that injury at all. In general, the virtuous ones in this world are engaged by others to take part in the opposites. 413 They resort to the qualities of the atman and are neither distressed, nor delighted.’Chapter 1(19)

Suta said, ‘The king thought about the reprehensible deed that he had himself done and was distressed in his mind. “Alas! I have acted like an ignoble and inferior person. The brahmana was innocent and his energy is deep. Because of what I have done, it is certain that I have shown contempt for the god. 414 Fairly soon, there will be a calamity that will be impossible to cross. I desire that I should be freed from my sin, so that I do not commit anything like this again. Let the angry fire of the lineage of the brahmana burn down my kingdom, army, riches and treasury today, so that nothing inauspicious happens to me again and so that my wicked intelligence does not turn against brahmanas, gods and cows again.” As he was thinking in this way, he heard what the sage’s son said, about his death in the form of Takshaka. He was indifferent about Takshaka soon becoming the cause. He thought it was good that this would trigger non-attachment. Therefore, he gave up this world and the next. He determined that these were inferior to what was before him, since he thought that serving at Krishna’s feet was the best. Along the banks of the immortal river, 415 he seated himself in praya. Which man, who is about to die, will not serve it? Mixed with tulasi 416 leaves and the dust of Krishna’s feet, its waters are rendered even more beautiful and sanctify both the worlds and Isha. 417 The descendant of the Pandava lineage decided in this way. He sat down in praya on the banks of the one flowing from Vishnu’s feet. He single-mindedly gave himself up to Mukunda’s feet. He resorted to the vow of sages and freed himself from all attachments.

‘Great-minded sages, capable of purifying the universe, arrived there, with their disciples. Though they themselves purified tirthas, they generally went to regions where there were tirthas. There were Atri, Vasishtha, Chyavana, Sharadvana, Arishtanemi, Bhrigu, Angiras, Parashara, Gadhi’s son, 418 Rama, 419 Utathya, Indrapramada, Idhmavahu, Medhatithi, Devala, Arshtishena, Bharadvaja, Goutama, Pippalada, Maitreya, Ourva, Kavasha, Kumbhayoni, Dvaipayana and the illustrious Narada. There were other divine rishis and noble brahmana rishis, noble royal sages, Arunas and others. 420 Many foremost rishis assembled. The king bowed his head down and greeted and worshipped them. When all of them were happily seated, having worshipped them, the king told them about what he desired to do. With his mind detached, he joined his hands in salutation before the ones who were in front of him.

‘The king said, “This is wonderful. I am the most blessed among kings. Our conduct should be to receive the favours of such great ones. The lineages of kings perform reprehensible deeds. 421 They are thrust far away, like that which is used to clean the feet of brahmanas. 422 I have been guilty and the lord of this world and the next has come to me in the form of a brahmana’s curse. As a householder, I have always been excessively addicted to material objects. I was attached and the fear that will soon arrive will be the foundation for non-attachment. I have sought refuge and fixed my intelligence on the lord. May the brahmanas and the goddess Ganga accept me in that way. Let the deceitful Takshaka be released by the brahmana. Let it swiftly bite me. Sing the accounts of Vishnu. In whatever form I am born again, let me be attached to the illustrious and infinite one. Let me be associated with those who seek him as a refuge. Wherever I am born, let my association be with those who are great. I bow down to brahmanas.” The persevering and patient king handed over the burden 423 to his own son. Facing the north, he sat down on a seat of kusha grass, with the tips of the blades facing the eastern direction. He seated himself on the southern bank of the ocean’s wife. 424 When the king, the lord of men, sat down in praya, a large number of gods assembled in the firmament. They praised him and showered down flowers on earth. Delighted, they repeatedly made drums sound. The assembled maharshis praised him. They said this was virtuous and approved. They were good in conduct and wished to bring benefit to subjects. Therefore, they spoke to him about the qualities of the one who is spoken about in excellent shlokas. “O noble and royal sage! This is not extraordinary. You come from a line that is devoted to Krishna. Though seated on thrones and ornamented with the diadems of kings, desiring the association with the illustrious one, all of you have instantly given it up. All of us will remain here until he gives up his physical body and goes to the other world, freed of all taints and grief. He is foremost among those who are devoted to the illustrious one.” Parikshit heard the words of the large number of rishis. The words were not false. They were impartial, deep and sweet as honey. He then wished to hear about Vishnu’s conduct. “All of you have assembled here, from all the worlds. You are like the personified forms of the Vedas, which are above the three worlds. In this world, and in the next world, there is no objective that you desire, with the exception of using your good conduct to do favours to others. That is the reason I am asking you about this. O brahmanas! I trust you. I am asking you what a person who is about to die must do with all one’s soul, out of the various things that need to be done. Please deliberate about what is pure and appropriate.” Detached, Vyasa’s illustrious son was roaming around the earth, as he pleased. No marks could be seen on him. 425 He was content with self-realization. He was surrounded by children and was attired like an avadhuta. 426 He arrived at the spot.

‘He was sixteen years old and his feet, hands, thighs, arms, shoulders, forehead and body were delicate. His eyes were large and beautiful. His nose was prominent and his ears were symmetric. He possessed a beautiful face and eyebrows. His well-formed neck was like a conch shell. His collarbones were covered well. His chest was broad and thick. His navel had a whorl and the folds made his belly handsome. He was naked. 427 His curly hair was dishevelled. His arms were long. His complexion was like that of the best among the immortals. He was dark and always extremely attractive because of his youth and the signs that were on his body. Because of his pleasant smile, women found him to be attractive. Though his radiance was hidden, the sages knew about the signs. The sages rose up from their seats to honour him. Vishnurata 428 bowed his head and entire body down and greeted the guest who had arrived. The ignorant women and children withdrew. 429 Worshipped, he seated himself on an exalted seat. As he deserved, the illustrious greatest of the great was surrounded by large numbers of brahmana rishis, royal sages and divine rishis. He was like the moon, surrounded by a collection of planets, heavenly bodies and stars. Completely at peace, he seated himself. His intelligence was complete. The king, devoted to the illustrious one, approached him. He joined his hands in salutation and bowed his head down in the proper way. Bowing down, he asked in well-articulated words.

‘Parikshit said, “O brahmana! This is wonderful. We are inferior kshatriyas, 430 not worthy enough to serve the virtuous. However, because of the compassion you have shown us in the form of a guest, you have made us like tirthas. Even if men remember you, their houses are instantly sanctified, not to speak of seeing you, touching you, washing your feet and offering you a seat. O great yogi! A sinner cannot remain in the presence of someone who is great. Like enemies of the gods in Vishnu’s presence, the sins of such people are instantly destroyed. The illustrious Krishna, dear to Pandu’s sons, must be pleased. He wishes to please those who are descended from his father’s relatives. Otherwise, how can men like us see you, especially those who are about to die? Your movements cannot be discerned. You have become supremely successful and only show yourself when you want. You are the greatest preceptor of the yogis who have become supremely successful. Therefore, I am asking you about the tasks that a person who is about to die must perform. O lord! What should such men hear, chant, do, remember and worship? Also tell me what should be shunned. O illustrious brahmana! You are never seen to remain in the homes of those who are in the householder stage for longer than it takes to milk a cow.”’

Suta said, ‘The king thus spoke to him and asked in gentle words. Badarayana’s illustrious son, who knew about dharma, replied.’

This ends the First Skandha.

The Bhagavata Purana 1

Second Skandha

Chapter 2(1): 39 shlokas

Chapter 2(2): 37 shlokas

Chapter 2(3): 25 shlokas

Chapter 2(4): 25 shlokas

Chapter 2(5): 42 shlokas

Chapter 2(6): 45 shlokas

Chapter 2(7): 53 shlokas

Chapter 2(8): 29 shlokas

Chapter 2(9): 45 shlokas

Chapter 2(10): 51 shlokasChapter 2(1)

‘Shri-Shuka said, “O king! Since it benefits the world, the question that you have asked is excellent. Men who know about the atman approve of it and it is supreme among all the things that should be heard. O Indra among kings! There are thousands of things that deserve to be heard by men, by those who cannot see the truth about the atman, by householders who are attached to objects that householders are interested in. O king! At night, the lifespan is taken away by sleep or by sexual intercourse and during the day, by the pursuit of artha and the maintenance of the family. A person is attached to the body, children, wife and related things and one’s own soldiers, 431 even though these are not permanent. Though he can see that these will be destroyed, he still does not see. O descendant of the Bharata lineage! The illustrious lord, Hari, is in all atmans. Therefore, anyone who desires a state of freedom from fear, should hear about him, chant about him and remember him. Thus, the supreme gain of birth for any man is to remember Narayana at the end. This can be done through samkhya yoga, or by faithfully performing one’s own dharma. O king! Generally, sages withdraw themselves from rules and restraints. Basing themselves on the nirguna, 432 they find delight in describing Hari’s qualities. This Purana named Bhagavata is revered by the brahmanas. 433 At the end of dvapara, I studied this from my father, Dvaipayana. O royal sage! I was firmly established in the nirguna. Even then, I studied this, since my intelligence was attracted to the accounts and pastimes of the one who is described in excellent shlokas. Since you are a devotee of the great one, I will recite it to you. One’s intelligence is then swiftly focused on devotion to Mukunda. O king! If a person has freed himself from worldly objects and desires a state of freedom from fear, and for yogis, the chanting of Hari’s names has been determined as the best mode. If one is inexperienced and distracted, what is the purpose of many years in this world? 434 It is better to try for a single muhurta 435 that is superior. There was a royal sage named Khatvanga, who got to know that he had only one muhurta of lifespan left. He abandoned everything and obtained freedom from fear with Hari. O Kouravya! You have seven days more of your life left. Therefore, you can now perform all the rituals required for welfare in the hereafter. When the end arrives, one should overcome all fear and use the weapon of detachment to sever all desire for the body and anything associated with it. A persevering person must leave home and bathe in the waters of sacred tirthas. He must be seated in a pure and secluded spot, on a seat that has been constructed in the proper way. In his mind, he must practise the three aksharas of the supreme brahman. 436 He must control his mind and his breath and not forget the seed of the brahman. He must use his mind to restrain the organs of the senses, which are like wheels. The intelligence is the charioteer. If the mind is addicted to action, he must use his intelligence to fix it on what is auspicious. Therefore, with undivided consciousness, one must meditate on his 437 body, one limb after another. The mind will then be freed from material objects and none of this will be remembered. On attaining Vishnu’s supreme state, the mind is delighted. The mind and the atman are confounded and distracted by rajas and tamas. However, by focusing on meditation, a persevering person can counter these and destroy the taints caused by these. By practising and meditating in this way, yogis quickly develop the characteristics of bhakti. 438 On perceiving what is beneficial, they seek refuge in yoga.”

‘The king asked, “O brahmana! What is the approved method of practising dharana? 439 What type swiftly removes the impurities from a man’s mind?”

‘Shri-Shuka replied, “One must control the asana and one must control the breathing. 440 One must conquer attachment and conquer the senses. One must use one’s intelligence to fix one’s mind on the illustrious one’s gross form. 441 This special form is the greatest of the great and the universe of past, present and future consequences is clearly manifested in this form. This body is like an egg and is covered in seven sheaths. 442 This is the illustrious one as Vairaja Purusha 443 and he is the object of dharana. Patala is read as the soles of the feet of the creator of the universe, rasatala as his heels, mahatala as his ankles and talatala as the Purusha’s shanks. 444 Sutala constitutes the knees of this universal form, vitala and atala are the two thighs. O lord of the earth! His hips are the surface of the earth 445 and the firmament 446 as the depression of his navel. It is said that the large number of stellar bodies constitute this Purusha’s chest, maharloka is his neck, janarloka is his mouth, taparloka is his forehead and satyaloka is the crest of this thousand-headed one. 447 Indra and the other resplendent gods are said to be his arms, the directions are his ears and sound is his sense of hearing. Nasatya and Dasra 448 constitute the supreme one’s nose. Scent is his sense of smell and the blazing fire is his mouth. His eye pits are the firmament and his eyeballs are the sun. Day and night are Vishnu’s eyelashes. Parameshthi 449 resides in his eyebrows and yawning. Water is his palate and taste is his tongue. Chhandas 450 are said to be the aperture in the infinite one’s head. 451 His large tusks are Yama and the signs of affection are his teeth. His laugh is the maya that maddens people. His sidelong glance is the never-ending creation. Modesty is his upper lip and greed is his lower lip. His chest is dharma and the path of adharma is his back. Brahma is his penis and Mitra and Varuna are his testicles. The oceans are his belly and the mountains are his mass of bones. O Indra among kings! The rivers are his veins and the trees are his body hair. His body is the universe. The wind, infinite in force, is his breath. His movement is the passage of time and his deeds result in the flow of qualities. 452 O noble one of the Kuru lineage! The clouds which carry water are the lord’s hair. The sandhyas are the garments of the supreme one. It is said the unmanifest one 453 is in his heart and the moon is in his mind, which is the store of all kinds of transformations. It is said that Mahat is the power of his intellect. He resides in all atmans and Rudra is in his inner organs. His nails are horses, mules, camels and elephants. Deer and all other animals are his hips. Birds are his wonderful means of expression. Manu is his power of comprehension and he resides in human beings. Gandharvas, vidyadharas, charanas and apsaras 454 are said to be his musical notes and memories. The armies of the asuras are his valour. The great-souled one has the brahmanas as his mouth, the kshatriyas as his arms, the vaishyas as his thighs and the dark-complexioned ones as his feet. 455 All the different categories of gods worshipped under different names constitute his essence. Sacrifices performed with diverse objects constitute his work. I have told you about the way in which the lord’s body is spread out. One should focus dharana on this gross form, using one’s mind and intelligence. There is nothing beyond this. Just as people see their relatives in dreams, this atman experiences everything through his intelligence and encompasses everything. One must worship him, the true one who is the store of bliss. If one does not want one’s own atman to be debased, one should not be attached to anything else.”’Chapter 2(2)

‘Shri-Shuka said, “In the past, the one who created himself 456 lost his memory. 457 He used this dharana to contemplate and please him and regained his memory. So as to create again, he obtained his infallible vision and could use his intelligence to create everything as it had been earlier. These paths represent the sound of the brahman and are contemplated on by all kinds of meaningless names. 458 Even the wise can circle around amidst these, full of maya, and not attain the desired objective, like one who is asleep. Hence, a wise and undistracted person must fix his intelligence only on the names that serve the objective. Otherwise, he will endeavour for that which does not achieve the objective. He must consider the exertion made. When one possesses the flat earth, why should one strive for a bed? When one accomplishes the purpose with one’s own arms, what is the need for pillows? When one can use the cups of one’s hands, why does one need different kinds of vessels? When the directions 459 and bark can serve the purpose, why does one need garments? Are there no tattered rags along the path? Do the trees, which support others, 460 not provide alms? Have the rivers dried up? 461 Have the caves been closed? 462 Does the unvanquished one not support those who seek refuge with him? Why should wise people serve those who are blind and insolent because of their wealth? In this way, one must search out the truth in one’s own heart and become successful in pleasing one’s atman by fixing oneself on the illustrious and infinite one. Thus detached, one must always worship the eternal and supreme one, for the sake of being freed from this cycle of life. People fall into the river Vaitarani 463 and are overtaken by repentance because of what they themselves have done. On seeing this, who, except animals, will take the names of things that are not permanent? Some think of Purusha residing in the region of one’s own heart, inside one’s own body, and only a short span in height. They remember and conceive him as a four-armed one, holding a lotus, a chakra, a conch shell and a club. His face is gracious. His lotus eyes are large. His garments are as tawny 464 as the filament of a kadamba flower. He has golden bracelets decorated with expensive jewels. His diadem and earrings sparkle with expensive jewels. There is a blossoming lotus at the centre and the lords of yoga place his delicate feet there. 465 He bears the mark of Shri 466 and wears the Koustubha jewel around his neck. He is beautiful, garlanded with fresh wild flowers. He is adorned with an extremely expensive girdle, rings, anklets, bangles and other ornaments. His glossy and spotless hair is curly and dark blue. His pleasant face is beautiful because of its smile. His generous pastimes, smiles, glances and the movement of his eyebrows indicate his favours. As long as this form can be held in one’s mind through dharana, this is the lord’s form one must look towards and think about. Step by step, one must use one’s intellect to meditate on the limbs of the one who wields the club, from the feet to his smile. After one has successfully meditated on one part, one leaves that and moving up, meditates on another part. In this way, step by step, the intellect is purified. As long as great devotion in the lord of the universe is not generated, the seer of this world and the next must meditate on this gross form of Purusha. After the end of the rituals, he must attentively remember this form. O dear one! Whenever an ascetic desires to give up this world, his mind should not be attached to the time or the place. He must use his mind to control his breath of life and be seated in a pleasant place, without being disturbed. The mind must be controlled through one’s own purified intellect. The kshetrajna must thus be merged into the atman. 467 The persevering person thus merges the atman into the atman. 468 Having obtained tranquility, he ceases from all action. Time, which can control those who do not blink, 469 has no presence there. Nor do the gods who are regarded as the lords of the universe. There is no sattva, rajas or tamas there. There are no transformations there, no primary and secondary. 470 There are those who wish to avoid that which is non-existent. Therefore, they affectionately fix themselves on the supreme feet of the eternal Vishnu and avoid all other kinds of misconception. Step by step, they accept his revered feet in their hearts. Thus should the sage withdraw and base himself, using the strength and insight of his knowledge and regulating his subsistence. He should use his foot to press down on his anus and conquering all exhaustion, race his breath of life up to the six places. 471 He must push it up from the navel to the heart 472 and from there, the sage will take udana up to the chest. Using his intellect, the spirited one will then search out and slowly convey it to the root of the palate. 473 From there, he will then take it up to between the eyebrows. 474 He will be detached and will control the seven outlets. 475 With an unwavering gaze, he must remain in that position for half a muhurta. He will then penetrate the crown of the head 476 and abandoning everything, obtain the supreme. O king! If he desires to go where Parameshthi 477 is, or to the places where those in the sky 478 are said to find their pleasure, or become lord over the eight powers, 479 or attain the qualities, 480 he should go there with his mind and his senses. The lords of yoga are said to be those whose breath of life is inside their atmans and therefore, inside and outside the three worlds, using their learning, austerities, yoga and meditation. Those who pursue action cannot travel in this fashion. O king! Such a person first passes through the sky and reaches the place known as Vaishvanara. 481 He passes through sushumna and the radiant path of the brahman, cleansed of all dirt. 482 Above that, he goes to the shaishumara chakra, which is like the navel of the universe, and is united with Hari. Alone, the atman reaches this subtle and pure form of Vishnu. The learned ones who know about the brahman reach and worship it, delighting themselves there for the duration of one kalpa. At the end of this, they see the universe being consumed by a fire that emanates from Ananta’s 483 mouth. These devout lords of success then dwell in Parameshthi’s abode 484 for two parardhas. 485 There is no sorrow there, nor old age or death. There is no affliction of any kind, with the exception of mental anxiety, resulting out of compassion at the sight of those who do not know about this path and who therefore suffer from the insurmountable miseries of birth and death. In particular, having reached that spot, 486 he is without fear and unites his atman and subtle form with water and slowly thereafter, with fire, energy and wind. In the course of time, he blends with space and merges his atman into that great form. The yogi reaches smell through the sense of smell, taste through the sense of taste, form through sight, the sense of touch through the skin, sound, the quality of the sky, through the sense of hearing and all desires through prana. He withdraws the gross and subtle senses and enters a mental plane that is full of ego and divinity. 487 Having transcended these, he obtains the state of perfect knowledge, where all the qualities are neutralized. The atman finds tranquility in the atman. 488 When everything else ceases, bliss is found in a state of bliss. O dear one! If a person reaches this state of the illustrious one, he does not become attached to this world again. O king! You asked me and I have described to you the eternal path sung about in the Vedas. In ancient times, Brahma worshipped and satisfied the illustrious Vasudeva and was told about this. For those who are wandering around in the circle of existence, there is no other path that is auspicious. By resorting to bhakti yoga, one obtains the illustrious Vasudeva. Attentively, the illustrious Brahma examined all this and the three 489 and determined how the mind could be focused, so that there is affection towards the atman. 490 The illustrious Hari can be discerned in all creatures and in their atmans. Those with insight can see this through their intellect and infer it through the signs. O king! Therefore, among men, everywhere and in every place, with all one’s soul, the illustrious Hari must be heard about, chanted about and remembered. Virtuous ones use their atmans to drink up the immortal accounts about the illustrious one and their organs of hearing become full. If they are again contaminated by material objects, they go to him and climb up to his lotus feet.”’Chapter 2(3)

‘Shri-Shuka said, “This is what you had asked me about, about what learned men should do, especially men who are about to die. One who desires Brahma’s radiance should worship the lord Brahma, one who desires the senses, Indra and one who desires offspring should worship the Prajapatis. One who desires prosperity should worship the goddess Maya, 491 one who desires energy Vibhavasu, 492 one who desires wealth should worship the Vasus and one who desires valour should worship the valiant Rudra. One who desires food and similar things should worship Aditi, one who desires heaven should worship Aditi’s sons, 493 one who desires a kingdom should worship the Vishvadevas and one who desires to control people should worship the Sadhyas. One who desires a long lifespan should worship the two gods, the Ashvins, one who desires health should worship Ila 494 and a man who desires a steady position should worship the earth and the sky, the mothers of the world. One who desires beauty should worship the gandharvas, one who desires women should worship the apsara Urvashi and one who desires suzerainty over everyone should worship Parameshthi. One who desires fame should worship Yajna, 495 one who desires treasures should worship Prachetas, 496 one who desires learning should worship Girisha 497 and one who desires a happy marriage should worship Uma. For the sake of dharma one should worship Uttamashloka, 498 for the sake of offspring and their protection one should worship the ancestors, for the sake of protection one must worship virtuous people and for the sake of spirit one must worship the large number of Maruts. One who desires a kingdom must worship the divinity Manu and one who desires to control spells must worship Nirriti. 499 One who desires objects of pleasure must worship Soma and one who seeks freedom from desire must worship the supreme Purusha. A person who is extensive in intelligence and has no desires, or has satisfied all desires, or desires liberation, must worship the supreme Purusha with intense bhakti yoga. In this world, all the people who worship can obtain many kinds of benefit. However, unwavering devotion to the illustrious one only comes through association with the devotees of the illustrious one. Knowledge comes through the suspension of the circling of qualities and it creates self-satisfaction because there is no attachment to the qualities. This is the approved path of bhakti yoga, which leads to emancipation. 500 Who will withdraw from Hari’s accounts and who will not be attached to them?”’

Shounaka asked, ‘The king, bull among the Bharata lineage, heard all that had been said. What did he next ask the wise rishi who was Vyasa’s son? O Suta! O learned one! We wish to hear and you should speak to us about this. Accounts of Hari, and the accounts that follow, must certainly be heard in assemblies of virtuous people. The maharatha king was the illustrious one’s devotee. Even as a child, when he used to play with dolls, he used to imitate Krishna’s pastimes. Vyasa’s illustrious son was devoted to Vasudeva. When there was a meeting of virtuous people, the pervasive qualities of the praiseworthy one must have been spoken about. The rising, setting and movements 501 take away the lifespans of men, with the exception of the time that is spent in conversing about Uttamashloka. Are trees not alive? Do bellows 502 not breathe? Do domestic and other animals not eat and discharge semen? A man whose ears have never heard praises of Gada’s elder brother is an animal, like a dog, a boar, a camel, or a donkey. If a man has not heard about Urukrama’s valour, his ears are like a snake’s hole. O Suta! If he has never loudly chanted about the praiseworthy one, his tongue is like that of a frog. Even if the head is covered in a headdress or diadem, if it has not bowed down to Mukunda, it is a great burden. Our hands, even if they are adorned with golden bangles, are like the hands of dead bodies if they do not worship Hari. When the eyes of men do not look at Vishnu’s signs, they are like the eyes on a peacock. 503 When the feet of men do not go to Hari’s kshetras, they are like trunks generated from trees. If a mortal person has not received the dust from the illustrious one’s feet, even if he is alive, he is like a corpse. If a man does not know the smell of tulasi leaves placed at the handsome Vishnu’s feet, even if he breathes, he is a corpse. If a heart hears Hari’s names being chanted with concentration, and is not moved, or is moved but the eyes do not fill with tears, and if the body hair does not stand up in delight, its essence is made out of hard stone. O dear one! Whatever you say pleases our minds, since this was spoken by Vyasa’s son, who was learned about the atman and was a foremost devotee of the illustrious one. The virtuous and accomplished one was asked by the king.’Chapter 2(4)

Suta said, ‘Uttara’s son heard the words of Vyasa’s son and made up his mind to realize the atman by fixing his steady intelligence on Krishna. He gave up his deep-rooted and constant sense of ownership towards his body, his wife, his sons, his palace, his animals, his riches and his kingdom, and was no longer disturbed. O supreme ones! The great-minded one was faithful in thinking and hearing about Krishna. Knowing his imminent state, he renounced all action that led to the three objectives. 504 Just as you have asked me, he asked about the truth. He firmly fixed his atman on devotion towards Vasudeva.

‘The king said, “O brahmana! O one who knows about everything! O unblemished one! The words that you have spoken are proper. As you speak about Hari’s account, my darkness 505 is being dispelled. I again wish to know how the illustrious one used his maya to create the universe. This is impossible for even the great lords 506 to comprehend. How does the great one preserve and withdraw again? What strengths does he resort to? The supreme Purusha is supreme in his strength. How does he sport himself? How does he directly sport and make others sport? O brahmana! The illustrious Hari is indeed wonderful in his deeds. Even if wise ones try, they find it impossible to comprehend it. He assumes the qualities of Prakriti, simultaneously, or one after another. Though he is one, he assumes many different forms and acts through many different births.”’

Suta answered, ‘The king thus invited him 507 to speak about Hari’s qualities. Remembering Hrishikesha, he stared to speak.

‘Shri-Shuka said, “I again bow down before the supreme Purusha. For the sake of creation, preservation and destruction, he uses his pastimes. He assumes bodies with the three attributes. 508 Though his paths are inconceivable, he is inside all creation. I again bow to the one who removes the afflictions of virtuous ones and curbs the growth of those who are wicked. He is the embodiment of sattva. In particular, if a man is in the paramahamsa state, he is the one who delivers what is being sought. I repeatedly bow down before the bull among the Satvatas. He is far away from those who are critical and practitioners of wrong kinds of yoga. He restrains them through his great tranquility and powers. I bow down to the one who has his own abode in the brahman. Chanting about him, remembering him, glancing towards him, bowing down to him, hearing about him and worshipping him instantly cleanse the taints in the worlds. I bow down to the auspicious one who is heard about. Accomplished ones resort to his feet and with all their inner souls, give themselves up to being attached to him. Without any difficulty, they then attain the state of the brahman. I bow down to the auspicious one who is heard about. Those who are ascetics, those who are givers of alms, those who are illustrious, those who are spirited, those who know about the mantras and those who follow everything auspicious cannot obtain benefit without offering themselves to him. I bow down to the auspicious one who is heard about. Kiratas, Hunas, Andhras, Pulindas, Pulkashas, Abhiras, Kankas, Yavanas, Khasas and others who are wicked are purified by seeking refuge with his devotees. I bow down before Lord Vishnu. He is the supreme lord of those who know about the atman. The three 509 are in him. Dharma is in him. Austerities are in him. Those who are beyond the illusory, Aja, 510 Shankara and the others, go to him and observe his form, which is beyond dispute. May the illustrious one show me his favours. He is the lord of prosperity. He is the lord of sacrifices. He is the lord of subjects. He is the lord of wisdom. He is the lord of the worlds. He is the lord of the earth. He is the lord and refuge of Andhakas, Vrishnis and Satvatas. May the illustrious one, the lord of all those who are virtuous, show me his favours. His lotus feet are thought of in the course of meditation. The wise ones cleanse their wisdom and perceive the truth about the atman. They speak of him as they will. 511 May the illustrious Mukunda show me his favours. In ancient times, he urged and extended memory and Sarsasvati in Aja’s heart and with her own signs, she seemed to be manifested from his mouth. 512 May the bull among all rishis show me his favours. In ancient times, the lord Purusha, who was lying down, created the great elements 513 and manifested himself in them for creation. He used sixteen of his parts to enjoy the sixteen qualities. 514 May the illustrious one decorate my speech. I bow down to Vasudeva and to the illustrious composer. 515 Like liquor, amiable ones drink drops of knowledge that emerged from his lotus-like mouth. O king! This is what Narada asked the one who was born first, the source of the Vedas, 516 and he was informed about this directly by Hari himself.”’Chapter 2(5)

‘“Narada asked, ‘O god of the gods! O one who created beings! O first one to be born! I bow down before you. Please tell me about the knowledge that instructs a person about how to know the truth about the atman. O lord! What are the forms and manifestations of this creation? How is it preserved? Also tell me the truth about what happens to it thereafter. 517 Tell me the truth about everything. O lord! You know everything about this, the past, the present and the future. Like a myrobalan in your hand, the universe and all knowledge is vested in you. What is your knowledge? What is your support? Who controls you? What is your nature? Do you create beings alone, using your own maya for that creation? Do you create them yourself? There is no defeat in you. Like a spider producing strands without any aid, do you only use your own strength? O lord! I do not know of anyone who is superior, inferior, or equal to you. Everything permanent and transitory, with name, form and qualities, has been created by no one other than you. Controlling yourself, you performed terrible austerities, without suffering from exhaustion. Therefore, should we doubt the existence of a superior? I have asked you about all of this. O one who is omniscient! O one who is the lord of everything! Please explain the truth, so that I am instructed by someone who is learned.’

‘“Brahma replied, ‘O child! You are extremely compassionate and curious. O amiable one! You have urged me to show you the valour of the illustrious one. What you have told me about you not knowing a person who is superior to me is not false. However, if you only know about me, you only know that much. He illuminates the universe with his rays. It is his manifestations that I manifest. This is like the fire, the moon, the firmament, the planets and the stars reflecting the sun. I bow down to the illustrious one. We meditate on Vasudeva. I am spoken of as the preceptor of the universe. However, his maya is invincible. She 518 is ashamed of remaining in the line of vision. Therefore, evil-minded ones are confounded and said, “This is mine. This is I.” Objects, deeds, time and the natural proclivities of beings are all part of Vasudeva, the supreme brahman. In truth, there is no other objective. The Vedas say that Narayana is supreme. The gods have been generated from Narayana’s body. Narayana is superior to the worlds. 519 Narayana is superior to sacrifices. Narayana is superior to yoga. Narayana is superior to austerities. Narayana is superior to knowledge. Narayana is superior to all destinations. It is because of the glance of the mysterious lord, with everything in his atman, that I have been created and create this creation for the sake of further creation. I have been urged by his glance. He is without qualities. But for the sake of creation, preservation and destruction, the lord has used his maya to assume the three qualities of sattva, rajas and tamas. Though the Purusha is always free, he is bound down in qualities and resorts to action, cause of action, the agent of action, material knowledge and rituals. O brahmana! The illustrious Adhokshaja cannot be perceived through the three attributes. 520 He follows his own path and is the lord of everything and of me. He is the lord of maya and uses his own maya, as he himself wills, for the sake of time, action and deeds. They appear thus and again go back to him. Time leads to a distortion in the qualities, as a consequence of the transformation of nature. After Purusha was manifested, Mahat was born for the sake of action. 521 Mahat was transformed by an increase in rajas and sattva. Subsequently, when nature was suffused with tamas, activities that led to knowledge of material objects came into being. This is known as ahamkara and manifested itself in three forms—vaikarika, 522 taijasa 523 and tamasa. O lord! These are powers of material objects, powers of acting and powers of knowledge. The tamasa transformation led to the creation of the elements, and space was generated. Like the relationship between a seer and the object seen, its 524 form and attributes are the quality of sound. When the sky was transformed, air was generated and its attribute is the quality of touch. Because of what preceded it, it also possesses the quality of sound, and the breath of life, vigour and strength result from it. When air was transformed, time, action and nature followed. Fire and its attribute resulted and there were also the attributes of touch and sound. 525 When fire was transformed, water and its attribute of taste resulted. However, the attributes of form, touch and sound were also assumed. When water was transformed, the earth 526 and its attribute of smell resulted. However, the preceding attributes of taste, form, touch and sound were also assumed. Mind and the ten vaikarika gods were born from vaikarika. These were the ones who presided over the directions, Vayu, Surya, Prachetas, the two Ashvins, and Agni, Indra, Upendra, Mitra and Ka. 527 Through a transformation in taijasa, the five senses were generated, the five that give capacity for knowledge, 528 the five that give capacity for acting, 529 intelligence, the breath of life and energy were generated, such as the sense of hearing, the sense of smell, the sense of sight, the sense of taste, the sense of touch, the sense of speech, the genital organs, the legs and the anus. O excellent brahmana! As long as the elements, the senses, the mind and the attributes were not brought together, it was impossible for the body to be created. Urged by the strength of the illustrious one, they were assimilated with each other. Everything, both the permanent and the temporary, was created. There was an egg that was not manifest, 530 lying down in the water. At the end of one thousand years, the lord of beings made this manifest and infused time, action and nature. Purusha split the egg and emerged, with thousands of thighs, legs, arms and eyes and thousands of mouths and heads. Learned ones think of the worlds being located in his form, there are seven above the waist and there are seven that are below the hips. Brahmanas are Purusha’s mouth and kshatriyas are his arms. Vaishyas are the illustrious one’s thighs and shudras were born from his feet. Bhurloka 531 is thought to be his feet and bhuvarloka is his navel. Svarloka is his heart and maharloka is the great-souled one’s chest. Janaloka is his neck and tapoloka is the area between his breasts. 532 Satyaloka is in his head. Brahmaloka is eternal. 533 O lord! Atala is in his hips and vitala is located in his thighs. The pure sutala is in his knees and talatala is in his shanks. Mahatala is in his calves and rasatala is in the upper parts of his feet. Patala is in the soles of his feet. Thus, Purusha is full of the worlds. There are some people who have thought of the worlds differently. Bhurloka has been thought to be in his feet, bhuvarloka in his navel and svarloka has been thought of as his head.’”’Chapter 2(6)

‘“Brahma said, ‘His mouth, where Agni resides, is the source of speech. The seven constituents of his body give rise to the chhandas. 534 His tongue is the source of havya, kavya, amrita, food and all flavours. 535 His supreme nostrils are the source of all kinds of vital airs and Vayu. His sense of smell is the source of the two Ashvins, herbs and delightful fragrances. His eyes are the source of form, energy and illumination. The sky and the sun are in his pupils. His ears are the directions and tirthas. His sense of hearing is the source of space and sound. His body is the source of all objects and everything that is auspicious. His skin is the source of touch, Vayu and all kinds of sacrifices. All trees and herbs result from his body hair, such as those that are used for sacrifices. His hair, beard and nails give rise to stone, iron, clouds and lightning. His arms are the guardians of the world, who are the performers of general auspicious deeds. His strides are bhurloka, bhuvarloka and svarloka, and for the sake of benefit and refuge. Hari’s feet are the support for those who want all the excellent objects of desire. His penis is the source of water, semen, creation, rain and Prajapati. His genital organs are the cause of pleasure that comes through offspring. O Narada! His anus is the abode of Yama and Mitra and the place for evacuation. His rectum is said to be the source of violence, Nairitti, death and hell. His back is the source of defeat, adharma and tamas. His arteries and veins are the source of male and female rivers. His bones are the source of mountain ranges. His stomach is known as the source of the unmanifest, the juices in food, the oceans and the destruction of creatures. Purusha’s heart is the source of the mind. Dharma, you, I, the Kumaras, 536 Bhava, 537 knowledge and sattva are dependent on the supreme one’s atman. I, you, Bhava, the sages who are your elders, 538 the gods, asuras, men, nagas, birds, deer, reptiles, gandharvas, apsaras, yakshas, rakshas, 539 the large number of bhutas, serpents, animals, ancestors, Siddhas, vidyadharas, charanas, trees, all the many kinds of creatures that dwell in water, on land and in the sky, planets, nakshatras, comets, stars, lightning, thunder, clouds are nothing but this Purusha. He is the past, the present and the future. He pervades the universe, but is only the length of a span. The sun extends its powers to illuminate what is inside and outside it. In that way, the large Purusha illuminates everything inside and outside. He is the lord of immortality and freedom from fear and transcends mortality and action for fruits. O brahmana! Therefore, the greatness of Purusha is impossible to measure. The learned know him as Sthitipada, 540 since all creatures are established in one of his feet. Immortality, freedom from hardships and freedom from fear are his three heads, which are beyond what is at the top. 541 The three feet that are outside the three worlds 542 are for the ashramas that do not lead to the generation of offspring. 543 There are others who do not follow great vows and are in the householder stage. They are inside the three worlds. The one who pervades the universe is the final destination of both those who control 544 and those who do not control. Purusha is the refuge for both knowledge and ignorance. Virat consists of the elements, senses and qualities and was from the egg. However, just as the sun, which heats the universe, is distinct from its rays, he transcends the material of the egg. I was born from the lotus in the navel of the great-souled one. With the exception of the Purusha’s body, I did not know of any other materials that could be used for the sacrifice. O excellent one! For a sacrifice, animals, trees, kusha grass, a sacrificial arena with the best qualities, an auspicious time, other objects, herbs, vegetable products, honey, gold, earth, water, Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda, four chief priests for the sacrifice, 545 names that are invoked, 546 mantras, dakshina, 547 vows, a specific order for the gods, kalpa, 548 sankalpa, 549 tantra, specific movements, intelligence, atonement 550 and dedication are necessary. I collected all this material from Purusha’s body. I collected an abundance of these objects from Purusha’s body. Purusha is himself the sacrifice. He is the lord worshipped through the sacrifice. Your nine brothers are Prajapatis. 551 Controlling themselves, they performed the sacrifice to the manifest and unmanifest Purusha. In the course of time, the Manus, other rishis, the ancestors, the gods, daityas and humans performed sacrifices to the lord and worshipped him. Everything in the universe is located in the illustrious Narayana. He is without qualities, but uses his maya to himself assume qualities at the time of creation. I create when I am engaged by him. It is under his control that Hara 552 destroys. He preserves the universe in his form of Purusha. He is the one who wields these three powers. 553 O son! I have told you what you asked me about. The illustrious one exists in everything that one can think of. He is the permanent and the transient. O dear one! No statement of mine has ever been seen to be untrue. My mind does not follow anything that is untrue. My senses are never attracted towards a path that is not virtuous. This is because I attentively hold Hari close to my heart. I am revered because I am full of knowledge and full of austerities. I have been worshipped as the chief of the Prajapatis. I am controlled and accomplished and resort to yoga. However, I do not know how I myself have been created. I surrender myself before his feet, which sever the cycle of life and bring benediction and all that is extremely auspicious. Like the sky, which does not know its limits, he cannot measure the limits of his powers and maya. How can others? You, or I, or Vamadeva 554 do not know his measure. How can other gods? Our intelligence is confounded by his maya. According to our capacities, we can only comprehend what has been created. We and the others chant about his avataras and deeds. But we do not know the truth about him. I bow down to the illustrious one. He is the original Purusha, without birth. From one kalpa to another kalpa, he uses his own atman to create himself within his own atman. He is the preserver and he is the destroyer. He is pure knowledge, existing properly in all of us. He is the absolute truth. He is without beginning and without end. He is without qualities. He is everlasting and without decay. O rishi! When their atmans, senses and bodies become tranquil, sages obtain him. But when one tries to reach him through untenable and distorted arguments, he vanishes. Purusha is the first avatara of the supreme one. Time, nature, qualities, cause, effect, the mind, the elements, transformations, qualities, senses, Virat, 555 Svarat, 556 everything immobile and everything that moves are forms of the great one. I, Bhava, 557 Yajna, 558 these lords of the subjects, 559 Daksha and the others, you and the others, the protectors of svarloka, the protectors of the world of the birds, the protectors of the world of men, the protectors of the nether regions, the lords of gandharvas, vidyadharas and charanas, the protectors of yakshas, rakshas, serpents and nagas, the bulls among the rishis, the ancestors, the Indras among the daityas, the lords of the Siddhas, the Indras among the danavas and all those who are lords of pretas, 560 pishachas, bhutas, kushmandas, 561 aquatic animals and birds and everything else in the worlds that possesses greatness—is endowed with the illustrious one’s energy, mental powers, sensual powers, strength, forgiveness, beauty, modesty, prosperity, intelligence and wonderful complexion, regardless of whether it is with form or without form. He is the ultimate truth. O rishi! The supreme Purusha’s lilavataras 562 are primarily worshipped. Drink in that account, in progressive order, so that all the impurities in the ear are dissolved. It is pleasant to hear.’”’Chapter 2(7)

‘“Brahma said, ‘In his pastimes, the infinite one assumed a form that consisted of all the sacrifices, in order to raise up the surface of the earth. 563 He was like the wielder of the vajra, shattering mountains. Inside the great ocean, he used his tusks to shatter the first daitya. 564 He was then born as Suyajna, the son of Ruchi and Akuti. Through Dakshina, 565 he had the immortals as his sons, Suyama being the foremost. Since he removed the great afflictions the three worlds suffered from, Svayambhu Manu referred to him as Hari. 566 O brahmana! Through Devahuti, he was born in Kardama’s house, together with nine sisters. He told his own mother about the destination of the atman. Through those words, in that life, she was cleansed of all the taints and mud which accrue to the atman because of association with the qualities and obtained Kapila’s destination. 567 Atri sought a son. Satisfied, the illustrious one said, “I will give myself to you” and was known as Datta. 568 The dust of his lotus feet purified the bodies of Haihayas, Yadus and others and they obtained yoga and prosperity, in this world and in the next. In the beginning, to create many kinds of worlds, I tormented myself through austerities. Because of those austerities, he himself assumed the form of four “Sanas”. 569 In the devastation and deluge of the preceding kalpa, the truth about the atman had been destroyed. When they heard about it, those sages immediately realized the atman. Through Dharma and Murti, Daksha’s daughter, the illustrious one was born as Nara and Narayana, powerful because of their own austerities. Female divinities, companions of Ananga, were unable to make them deviate from their rituals and saw their likes emerge from him. 570 Indeed, with the rage in their eyes, they burnt down Kama. Though they burnt him down in rage, they could not withstand the consequences of this rage. Such rage is incapable of entering the pure one. 571 How can Kama enter his mind? Though he was a child, he was pierced by the words uttered by a co-wife in the king’s presence. 572 Yet a child, he took to the forest and performed austerities there. Pleased by the worship, he was granted a permanent position in the sky and was praised by the sages who are above him and below him. Vena traversed the wrong path. His manly deeds and good fortune were destroyed by the words spoken by the brahmanas and he descended into hell. In order to save him and the world, he became his son and milked the earth for all kinds of wealth. 573 He was born as Rishabha, the son of Nabhi and Sudevi. He was impartial towards everyone and performed jada yoga. This is a state accepted by the rishis as the paramahamsa state. One is steady in one’s tranquility and is liberated from all attachment. The illustrious one became Hayashira 574 at my sacrifice. Golden in complexion, he is himself the Purusha who presides over sacrifices. The chhandas are in him. Sacrifices are in him. He is the atman of all the gods. Beautiful and pleasant speech 575 appeared from his breathing. When a yuga was about to end, Manu 576 saw him in the form of Matsya. 577 He was the refuge for the earth and all the living creatures. I was terrified by that great fear and the Vedas fell down from my mouth into the water. He collected and restored the path of the Vedas and sported himself. The leaders of the immortals and the danavas churned the ocean of milk, desiring amrita. Assuming the form of a tortoise, he supported Mandara on his back. The pressing down of the mountain was like the scratching of an itch. Therefore, he went to sleep for a while. To dispel the great fear faced by the residents of heaven, he assumed the form of Nrisimha. 578 He rolled his eyebrows in rage and his tusks and visage were fierce. The Indra among the daityas quickly descended on him, wielding a club. However, he placed him on his lap and tore apart the writhing one with his nails. In a body of water, the leader of a herd 579 was seized by the leg by a crocodile that was superior in strength. Afflicted, it held a lotus in its tusk and said, “O original Purusha! O protector of all the worlds! The hearing of your name is auspicious. The hearing of your name is like a tirtha.” The immeasurable Hari heard the cry for help. With the chakra weapon in his hand, he mounted the king of the birds. 580 He severed the crocodile’s mouth with his chakra. The compassionate and illustrious one dragged the elephant out by seizing its trunk. Superior in qualities, he surpassed all of Aditi’s sons, who were older to him. 581 The supreme one traversed the worlds. As a dwarf, he pretended to ask for land that could be covered in three of his strides. 582 Even if a person treads along a false path, an owner’s property should not be taken away, except through asking. Bali did not desire anything, nor lordship over the gods. He purified his head with the water used to wash Urukrama’s feet and was firm in his vows. He did not wish to do anything other than what had been promised. O dear one! He dedicated his mind to Hari. O Narada! The illustrious one was satisfied with your great and increasing love towards him and your virtues. He spoke to you about yoga, knowledge and the Bhagavata, which is like a lamp for learning the truth about the atman. Those who seek refuge with Vasudeva can understand this easily. In different manvantaras, he presides as a descendant of the Manu lineage, using his own undeterred strength and chakra in the ten directions. He controls the wicked kings and extends his own deeds. The fame of his delightful character ascends to Satyaloka, above the three worlds. Through his own deeds, the illustrious one assumed the form of Dhanvantari. By uttering his name, the diseases of ailing men are swiftly destroyed. By obtaining his share of amrita in sacrifices, he grants long lifespans. Having descended into this world, he instructed about ayurveda. 583 The destruction of the kshatriyas was ordained by destiny. They desired to suffer the afflictions of hell, gave up the true path and hated brahmanas. The great-souled one was fierce in his valour and desired to uproot the thorns of the worlds. He used his axe, sharp at the edges, twenty-one times. 584 The lord of portions is favourably inclined towards us and descended in the Ikshvaku lineage, along with his different portions. Following his senior’s 585 instruction, he entered the forest with his beloved and younger brother. The one with the ten shoulders 586 obstructed him and was made to suffer. The limbs of the great ocean trembled with fear and it granted a passage. Like Hara, he glanced at the city of the enemy and wished to burn it down in rage. He was enraged and afflicted because his well-wisher 587 was far away. His blazing sight scorched the world of makaras, 588 serpents and crocodiles. The tusks of the great Indra’s mount crashed against his chest and were broken. Stuck there, in the chest of the one who was boastfully laughing, the tusks illuminated the direction. 589 He wished to instantly take away the life of the one who had abducted his wife. He twanged his bow and moved around between the two armies. The earth will suffer from the armies of those who are inferior to the gods and to remove this affliction, he will be born in his portions, from black hair and white hair. 590 His ways will be incomprehensible to people and he will perform deeds reflective of his own greatness. Though a child, he will take away the life of the one who assumed the form of a demoness. 591 When three months old, he will overturn the cart with a kick of his foot. He will crawl between two arjuna trees whose tops touch the sky and uproot them. These are things that are impossible to think of. In Vraja, the animals of Vraja and their herdsmen will drink water mixed with poison. By showering down compassionate looks on them, he will bring them back to life. He will playfully jump into the water and chastise a serpent 592 whose tongues will flicker because of its virulent poison. On the day of that divine deed, when everyone will be asleep in the night, a conflagration will burn down the dry forest and the residents of Vraja will think that their end has come. However, he and Bala, 593 invincible in their valour, will deliver them by asking them to close their eyes. His mother will seize whatever ropes and other binding material that she can find. However, it will be insufficient to tie down her son. When he yawns, the cowherd lady 594 will see all the worlds inside his mouth and be scared. But realization will dawn on her. 595 He will free Nanda from the fear caused by Varuna’s noose and the cowherds imprisoned in a cave by Maya’s son. 596 When everyone will be asleep in the night because of the extreme exhaustion from the work during the day, he will take the entire Gokula to the world of Vaikuntha. When the cowherds do not perform the sacrifice, the god 597 will shower down and flood Vraja, raining down for seven days. But though only seven years old, he will take compassion on the animals and protect them, playfully holding up the mountain 598 against the showers, like a mushroom. In the night, he will sport in the forest, awash with the white beams of the moon. He will be eager to start the dance of rasa, accompanied by songs with long and melodious music that will ignite sexual desire among the wives of the residents of Vraja. At that time, he will sever the head of Dhanada’s follower, the abductor. 599 There will be other wicked ones—Pralamba, Khara, 600 Dardura, Keshi, Arishta, wrestlers, 601 the elephant, 602 Kamsa, Yavana, 603 the ape, 604 Poundraka and the others, Shalva, Kuja, 605 Balvala, Dantavakra, Saptoksha, Shambara, Viduratha, Rukmi and the others, powerful commanders who wielded bows in battle, Kamboja, Matsya, Kuru, Srinjaya, Kekaya and the others. They will be destroyed through the apparent names of Bala, Partha and Bhima. In reality, they will be conveyed by Hari to an unblemished residence in his abode. In the course of time, men will be limited in intelligence, with short spans of life. They will find it difficult and impossible to digest the sacred texts he himself composed. Therefore, he will appear as Satyavati’s son 606 and divide the tree of the Vedas into different branches, appropriate for the age. The haters of the gods will faithfully follow the path indicated by the sacred texts. They will travel between cities in invisible vehicles constructed by Maya, destroying the worlds. He will confound their intelligence, with a desire to tempt them. He will don many kinds of attire and speak to them about what is not dharma. 607 At the end of the yuga, the illustrious one will chastise Kali. At that time, Hari’s exploits will not be discussed, not even in the houses of virtuous ones. Dvija people 608 will be heretics and vrishalas will be kings among men. Svaha, svadha and vashatkara will not be heard anywhere. Through his maya, the lord who is supreme in strength has assumed different forms—austerities, I, the rishis and the nine Prajapatis at the time of creation; dharma, sacrifices, Manus, immortals and kings at the time of preservation; and adharma, Hara and asuras filled with intolerance at the time of destruction. Who in this world can enumerate Vishnu’s valour, not even a wise person who has counted the particles of dust on earth? Unwavering, with one leg he transcended the three worlds and made the above, where there is equilibrium between the three qualities, tremble. 609 I, and all the sages who are your elder brothers, know about the complete maya and strength of Purusha, not to speak of those who are inferior to us. Shesha, the first god, has been singing about his qualities with one thousand mouths, but has still been unable to reach the end. There are those on whom the illustrious and infinite one confers his compassion. Without any falsehood, they resort to his feet with all their souls. They are the ones who comprehend the ultimate forms of the god’s maya, which are so very difficult to reach. They do not have any sense of ‘I’ and ‘mine’, not even for that which is devoured by dogs and jackals. 610 O dear one! I know about the supreme one’s yoga maya. So do you, 611 Bhava, the illustrious and noble daitya, 612 Manu and his wife, 613 Manu’s sons and daughters, Prachinabarhi, Ribhu, Anga, Dhruva, Ikshvaku, Aila, 614 Muchukunda, Videha, 615 Gadhi, Raghu, Ambarisha, Sagara, Gaya, Nahusha’s son 616 and the others, Mandhatri, Alarka, Shatadhanva, Anu, Rantideva, Devavrata, 617 Bali, Amurtaraya, Dilipa, Shoubhari, Utanka, Shibi, Devala, Pippalada, Sarasvata, Uddhava, Parashara, Bhurishena, others like Vibhishana, Hanumat, the one given by Upendra, 618 Partha, Arshtishena, Vidura, Shrutadeva and other noble ones. They know and cross over the god’s maya. Women, shudras, Hunas, Shabaras and others who are wicked in their livelihood have become good in conduct, once they have been instructed and are devoted to the one with wonderful strides. So have those born as inferior species, not to speak of those who have sustained their learning. He is eternal and tranquil. He represents freedom from fear. He is pure and impartial and is both existent and non-existent. This is the truth about the paramatman. He is beyond the reach of speech and beyond action and rites performed for fruits. In his presence, all other kinds of maya are ashamed and return. This is the supreme state of the illustrious Purusha. He is the brahman, known as infinite bliss, without any sorrow. Ascetics who meditate on him have no need for yama or niyama, just as Indra does not need a spade to dig a well. They surrender themselves and give up all sense of self. The illustrious one bestows all that is auspicious. Sentiments, nature and the rules for virtuous behaviour, which lead to success, flow from him. When the elements that make up the body are destroyed, the body is also destroyed. But like the sky, the being inside 619 is not destroyed and is not born again. O son! I have briefly explained to you the nature of the illustrious one, the creator of the universe. All that is cause and effect is no different from Hari. This is named Bhagavata and was told to me by the illustrious one. It is a collection of his powers. Make this more extensive, 620 so that there is devotion among men towards the illustrious Hari. With all your soul, decide to describe this entire store. If a person describes the lord’s maya, approves of the lord, or if a person always listens to it faithfully, his atman is never confounded by the maya.’”’Chapter 2(8)

‘The king said, “O brahmana! Narada possessed insight about the divinity and Brahma instructed him to recount the qualities of the one who is without qualities. What did he say and to whom? O supreme among those who know about the truth! I wish to know the truth about this, the account of Hari’s extraordinary valour, extremely auspicious for people. O immensely fortunate one! Speak to me so that with my entire atman, I can immerse myself in Krishna, detached, so that my mind can discard my body. If a person always listens to it faithfully and on his own, chants about it, within a short period of time, the illustrious one enters his heart. Depending on one’s level and sentiments, Krishna enters the lotus 621 through the ears and washes away all taints, like the autumn does to water. 622 When a man’s atman is cleansed, he does not let go of Krishna’s feet. He is freed from all hardships, like a traveller in his own residence. 623 O brahmana! The body begins without elements, but is then constituted through elements. Is there a cause behind this, or does it happen on its own? 624 You know about this. Tell me. The lotus, which has in it the states and signs of all the worlds, sprouted from his belly. The size and form of Purusha’s body is said to be the same as this one. 625 What is the difference between the state and form of the two? Through the favours of the one who is inside the atmans of all creatures, Aja 626 creates beings and it was through his favours that the one who was born from the lotus in the navel could see his form. Purusha is the creator, preserver and destroyer of the universe. The lord of maya is free of his own maya. He lies down, inside every heart. We have earlier heard that all the worlds and their guardians were created from Purusha’s body. The worlds and their guardians are also inside his body. 627 What is the duration of a kalpa and a vikalpa? 628 How is time measured? What do the words past, present and future mean? What are the lifespans of beings? O supreme among brahmanas! What is the nature of the progress of time? Though long, it seems to be short. What kind of destinations does karma lead to? What are the consequences of the accumulation of different kinds of karma? What qualities lead to one with qualities 629 and what lead to undesired consequences? How did the creation of the earth, patala, the directions, the sky, planets, nakshatras, mountains, rivers, oceans, continents and their inhabitants occur? What was the size of the cosmic egg, measured separately from the inside and the outside? What is the conduct of great entities? What is the determination of varnas and ashramas? What are yugas and what is the duration of a yuga? What is the nature of dharma in one yuga and in another yuga? What are Hari’s wonderful descents and conduct? What is the general dharma for humans? Is there anything that is specific? What is the dharma for shrenis 630 and royal sages? What should be done when there are difficulties in remaining alive? 631 What is the number of tattvas? 632 What are their signs and the causes that lead to the signs? What are the methods for worshipping Purusha? What is adhyatmika 633 yoga? What are the powers and movements of lords of yoga? How is the linga of a yogi detached? 634 What are the texts of Vedas, Upavedas, dharma, Itihasa and Puranas? 635 How are all beings created, destroyed and submerged in the deluge? If one desires the three objectives, 636 what are the ordinances for performing sacrifices and other auspicious things? How do created beings repent and how are they born as heretics? How is the atman liberated from its bondage? How does it attain its true nature? The illustrious and self-dependent one sports with his own maya. At the time of destruction, how does the lord separate himself from his maya and remain as a witness? O illustrious one! In progressive order, I have asked you about all of this. O great sage! I have sought refuge with you. You should let me know the truth about all this. You know the facts about all this, just as Brahma, the self-creating one, does. The others only follow what their ancestors, and the ancestors of those ancestors, did. O brahmana! Because of fasting, the breath of my life has not become exhausted. I will drink nectar in the form of Achyuta, when it flows from the ocean of your speech.”’

Suta said, ‘In the assembly, invited by King Vishnurata to speak about the lord of the virtuous, Brahmarata 637 was extremely delighted. He told them about Bhagavata Purana, revered by Brahma. 638 When Brahma-kalpa started, 639 the illustrious one had spoken about this to Brahma. Whatever Parikshit, bull among the Pandus, had asked about, in due order, he started to recount all of this.’Chapter 2(9)

‘Shri-Shuka said, “O king! Without the favour of his own maya, one cannot comprehend the supreme nature of the atman, its meaning and its association. 640 This is exactly like seeing something in a dream. Many forms are seen. It is maya that gives rise to these many forms. While taking pleasure in these qualities, the person thinks, ‘This is I. This is mine.’ However, if one transcends time and maya, one certainly sees one’s own greatness in the supreme one. Freed from confusion and having discarded both of these, 641 one finds delight. Worshipped through vows that were not deceitful, he showed his form to Brahma. For the purpose of conveying the pure truth about the atman, the illustrious one spoke about his true self. He 642 is the original god, the supreme preceptor of the universe. Located in the lotus, he looked around, desiring to create. However, he could not understand the proper directions whereby he should go about this. What would be the right way of creating diverse material objects? While thinking about this, the lord once heard two aksharas 643 spoken from inside the water. These were the sixteenth and twenty-first syllables and they combined. 644 O king! For those who possess nothing, this is said to represent their wealth. Hearing this, he looked around in all the directions in search of the speaker. Though he looked, he did not see anyone. He seated himself on the lotus and made up his mind that he should turn to austerities, as instructed. He was infallible in his insight. He was in control of his breath of life and his atman. He had conquered both types of senses. 645 For one thousand years, he tormented himself through austerities, so that all the worlds might be illuminated. He controlled himself and engaged in these austerities, which is why he is the greatest of ascetics. The illustrious one was pleased through this worship. He showed him his own supreme world 646 and there is nothing superior to this. All the different kinds of affliction do not exist there, nor do confusion and fear. It is a place that is praised by those who have realized their own selves. There is no rajas or tamas there and these do not get mixed up with sattva. Time has no power there. There is no maya there, not to speak of other things. There, those who follow Hari are worshipped by gods and asuras. Their 647 radiance is dark blue. Their eyes are like lotuses with one hundred petals. Their garments are yellow. They are extremely handsome and their bodies are extremely well formed. All of them possess four arms, decorated with shining jewels. The excellent golden ornaments are extremely radiant. They are as radiant as coral, lapis lazuli and lotuses. The earrings seem to bloom and they wear diadems and garlands. On every side of that shining world, there are brilliant arrays of vimanas 648 that belong to the great-souled ones. The complexion of the excellent women is like lightning. The place looks like the sky, covered by arrays of clouds tinged with lightning. In embodied form, Shri tends to the lord’s feet. In many different kinds of splendour, she honours him. She sings about her beloved’s deeds. In turn, bees, which follow spring, sing words of praise about Shri. He saw the lord of all the Satvatas there, Shri’s lord, the lord of sacrifices and the lord of the universe. Sunanda, Nanda, Prabala, Arhana and others were the foremost among his attendants and they served the lord. He showed his favours by glancing towards his servants and that glance was intoxicating. His face beamed with a pleasant smile and his eyes were red. He wore a diadem and earrings and possessed four arms. His garments were yellow and the mark of shrivatsa could be discerned on his chest. 649 He was worshipped astride a supreme throne and was surrounded by the four, sixteen and five powers. 650 His personal powers are with him and so are minor and temporary powers. 651 The lord found delight in his own abode. On seeing the creator of the universe, his 652 heart overflowed with delight. His body hair stood up in joy and there were tears of affection in his eyes. He bowed down before his lotus feet, which can only be attained by paramahamsas who have followed the path. He 653 was delighted to see the wise present himself before him. He deserved to be instructed in the matter of creating beings. Delighted and happy, he touched the beloved one with his hand and addressed him in gentle words that were full of illumination.

‘“The illustrious one said, ‘O one in whom all the Vedas exist! I am satisfied with you. In order to create, you have performed austerities for a very long time. Deceitful yogis find it very difficult to please me. O fortunate one! You are the lord of boons. But ask for a desired boon from me. O Brahma! The ultimate purpose of human exertion is an ability to see me. The greatest comprehension of learned ones is an ability to see my abode. You heard me and performed supreme austerities for that reason. You were confused about what you should do and it is I who instructed you then. O unblemished one! Austerities 654 are in my heart. I am tapas itself. Know that I create through austerities. I devour it again, using austerities. I maintain the universe through austerities. My valour is in austerities that are extremely difficult to perform.’

‘“Brahma replied, ‘O illustrious one! You are the lord of all the creatures. You are in every heart. Through your unobstructed wisdom, you are aware of what is being desired. O protector! Nevertheless, I am seeking refuge with you as a protector. You are the protector of all protectors. Let your gross and subtle forms be known to me, though you are one who has no form. Through the maya of your own yoga, many kinds of powers combine in you. You yourself do this in your atman, for creation, preservation and destruction. O one whose determination is infallible! In your pastimes, you are like a spider that weaves a web around itself. O Madhava! Therefore, please develop an intelligence in me so that I can understand this. O illustrious one! I will attentively do whatever you desire. However, grant me your favours. Even though I act to create beings, let me not be bound down by that. O lord! You have touched me, just as a friend does to a friend. In the matter of creating beings, I will divide them into different groups. I will be steadfast in this act and will not waver. However, let no insolence creep into me, so that I pride myself as one without birth.’

‘“The illustrious one said, ‘The knowledge about me is extremely secret and is full of self-realization. I will explain this to you, with its various mysteries and different limbs. Accept it. Through my favours, the true knowledge will be awakened in you about who I am, my nature, my form, my qualities and my deeds. In the beginning, before everything, 655 I existed. There was nothing supreme and no cause or effect. All this came after me. All that remains 656 is also me. If something doesn’t exist in the atman, it has no value, even if it exists. Like a reflection in the dark, know that this is the result of my own maya. The gross elements have entered into beings, great and small. They enter, yet do not enter. Like that, I am inside them, yet I am outside them. 657 If a person is asking about the true nature of the atman, he must certainly ask this much. Always and everywhere, he must ask about this, directly and indirectly. Engage yourself in supreme meditation and fix yourself in this doctrine. You will never be confused then, in kalpas and vikalpas.’”

‘Shri-Shuka said, “The one who has no birth thus instructed the supreme among all those who are born. Having shown him his own form, Hari vanished. Hari, the object of all the senses, vanished. Joining his hands in salutation, he created the universe and all the beings in it, just as it had been earlier. 658 He is the lord of those who follow the dharma of Prajapatis and of niyama and yama. Once, the fortunate one seated himself. In his own interest, he desired the welfare of created beings. Narada was his beloved son, dear among those who would inherit. He followed and served him and was good in conduct, humble and self-controlled. The great sage wanted to know about Vishnu’s maya, the one who was the lord of maya. O king! He was a great devotee and satisfied his father. Having seen and satisfied his father, who was the great grandfather of the worlds, the devarshi asked him, just as you have asked me. Thus resulted Bhagavata Purana, with its ten signs. The illustrious one, the creator of beings, was pleased with his son and spoke to him. O king! On the banks of the Sarasvati, Narada told the sage, the immensely energetic Vyasa, about this, while he was meditating on the supreme brahman. I will tell you what you have asked, about how everything that exists was generated from the original Virat Purusha. I will also explain to you all the other questions that you have asked.”’Chapter 2(10)

‘Shri-Shuka said, “Here, there exists the account of (1) gross creation; (2) subtle creation; (3) preservation; (4) sustenance; (5) the addiction to the senses; (6) manvantaras; (7) accounts of the lord; (8) withdrawal; (9) liberation; and (10) the ultimate refuge. 659 For ascertaining the pure meaning of the tenth, the great-souled ones describe the nature of the first nine through direct explanation, or through brief references to the sacred texts. The interaction of the elements, the senses, the objects of the senses and the mind is said to be subtle creation. Brahma’s creation, through a disequilibrium in the qualities, is said to be Pourusha or gross creation. Preservation represents the triumph of the one in Vaikuntha, while sustenance results from his favours. Manvantaras provide for virtuous dharma, while addiction to the senses represents the desire to undertake action. Accounts of the lord are said to be descriptions of his avataras, conduct and detailed narrations of those who follow Hari. Withdrawal is his act of lying down, together with his powers. Liberation results when he gives up all other forms and resorts to his own form. 660 The refuge of the supreme brahman is spoken of as the paramatman. This is the source from which creation and destruction manifest themselves. The Adhyatatmika Purusha perceives himself in the form of the senses. 661 In Adhidaivika form, he is in control of the senses. The Purusha who is different from either of these two is Adhibhoutika. None of these can be perceived in the absence of the others. However, if an atman knows all three, he finds his refuge within himself. The pure one desired to create pure water, so that he could lie down on it. 662 Purusha 663 emerged from the egg and stood apart. He resided in the waters created by himself for one thousand years. Since the water was created from Purusha, it is known as Naara. 664 Thus, his name is Narayana. Matter, action, time, individual nature and the individual being result through his favours. Faced with his neglect, nothing exists. He was alone, lying down in that state of yoga. He arose and desired many different forms. Through his maya, the god created three different types of golden semen. Hear about how Purusha, the lord, divided the single flow of semen into three parts—adhidaiva, adhyatma and adhibhuta. As he exerted himself, from the space that was inside Purusha’s body, the energy of the sense, strength, the breath of life and the great force were generated. When that breath of life moves, there is movement in the breaths of life in all living beings. When it doesn’t move, neither do they. It is like followers following a king. Agitated by that breath of life, hunger and thirst were generated in the lord. When he desired to eat and drink, the mouth manifested itself. 665 From the mouth, the palate emerged as a separate entity. The tongue was also generated. Many kinds of taste were generated so that the tongue could savour them. When the lord desired to speak, Agni and the organ of speech, and speech, controlled by both of these, were generated from the mouth. However, since he had been in the water for a long period of time, these functions were restrained. When the two nostrils were created, respiration started to rapidly flow. When he desired to smell through the nose, fragrances and Vayu, which conveys smells, were created. There was no light and he desired to see himself. The eyes, light, the organ of seeing and the power of vision were created. He desired to understand what the rishis were saying about him. Therefore, the ears, the directions, the organ of hearing and the power of hearing were created. When he desired to feel objects, softness, hardness, lightness, heaviness, warmth, cold and the sense of touch 666 were created. On this, body hair and trees were generated. Inside and outside, the skin is surrounded by air that possesses the quality of touch. When he desired to undertake different kinds of action, the hands were generated. Their strength and Indra were created and the power to receive depends on both of them. When he desired to move purposefully, the feet were created. Vishnu himself uses the feet of men to perform actions like sacrifices and the collection of havya. When he desired offspring, joy and immortality, 667 the genital organs were created. The genital organs came into being and the beloved act of sexual desire depends on both of them. 668 When he desired to discharge impurities left from food, the anus was created and so was Mitra. 669 The act of evacuation depends on both of them. When he desired to move from one body to another body, the aperture of the navel, the breath of life, apana, and Mrityu were created. Separation depends on these two. 670 When he desired to eat and drink, the stomach, the intestines and the veins appeared, along with the rivers and oceans. 671 Satisfaction and sustenance depends on them. When he desired to know about the maya of his atman, the heart, the mind, the moon, 672 resolution and desire were created. The seven ingredients of the body are the inner skin, the outer skin, flesh, blood, fat, marrow and bones. These were respectively created from earth, water, fire, prana, space, water and air. The qualities of the senses flow from the qualities of the elements. The mind is subject to all kinds of transformations and the intelligence is characterized by knowledge. I have described to you the gross body of the illustrious one. On the outside, it is covered by eight sheaths, the earth being the first. 673 Beyond this is the subtle body, unmanifest and without attributes. It is without beginning, middle and end. It is eternal and cannot be reached through words or thoughts. I have described to you two forms of the illustrious one. However, since they are created by maya, the learned do not accept either of these. The illustrious one is both words and the object described through words. He assumes the form of Brahma and names, forms and action. He is the doer and the non-doer, but he is also beyond both of these. O king! He is the Prajapatis, Manus, gods, rishis, the large number of ancestors, Siddhas, charanas, gandharvas, vidyadharas, asuras, guhyakas, kinnaras, apsaras, serpents, snakes, kimpurushas, men, matrikas, rakshas, pishachas, pretas, bhutas, vinayakas, kushmandas, unmadas, vetalas, yatudhanas, 674 planets, birds, deer, animals, trees, mountains and reptiles. Some are divided into two categories. 675 Others are divided into four categories. 676 Others are classified according to habitat—water, land and air. All of them obtain these ends as an outcome of their deeds—good, bad and mixed. Depending on the three attributes of sattva, rajas or tamas, they become gods, humans, or residents of hell. O king! Depending on whether each of these is dominated by the other two, each is further subdivided into three and the consequent nature imbibed. 677 The illustrious one is the creator of the universe. He assumes the form of Dharma. He protects and sustains the universe, through his forms as inferior species, humans and gods. All this is created by him. He assumes the form of Rudra and the fire of destruction. Like a wind driving away dense clouds, at that time, he destroys everything. In the context of creation, 678 the illustrious one’s supreme qualities are spoken about in this way. However, those who are wise should think about his attributes in a superior way. The supreme one is not described in terms of creation and other deeds. Imposition of action and counteraction on him is due to maya. Brahma’s kalpa and vikalpa have been described. In this kalpa, 679 subtle creations are known as Prakritas and gross ones are known as Vaikritas. This is true of all kalpas. I will subsequently explain to you about the measurement of time, the duration of a kalpa and its divisions. For the moment, hear about Padma Kalpa.”’

Shounaka asked, ‘O Suta! You said that Kshatta, 680 the supreme devotee of the illustrious one, travelled to all the tirthas on earth, having left his relatives, who are so very difficult to let go off. Where did the conversation between Kshatta and Kousharava 681 about adhyatma take place? What did the illustrious one ask him about? O amiable one! Tell us about it and about what Vidura did. Why did he leave his relatives? When did he return?’

Suta replied, ‘King Parikshit asked questions of the great sage. I will tell you about the replies to the king’s questions. Listen.’

This ends the Second Skandha.

The Bhagavata Purana 1

Third Skandha

Chapter 3(1): 45 shlokas

Chapter 3(2): 34 shlokas

Chapter 3(3): 28 shlokas

Chapter 3(4): 36 shlokas

Chapter 3(5): 51 shlokas

Chapter 3(6): 40 shlokas

Chapter 3(7): 42 shlokas

Chapter 3(8): 33 shlokas

Chapter 3(9): 44 shlokas

Chapter 3(10): 28 shlokas

Chapter 3(11): 41 shlokas

Chapter 3(12): 57 shlokas

Chapter 3(13): 51 shlokas

Chapter 3(14): 50 shlokas

Chapter 3(15): 50 shlokas

Chapter 3(16): 36 shlokas

Chapter 3(17): 31 shlokas

Chapter 3(18): 28 shlokas

Chapter 3(19): 38 shlokas

Chapter 3(20): 53 shlokas

Chapter 3(21): 56 shlokas

Chapter 3(22): 39 shlokas

Chapter 3(23): 57 shlokas

Chapter 3(24): 47 shlokas

Chapter 3(25): 44 shlokas

Chapter 3(26): 72 shlokas

Chapter 3(27): 30 shlokas

Chapter 3(28): 44 shlokas

Chapter 3(29): 45 shlokas

Chapter 3(30): 34 shlokas

Chapter 3(31): 48 shlokas

Chapter 3(32): 43 shlokas

Chapter 3(33): 37 shlokasChapter 3(1)

‘Shri-Shuka said, “Kshatta gave up his own home and prosperity and entered the forest. In earlier times, he asked the illustrious Maitreya these questions. 682 This residence was one where the illustrious lord of everything 683 had himself entered, after being dishonoured in the palace of the Indra among the Pouravas.”’

The king asked, ‘Where did Kshatta and the illustrious Maitreya meet? What did they converse about? O lord! Tell us this. Vidura’s atman was cleansed and this couldn’t have been about a trifling matter. It must have been a supreme question, praised by virtuous ones.’

Suta replied, ‘The noble rishi 684 was thus asked by King Parikshit. Extremely delighted in his soul, he answered, “Listen.”

‘Shri-Shuka said, “The king’s sons were wicked. However, because his foresight had been destroyed, he supported them in adharma. His younger brother’s sons had no guardian. When they entered the house of lac, it was set on fire. She was the queen of the lord among the Kurus. 685 His son performed the contemptible deed of dragging her to the assembly hall by her hair. Despite her being his daughter-in-law, the king did not restrain him. Her own tears washed away the kunkuma on her breasts. Through adharma, the virtuous one was defeated in gambling with the dice. He stuck to truth and went to the forest. Ajatashatru returned and asked for what had been pledged to him. However, overwhelmed by confusion, he 686 did not grant it to him. Requested by the Parthas, Krishna, the preceptor of the universe, went to the assembly hall. Some men present thought that his words were like amrita. However, the king, 687 with his store of good merits exhausted, did not think that this was the case. He, 688 best among advisers, was invited by his elder brother, who consulted him. Vidura went to his house and the advice he offered is known as Vaidurika. 689 ‘You must give Ajatashatru’s share to him. 690 You have caused terrible hardships to him and he has been patient. You are terrified of Vrikodara, who is hissing like a serpent, along with his younger brothers, because of this. The illustrious god, Mukunda, has accepted the Parthas and so have the gods and the gods on earth. 691 The god of all the lords of the Yadus 692 has vanquished all the kings of men and is now in his own city. You have lost all prosperity because you have turned yourself away from Krishna. You are nurturing him 693 because you take him to be your son. He is evil personified and has entered your house. He hates Purusha. For the sake of the lineage, you should swiftly cast him away.’ Kshatta, whose conduct was praised by the virtuous, spoke in this way. However, because of his increasing rage, Suyodhana’s lips quivered. With Karna, his younger brother 694 and Soubala, 695 he showed him disrespect. ‘Who has invited this deceitful person here? 696 This suta is a servant who has been nourished by our offerings. Yet, he acts against us and serves the cause of the enemy. Let him remain alive, but swiftly banish him from the city.’ In his brother’s presence, he was pierced in his inner organs and suffered severely from arrows that entered through the ears. 697 But he was not distressed or agitated, because he understood that all this was because of maya. He placed his own bow near the door and left. The Kouravas had obtained him because of their good deeds, but he departed. Having left Gajasahvya, he visited, one after another, places that were tirthas, on foot. To accumulate merit, he wished to visit spots where the one with one thousand forms had manifested himself. He travelled to cities, sacred groves, forests, mountains, bowers and the clear water of rivers and lakes. These were decorated with signs of the infinite one. He was unaccompanied by anyone else and travelled to all these tirthas. Alone, he wandered around the earth, pure in conduct. He bathed and lay down on the ground, like an avadhuta. He was alone and unnoticed and in the attire of an avadhuta. He observed vows to satisfy Hari. He thus roamed around Bharatavarsha. In the course of time, he went to Prabhasa. At that time, through the favours of the unvanquished one, 698 Partha 699 ruled the entire earth as an emperor, under one single umbrella. 700 There, he heard about the destruction of his well-wishers, 701 who were burnt down in the forest, just as the fire consumes a grove of bamboo, when one bamboo rubs against another. 702 He thought about their being burnt down and silently went to the Sarasvati, which flows in a western direction. He went to tirthas sacred to Trita, Ushanas, Manu, Prithu, Agni, Asita, Vayu, Sudasa, Go, 703 Guha and Shraddhadeva. There, he also went to many other temples that were constructed by the best among brahmanas and gods and dedicated to the many forms of Vishnu, marked by his many signs. Having seen them, one remembers Krishna. From there, he passed through prosperous tracts like Surashtra, Souvira, Matsya and Kurujangala. In the course of time, he reached the Yamuna and saw Uddhava, who was devoted to the lord, there.

‘“With deep affection, he embraced the fortunate and tranquil one, who followed Vasudeva and earlier, had been like Brihaspati’s son. 704 He asked him about his own relatives, who were the subjects of the illustrious one. ‘Are those two ancient Purushas, 705 who descended because they were requested by the one who was born from his navel, 706 well in Shura’s 707 house? Have they achieved their objective of ensuring the welfare of the world? O dear one! Is the beloved brother-in-law of the Kurus, Shouri, 708 happy? Like a father, he gives generously to his own sisters. He is supreme among those who are generous and causes satisfaction through his gifts. O dear one! Is the brave Pradyumna, the commander of the armies of the Yadus, happy? In an earlier life, he had been the god of life and through the illustrious one, Rukmini obtained him as a son, after worshipping brahmanas. Is the lord 709 of the Satvatas, Vrishnis, Bhojas and Dasharhas happy? He had given up hopes of being a king and had gone far away, but the lotus-eyed one 710 instated him again. O amiable one! The virtuous Samba is foremost among charioteers. He is Hari’s son and is just like him. In earlier life, he used to be Guha, 711 born in Ambika’s womb. Because Jambavati was firm in her vows, he has been born as her son. Is he well? Is Yuyudhana 712 well? He learnt the secrets of wielding the bow from Phalguna. By serving Adhokshaja, he swiftly attained an end that is extremely difficult for even mendicants to achieve. Is Shvaphalka’s learned and faultless son, 713 who has sought refuge with the illustrious one, well? Filled with love, he lost his mental equilibrium and rolled around on the dust in the road, marked by Krishna’s footprints. Is the daughter of Devaka, the Bhoja, well? 714 She gave birth to Vishnu and is like the mother of the gods. She bore the god in her womb, just as the three 715 contain the meanings that expand into sacrifices. Is the illustrious Aniruddha happy? He yields all the objects of desire for the Satvatas and has been thought of as the source of sound. 716 He rules the mind and is the fourth principle presiding over sattva. 717 O amiable one! Are Hridika, Satya’s 718 son, Charudeshna, Gada and the others well? They surround and follow him, 719 like the divinity who rules their atmans. Are they wandering around in peace? Is Dharma 720 using his own two arms and the two arms of Vijaya 721 and Achyuta to maintain the ordinances of dharma? Witnessing the prosperity of his kingdom, obtained through Vijaya’s service, Duryodhana was tormented in his assembly hall. How is Bhima? For a long time, he has sighed like a snake, intolerant and angry at those who had caused them injuries. In the field of battle, the earth could not tolerate the stride of his steps, when he roamed around with his club, executing wonderful modes of action. How is the famous one, the leader of arrays of chariots? He is the one who destroyed the enemy with his Gandiva bow. Once, when Girisha used his maya and arrived undetected, in the form of a hunter, he covered him with his deep and mysterious arrows. The twins were brought up as Pritha’s sons and were surrounded and protected by the eyes of the Parthas. After seizing their share from the enemy in the battle, they found delight, like Suparna from the mouth of the wielder of the vajra. 722 How wonderful! Pritha remained alive for the sake of her fatherless sons, though she was deprived of the noble royal sage. 723 He was a great and brave charioteer and alone, without using a second bow, conquered the four directions. O amiable one! I sorrow over the one who descended into darkness and acted against his brother, 724 after he left for the hereafter. Because he followed his sons, though I was a well-wisher, he drove me out of his city. Despite the scorn, I could see that Hari ordains the actions of men in this mortal world. Through his favours, undetected, I followed in his footsteps. Seeing all this, I wandered around, without any wonder. Indeed, if men seek refuge with him and desire to be freed of their afflictions, the lord frees them from the three kinds of wrong paths. 725 The Kurus repeatedly made the earth tremble with their armies, committing crimes. However, the illustrious one ignored them. He is the one without birth. He has been born to destroy those who tread along wrong paths. Though he has no acts to perform, he takes up acts for the sake of men. He is supreme and beyond the qualities and beyond the course of action. Why else does he resort to yoga and assume a body? Therefore, all the guardians of the world seek refuge with him. Though without birth, he has been born in the lineage of the Yadus for the sake of those who subject themselves to his control. His deeds are chanted about at tirthas. O friend! Recount his conduct to me.’”’Chapter 3(2)

‘Shri-Shuka said, “The devotee of the illustrious one was thus asked about the news and welfare of the beloved one by Kshatta. However, he 726 remembered the lord and was filled with anxiety. He was not interested in replying. When he was a mere child of five and was invited by his mother to have breakfast, because he was serving him in his childhood pastimes, he was not interested in having it. 727 In the course of time, he continued to serve him until he became old. When he was asked and tried to reply, he remembered his master’s feet. He remained silent for a muhurta, extremely content at the nectar from Krishna’s lotus feet. The virtuous one withdrew and immersed himself in a deep act of bhakti yoga. Every limb in his body was in rapture. His eyes were closed and he wiped away the tears of grief. The signs were evident that he was completely submerged in his great love 728 and that his objective had been completely achieved. Gradually, he again returned from the world of the illustrious one to the world of men. He wiped his eyes. Smiling, Uddhava spoke affectionately to Vidura.

‘“Uddhava replied, ‘How can I speak about our welfare? Our houses have lost their prosperity. Krishna was like the sun and it has set. We have been swallowed by a boa constrictor. 729 This is indeed a great misfortune for this world, and especially for the Yadus. Like fish with the moon, 730 they dwelt with Hari and did not recognize him. The Satvatas possessed the wisdom of experience and could identify signs. However, they did not know him as the one who pervades all living beings, but only as a bull among the Satvatas. The wisdom of those who have surrendered their atmans to Hari’s atman is not confused by those who resort to wickedness and are touched by the god’s maya. He showed himself to men who had not performed austerities, thus possessing imperfect insight. He has now vanished, withdrawing his form from the sight of the world. He used his own yoga for pastimes in the mortal world. He assumed that form to exhibit the strength of his maya. The prosperity and opulence of his form is a reason for surprise. It is a supreme state, the best ornament among all the ornaments on the limbs. At the royal sacrifice performed by Dharma’s son, 731 all the three worlds could see that beautiful form and thought that all of Brahma’s 732 skills had been used up in creating the form that has now left. The women of Vraja were devoted to him. They were overwhelmed by his laughter, dalliances and pastimes. They followed him with their glances and their minds, leaving their tasks incomplete. He is compassionate towards those who are themselves peaceful, according to their own natures, but suffer at the hands of those who are otherwise. He is the lord of the highest and the lowest. 733 Though he has no birth, the illustrious one was born like the fire, 734 united with a part of Mahat. I grieve that the one who has no birth was born in a degraded state in Vasudeva’s house. He was himself infinite in valour. However, because of fear, he left the city and dwelt in Vraja. 735 I grieve when I remember that he worshipped the feet of his parents and said, “O father! O mother! We are extremely scared because of Kamsa. Since we have not been able to perform our duties towards you, please pardon us.” If a man has smelt the dust on the lord’s lotus feet, he will not be able to forget the lord. Like Death, he knit the eyebrows and chastised and removed the earth’s burden. Indeed, you have seen how Chedi hated Krishna, but obtained success at the royal sacrifice. 736 All the yogis desire this ultimate end and practise yoga. How can one tolerate separation from him? In that way, there were other brave ones in the world of men. In the battle, their eyes drank in Krishna’s lotus face, delightful to see. Purified by Partha’s weapons, they obtained his feet. He has no peer and is himself the lord of the three 737 and superior to them. His own kingdom is full of prosperity and all the objects of desire. All the guardians of the worlds offer sacrifices to him. Crores of diadems bow down before his hallowed feet. Thus, we were indeed his servants and attendants. O dear one! It pained us that he stood before Ugrasena, who was seated on a grand throne, addressed him as a lord and asked him to listen to him. Alas! The female crane 738 had virulent poison in her breasts. The wicked one wished to kill him and nurtured him with this. However, she obtained a state 739 that was appropriate for a proper nurse. Who is as compassionate as him? Which refuge will we go to? I think that the asuras are devotees of the illustrious lord of the three. They focused their intelligence along the path of enmity towards him, though they could see him descend with the weapon with the excellent nave, 740 on the shoulders of Tarkshya’s son. 741 He was born to Vasudeva and Devaki, in the prison of the Indra among the Bhojas. 742 This was because the one without birth 743 prayed and wished that the illustrious one should bring about peace. Thereafter, terrified of Kamsa, his father brought him to Nanda in Vraja. With Bala, 744 he dwelt there for eleven years, like a fire whose flames are hidden. He was surrounded by cowherds. The lord wandered around, tending to calves. He roamed around along the banks of the Yamuna, in groves where the trees were thick with the calling of birds. When he was young, his deeds, worthy of being seen, could only be seen by the residents of Vraja. He wept and he laughed. He was enchanting to behold, like a young lion. He tended to the wealth in the form of cattle, with white cows and bulls, Lakshmi’s abode. He herded them and the cowherds followed him and the tunes of his lovely flute. The king of Bhoja engaged those who could assume any form at will and were accomplished in maya. 745 However, he killed them in sport, like a child destroying a puppet. There were those who were distressed because they had drunk the poison of the lord of the serpents. 746 However, he chastised him, arose 747 and made the cows drink the water, to show that it had been restored to its natural state. With supreme brahmanas, he made the king of the gopas 748 perform a sacrifice dedicated to cattle. The lord desired to use the great wealth in this virtuous way. Enraged at the dishonour and extremely agitated, Indra showered down on Vraja. O fortunate one! Playfully, he showed his favours and saved them by holding up Govardhana like a mountain. The autumn evenings were radiant with the beams of the moon. He showed his respect for this by enjoying himself, singing melodious songs, with him at the centre and surrounded by a circle of women.’”’Chapter 3(3)

‘“Uddhava said, ‘Desiring to ensure the welfare of his own parents, he went to the city with Baladeva. They brought down the leader of the enemies from his lofty seat. They killed him and energetically dragged him along the ground. Having heard them uttered only once, he studied and learnt all the Vedas from Sandipani. He granted him the boon of bringing his dead son back to life from Panchajana’s stomach. 749 There were those who had been invited by Bhishmaka for his daughter and were attracted by her beauty and complexion. 750 However, he carried her off as his own desire, intending to follow the conduct of gandharvas 751 and taking away his own share, like Suparna. 752 He placed his foot on the heads of others. In a svayamvara, he tamed bulls whose noses had not been pierced and married Nagnajiti. 753 There were ignorant and routed ones who desired her and they wielded weapons. Without being injured, he killed them with his own weapons. The lord behaved like an ordinary person and wished to please his beloved. Therefore, the lord seized the tree 754 from the king of the gods. Blind with rage, the wielder of the vajra rushed towards him, with his companions, like a male deer that has been urged on by its wives. 755 The earth saw that her son was about to devour the sky with his mouth and was crushed by the weapon with the excellent nave in a battle. 756 She prayed to him and he gave what was left of the kingdom to his son 757 and entered his inner quarters. There were daughters of kings who had been abducted by Kuja. 758 On seeing Hari, the friend of the afflicted, they were delighted and immediately arose. They glanced at him, eyes full of bashfulness and affection, and accepted him. 759 Those women were placed in different chambers. He used his maya and simultaneously, in the same muhurta, married all of them, following the respective prescribed rites. He desired to expand his Prakriti. Therefore, through each of them, he had ten sons each, who were like him in every possible way. Kala, 760 Magadha 761 and Shalva laid siege to the city 762 with their armies. He energized his own men with his divine energy and got them killed. 763 There were Shambara, Dvivida, Bana, Mura, Balvala and others like Dantavakra. He killed some himself and had others killed. 764 The lord had the kings who sided with your brothers’ sons, 765 making the earth tremble with their armies, brought down in Kurukshetra. Suyodhana listened to the wicked advice of Karna, Duhshasana and Soubala and was forced to lie down on the ground with his followers, robbed of his prosperity and lifespan. The powerful one’s thighs were shattered. However, on seeing this, he was not happy. “This great burden of the earth has been removed. 766 Eighteen akshouhinis have been uprooted by Drona, Bhishma, Arjuna and Bhima. However, there remains an invincible army of Yadus, born from my portions. They will quarrel with each other. They will be intoxicated by drinking and their eyes will turn coppery red. With the exception of this, there is no other way to destroy them. After I have vanished, this will automatically happen.” Having thought this, the illustrious one established Dharmaja 767 in his own kingdom. He delighted his well-wishers and showed virtuous people the path. Through Abhimanyu, Uttara bore the descendant of the Purus. He was burnt down by the weapon of Drona’s son, but was again brought back to life by the illustrious one. The lord made Dharma’s son perform three horse sacrifices. He followed Krishna and with his younger brothers, happily protected the earth. The illustrious one is the atman of the universe. He traversed the path of the Vedas, followed by the worlds. He enjoyed all the objects of pleasure in Dvaraka. However, he was non-attached and based himself on samkhya. His glances were gentle and smiling. His words were akin to nectar. His character was without blemish. His atman was Shri’s abode. He brought joy to this world and the next, especially to the Yadus. During the night, as a well-wisher, he gave short spans of time to the women and made them enjoy for a while. He thus found pleasure for many years. However, detachment towards the mode of life of householders set in. Objects of pleasure are subject to destiny. Man himself is subject to destiny. A person who follows the lord of yoga cannot find solace in such things alone. Once upon a time, the princes of the Yadus and the Bhojas were playing. The sages, who knew the intentions of the illustrious one, cursed them. Some months passed. Confounded by the god, the Vrishnis, Bhojas, Andhakas and others cheerfully went to Prabhasa on their chariots. They bathed there and offered the water to the ancestors, the gods and the rishis. They satisfied the brahmanas by giving them cows that possessed many qualities. They gave them gold, silver, beds, garments, hides, blankets, vehicles, chariots, elephants, maidens and land for sustenance. They gave them delicious food that had first been offered to the illustrious one. Those brave ones served cattle and brahmanas and bowed their heads down on the ground.’”’Chapter 3(4)

‘“Uddhava said, ‘Having been permitted by them, they ate and drank varuni. 768 They were deprived of their senses and pierced each other’s hearts with harsh words. Because of the taints associated with the maireya, 769 they lost their mental equilibrium. There was a sound like that of bamboos rubbing against each other. The illustrious one saw what had been brought by his own maya. He touched the waters of the Sarasvati and sat down at the bottom of a tree. The illustrious one removes the afflictions of those who seek refuge with him. However, he desired to destroy his own lineage and told me to go to Badari. O destroyer of enemies! Though I knew about his intentions, I followed my master at the rear. I was incapable of distancing myself from his feet. I saw my beloved lord seated alone, thinking. The one who is Shri’s abode had found shelter near the Sarasvati, as if he was without a shelter. His clear and beautiful complexion was dark. His eyes, red like the rising sun, were tranquil. He could be recognized because of his four arms and his yellow silk garments. At that time, a devotee of the illustrious one arrived there. 770 He was devoted to him and was Dvaipayana’s friend and well-wisher. He had obtained success and had been travelling around the world, as he wished. The sage was attached to Mukunda. His mind was delighted and his shoulders were bent down. While he heard, he 771 smiled affectionately at me. He glanced at me. After I rested, he spoke to me.

‘“‘The illustrious one said, “I am inside all minds and know what you wish for. What I give you will be extremely difficult for others to obtain. O Vasu! 772 In ancient times, the creators of the universe 773 and the Vasus performed a sacrifice, desiring to obtain success from me. O virtuous one! This is your last birth, since you have obtained my favours. I am in this secluded spot, so as to leave the world of men, and you have come to me, fixed in your devotion. It is your good fortune that you have seen me. In ancient times, at the beginning of the original creation, I spoke to Aja, 774 who was situated in the lotus in my navel. This was supreme knowledge, indicating my greatness. The gods refer to this as the Bhagavata.” I was thus addressed by the supreme Purusha. I have obtained his favours at every instant. Because of my affection, my body hair stood up. My words faltered. I wiped the tears from my eyes, joined my hands in salutation and said, “Our lord! If a person serves at your lotus feet, which of the four objectives of the world 775 will be difficult to obtain? O great one! Even then, I am not asking for any of them. I am eager to serve at your lotus feet. You have no birth. But you have taken birth and have performed actions in this world. Fearing the enemy, you have run away and have sought shelter in forts. You are destiny, but you have sported with women in an ashrama. 776 Enjoyment is in your atman. In this world, the intelligence of the learned has been confused because of this. Without hesitation, you have summoned me for consultations. However, your knowledge is always complete. O lord! You are never confused or agitated, but you have asked. O god! Because of this, our minds are confused. Your own atman illuminates supreme knowledge. O illustrious one! Tell us everything that you told Ka. 777 O lord! If we are capable of receiving it, explain it to us in detail, so that we can cross over these miseries.” I thus expressed the desire of my heart to the supreme and illustrious one. The lotus-eyed one instructed me about the supreme state of his atman. I worshipped the tirthas of his feet. I studied the truth about the atman, the path of understanding. I bowed down at his feet and circumambulated the god. Separated from him and with my soul afflicted, I have come here. O lord! His sight is pleasure and I am afflicted at being separated from him. I will go to Badarikashrama, associated with him and loved by him. That is where the gentle god Narayana and the illustrious rishi, Nara, performed austerities for a long time, tormenting themselves for the welfare of the worlds.’”

‘Shri-Shuka said, “Kshatta heard from Uddhava about the death of his well-wishers and this was impossible to tolerate. Using his knowledge, the learned one pacified himself and controlled the increasing grief.

‘“Vidura said, ‘The lord, the lord of yoga, spoke to you about the supreme knowledge that illuminates the atman. The servants of Vishnu roam around for the sake of those who serve them. Therefore, if we deserve to hear it, tell us about it.’

‘“Uddhava replied, ‘For the truth, you must certainly worship the rishi Kousharava, who is nearby. When he was about to leave the world of mortals, the illustrious one instructed him himself.’”

‘Shri-Shuka said, “Thus, Aupavaga’s son 778 conversed with Vidura about the qualities of the one whose form is the universe. He was overwhelmed by anguish and this nectar pacified him for some time. He spent the night on the banks of the Yamuna and departed.”

‘The king asked, “The great charioteers, the best of the commanders and leaders among the Vrishnis and the Bhojas were destroyed after Hari, the lord of the three, 779 gave up his body. How did Uddhava alone remain?”

‘Shri-Shuka replied, “He wished to draw in his own lineage, which was excessively populated. He is the death who arrived in the form of the curse unleashed by the brahmanas. When he was about to give up his body, this is what he thought of. ‘There is knowledge that is vested in me. Right now, Uddhava is supreme among those who know about the atman. When I leave this world, he is the one who deserves to know about me. Uddhava is not inferior to me in any way. The lord is not disturbed by the qualities. Therefore, let him remain in this world, so that people get to know about me from him.’ Thus, he was instructed by the preceptor of the three worlds, the one who is the origin of the Vedas. Content, he went to Badarikashrama and meditated on Hari. Vidura heard from Uddhava about Krishna, the supreme atman, about how he had accepted a body for his pastimes and about his praiseworthy deeds. The account of his giving up his body increases the patience of those who are persevering. But it is extremely difficult for others to understand, since they are like animals whose souls are agitated. O best among the Kurus! He 780 knew that he had been in Krishna’s mind. When he 781 left, he meditated on the illustrious one and wept, distracted because of his love. O bull among the Bharata lineage! He passed a few days on the banks of the Kalindi. 782 He then went to the heavenly river, 783 where the sage who was Mitra’s son 784 was.”’Chapter 3(5)

‘Shri-Shuka said, “Maitreya’s understanding was unfathomable and he was seated at the source of the heavenly river. 785 The undecaying one was perfect in his sentiments. Satisfied with his good conduct and qualities, Kshatta, bull among the Kurus, approached him and asked him.

‘“Vidura said, ‘O illustrious one! People perform acts for the sake of happiness. However, they do not obtain happiness or any other contentment. Instead, they obtain miseries through these. Please explain to us what is appropriate. People who have turned themselves away from Krishna are destined to be extremely miserable and prone to adharma in conduct. Indeed, fortunate and great beings wander around to show them Janardana’s favours. The illustrious one is in the hearts of men. O noble and virtuous one! Instruct us about the path whereby he is served. He grants purification to those who are devoted to the ancient accounts, through which, one learns about true knowledge. The illustrious one is the lord of the three. 786 He controls himself and assumes avataras to perform deeds. He is without desire. But he created the universe at the beginning, and establishing it, determined the mode for its sustenance and regulation. All of this will again enter into him, in the form of space. When he lies down, all of this will withdraw from activities and will be secreted within him. He is alone the lord of yoga and the lord of everything. He is the one who entered everything, in many different forms. For the welfare of brahmanas, cows and gods, he indulged in pastimes. He performed deeds in the form of different avataras. Our minds are not satisfied at hearing about these. The lord Punyashloka’s accounts are like amrita. The protector and lord of the worlds created many kinds of differences, the superior worlds, the inferior worlds and the guardians of the worlds. He is the one who devised the creation of every kind of existence and made it appear as if they occupy different kinds of forms. O noble brahmana! Narayana’s source is his own atman. He is the creator of the universe. He is the one who arranged many kinds of creatures, differentiated according to souls, activities, forms, names, seeds and varnas, including those who are not born. Tell us about this. O illustrious one! From Vyasa’s mouth, I have repeatedly heard about superior and inferior kinds of vows. I am content with that, but these bring about limited kinds of happiness. What can satisfy, but for the flood of amrita that results from Krishna’s account? How can one be satisified without hearing about the one whose feet are tirthas? The gods worship him through sacrifices. When it 787 enters a man through his ears, it severs the bondage of birth and existence as a householder. Your friend, Krishna, 788 described and spoke about the illustrious one’s qualities in Mahabharata. In that, people derive pleasure from mundane accounts. However, their minds are drawn towards Hari’s account. A man’s faith is thus increased and he becomes indifferent towards everything else. If he does not withdraw from remembering Hari’s feet, all his miseries are quickly destroyed. I sorrow about those pitiable ones. I grieve about those ignorant ones. Because of their sins, they turn away from Hari’s account. The god of time diminishes the lifespans of those who indulge in futile speech and physical and mental action. O Kousharava! Hari’s accounts bestow happiness. Distil out the essence from those accounts, like the essence is taken out of flowers. O friend of those who are afflicted! Tell us the auspicious accounts of the one whose deeds are like tirthas. For the sake of the creation, establishment and control of the universe, he invoked his powers. He performed superhuman deeds. Tell us about the lord’s deeds.’”

‘Shri-Shuka said, “The illustrious sage, Kousharava, was thus asked by Kshatta. Honouring him, for the sake of the great welfare of men, he started to speak.

‘“Maitreya replied, ‘O virtuous one! You have asked an excellent question and have thus shown your favours to the worlds and your inclinations towards virtue. Your atman is in Adhokshaja and your own fame will also spread throughout the world. O Kshatta! There is nothing surprising in this. You were born from Badarayana’s seed. Therefore, without being distracted by anything else, you have accepted the lord, Hari. You were the illustrious Yama, the controller of beings. Because of Mandavya’s curse, 789 you have been born as the son of Satyavati’s son, in his brother’s field, through a servant-maid. 790 You have always been respected by the illustrious one as one of his companions. When the illustrious one departed, he told me to instruct you about this knowledge. Progressively, I will describe to you the illustrious one’s pastimes and his yoga maya, used for the creation, preservation and destruction of the universe. As he wills, the lord is himself present in all atmans. In the beginning, the illustrious one was alone. One can perceive his atman through one’s own atman, following the many different kinds of signs. He is the seer. He is the lord of everything that can be seen. But at that time, he saw nothing. 791 He thought of himself as someone who was non-existent. His strength was asleep, but his sight was not asleep. He is the one who sees perfectly. He is the power behind cause and effect. O immensely fortunate one! This is named maya and the lord used this to create everything. Through the progress of time, Adhokshaja characterizes the gunas with his maya. Purusha is his own part and the valiant one uses his seed to impregnate. 792 Thus, urged by time, the Mahat tattva was manifested from what was not manifest. He manifested this body and the illumination that would dispel all the ignorance of darkness in the universe. His part, 793 the gunas and time are within the range of vision of the illustrious one. With a desire to create the universe, he manifested his atman in yet another form. 794 Mahat tattva was transformed and led to the creation of ahamkara—in the form of cause, effect and the sense of being the doer. These are based on the elements, the senses and the mind. These transformations are of three kinds—vaikarika, taijasa and tamasa. The ahamkara in the mind results from vaikarika. The divinities 795 and the perceptions of the senses also result from vaikarika. Taijasa results in the sense of knowledge and action. Tamasa results in the subtle elements 796 and space, which is the means of knowing the atman. The illustrious one looked at space, which came about through interaction between time, maya and his portion. Touch resulted from space. It went through modifications and led to the creation of air. Though it possessed the strength of space, air went through modifications. It created the tanmatra of form and light, the eye of the worlds, was produced from this. He glanced at the interaction between air and light. Through the association with time, maya and his portion, water and taste were created. He looked at water, which was created from light. Through the association with time, maya and his portion, earth and the attribute of smell were created. O virtuous one! The learned ones know that space and the other elements, progressively possess the attributes of the ones that have come before them. 797 In the hierarchy, each has been touched by the preceding one. The divinities of the elements, time, maya and the signs are all parts of Vishnu. Because they were engaged in their own individual actions, they were not able to perform. They joined their hands in salutation and addressed the lord. The divinities said, ‘O god! We bow down at your lotus feet. They are like an umbrella that subdues the heat of those who seek refuge with them. Great mendicants seek shelter there and fling away the miseries of this world. O supreme one! You are the creator and the lord. Living beings suffer from three kinds of torment 798 and cannot find peace. O illustrious one! They obtain shelter and knowledge at your feet and we are also seeking refuge there. The best of rivers, the cleanser of sins, 799 flows from there. Detached rishis turn their strides towards your feet and seek shelter there. Your feet are tirthas. The Vedas are like birds that search out and make their nests in your lotus mouth. We will hear about you. With faith and devotion, we will meditate on you in our hearts and be cleansed. Through knowledge, non-attachment, strength and perseverance, we will go to the lotus feet and seek sanctuary there. For the sake of the creation, preservation and destruction of the universe, you assume the forms of avataras. O lord! All of us will find shelter at your lotus feet, the remembrance of which grants freedom from fear to the men who are devoted to you. There are those who are bound down to non-permanent bodies and homes. They are deeply attached to the undesirable elements of “I” and “mine”. Though you reside within the body, such men are extremely far away from you. O illustrious one! We will worship at your lotus feet. O supreme lord! Those who are attached to futile objects in their conduct and to the senses are those whose minds are far away from the supreme. O great one! Therefore, they do not see the bliss at your feet, discerned by those who seek shelter there. O god! There are those who drink the nectar of your account. Their store of devotion is extensive. They obtain the comprehension that is the essence of non-attachment. They swiftly obtain their place in Vaikuntha. There are others who resort to samadhi yoga. Through that strength, they conquer the powerful Prakriti. Those persevering ones enter you, Purusha. However, theirs is a path of hardships, which doesn’t exist for those who are devoted to you. You were there before the creation of the worlds. Through the three qualities, 800 you have yourself progressively created us. All of us are separated and are acting for our own pleasures. Therefore, we are unable to render to you what belongs to you. O one without birth! At the right time, what offerings will we offer you, so that we can partake of the rest of the food? Without any difficulties, what offerings will the residents of the world offer both you and us, so that they can partake of the rest of the food? You are the mysterious, ancient and original Purusha. You are the cause behind the different kinds of gods. O god! The qualities, acts and births are based on your powers. O one without birth! You have impregnated all living beings with your seed. What can we and Mahat and the others do for you, so that we can accomplish the purpose for which we have been created out of your atman? O god! Grant us your insight and powers and show us your favours, so that we can do what we are supposed to.’”’Chapter 3(6)

‘“The rishi said, ‘The lord of all movement heard the assembled ones and the fact that their powers to create the worlds were dormant. With the goddess, Urukrama entered the destructive force known as Kala. 801 He simultaneously entered the twenty-three tattvas. 802 Having entered the group, which were acting separately, the illustrious one acted so as to bring them together and awaken their dormant capacity to work. The capacity to work of that group of twenty-three was thus roused by the god. Urged, they contributed their individual parts and gave rise to Virat Purusha. A portion of the supreme one entered the group of those that would lead to the creation, but were hitherto agitated. They now combined with each other and created Virat Purusha. The worlds and mobile and immobile objects were in him. This Purusha was golden and contained all living beings. However, for one thousand years, he was inside the cosmic egg that was spread out in the waters. With creation inside him, Virat possessed the divine powers of knowledge, action and spirit. He was one, but divided himself into ten and three. 803 This 804 is infinite and the atman inside all creatures. He is himself part of the paramatman. He is the first avatara and the creation of the large number of entities is based on him. He has three forms—adhyatma, adhidaiva and adhibhuta. Virat has ten forms of prana, which connect as one in the heart. Adhokshaja, the lord, remembered what the principles of creation had asked of him. 805 Having thought about it, he had used his own energy to manifest Virat, so that their powers could be extended. Hear from me about how Virat performed austerities to create various places of residence for the divinities within himself. Agni, the guardian of the world, had a differentiated place of residence within his mouth, along with his power of words. Thus, speech could be expressed. Varuna, the guardian of the world, had a place of residence within Hari’s 806 palate, along with his power of tongue. Thus, taste was manifested. The two Ashvins, guardians of the worlds, had a differentiated place of residence within Vishnu’s 807 nostrils, along with their power of smell. Thus, the capacity to smell was manifested. Tvashta, the guardian of the world, had a differentiated place of residence within the lord’s eyes, along with his power of sight. Thus, the capacity to distinguish form was manifested. Anila, 808 the guardian of the world, had a differentiated place of residence within his skin, along with his power of prana. Thus, touch was manifested. When the ears were created, this was the differentiated place of residence for the divinities of the directions, along with the power of hearing. Thus, one can successfully experience sound. When the skin was created, 809 this was the differentiated place of residence for the divinities of the herbs, along with their parts of body hair. Through this, the sensation of itching is experienced. The penis was created and the divinity, Ka, 810 seated himself in this differentiated place of residence, along with the portion of semen. Through this, sexual pleasure is experienced. Purusha’s anus evolved and Mitra, the guardian of the world, entered there, along with his portion of the excretory organ. Through this, evacuation is ensured. The hands were created and Indra, the lord of heaven, entered there, along with his power of undertaking merchant transactions. Thus, men obtained a means of sustenance. The feet were created and Vishnu, the guardian of the world, entered there, along with his own portion of locomotion. Thus, men can reach their desired destinations. Intelligence was created and the lord who is the guardian of speech 811 entered there, along with his power of comprehension. Thus, the object of comprehension is experienced. The heart was created and the moon god entered there, along with his portion of the mind. Thus, many kinds of transformation can be understood. When the atman was created, the lord of abhimana 812 entered that spot, along with his portion of karma. Through this, the intended action is undertaken. Sattva was created and Mahat entered there, along with his portion of consciousness. Through this, correct understanding is obtained. The heavenly planets were created from his head, the earth from his feet and the sky from his navel. Surrounded by their gunas, the gods and the others became manifested there. 813 Gods obtained heaven because they have an excess of sattva. Those who have transactions with them, and their followers, remained on earth, because of their nature of rajas. 814 Those who possess the third kind of nature 815 inhabited the illustrious one’s navel. The space that is between the two 816 is inhabited by the large number of Rudra’s companions. O extender of the Kuru lineage! The brahman 817 emerged from Purusha’s mouth. Brahmanas, preceptors and foremost among the varnas, also emerged from the mouth. The power of protection emerged from the arms and so did the kshatriyas, who follow that vow. This varna was born from Purusha so that it could save from the mischief caused by thorns. 818 Production, trading and the means of subsistence were created from the lord’s thighs and so were vaishyas. This is how humans engage in trade transactions. Servitude that is necessary for attaining dharma was born from the illustrious one’s feet. Earlier, the shudras were also born from here and they please Hari through service. Following their own dharma, these varnas worship their own preceptor, Hari, from whom they were born. They follow their means of subsistence and faithfully purify themselves. O Kshatta! Who can dare to measure or describe the illustrious one’s divine deeds, atman and forms? Everything has resulted from the strength of his yoga maya. O dear one! Despite that, I have recounted according to my intelligence and according to what I have heard. It is for the purpose of purifying my speech that I have described Hari’s deeds. It is said that speaking about the qualities of Punyashloka and talking about Purusha is a supreme benefit. His forms and deeds have been properly described by the learned in sacred texts and these accounts are like nectar. O child! The first wise one 819 used his intelligence to perfect his yoga and meditated on him for one thousand years. Even after this, did he comprehend the greatness of his atman? The illustrious one’s maya confounds those who possess powers of maya. Since he himself doesn’t understand its course, how can others comprehend it? Words and mind are unable to reach him. Ego 820 and the other gods have failed and returned. I bow down to that illustrious one.’”’Chapter 3(7)

‘Shri-Shuka said, “Maitreya said this. Vidura, Dvaipayana’s learned son, replied pleasantly, as if he was requesting.

‘“Vidura said, ‘O brahmana! The illustrious one is formed out of pure consciousness. How can he be subject to transformations? Even when he is engaged in pastimes, he is devoid of gunas and action that results from gunas. A child exerts itself to play because the desire to play comes from somewhere else. 821 He 822 is always satisfied within himself. He is non-attached and there is no one else. Through his own maya, the illustrious one has created the universe, consisting of gunas. He maintains it and repeatedly destroys it. The atman is unalloyed consciousness and is not affected by place, time and condition, either internal or external. How can it be united with maya? The illustrious one is one and is established in every body. How can he be subjected to the misfortune and hardships living beings face because of their karma? O learned one! I suffer from this calamity of ignorance and my mind is distressed. O lord! Therefore, remove this great illusion from my mind.’”

‘Shri-Shuka said, “The sage was thus urged by Kshatta, who wished to know about the truth. Free from arrogance and with his mind on the illustrious one, he smiled and replied.

‘“Maitreya answered, ‘This is the illustrious one’s maya and it is against all logic. The lord is free of all weakness and free of bondage. It may appear to a man 823 that he is facing a hardship and that his head is being chopped off. But all such things are not real. The trembling of the moon’s image in the water may be seen to be a quality of the moon. Similarly, a person who sees the atman ascribes qualities to it that do not belong to the atman. Through the dharma of non-attachment, Vasudeva’s grace and bhakti yoga towards the illustrious one, such misconceptions gradually disappear. When the senses of the seer are satisfied at seeing the atman in the supreme Hari, all hardships vanish, as in the case of a person who is asleep. If one repeatedly hears the qualities of Murari being spoken about, all miseries are pacified. What is the need to speak about those who have realized their atmans and are attracted to serving the dust of his lotus feet?’

‘“Vidura asked, ‘O lord! The sword of your excellent words has severed my doubts. My mind can now grasp both aspects of the illustrious one. 824 O learned one! You have virtuously explained that all these movements are because of Hari. They appear to be meaningless and without any foundation. However, the foundation of the universe is not outside. 825 The stupidest person in the world and the person who has obtained supreme intelligence both enjoy happiness. It is the person who is between the two who suffers from miseries. I have ascertained that even though all this appears to exist, it has no meaning. It is not the atman. By serving at your feet, I will be able to cast aside misconception. There are those who serve the illustrious and mysterious one, Madhu’s enemy. 826 If one has a deep urge to serve at their 827 feet, all afflictions are destroyed. There are those who are on the path towards Vaikuntha. That is a place where Janardana, god of the gods, is always glorified. However, those who are limited in austerities find it very difficult to serve them. At the beginning of creation, the lord progressively created Mahat and the others and their modification and having manifested Virat, entered there. This 828 is known as the original Purusha, with one thousand legs, thighs and arms. The universe, the worlds and their developments are located in him. There are ten types of prana in him and for the sake of the senses, the three kinds of organs of sense. 829 You have also explained about the varnas. Please tell us now about his powers. Everything was populated with his sons, grandsons, grandsons through the daughter, those from different gotras and subjects with many different kinds of form. Who was the lord of the Prajapatis? Who decided on the Prajapatis? What were the creations and the subsidiary creations? Who were the Manus and the lords of the manvantaras? O Mitra’s son! Which worlds exist above and below the earth? What is their position and size? Describe the earth to me. Tell us about the different categories of created beings—inferior species, humans, gods, reptiles, birds, those born from the womb, those born from sweat, those born from eggs and trees and herbs. Describe to us the extensive valour of the one who is Shri’s abode. He is the creator of the universe, sustains the creation and it is into him that everything merges after destruction. According to gunas, what are his various avataras? 830 According to form, conduct and nature, what are the various categories of varnas and ashramas? What about the birth and death of the rishis and the divisions of the Vedas? O lord! What are the details of sacrifices and the different paths of yoga? What about the naishkarmya 831 of samkhya and tantra, as expounded by the illustrious one? O brahmana! O unblemished one! Imperfect paths followed by heretics; the status obtained by the offspring of a pratiloma marriage; 832 depending on their qualities and deeds, the different destinations obtained by living creatures; dharma, artha, kama, moksha and the means of ensuring that there is no conflict between them; the different occupations; principles of punishment; the rituals described in the sacred texts; the rites for funeral ceremonies; the creation of the ancestors; the planets, nakshatras and stars; the duration of different measurements of time; the fruits of donations, austerities and auspicious acts like digging ponds; the dharma to be followed when one is away from home and when men face adversities; and the means whereby the illustrious Janardana, the source of dharma, is pleased—describe all this to me. O supreme among brahmanas! Preceptors are compassionate towards those who are distressed. Even without being asked, they explain things to followers, disciples and sons. O illustrious one! At the time of dissolution, in how many ways are the tattvas withdrawn? After this, who survives and worships him while he is asleep? What is the place for Purusha and what is his supreme state? What is the knowledge in the sacred texts? What is the need for an association between a guru and a shishya? 833 O unblemished one! In this world, what are the means whereby the wise can acquire knowledge? How does knowledge automatically develop in men who follow bhakti and non-attachment? I am asking you these questions because I wish to know about Hari’s deeds. I am ignorant. Tell me as a friend. Because of maya, I have lost my vision. O unblemished one! All the Vedas, sacrifices, austerities and donations do not amount to even a fraction of what is obtained by granting a living being freedom from fear.’”

‘Shri-Shuka said, “The foremost among sages was thus asked by the foremost among the Kurus about what is described in the Puranas. His delight was enhanced at having been urged to describe the illustrious one’s account. He smiled and replied.”’Chapter 3(8)

‘“Maitreya said, ‘The lineage of the Purus should indeed be served by those who are virtuous. All these protectors of the world 834 regard the illustrious one as the foremost. You have been born in this lineage and step by step, you bring new ways of increasing the garland of fame of the unvanquished one. Men pursue trifling joy and misery and are immersed in great hardships. I will speak about the Bhagavata Purana, which the illustrious one himself narrated to rishis, for the sake of dispelling these. The sages, with Kumara 835 at the forefront, desired to know the truth about the supreme one. They asked the illustrious and original god, Samkarshana, who was unimpeded in knowledge and who was seated on the ground. At that time, he was himself respectfully meditating on the one who is known by the name of Vasudeva. His eyes were closed, like the bud of a lotus. However, out of compassion for the learned ones, he opened them. The matted hair on the heads of the sages was wet with the waters of the celestial river 836 and they lowered these and touched his feet, which were like cushions. These lotus feet are lovingly worshipped by the daughters of the king of serpents, with offerings, when they wish for desirable husbands. His one thousand diadems glowed with gems and there was illumination from his one thousand hoods. 837 They knew about his deeds and were devoted to him and they repeatedly praised these in gentle and well-articulated words. Sanatkumara followed the dharma of nivritti 838 and indeed, he told him about the excellent Bhagavata. O dear one! When asked, he repeated it to Samkhyayana, who was firm in his vows. 839 Samkhyayana was foremost among those who were paramahamsas. He desired to explain the powers of the illustrious one and recited it to our preceptor, Parashara, and then to Brihaspati. The sage Pulastya was kind and affectionate towards him. 840 Therefore, he told me about the original Purana. O child! That is what I will recite to you. You are faithful and always devoted to him. The entire universe was submerged in water. His eyes were closed in sleep, but yet not completely closed. He was alone, asleep on a bed consisting of the Indra among the serpents. 841 At that time, he was in bliss, within his own self, and there was nothing external. The subtle elements were subsumed within his body. He invoked his powers that were in the form of time. He was residing in his own abode within the waters, without displaying his energy, like fire hidden inside a piece of wood. He slept in the waters for one thousand aggregates of the four yugas. 842 With his own powers, he himself invoked what is known as time, so that action could be undertaken. He saw the worlds within his own dark body. He saw that the subtle elements were inside him. What was inside him was stirred by rajas. This guna followed time and was struck by it. Thus struck, it emerged from the area around the navel. The bud of a lotus flower appeared suddenly, urged by time to undertake action. With its own rays, this illuminated the extensive waters, like the sun. It emerged from the one who is his own source. Vishnu entered that universal lotus and it was imbibed with the radiance of all the gunas. From that lotus emerged the creator. 843 The Vedas are incarnate in him and we speak of him as Svayambhu. He was located on the stalk of the lotus and could not see any worlds. He cast his glance all around the sky and the four directions and thus obtained four faces. At the end of the yuga, there were storms that whirled around the waters and made the waves rise up. He sought shelter in the lotus. However, the original god could not comprehend the truth about the worlds 844 and about his own self. ‘Who am I, seated on the lotus? How has this solitary lotus sprouted in the waters? There must be something underneath it. There must indeed be something supporting it.’ Thinking this, he used the passage in the stalk of the lotus to enter inside the waters. However, despite going further and further down the stalk, Aja could not find the source of the lotus in the navel. Having not accomplished his wish, he returned. The god again returned to his own seat. He gradually restrained his mind and controlled his breath. He sat down there, immersed in samadhi yoga. Aja engaged in yoga for a period equal to a man’s lifespan 845 and developed his intelligence. What he had been unable to see earlier, could now automatically be seen within his heart. He saw a being lying down alone, using the body of Shesha, which was as white as the fibre of a lotus, as the couch. The darkness of the waters at the end of a yuga was dispelled by the radiance of the gems that were on the umbrella-like hoods. The evening clouds on the slopes are like a garment on the summit of a mountain of green emeralds. But his beauty surpassed that. 846 The golden peaks are a store of beautiful herbs, garlanded with trees. The bamboos are like arms and the trees are like legs. 847 The length, breadth and measure of his body encompassed the three worlds. He was attired in colourful divine ornaments and silk garments. His beautiful body was rendered even more beautiful by the ornaments and garments. There are men who, on their own, desire the path of devotion, and alone worship him in agreeable ways, serving his lotus feet, which yield all the objects of desire. Out of compassion, he shows them his feet, with toes like the moon. A lustre radiated from the extremely beautiful nails on his fingers. His smiling face removed the afflictions of the world and was made radiant by the dazzling earrings. His face was tinged red because of his lower lip, which had the hue of bimba fruit. His extremely well-formed nose and extremely well-formed brows were beautiful. O child! His garments were yellow, like the pollen of the kadamba flower. He adorned himself with a girdle around his hips. There was an extremely valuable necklace on his chest, which was marked with the beloved mark of shrivatsa. He wore extremely expensive armlets studded with the best of jewels. His arms stretched out, like a tree with one thousand branches. He was like an Indra among trees, encompassing the universe, but the roots could not be seen. The coils of the great serpent covered his shoulders. The illustrious one was like a large mountain, supporting mobile and immobile objects. He was surrounded by the deep waters and was a friend of the Indra among serpents. There were one thousand diadems that were like golden peaks. The Koustubha gem, born from the waters, was displayed on his chest. Hari wore a garland made out of wild flowers. The hymns of the Vedas surrounded his beautiful form and chanted his own glories. The sun, the moon, Vayu and Agni find him to be unapproachable. The weapons of the three worlds can’t approach him and only circle around him. The creator 848 saw the lake in his navel and the lotus sprouting from it. He saw himself, the waters, the wind and the sky. The god looked at the universe and there was nothing beyond this. There was no other world and the insight about creation manifested itself in him. He was impregnated with rajas and the seed of action. Having seen what there was to see, he desired to create subjects. He fixed his mind on the god who was not manifest and worshipped him for the sake of creation and subsidiary creations.’”’Chapter 3(9)

‘“Brahma said, “I have got to know you today, after a very long time. It is a great defect to possess a body and such people do not get to know about the movements of the illustrious one. O illustrious one! Nothing other than you exists. Nothing else is pure. You are supreme, but appear differently because of maya and the mixture of the gunas. This form is of your eternal and internal powers. Through your favours to the virtuous, you dispel tamas. 849 You assumed this original avatara and it is the seed of a hundred others. I have myself been generated from an abode in the lotus in your navel. O supreme one! I do not see any form of yours that is superior to this one. It is full of bliss and without any transformations. Its radiance is not diminished in any way. You are the creator of the universe. You are the atman of the universe. You are the source of the elements and the senses. I seek refuge with you. O one who is auspicious for the universe! For the sake of welfare, you have shown yourself to the devotees who are meditating on you. O illustrious one! Therefore, we follow the rules and bow down before you. But you are not respected by those who are evil in their adherences 850 and are headed towards hell. There are those who inhale the fragrance that is in your lotus feet. The wind conveys chants from the sacred texts to their ears. They devotedly seize your supreme feet. O protector! For their sake, never be separated from the lotus-like hearts of men who are devoted to you. There are those who suffer fear on account of wealth, physical bodies, well-wishers, grief, desire, dishonour and excessive greed. The reason for their affliction is their false sense of ‘mine’. Until they seek shelter at your lotus feet, they will not obtain freedom from fear. Destiny destroys their intelligence. Their senses are averse to hearing about you, something that removes all kinds of inauspiciousness. Those distressed ones pursue desire, for a happiness that is only brief and fleeting. Their minds are overcome by avarice and they are always after the inauspicious. O Urukrama! They repeatedly suffer from hunger, the three dhatus, 851 cold, heat, wind, rain and other such disturbances, the fire of sexual desire and an anger that is impossible to quench. On seeing them, I also become despondent. O lord! Because of the strength of the illustrious one’s maya, people pursue their senses and perceive themselves as being distinct from the atman. As long as this continues, this cycle of worldly existence will not vanish. Instead, futile action performed for fruits will bring along miseries. O god! During the day, they perform deeds that lead to distress. During the night, they cannot sleep. The intelligent pursue many kinds of wishes. At every instant, the sleep is disturbed. Even rishis are affected by destiny and are averse to an association with you. Therefore, they roam around in this cycle of life. O protector! But there are indeed men who are completely immersed in bhakti yoga. They follow the path of listening to your glories. They obtain insight and you reside in their lotus hearts. O powerful one! Because of your favours towards these virtuous ones, you manifest yourself in whatever form their intelligence thinks of. He 852 is not satisfied if he is worshipped with expensive objects, nor if he is worshipped by large numbers of gods who are bound by some desire in their hearts. He is pleased by compassion towards all beings, which is a trait impossible to find in the wicked. He can be perceived in many kinds of beings. He is the well-wisher inside their atmans. There are many kinds of pious activities that people undertake. They perform rituals, they donate, they perform fierce austerities and they serve devotedly. O illustrious one! They worship you through such virtuous deeds. This dharma is rendered unto you and it never perishes. Your own form is eternal. It is free from all differences and confusion. You are knowledge and intelligence. I bow down to the supreme one. It is for the sake of your pastimes that you indulge in the universe’s creation, preservation and destruction. We offer our obeisance to this lord. The qualities of his avataras are the consequences of his mysterious deeds. At the time of death, if a person involuntarily chants these names, he can instantly give up the sins accumulated through many births and proceed to immortality, which is opened up. O unborn one! I seek refuge with you. I bow down before the illustrious one who is the cosmic tree. For the sake of creation, preservation and destruction, you yourself are the source for me, Girisha and the lord himself. 853 There is a single tree that has divided itself into three, with many branches. You restrain people who are negligent about their welfare and perform perverse deeds. You have yourself articulated deeds meant for your worship. But if their desire for remaining alive in this world remains strong, they ignore this and you instantly sever those hopes. I bow down to him. I have myself obtained a state of lordship that lasts for two parardhas. But I am terrified, 854 even though the region I inhabit is revered by all the worlds. Desiring to obtain you, I have tormented myself through austerities for many years. O illustrious one! I bow down to you. You are the lord of sacrifices. With a desire to preserve the ordinances, you have yourself created inferior species, humans, gods and other living creatures. You find pleasure in this, though you are not affected by material objects. You manifest yourself in the form of these bodies. O illustrious one! O Purushottama! I bow down before you. You do not suffer from the five kinds of ignorance in conduct. 855 Preserving all the worlds inside your stomach, you assume a state of sleeping inside the water. You sleep on the body of the serpent and find this touch to be pleasurable, though there are garlands of terrible waves around you. You do this for the sake of the happiness of the people. O one who should be worshipped! I was manifested from my abode in the lotus in your navel. Through your favours, I am an instrument for the creation of the three worlds. I bow down to you. All of creation is inside your stomach. Now that the yoga of your sleep is over, your eyes have opened like blooming lotuses. He is alone the atman and well-wisher for the entire universe. He is the illustrious one who brings happiness through his powers of sattva. Let him grant me insight, so that I can now create, so that everything is as it used to be before. 856 I prostrate myself before the beloved one. He is the one who grants boons to those who seek refuge with him. With Rama, 857 he uses his own powers to do everything. He assumes the gunas of the avataras. For the sake of creation, let his own valour be imbibed by my heart. Let it be united with me, so that I am freed from the material consequences of my action. 858 When Purusha was lying down, there was water in the pool in his navel. He is infinite in powers and I was created as vijnana shakti. 859 I am now engaged in manifesting all his many different kinds of forms. Let the Vedas not vanish before me and let me be correct in uttering them. The illustrious one is infinite in his compassion. Let him open his lotus eyes, filled with great affection. Let the ancient Purusha arise and for the sake of creating the universe, remove all our miseries through his sweet speech.’”

‘“Maitreya said, ‘Through his austerities, learning and meditation, he saw the source of his own creation. He praised him through his thoughts and words. As if exhausted, he then stopped. Madhusudana discerned Brahma’s intentions and saw that he was distressed in his mind, with everything submerged in devastating waters at the end of a kalpa. He 860 was anxious that he did not know enough about creating the worlds. He spoke to him in deep words, so that all his dejection could be pacified.

‘“‘The illustrious one said, “O Vedagarbha! 861 Do not yield to lassitude. Exert yourself for the sake of creation. What you prayed to me for, has already been obtained by you. Perform austerities yet again. Resort to me for knowledge. O Brahma! Through this, you will see all the worlds displayed inside your heart. O Brahma! When you meditate with devotion, you will see me pervading the worlds, me, the worlds and yourself in me. I am situated inside all creatures, like fire inside a piece of wood. When people see me in that way, they instantly cast off all sins. When a person sees that his atman is independent of the elements, the senses and the gunas, he realizes his own form and obtains me, the sovereignty that he desires. You wish to create and extend many kinds of subjects and lay down deeds for them. In this regard, because my favours towards you will increase, you will never suffer from exhaustion. You are the first rishi and the sins of rajas guna will not bind you down, even when you are creating subjects. That is because your mind is firmly fixed on me. Those with bodies find it extremely difficult to know me. However, you have got to know me today. You have understood that I am not attached to bhutas, senses, gunas and ego. Using the stalk, you searched for the source of the lotus in the water and were unsuccessful in your search. I showed myself to you inside, in your own atman. O dear one! You addressed words of praise to me, about my deeds and my signs. That and your devotion towards austerities are both because of my favours. O fortunate one! I am nirguna. But desiring to be successful, you prayed to me in words describing my gunas. I am pleased with you. I am the supreme granter of boons and yield all the objects of desire. If a man always praises me, using the words you have used in your prayer and worships me, I will swiftly show him my favours. Those who know about the truth are of the view that good deeds, austerities, sacrifices, yoga and samadhi practised by men become supremely successful when they satisfy me. I am myself the controller of all atmans. I am the most loved of everything that is loved. One should only be attached to me. The body and everything else are loved for that reason alone. All the Vedas are vested in your atman and your atman has been generated from my atman. Create the subjects who are inside me, so that everything is as it used to be earlier.’”

‘“Maitreya said, ‘After instructing the creator of the universe, who was generated from the navel, the lord of Purusha and the foremost one, vanished inside his own form.’”’Chapter 3(10)

‘“Vidura asked, ‘When the illustrious one disappeared, how many different types of beings did the lord Brahma, the grandfather of the worlds, create from his body and his mind? O illustrious one! O one who is extremely learned! Please tell me progressively the details of what I have asked and dispel all my doubts.”’

Suta said, ‘O Bhargava! Sage Kousharava was thus urged by Kshatta. Pleased, he replied to the questions that were deep inside his 862 heart.

‘Maitreya said, “Thereafter, Virinchi 863 performed austerities for one hundred divine years. As instructed by the one who has no birth, he fixed his atman on the illustrious one’s atman. At that time, the one who was born from the lotus saw that the lotus on which he was seated and the waters were agitated by a wind that was extremely strong in force. His austerities enhanced his knowledge and stabilized his atman. As the strength of his knowledge increased, he swallowed the wind and the waters. He saw that the lotus on which he was seated extended everywhere. He thought that he would use this to create the worlds that had been submerged in the deluge. Urged to act by the illustrious one, he entered the bud 864 of the lotus. It was one and he divided it into three and later into fourteen. 865 Thus, the divisions and habitations of the worlds of the living were brought about. Parameshthi’s pure region 866 is for those who perform acts of dharma without any desire for the fruits.”

‘Vidura said, “O brahmana! O lord! You have said that Hari, wonderful in his deeds, has many different forms. Please describe to us the signs and divisions of time.”

‘Maitreya replied, “It 867 has form because of the modifications of the gunas. It has no special characteristics and is not dependent on anything else. Purusha himself created it, as support for his pastimes. This universe is the brahman, established in Vishnu’s maya. It is divided by the lord into time, which does not have any embodied form. This is exactly as it used to be in the past and it will be exactly the same in the future. There are nine different kinds of creation, resulting from Prakriti and vikriti. 868 Depending on time, matter and gunas, there are three kinds of destruction. 869 The first creation was Mahat, resulting from a disequilibrium in the gunas. The second creation was ahamkara, resulting from material objects, material knowledge and material action. The third creation was that of the subtle elements and the tanmatras, possessing the capacity to create the gross elements. The fourth creation was of the senses, of knowledge and of action. The fifth creation was vaikarika and the mind evolved from this. O lord! The sixth creation was tamas and perverse intelligence resulted from this. These six creations result from Prakriti. Now hear about the creations that result from vikriti. These result from the illustrious one who has assumed the attribute of rajas, 870 who reflects Hari’s intelligence and pastimes. In the seventh creation, the foremost ones are the six kinds of immobile objects—trees, herbs, 871 creepers, hollow plants, 872 strong creepers 873 and trees with fruits and flowers. 874 All of these draw up their nourishment from below and are full of tamas. In particular, their sense of touch is inside them. The eighth creation is of inferior animals and it is said that there are twenty-eight different kinds of these. They are ignorant and extremely full of tamas. They have a sense of smell, but are incapable of remembering anything in their minds. O excellent one! O Kshatta! They are the cow, goat, buffalo, black antelope, pig, gavaya, 875 the ruru antelope, 876 two-hooved animals like sheep and camels; and one-hooved 877 animals like the donkey, horse, mule, goura, 878 sharabha 879 and yak. O Kshatta! Hear about the five-nailed animals—the dog, jackal, wolf, tiger, cat, hare, porcupine, lion, ape, elephant, tortoise, lizard and makara. 880 The birds are the heron, vulture, crane, hawk, bird of prey, 881 owl, peacock, swan, sarasa, 882 ruddy goose and uluka. 883 O Kshatta! In the ninth creation, sustenance flows from top to bottom. Humans are the only variety here. They are dominated by rajas and are engaged in acting. Even if they are miserable, they think that they are happy. O excellent one! There are three kinds of vaikarika creation and the creation of gods is also of this type. The creation of the Kumaras 884 is said to be of both types. 885 The creation of gods is of eight types—vibudhas, 886 ancestors, asuras, gandharvas, apsaras, siddhas, yakshas, rakshas and charanas. 887 O Vidura! There are also bhutas, pretas, pishachas, vidyadharas and kinnaras. These are the ten categories 888 created by the creator of the universe. After this, I will tell you about the lineages and the manvantaras. In this way, at the beginning of every kalpa, Hari’s atman is suffused with rajas and becomes the creator. His resolve to create is invincible and he creates himself out of his own atman.”’Chapter 3(11)

‘Maitreya said, “There is an ultimate particle characterized by the trait that it cannot be divided further. It alone is combined with others. This is known as paramanu. When this is aggregated, 889 men are confused and take the aggregate to be the ultimate. When objects exist, they remain in their own forms inside them. Their solitary forms are supreme, great and eternal. 890 O excellent one! Time is measured both in subtle and gross forms. The illustrious lord is not manifest. However, he controls and enjoys all manifestations and states. The amount of time taken to occupy an atom is atomic time. The duration of time required to enjoy complete existence is known as supreme and great. Two paramanus make up one anu and three anus are said to constitute a trasarenu. This can be discerned to rise up in the net of the sun’s rays through the lattice of a window. The time required to occupy three trasarenus is called a truti. One hundred trutis constitute a vedha. Three vedhas are said to be a lava. Three lavas are known to constitute a nimesha and three nimeshas make up a kshana. Five kshanas are known to be one kashtha and fifteen kashthas are one laghu. Fifteen laghus are referred to as one nadika. Two nadikas are one muhurta and six or seven nadikas constitute one prahara for men and this is also known as a yama. Let there be a copper vessel that is six palas in weight, with sides measuring four angulas. Let a hole that is four angulas in length be made in it and let a golden wire four angulas long and one masha in weight be inserted into it. 891 The time taken for this to be submerged in water is one nadika. In the world of the mortals, there are four yamas during the day and four yamas during the night. O revered one! There are two pakshas, shukla and krishna, and each of these has fifteen days. Two of these make up a month, which is a day and a night for the ancestors. Two months make up a ritu. 892 Six months constitute an ayana and there are two of these—uttara and dakshina. 893 An ayana is said to be a day for the residents of heaven. 894 Twelve months constitute a year. One hundred years has been determined as the lifespan of humans. The lord eternally regulates the circling of the universe, beginning with paramanu and encompassing orbits of planets, nakshatras and stars and years. O Vidura! It is said that there are periods of samvatsara, parivatsara, idavatsara, anuvatsara and vatsara. 895 He is the power behind creation. 896 In different ways, he is the one who uses his own powers to invigorate. He is the one who moves in the sky and drives away darkness for humans. He is the one who extends the elements. He is known as time. Through the extension of sacrifices, he is full of gunas. One should offer sacrifices to the one who has determined the five different kinds of years.”

‘Vidura said, “The maximum lifespans for ancestors, gods and humans has been determined. 897 Please tell me about the progress of those who are outside the kalpa. 898 O illustrious one! You certainly know about the progress of the illustrious one. Persevering ones who possess the insight of yoga can see everything in the universe.”

‘Maitreya replied, “The four yugas are krita, treta, dvapara and kali. The duration has been carefully determined as twelve thousand years of the gods. 899 Being with krita, the progressive duration is four thousand, three thousand, two thousand and one thousand years. Twice that number is again added, but in hundreds of years. The intervening period is known as sandhya and amsha and the duration is in hundreds of years. Those who know about the truth have determined the dharma for each specific yuga. In krita, humans nurtured dharma with all of its four feet. But in the other yugas, as adharma flourished, one foot was progressively diminished. 900 Outside the three worlds, one thousand yugas 901 is one of Brahma’s days. O son! That is also the duration of the night and the creator of the universe sleeps during this period. When the night is over, the creation of the worlds proceeds afresh, from the beginning. Fourteen Manus exist during one of the illustrious one’s days. 902 Each Manu respectively enjoys a period that is a little more than seventy-one. 903 In every manvantara, there are lineages of men, rishis, gods, saptarshis and gandharvas, in due order. Simultaneously, there are lords of the gods and those who follow them. 904 During each of Brahma’s days, the three worlds, which circle around, are created. Depending on their deeds, they are born as inferior species, humans, ancestors and gods. In each manvantara, the illustrious one manifests sattva in his different forms, such as Manu and the others. Thus Purusha preserves the universe which has been created. He then resorts only to tamas and withdraws all his powers. Everything comes under the subjugation of time and there is silence at the end of the day. The three worlds, the earth and the others, vanish into that darkness. They are completely enveloped in that night, without the existence of the sun and the moon. The powerful fire that emerges from Samkarshana burns down the three worlds. Bhrigu and the others are afflicted by the heat and go to janaloka from maharloka. At the end of the kalpa, the three worlds are deluged by the waters. There is a violent turbulence in that flood and terrible waves because of the fierce winds. Hari lies down in those waters, on the couch that is Ananta. Praised by the residents of janaloka, his eyes are closed in his sleep of yoga. These are the signs of time, with these kinds of night and day. One’s maximum lifespan of one hundred years comes to an end. 905 Half of his 906 lifespan is known as parardha. The first parardha has passed and the subsequent parardha is passing now. At the time of the previous parardha, there was the great kalpa known as Brahma-kalpa. Brahma was born then and he was known as Shabda-Brahma. At the end of that kalpa, there was the kalpa known as Padma-kalpa. This was because the cosmic lotus was generated out of the waters in Hari’s navel. O descendant of the Bharata lineage! This kalpa of the second parardha 907 is famous as Varaha-kalpa, because Hari assumed the form of a boar. The duration of two parardhas is measured as the blinking of the eye. 908 He is the infinite one who is not manifest. He is the one who does not change and has no beginning. He is the atman of the universe. The period from a paramanu to the end of the two parardhas is controlled by the lord of time, who has power over all those who pride themselves on their habitations. However, this lord 909 has no control over the supreme one. This cosmic egg is united with transformations and their various manifestations. On the outside, it extends for fifty crore. 910 Each sheath 911 is ten times larger than the preceding one. When they enter together, they are like a paramanu. 912 Crores of other such universes are seen to be inside him. This is said to be the brahman, who is without decay. He is the original cause behind all causes. This is the supreme abode of Vishnu. He is himself the great-souled Purusha.”’Chapter 3(12)

‘Maitreya said, “O Kshatta! The paramatman’s manifestation as time and his greatness have thus been described to you. Now understand from me about Vedagarbha’s 913 creation. He first created the various kinds of conduct associated with ignorance—andha-tamisra, tamisra, mahamoha and moha. 914 On seeing that this creation was wicked, Brahma was not proud of himself. He purified his mind by meditating on the illustrious one and created again. The one who was self-created created the sages Sanaka, Sananda, Sanatana and Sanatkumara. However, they were not interested in action and held up their seed. The self-created one spoke to his sons. ‘O sons! Generate offspring.’ But being devoted to Vasudeva and the dharma of emancipation, they were not interested in this. His sons disregarded him and refused his instructions. An intolerable rage was generated in him and he tried to control this. Though Prajapati used his intelligence to try and control it, it emerged from between his eyebrows. From this anger, a child who was blue and red 915 was instantly born. The illustrious Bhava, who preceded the gods, started to weep. ‘O creator! O preceptor of the universe! Give me a name and a place to reside in.’ The illustrious one who was born from the lotus honoured these words. He assured him in comforting words and replied, ‘Do not cry. I will do so. O best among the gods! Since you have cried like an anxious child, subjects will address you by the name of Rudra. 916 I have already thought of places for you to reside in—the heart, the senses, the breath of life, the sky, the wind, fire, water, the earth, the sun, the moon and austerities. Manyu, Manu, Mahinasa, Mahan, Shiva, Ritadhvaja, Ugrareta, Bhava, Kala, Vamadeva and Dhritavrata. 917 O Rudra! Your wives are Rudranis and they are Dhi, Vritti, Ushana, Uma, Niyut, Sarpi, Ila, Ambika, Iravati, Sudha and Diksha. Accept these names and places. With your wives, as a lord, create a large number of offspring.’ The illustrious Nilalohita was thus instructed by his own preceptor. He created offspring who were like him in spirit, form and nature. In every direction, the fierce offspring created by Rudra were about to devour the universe. Witnessing these innumerable hordes, Prajapati was scared. He said, ‘O supreme among the gods! Enough. There is no need to create subjects who are like this. Along with me, their blazing eyes are burning down the directions. O fortunate one! Resort to austerities that bring happiness to all creatures. It is only through austerities that you will be able to create a universe that is just like what it used to be before. It is only through austerities that a man can obtain the supreme light that is Adhokshaja. He resides in the hearts of all beings.’ Addressed in these words by the one who created himself, he circumambulated the lord and agreed. He entered the forest to perform austerities. While thinking about creation, because he possessed the powers of the illustrious one, he 918 had ten sons, who would be responsible for populating the worlds—Marichi, Atri, Angiras, 919 Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Bhrigu, Vasishtha, Daksha and Narada as the tenth. Narada was born from Svayambhu’s lap, Daksha from the thumb, Vasishtha was born from the breath of life, Bhrigu from the skin, Kratu from the hand, Pulaha from the navel, the rishi Pulastya from the ears, Angiras from the mouth, Atri from the eyes and Marichi was born from the mind. Dharma was born from the right breast, where Narayana himself resides. Adharma was generated from the back and Death, fearful to the worlds, results from him. Desire was from the heart, anger from the eyebrows, avarice from between the lips, speech from the mouth, the rivers from the penis and Nirriti, the source of all sin, from the anus. Kardama, the lord who was Devahuti’s husband, was born from his shadow. The entire universe resulted from the mind and body of the creator of the universe. O Kshatta! He had a beautiful daughter, the goddess of speech, who was not interested in desire. However, we have heard that she captivated Svayambhu’s mind and he was driven by desire. The sons saw that their father had made up his mind to perform an act of adharma. With Marichi at the forefront, these sages sought to respectfully dissuade him. ‘What you are trying to do now has not been done by anyone else before, 920 nor will it ever be attempted by anyone else hereafter. O lord! You are not controlling your desire and wish to have intercourse with your own daughter. O preceptor of the universe! You are energetic, but such acts are not applauded through excellent shlokas. People who follow such conduct are not among those who deserve to find peace. We bow down before the illustrious one. All this is in his atman and he manifested everything through his own radiance. He is the one who can save dharma.’ He saw his sons, the Prajapatis, speaking in this way before him. The lord of all these Prajapatis 921 was ashamed and gave up his own body, which was accepted by the directions. An extremely terrible mist developed, known as darkness. Once, when the one with the four faces was meditating about creation, and about how all the assembled worlds should be as they had been earlier, the Vedas manifested themselves. The four kinds of officiating priests, the Upavedas, the four feet of dharma and the conduct in the four ashramas also manifested themselves.”

‘Vidura said, “O store of austerities! The Vedas manifested themselves from the mouths of the creator of the universe. Tell me about what the god created from where.”

‘Maitreya replied, “The Rig, Sama, Yajur and Atharva Vedas, the sacred texts, 922 oblations, chants of praise and rites of atonement were progressively generated from the face that was towards the front. He progressively also created Ayurveda, Dhanurveda, Gandharva-veda and the Vedas that are about architecture and sculpture also from the face that was towards the front. The lord who had insight about everything created the fifth Veda of Itihasa and Puranas from all his mouths. Shodashi, uktha, purishi, agnistuta, 923 aptyorama, atiratra, vajapeya and gosava 924 were created from the face that was towards the front. He created dharma’s feet in the form of knowledge, donations, austerities and truth. He created the different kinds of ashramas, along with the conduct that should be followed in each of them—savitra, prajapatya, brahma and brihat; 925 varta, sanchaya, shalina and shila-unccha for householders; 926 for the forest, vaikhanasa, valakhilya, audumbura and phenapa; 927 in renunciation, kutichaka, bahvoda, hamsa and nishkriya. 928 Rules of logic, the three objectives, 929 norms for subsistence, the rules for punishment and the vyahritis were manifested. 930 Pranava 931 was manifested from his heart. The metres Ushnik, Gayatri, Trishtubh, Anushtubh, Jagati, Pankti and Brihati were respectively manifested from the lord Prajapati’s body hair, skin, flesh, muscles, bones, marrow and breath of life. The consonants are said to be the being’s sense organs and the vowels are his body. 932 The sibilant letters 933 are the strength of his atman. The seven notes of music resulted from Prajapati’s pastimes. Shabda-Brahma is the illustrious one’s atman and this atman is beyond the conceptions of being manifest and not being manifest. Brahma is his complete manifestation and is invested with many kinds of powers. Later, assuming another body, 934 he turned his mind to the task of creation. The rishis possessed a great deal of valour. But despite this, creation was limited. O Kourava! Having discerned this in his mind, he started to think again. ‘This is extraordinary. Though I am always extending myself everywhere, yet, there aren’t enough subjects. It is certain that destiny is causing the obstruction.’ While he was thus engaged and thinking about destiny, Ka saw his body divide itself into two parts. This was known as Kaya. From these two divided forms, a couple was generated. The male part became the self-ruling Svayambhuva Manu. The female part became Shatarupa and she was the queen of the great-souled one. Following the dharma of sexual intercourse, they started to increase subjects. O descendant of the Bharata lineage! He had five children through Shatarupa. The sons were Priyavrata and Uttanapada. The three daughters were Akuti, Devahuti and Prasuti. He bestowed Akuti in marriage on Ruchi, the one in the middle 935 on Kardama and Prasuti on Daksha. The universe was populated in this way.”’Chapter 3(13)

‘Shri-Shuka said, “O king! After hearing these extremely pure words from the sage, Kouravya, who loved to hear about Vasudeva’s account, asked him again.

‘“Vidura asked, ‘The emperor Svayambhuva was Svayambhuva’s beloved son. 936 O sage! What did he do after having obtained a beloved wife? O excellent one! He was the first king and a royal sage. I am full of respect. Tell me about his conduct and about his resorting to Vishvaksena as a refuge. There are those who hold Mukunda’s lotus feet in their hearts. The act of listening to their complete qualities is praised by the wise ones as yielding fruits equal to those obtained by men who study the sacred texts with a great deal of time and effort.’”

‘Shri-Shuka continued, “Vidura humbly requested this, as if he had used the feet of the one with one thousand heads 937 as a pillow. Asked to recite the illustrious one’s account, the sage’s body hair stood up. Urged in this way, he started to speak.

‘“Maitreya said, ‘Syavambhuva Manu was born, along with his own wife. He joined his hands in salutation, bowed his head before Vedagarbha and said, “You alone are the father who has given birth to all beings and has given them a means of subsistence. Therefore, how can we subjects serve you? Command me. I am bowing down before you. O revered one! Depending on my capacity, what will I do, so that my fame spreads everywhere in this world and so that I obtain a proper destination in the world hereafter?” Brahma replied, “O son! I am pleased with you. With a pure heart, you have rendered yourself to me and have asked for instructions. O brave one! This is the kind of conduct that one should exhibit towards a senior. If one does this without distraction and to the best of one’s capacity, the senior must gladly accept this, without any malice. Through her, have children who are like your own self in qualities. Follow dharma and rule the earth. Use sacrifices to worship Purusha. O king! The greatest service to me will come about through protecting the subjects. If you are a protector of the subjects, the illustrious Hrishikesha will be satisfied with you. The illustrious Janardana represents the limbs of the sacrifice. If he is not satisfied with a person, that person’s efforts are in vain and he shows disrespect to his own atman.” Manu answered, “O destroyer of sins! O illustrious one! I will abide by your instructions. O lord! Tell me about a place where I, and my offspring, can reside. The earth, the habitation of all beings, is submerged in this great mass of water. O god! Arrange for some efforts so that this goddess can be raised up.” Parameshthi also saw that the earth was submerged in water. “How can it be raised up?” He thought about this for a long time. “While I was creating, the earth was flooded by water and sank down to rasatala. What can we, engaged in the act of creation, possibly do? I was born from the lord’s heart. Let him instruct me.” O unblemished one! While he was thinking in this way, a boar emerged from his nostril and it was the size of a thumb. O descendant of the Bharata lineage! While he looked on, an extraordinary wonder occurred. Stationed in the sky, in an instant, it 938 increased to the size of an elephant. With the brahmanas, Marichi as the foremost, the Kumaras 939 and Manu, on seeing the form of the boar, he began to debate in many kinds of ways. “What is the spirit that is pretending to be a boar in the sky? It is extremely wonderful that it should have emerged from my nose. When it emerged, it was seen to be as small as a thumb. In an instant, it has become as large as a boulder. Is it the illustrious lord of sacrifices who is agitating my mind in this way?” In this way, while Brahma debated it with his sons, the illustrious Purusha, the lord of sacrifices and as large as a mountain, roared. Lord Hari delighted Brahma and the excellent brahmanas with his roar, which echoed in all the directions. They heard that tumultuous roar, which dispelled all their exhaustion. He had used his maya to adopt the form of the boar. The sages who were residents of janaloka, tapoloka and satyaloka praised him with sacred chants from the three. 940 His form is expounded in the Vedas and it is his qualities that are extolled in the form of the brahman and the devotees chanted this. Knowing this, out of compassion for those gods, he entered the water, sporting like a gigantic elephant. He traversed the sky, with the stiff hair on his tail raised up. The hair on his back quivered. Struck by his hooves, the clouds were dispelled. His tusks were white and his eyes were radiant and shining. The illustrious one is the saviour of the earth. He searched out the earth with his sense of smell. Though his body was the sacrifice, he assumed the form of a boar with terrible tusks. The brahmanas were praising him and he gently glanced towards them, entering the water. His body was as hard as a mountain made out of diamonds. As he fell into the water with great force, spreading out his arms, turbulent waves were created. The lofty waves were like arms stretched out in suffering, screaming, “O lord of sacrifices! Save me.” His hooves were as sharp as razors and he clove through the waters with these. The lord of sacrifices 941 went to the furthest limits of the waters. He saw the earth, the abode of all creatures, sleeping there, as it used to do earlier. 942 He raised it up himself. He raised the submerged earth up on his own tusks and appeared in a resplendent form in the waters. 943 A daitya, invincible in valour, rushed towards him, wielding a club. 944 However, his blazing rage was like the weapon with the excellent nave. 945 Toying with him in the water like a lion, he killed this obstruction. His cheeks became red from the clotted blood, as if an Indra among elephants had been digging up the earth 946 with its tusks. His complexion was as blue as a tamala tree. His white tusks were curved and sporting like an elephant, he raised the earth up on his tusks. With Virinchi at the forefront, they understood that he was the lord. They joined their hands in salutation and chanted hymns from the Vedas to pray to him.

‘“The rishis said, ‘Victory to you. O one who cannot be vanquished! Victory to you. O creator of sacrifices! We bow down before you. You are shaking your body, formed out of the three. 947 Your pores and body hair are the sacrifices. We bow down to the one who assumed the form of a boar to raise up the one who was hidden. 948 O god! This is your form as sacrifices. 949 Those who are wicked in their deeds find it extremely difficult to see this form. The metres are your skin, the kusha grass is your body hair, the clarified butter is your eyes and the four types of officiating priests are your feet. O illustrious one! The sacrificial altar is your tongue, the ladles are your nose, the plates are your stomach, the spoons are your ears, the prashitra 950 is your mouth, the graha 951 is your throat and what you chew is agnihotra. Your repeated births are the initiation of the sacrifice, the upasads are your neck, prayaniya and udayaniya are your tusks. 952 The pravargya 953 is your tongue, kratu is your head, both sabhya and avasathya. The bricks arranged for the sacrificial ceremony are your breath of life. The soma juice is your semen and the ablutions are your seat. O god! The seven kinds of sacrifice 954 are the elements of your body. All the sacrificial sessions are the joints of your body. You are the sacrifices and kratus, the ishtis are the tendons of your body. We bow down to you. You yourself are all the mantras, gods, all the sacrificial objects, kratus and rites. We bow down to you. You are the knowledge that can be obtained through non-attachment, devotion and the perception that results from conquering one’s atman. For the sake of learning, we repeatedly bow down before the preceptor. O illustrious one! O one who has held up the earth! With all its mountains, you have held up the radiant earth on the tips of your tusk. It looks like a lotus, with its leaves, resting on the tusks of a crazy and giant elephant that has just emerged out of the water. This is your form as a boar, full of the three. 955 You have held up the circle of the earth on your tusks and it shines like a mountain surrounded by the clouds. It looks as radiant as a kulachala. 956 For the sake of the people, establish this world, which is like a mother to the mobile and immobile objects. She is your wife and you are their father. Together with you, we bow down in obeisance before you. You have deposited your own energy in her, like fire in a piece of kindling. O lord! Who but you could decide to raise up the earth, which was submerged deep in the waters? However, this does not cause wonder, since you are the wonder behind this universe. Using your maya, you have performed the extremely wonderful act of creation. The Vedas constitute your body and we, the residents of janaloka, tapoloka and satyaloka, have been sanctified by the pure drops of water from your bristling body hair when you shook yourself. O lord! We have been sprinkled and have been extremely sanctified. There is no end to your deeds. A person who seeks to enumerate your deeds is confounded in his intelligence. You are full of yoga maya and the entire universe is confounded by the qualities of your maya. O illustrious one! Bestow good fortune on us.’

‘“Maitreya said, ‘He was thus praised by the sages who knew about the brahman. His hooves had agitated the water. He stabilized it and placed the earth there. Thus, in his pastimes, the illustrious Vishvaksena Prajapati raised up the earth from the deep and placed it in the waters. Thereafter, Hari departed. Hari destroys all miseries. Hari is full of maya and his extremely fortunate deeds are worthy of being recounted. If a person hears them, or makes others hear them, Janardana, who is inside the heart, is immediately pleased. When the lord of all benedictions is pleased, there is nothing that is impossible to obtain. There is no need for trifling gains. Barring the worship of the one who is hidden everywhere, there is nothing else that is worthy of being seen. For those who are devoted to him, he himself confers the supreme destination, vested in him alone. The ancient accounts of the illustrious one are accounts full of nectar. They destroy all desire for material objects. Other than a person who is worse than human, who can refuse to drink this in through the ears? In this world, there are no other objectives of human existence.’”’Chapter 3(14)

‘Shri-Shuka said, “Vidura, firm in his vows, heard what Kousharava described, about Hari’s account and about why he had assumed the form of a boar. However, he was still not completely satisfied. Therefore, he joined his hands in salutation and asked yet again.

‘“Vidura asked, ‘O best among sages! We have heard that the first daitya, Hiranyaksha, was slain by Hari in his form of a sacrifice. 957 O brahmana! In his pastimes, when he raised up the earth on the tips of his tusks, why was there a clash between him and the king of the daityas?’

‘“Maitreya replied, ‘O brave one! You have asked a virtuous question about Hari’s avatara. The truth about the account you have asked severs the bondage of death for mortals. When he was a child, Uttanapada’s son 958 heard the sage 959 sing about this account. After this, he placed his feet on death’s head and ascended to Hari’s abode. There is a history about this. In ancient times, I have heard it described by Brahma, the god of the gods, when the gods had asked him about this. O Kshatta! Diti, Daksha’s daughter, had Kashyapa, Marichi’s son, as a husband. In the evening, she was afflicted by desire and approached him, desiring a child. He was then meditating, controlled, seated in the place where the fire is worshipped. He had offered oblations into the tongues of the fire and had worshipped Purusha, the lord of sacrifices. The sun was about to set. Diti said, “O learned one! Kama’s arrows are making me suffer and I desire you. I am distressed and miserable. It has attacked me, like a mad elephant attacks a plantain tree. O fortunate one! I am tormented because my co-wives are prosperous because they have children. Do this for me and show me your favours. The fame of women who are respected by their husbands spreads throughout the world. You are my husband and in the form of my sons, it is you who will be born through me. My illustrious father, Daksha, loved his daughters. In earlier times, he separately asked each of us, ‘O daughter! Whom do you desire to choose as a husband?’ However, since he knew about the thoughts of his children, he knew what his daughters wanted. He handed over thirteen of us to you, the possessor of good conduct, and we have followed you. O lotus-eyed one! Therefore, fulfil my desire and make me fortunate. If an afflicted person approaches a great being, the wishes should not remain unsatisified.” O brave one! Miserable, she spoke many words to Marichi’s son. Thanks to Ananga, her desire was increasing and he replied to her in words of entreaty. “O beloved one! O timid one! I will do whatever you desire. The three objectives of human existence are for you and who will refuse your wish? A ship can be used to cross the ocean. Like that, a person with a wife follows the norms of his own ashrama and crosses over this ocean of grief, 960 thus serving the objective of all the ashramas. O proud lady! A wife is said to share half in whatever beneficial acts a person undertakes. Entrusting all his own burdens over to her, a man can roam around, freed of all anxiety. Seeking refuge with the wife, one can conquer the enemies that are the senses. Those in other ashramas find them extremely difficult to vanquish. We can vanquish them easily, like the lord of a fort driving away bandits. O mistress of the house! It is impossible for us to obtain all the kinds of powers you possess, in this life and other lives. Nor can others who appreciate your qualities. Therefore, I will indeed satisfy your desire and give you offspring. However, so that I am not reproached, you must wait for the right muhurta. This is a terrible time. Everything is horrible and fearful to look at. The bhutas, the companions of the lord of the bhutas, are wandering around. O virtuous one! This is evening. The illustrious creator of bhutas and king of the bhutas, 961 is travelling around on his bull, surrounded in all directions by bhutas who are his attendants. Your husband’s younger brother, the god with the three eyes, 962 is looking at us. 963 His pure and golden body is completely covered with ashes. His shining mass of matted hair is dishevelled, tawny because duststorms in cremation grounds have covered him with smoke. In this world, there is no one who is his relative. But there is no one who is not a relative either. He does not favour anyone, nor does he reprimand anyone. We follow the vow of serving at his feet, respectfully worship him and enjoy his leftover food. 964 Learned ones who desire to cast away the veil of ignorance chant praises about his unblemished conduct. There is no one who is his equal or his superior. He is the destination of virtuous ones, but has adopted the conduct of a pishacha. He finds delight in his own atman. However, extremely unfortunate ones do not know the reason behind this conduct and laugh at him. They adorn themselves with garments, garlands, ornaments and unguents, while he is immersed in his own atman and eats the food of dogs. Brahma and the others observe the ordinances set by him. He is the cause behind this universe and maya. Those who follow the conduct of pishachas follow his commands. The wonderful conduct of the lord is mysterious.” Though her husband educated her in this way, her senses were agitated by Manmatha. 965 Without any sense of shame, like a prostitute, she seized the brahmana rishi’s garments. He got to know that his wife was obstinately going to perform the perverse act. Having bowed down to destiny, in a secluded place, he lay down with her. After this, he touched water and controlled his speech and his breath of life. He meditated and chanted hymns about the pure brahman, the eternal light. O descendant of the Bharata lineage! Diti became ashamed of the perverse act. She approached the brahmana rishi. With her face lowered, she spoke to him. Diti said, “O brahmana! May the embryo not be killed by the bull among the bhutas, Rudra. He is the lord of all creatures and I have committed an offence against him. I bow down to the great Rudra. He is the fierce god who fulfils all desires. I bow down to Shiva. In his rage, he exerts the rod of punishment. May he cast aside that rod of punishment. May my sister’s illustrious husband be pleased and show me his favours. 966 He is the god who is Sati’s husband. Even hunters show compassion towards women.” Hoping for the welfare of her own offspring in the world, she was trembling. Having completed the evening rites, Prajapati spoke to his wife. Kashyapa said, “Your atman was polluted. There was a taint due to the wrong muhurta. You disobeyed my command and you disregarded the gods. O unfortunate one! You will therefore have two unfortunate sons who will be the worst among those who have been produced from wombs. O insolent lady! They will repeatedly make the three worlds and their guardians shriek. Creatures will be slaughtered and innocent ones will be distressed. Women will be abducted and great-souls will be enraged. The illustrious one, the creator of the worlds, the lord of the universe, will be enraged. He will then descend and slay them, just as the wielder of the weapon with one hundred joints 967 shatters a mountain.” Diti replied, “O lord! I desire that my sons should be killed by the generous and illustrious one himself, wielding the weapon with the excellent nave 968 himself. May they not be slain by angry brahmanas. If a person causes fear to beings and is burnt down by the rod of punishment exerted by brahmanas, the residents of hell do not show him any compassion, nor does the species into which he happens to be born.” Kashyapa said, “You are grieving and repenting over what you have done, having carefully thought about it. You have now affectionately shown your respect towards the illustrious one, 969 Bhava and me. Therefore, a son born from your two sons will be revered by virtuous ones. They will chant about his pure fame and his glory will be like that of the illustrious one. Just as inferior gold is purified, virtuous ones will follow his good conduct and purify themselves, such as by not engaging in enmity. Everyone in the universe will be pleased with him, since the illustrious one will be himself pleased with him. He will use the intelligence in his atman to be devoted to no one else. He will be extremely fortunate and great-souled. He will be great in his sentiments and will be the greatest of the great. Through his increased devotion, when he gives up this life, he will enter Vaikuntha and find bliss there. He will not be lustful. He will be a store of good conduct and a store of qualities. He will be happy when others are happy and miserable when others are miserable. He will have no enemies in this world and he will be the reliever of all sorrows. He will be like the king of the stars, 970 relieving the heat of the summer. Both inside him and outside him, he will see the unblemished lotus-eyed one, who assumes the form desired by his own devotees. Your grandson will see the lord’s ornamented form, the one that delights Shri, with his form adorned by dazzling earrings.” Hearing that her grandson would be devoted to the illustrious one, Diti was extremely delighted. She was also extremely happy that both her sons would be killed by Krishna.’”’Chapter 3(15)

‘“Maitreya said, ‘Diti was anxious about the energy of others and suspected that the gods might cause suffering. 971 Therefore, she bore Prajapati’s seed for one hundred years. Because of this, 972 light disappeared from the worlds and darkness enveloped the directions. The guardians of the worlds lost their energy. They went and reported this to the creator of the universe. The gods said, “O lord! You know about this darkness. This is causing us great agitation. Your progress is not impeded by time and there is nothing that is not known to an illustrious one like you. O god of the gods! O creator of the universe! O supreme jewel among the protectors of the universe! You know about the thoughts of creatures who have come before us and will come after us. We bow down before you. Knowledge is your valour. You have obtained your body through maya. You have accepted the guna 973 for the sake of differentiation. Your origin is from the one who is not manifest. We bow down before you. There are those who do not deviate and meditate on you, the source of everything. Cause and effect and the superior worlds are interwoven into your atman. There are those who have ripened themselves through yoga and have conquered their breaths of life, their senses and their atmans. They have obtained your favours and are never vanquished. Just as a cow is tethered with a rope, all the subjects are bound to your words. 974 You are foremost among the ones who obtain a share in sacrifices. We bow down before you. O lord! You are the one who ensures good fortune. Because of the darkness, all the rites have ceased. We are afflicted and you should glance towards us, the unfortunate ones. O god! This is because of Diti’s foetus, with the energy of the seed deposited by Kashyapa. Like a fire into which kindling has been offered, it is growing and enveloping the directions with darkness.” O mighty-armed one! The illustrious one, who can be approached through the use of words, the one who created himself, smiled. He replied in gentle words.

‘“‘Brahma said, “Sanaka and the others were my sons through my mental powers and were born before you. Without any desires, they travel through the sky and go to all the worlds and the residents there. They once went to Vaikuntha, where the illustrious one with the unblemished atman resides. All the worlds revere Vaikuntha. All the people who reside in Vaikuntha have a form like Vaikuntha. 975 They are not driven by any material aspirations, but worship Hari because of dharma. The original and illustrious Purusha is there and he can be approached through the use of words. He accepts the pure form of sattva and the foremost confers happiness on us, his devotees. There is a grove named Naishreya 976 there. It has trees that yield all the objects of desire. In every season, it is radiant and prosperous. It is like the embodied form of emancipation. With their women, the residents always roam around in vimanas. Devoid of everything inauspicious, they chant praises of their lord. There are fragrant and blossoming madhavi 977 flowers in the water. The breeze wafts this scent along and tries to distract their concentration. There are the loud calls of pigeons, cuckoos, cranes, chakravakas, gallinules, swans, parrots, partridges and peacocks. These cease only when the lord of the bees loudly chants Hari’s account. There are trees like mandara, kunda, kuraba, utpala, champaka, arna, punnaga, naga, bakula, ambuja and parijata. 978 However, because of the austerities she 979 performed, the extremely good-minded one revers her a lot and is satisfied with the fragrance of a garland of tulasi leaves. In Hari’s abode, those who bow down to him can see many vimanas made out of lapis lazuli, emeralds and gold. There are women with large hips and beautiful smiles on their faces. However, despite their allurements, they cannot stimulate desire in those whose atmans are in Krishna. Their forms are as beautiful as that of Shri and anklets tinkle on their lotus feet. Free from all sins, they play with lotuses in Hari’s abode and seem to be sweeping the walls, which are seen to be made out of crystal, encrusted with gold. They take extreme care to obtain his favours. The banks of the lakes are made out of coral. The sparkling water is like amrita. Surrounded by her servants, in her own grove, Shri worships her lord with tulasi leaves. One can see her face, with beautiful hair and a raised nose. O dear ones! It is as if she is being kissed by the illustrious one. There are people who listen to compositions and renderings about other subjects. 980 These are perverse accounts and destroy the intelligence. They cannot approach the place where the destroyer of sins resides. Men who listen to these are robbed of their fortune and the essence of truth. Without any refuge, they are flung into a darkness 981 and destroyed. Birth as humans is desired even by us, because one can then obtain true knowledge, while following dharma. However, after this, if one does not worship the illustrious one through rites, one is confounded and enveloped in a pervasive maya. There are those who follow the foremost one. Through their self-restraint and conduct, they keep Yama away and aspire to reach a place that is above that of gods like us. 982 Lovingly, they converse with each other about the great glories of the lord. They are in ecstasy and tears flow from their eyes. On all their limbs, their body hair stands up. Through their yoga and the strength of their maya, the sages 983 reached Vaikuntha, a place that they had not reached earlier. They were delighted to reach the abode of the preceptor of the universe, a place worshipped by the worlds. It was divine and wonderful, illuminated by the vimanas of the learned ones. Without being attracted, the sages passed through six decorated chambers and reached the seventh. They saw a pair of gods there. They were equal in age and wielded clubs. They were attired in beautiful garments and the upper parts of their bodies were ornamented with bracelets, earrings and diadems. Garlands of wild flowers hung around their necks, spread in between their four blue arms, and intoxicated bees hovered around. There were arched eyebrows on their faces. Their nostrils were wide and their eyes were red. They looked at them, as if their minds were agitated. Without asking these two doorkeepers, the sages entered. As before, in front of them, they saw doors made out of diamonds everywhere. Without any distinction, these sages roamed around as they willed. Since they were without any sense of fear, they were not obstructed. 984 The four Kumaras were naked. Though aged, they seemed to be only five years old and had grasped the truth about the atman. The doorkeepers laughed because of their strength and did what they should not have done, since it was against good conduct. Acting contrary to the wishes of the illustrious one, they used their canes to obstruct them. While the gods looked on, they were thus restrained by Hari’s two doorkeepers, though they should have been respected. In their eagerness to see their beloved well-wisher, the eyes of the sages were suddenly agitated by rage, the younger brother of lust. They said, ‘Who are you? You have obtained this position by having served the illustrious one earlier. Though you dwell in a place meant for the followers of dharma, there is a discordant trait in your natures. The tranquil Purusha is beyond all enmity. Other than yourselves, who can suspect anything like deceit? Here, there is no difference between the illustrious one and everything else. Learned ones see their atmans in his atman, like a small bit of space 985 inside larger space. We can see that you possess the marks of gods. 986 That is the reason a fear has arisen in you and you can discern differences within the stomach. 987 Therefore, we need to do something for the supreme lord of Vaikuntha and bring you benefit too. Let us consider what can be done for those like you, who are wicked in intelligence. Since you see differences inside a place like this, go to a different world, where the three evil enemies 988 exist.’ Hari’s attendants were extremely terrified. They understood the terrible purport of the words that had been spoken in the form of a brahmana’s curse and this could not be countered through weapons. Extremely distressed, they prostrated themselves and seized their feet. ‘O illustrious ones! Let the punishment be inflicted on wicked ones like us. It will absolve us of any sins that remain because we have disregarded the god. We are repentant. As we leave this place and go to the regions below, let us not be confounded, so that we no longer remember the illustrious one.’ At that time, the illustrious Aravindanabha 989 got to know that his attendants had committed a transgression against noble and virtuous ones. Paramahamsas and great sages seek out his feet and with Shri, he used these to go to the spot. They saw him advance, with his own attendants and objects. He is the object of vision and those who are fortunate can see him in their meditations. His white umbrella was like the moon. The two whisks were as beautiful as swans and led to an auspicious and gentle breeze that made drops of water that were like pearl drops from the ends of the umbrella. The one with the beautiful face is the source of all favours and is the desired refuge. His affectionate glance expands and touches every heart. Shri was radiant on his blue and broad chest and was like jewel worn on the head, extending good fortune throughout the illustrious one’s abode. There was a radiant girdle over the yellow garment around his broad hips. He wore a garland of white flowers and bees hummed around it. There were beautiful bracelets around his wrists and one of his hands was placed on the shoulder of Vinata’s son. 990 The other hand twirled a white lotus. His cheeks, which deserved to be decorated, were ornamented with earrings in the shape of makaras and their brilliance surpassed that of lightning. Because of his prominent nose, his face was beautiful. There were gems on his diadem. The Koustubha jewel was around his neck and a beautiful and expensive necklace also hung between his four thick arms. The goddess of fortune possessed a beauty to be proud of. However, his devotees used their intelligence to decide that his beauty surpassed that of hers. For the sake of me, Bhava and you, 991 he assumed a form that deserved to be worshipped. They were not satisfied and kept looking at him. From the toes of the lotus feet of the lotus-eyed one, the fragrant air carried the smell of tulasi leaves and this entered through their noses, agitating their minds and bodies, though their minds were attached to the one without decay. 992 The lord’s face was as beautiful as the inside of a blue lotus. The smile on his charming lips was like a kunda flower. They glanced at him and obtained his benedictions. They glanced again at his two lotus feet, with red nails that were like rubies, and meditated on them. In this world, men use the path of yoga to search him out as a destination. As a result of meditation, he shows his extremely revered human form, which is delightful to the eyes and is eternally praised. However, this is only accessible to a person who possesses the eight kinds of siddhis. The Kumaras said, ‘You are in the hearts of evil-souled ones, but are not visible to them. O infinite one! However, we have obtained you today, in front of our eyes. Our father, 993 born from you, described your mysteries to us. This entered our hearts through our eyes and we used our intelligence to grasp it. O illustrious one! We know you as the truth, as the paramatman. You are the one who uses sattva to create affection in those who have obtained your mercy and have comprehended you through firm bhakti yoga. Sages who have severed the bonds of attachment know you in their hearts. There are those who have a great desire for emancipation. They obtain your favours, not to speak of those who are scared of the knitting of your eyebrows and have given themselves up to other things. 994 O dear one! They have taken shelter before your lotus feet and seek out accounts about your deeds. They are experts in savouring these glories, which are like tirthas. Because of our sinful deeds, even if we find ourselves in hell, we desire that, like black bees, our minds should continue to find delight in your lotus feet. May our words be like tulasi leaves and become beautified by your lotus feet. Let a multitude of your qualities be chanted and fill our ears. You have shown us this greatly revered form. O lord! We have obtained satisfaction at having been able to see this form, which is impossible for those who have not controlled themselves to see. Therefore, we offer our worship to this illustrious form. The illustrious one has been seen by us.’”’”’Chapter 3(16)

‘“‘Brahma said, “The sages, who followed the dharma of yoga, praised him in this way. The lord, whose abode is in Vaikuntha, greeted them and said the following.

‘“‘The illustrious one said, “These two attendants of mine are Jaya and Vijaya. They have slighted me and have also committed a great offence against you. They have also disregarded the gods. O sages! Therefore, the punishment you have imposed on them has my approval. Since brahmanas are supreme divinities for me, I seek your pardon. I think that the offence caused to you by these men is like an offence caused to you by me. When a servant commits a crime, people take the name of the master and his reputation suffers because of this blame, like disease affecting the skin. I am Vaikuntha. Hearing about my fame is like immersion in unblemished amrita. It instantly purifies the universe, even a svapacha. 995 I have obtained the fame of being an excellent tirtha from people like you. If my own arm acts against you, I will have no hesitation in severing it. It is because I serve you that the dust on my lotus feet has become purified and can instantly cleanse all sin. That is how I have obtained good conduct. That is the reason Shri does not leave me, even though I am not attached to her. Everyone else observes vows to obtain the favour of her glances. I do not relish the oblations offered by those who sacrifice into the sacrificial fire and the clarified butter mixed with food, as much as I relish a brahmana offering me the fruits of his action, having satisfied himself after eating the food. I alone bear the complete and unobstructed power of my yoga maya, but I bear the pure dust of their 996 feet on my diadem. The water that has washed their feet instantly purifies the worlds, including the one who wears the moon. 997 Who will not tolerate brahmanas? The best brahmanas, milk-yielding cows and other creatures who have not obtained a refuge are no different from me. It is only the ignorant who perceive a difference. Those who perceive such a difference from me have impaired vision. They will be torn apart by the messengers of the supervisor of punishments. 998 They are like angry vultures and their rage is like that of serpents. Even if brahmanas speak harshly, there are those who use their intelligence to worship them and satisfy them with joyous hearts, their faces like lotuses that are wet with the nectar of smiles. Using loving and affectionate words, they address them as one would speak to a son and praise and pacify them. I am won over by such people. Not knowing their own master’s intentions, these two have offended you and are headed downwards. Show me your favours so that after going through this, they should immediately return to my presence. Let it be such that these two servants are not exiled for a long time.”’

‘“‘Brahma continued, “He spoke in this way to the noble rishis, as if the goddess Sarasvati was in the speech. 999 The sages were tainted by anger. Even though they heard these words, they were not satisfied. They heard those well-composed words attentively. They were deep in import and not easy to comprehend. They immersed themselves in these deep and fathomless words. However, they did not understand what he wished to do. Through his yoga maya, Parameshthi’s greatness had been revealed to them. The brahmanas were delighted and their body hair stood up. They joined their hands in salutation and said, ‘O illustrious one! O god! We do not know what you desire. You are supreme and you have spoken as if we have done you a favour. O lord! You have said that brahmanas are supreme divinities and that brahmanas are also superior to you. O god! O illustrious one! But you yourself are the divinity for both gods and brahmanas. Eternal dharma flows from you and is protected by your forms. In our view, you are not subject to change. You are mysterious and supreme dharma. It is through your favours that yogis withdraw from action and conquer death. It is not possible for anyone else to show you favours. Others desire the occasional favours of the goddess of prosperity and apply the dust of her feet on their heads. The king of bees has a place on the garland of fresh tulasi leaves at your feet and she wishes to be in that fortunate position. She is pure and is devoted to you in conduct. But you are not as attached to her as you are to your devotees. How can you be purified by the dust on the path travelled by brahmanas, or how can you be purified by the sign of shrivatsa? You yourself are the reservoir of everything that is excellent. O illustrious one! O Triyuga! 1000 You yourself are the feet of dharma in the three yugas. For the sake of gods and brahmanas, you protect everything that is mobile and immobile. Indeed, using sattva, you have destroyed and driven away rajas and tamas. Yours is the body that confers boons on us. O best protector! O one who is worshipped! O god! If you do not protect the excellent lineages of the brahmanas, your auspicious path will be destroyed. People accept the behaviour of the best as a yardstick. O store of sattva! You do not desire or like the idea of the best being destroyed. For the welfare of people, you use your powers to destroy the enemy. You are the lord of the three worlds. You are the protector of the universe. Your energy is not diminished because you are bowing down. You are doing this because it pleases you. O lord! Whatever punishment you inflict on these two is approved by us. Without any duplicity, we will accept whatever births you determine for them. Impose a suitable punishment on us, since we have inflicted a curse on those two innocent ones.’ The illustrious one replied, ‘They will instantly obtain a birth that is inferior to that of gods. However much their anger increases, they will be firmly bound to meditation through yoga. They will then soon return to my presence. O brahmanas! I was the reason behind the curse you inflicted on them.’ Thus, the sages saw Vaikuntha, who brought delight to the eyes, in his self-resplendent abode of Vaikuntha. They circumambulated the illustrious one, bowed down before him and took his leave. Full of joy, they returned, praising the Vaishnava glory. The illustrious one told his servants, ‘Depart. Do not be frightened. Find happiness. Though I am capable of countering the energy of brahmanas, this has my approval and I do not wish to do so. This was ordained earlier, when Rama 1001 was enraged. On an earlier occasion, when I was resting, she wished to enter and you prevented her at the gate. Because of rage, you will immerse yourselves in yoga and tide over the offence of having disrespected brahmanas. Within a very short period of time, you will again return to my presence.’ Instructing the doorkeepers in this way, the illustrious one entered his own abode, which was ornamented with arrays of vimanas and was marked everywhere with signs of great prosperity. Because of the curse of brahmanas, extremely difficult to resist, those two bulls among divinities were dislodged from Hari’s world. They were deprived of their prosperity and lost their happiness. O sons! As they were falling down from Vaikuntha’s abode, great sounds of lamentation arose from those who were in those vimanas. Hari’s two excellent attendants have now obtained Kashyapa’s powerful seed and have entered Diti’s womb. You are now suffering because of the energy of those twin asuras and this has certainly agitated your energy. However, this has been ordained by the illustrious one. He is the reason behind the creation, preservation and destruction of the universe. Even lords of yoga also find it impossible to cross his yoga maya. The illustrious one, the lord of the three worlds, will arrange for our welfare. That being the case, what purpose will be served by our thinking about the matter?”’”’Chapter 3(17)

‘“Maitreya said, ‘Having heard about the reason recited by the self-born one, all the residents of heaven were freed of their fear and returned to heaven. Because of what her husband had foretold, Diti was scared. After a full one hundred years were over, the virtuous one gave birth to twin sons. The earth, with its mountains, trembled. All the directions blazed. Meteors and thunder showered down. Comets and evil portents manifested themselves. A wind that was extremely harsh to the touch started to blow, repeatedly making a tumultuous noise. Large trees were uprooted and the whirlwinds raised banners of dust. There were masses of clouds and the lightning was like laughter. The stellar bodies disappeared. Darkness enveloped the sky and not a single spot could be distinguished. The ocean was distressed and shrieked, with lofty waves and its inside agitated. Waterbodies and rivers were also agitated and lotuses dried up. There were repeated bouts of mist. Rahu attacked the moon and the sun. There was thunder and sounds like that of clattering chariots emerging from inside caves. Inside the villages, female jackals vomited terrible fire from their mouths and howled in hideous and inauspicious tones, accompanied by owls and male jackals. Raising up their heads, here and there, dogs barked in many kinds of ways. They seemed to sometimes sing and sometimes weep. O Kshatta! Herds of maddened donkeys rushed around wildly, braying harshly and striking the ground with their hooves. Birds were terrified by the donkeys. They shrieked and flew out of their nests. Domestic and wild animals released urine and excrement. Cows were terrified and yielded blood instead of milk. The clouds showered down pus. The images of the gods wept. Though there was no wind, the trees were uprooted. Auspicious planets were surpassed by the others. 1002 The stellar bodies blazed, followed retrograde paths and fought with each other. The subjects witnessed these great and ominous portents. With the exception of Brahma’s sons, they did not know about the truth. They were frightened and thought that the time for the universe to be submerged had arrived. Those two original daityas quickly manifested their virility. Their bodies were as hard as stone and they grew up, resembling large mountains. They stood there and the crests of their golden diadems touched the sky. They blocked the directions with arms decorated with shining armlets. At every step, their feet made the earth tremble. The excellent girdles around their waists surpassed the sun. Prajapati 1003 gave them names. The first son born from his body was Hiranyakashipu. People knew the elder son as Hiranyaksha. 1004 Because of Brahma’s boon, Hiranyakashipu did not fear death from anyone. He used his arms to subjugate the three worlds and their guardians. He was arrogant. Hiranyaksha was loved by his younger brother, who always did what brought him pleasure. With a club in his hand, he 1005 went to heaven, looking for an opportunity to fight. They 1006 saw him, irresistible in his speed. Golden anklets tinkled around his feet. He was adorned with a vaijayanti garland 1007 and the huge club rested on his shoulder. Because of the boon, he could not be countered and was proud of his physical and mental prowess, without any fear. On seeing him, the gods were terrified and hid themselves, like scared snakes before Tarkshya. 1008 When he saw that Indra and the large number of gods had gone into hiding because of his great prowess, the intoxicated king of the daityas roared loudly. He returned and roared in a terrible voice. Wishing to play, the great being immersed himself in the ocean, like a crazy elephant. When he entered there, Varuna’s soldiers, the aquatic creatures, became distressed. Though they were not struck by him, they were scared because of his radiance and suffering, fled a long distance away. O son! The immensely strong one spent many years there, roaming amidst the mighty waves repeatedly made turbulent by the wind of his breathing. He beat these down with his iron club. He then reached Vibhavari, the city of Prachetas. 1009 Having reached Prachetas, lord of the large number of aquatic creatures and the protector of the world of the asuras, he smiled. Like an inferior person indulging in jest, he bowed down and said, “O great king! Grant me a fight. You are the guardian of the world. You are an emperor and your fame is extensive. You are the one who takes away the valour of brave and arrogant ones who consider themselves to be invincible. You have conquered all the worlds, with the daityas and the danavas. O lord! Earlier, you have thereafter performed a royal sacrifice.” The illustrious lord of the waters was thus bitterly spoken to by an insolent enemy who mocked him. Using his intelligence, he pacified his rising rage and replied, ‘O dear one! I am old and resort to tranquility now. O bull among asuras! I do not see anyone other than the ancient Purusha who can fight with you and give you satisfaction. You are accomplished in the ways of fighting. Learned ones like you also praise him. When you reach that brave one, you will be swiftly robbed of your pride. You will lie down on a bed meant for heroes, surrounded by dogs. Exhibiting his favours to the virtuous and depending on his wishes, he adopts many kinds of forms to pacify wicked ones like you.’”’Chapter 3(18)

‘“Maitreya said, ‘He heard what the lord of the waters had said. But the immensely proud and extremely haughty one paid little heed to these words. O dear one! He got to know from Narada where Hari was. 1010 Therefore, he quickly entered rasatala. He saw the victorious one there, holding up the earth. The earth was being raised up on the tips of the tusks. His own radiance was diminished by his 1011 reddish eyes. He laughed, “Aha! This is a vanagochara animal. 1012 O ignorant one! Let go of the earth and come to me. The creator of the universe has granted the residents of the nether regions to us. While I look on, you cannot go away safely with this. 1013 O worst among the gods! You have assumed the form of a boar. Have our enemies nurtured you? Do you use your maya to remain invisible and kill asuras? O one who is limited in virility! You are one who uses the strength of yoga maya. O foolish one! After taking care of you, I will wipe away the sorrow of my well-wishers. You will lie down, with your head shattered by my club. My arms will release it towards you. The gods and the rishis offer you oblations. Even if they remain, they will no longer have their foundation.” He was struck by the words of the enemy, which were like javelins. He saw that the earth, balanced on the tips of his tusks, was frightened. Tolerating the pain, he arose from the water, like a male elephant with a female elephant that has been seized by a crocodile. As he emerged from the water, Hiranyakesha 1014 followed him, like an elephant pursued by a crocodile. With horrible teeth and a voice like thunder, he said, “Have you no shame? What can shame a wicked and reprimanded person?” He raised the earth out of the water and laid it down, within his range of vision, investing it with his own spirit. He was praised by the creator of the universe 1015 and the satisfied gods showered down flowers on him, while the enemy still looked on. He was followed closely at the rear by the one who was adorned with golden ornaments, wearing golden and colourful armour and wielding the giant club. He 1016 continued to continuously strike him with harsh words that pierced the inner organs.

‘“‘The illustrious one pretended to be angry. He laughed at him and said, “It is true that we are vanagochara animals. We are searching for dogs like you. Brave ones are free of the bondage of death. O fortunate one! They pay no attention to your self-praise. We are taking away what belongs to the residents of the nether regions. We are shameless and have been driven away by your club. Nevertheless, somehow or the other, I have to remain on the field of battle. Having generated enmity with a powerful one, where can we possibly go? You are indeed the lord of leaders of foot soldiers. Quickly take steps to defeat us. Having shown us our proper place, wipe away the tears of your own. If a person does not accomplish his pledge, he is not fit to obtain a place in an assembly.” Thus abused and ridiculed by the illustrious one, who seemed to be angry, he became filled with rage, like a king of snakes that was being toyed with. The rage led to his sighing agitatedly and his senses were in a whirl. The daitya quickly rushed forward and struck Hari with the club. With force, the enemy hurled the club towards his chest. But just as one immersed in yoga avoids death, the illustrious one stepped aside and avoided this. Enraged, Hari rushed forward, displaying his rage by biting his lips. However, he seized his club again and started to whirl it around repeatedly. O amiable one! Using his club, the lord struck the enemy on his right eyebrow. But he was accomplished in fighting with clubs and struck him back. In this way, Haryaksha 1017 and he used heavy clubs to fight against each other. Extremely angry and desiring victory, they struck each other. As they rivalled each, their bodies were struck by the clubs. The smell of the blood that flowed increased their anger even more. Desiring victory, they roamed around in different modes of movement. It seemed as if two bulls were fighting for the sake of a cow. O Kouravya! The great-souled one, whose limbs are sacrifices, had used maya to assume the form of a boar. He and the enemy, the daitya, fought for the sake of the earth. Desiring to see this, the one who was his own ruler 1018 arrived, surrounded by the rishis. The daitya was full of power and devoid of fear. He fought back and his great valour was irresistible. On seeing this, the illustrious one, who was the leader of thousands, 1019 addressed Narayana, in his form of the original boar. Brahma said, ‘O god! He causes offence to gods, brahmanas, Surabhi’s children 1020 and innocent creatures who seek the refuge of your feet. He causes fear and his conduct is evil. This asura has obtained a boon from me. Searching for someone to fight with, he roams around the world and is like a thorn. He knows the use of maya, insolent, unrestrained and worst among the wicked. O god! Do not play with him, like a child with a snake that has presented itself. O god! O Achutya! Before his own terrible time arrives and he resorts to his own maya, kill this evil one. O lord! This terrible evening is approaching. O one who is everyone’s atman! Ensure victory for the gods. This is the auspicious conjunction known as Abhijit and it lasts for two muhurtas. 1021 For the welfare of your well-wishers, swiftly destroy this invincible one. With his death ordained, it is good fortune that he has himself come before you. Use your valour to slay him in the battle and bring about the peace of the worlds.’”’

Chapter 3(19)

‘“Maitreya said, ‘He heard Virinchi’s words, which were free from guile and like amrita. Full of affection, he glanced at the beloved one and accepted his words. The lord who was born from the nostrils 1022 leapt up towards the enemy who was wandering around fearlessly in front of him. He struck the asura’s jaw with his club. An extraordinary event occurred. He struck back with his own club and the illustrious one’s club fell down from his hand, whirling in energy. He thus obtained an opportunity to strike back. However, following the dharma of fighting, he did not strike someone who was without a weapon and Vishvaksena was enraged. As the lord’s club was struck down in this way, great sounds of lamentation arose. However, he applauded this following of dharma and remembered the weapon with the excellent nave. He eagerly used the chakra and toyed with Diti’s wicked son, who had actually been chief of his own attendants. Wonderful words were spoken by the ignorant ones who were in the sky. 1023 “May you be safe. May you kill him.” The lotus-eyed one was standing in front of him, holding the chakra. Hearing this, he looked towards him, his senses full of intolerance. He bit his own lips in rage and sighed. He bared his terrible teeth and glanced at him, as if he would burn him down in rage. He leapt up and used his own club to strike Hari with the force of the wind, screaming, “You have been killed.” O virtuous one! While the enemy looked on, the illustrious one, the boar who is the sacrifice, playfully deflected the bow with his left foot. He said, “Come. Since you desire to be victorious, pick up your weapon and try again.” Thus addressed, he struck again and roared extremely loudly. The illustrious one saw that the club was descending. However, standing firmly, he seized it when it arrived, like Garuda seizing a female serpent. The great asura raged that his own virility had been countered and that he had been disrespected. Though the club was offered to him by Hari, since it had lost its brilliance, he did not wish to accept it. He seized a blazing trident, which wished to greedily envelope everything in its flames and hurled it towards the one who had assumed and was wandering around in this form for the sake of sacrifices and brahmanas. The daitya, the great fighter, hurled it with all his strength and it blazed through the sky, increasingly luminescent. However, he severed it with the sharp-edged chakra, just as Indra had dislodged Tarkshya’s feather. 1024 When his own trident was shattered into many parts by his enemy, Hari, the asura became extremely angry. He advanced and using his fist, struck a hard blow on his broad chest, Lakshmi’s abode. Having struck, he roared and vanished. O Kshatta! Struck in this way, the illustrious original boar did not tremble even slightly. It was as if an elephant had been struck with a garland. He 1025 invoked many kinds of maya against Hari, the lord of yoga maya. On seeing this, all the subjects were terrified and thought that the destruction of everything was near. Fierce winds started to blow and shrouded everything in darkness and dust. Stones fell down in every direction, as if they had been hurled from catapults. In the firmament, the radiance of the stellar bodies was destroyed, covered by masses of clouds tinged with thunder and lightning. Pus, hair, blood, excrement, urine and bones showered down repeatedly. O unblemished one! The mountains were seen to discharge many kinds of weapons. There were naked yatudhana women with dishevelled hair, wielding spears. Many yakshas, rakshasas, foot soldiers, riders on horses, chariots and elephants and assassins uttered violent and murderous cries. To destroy the maya manifested by the asura, the illustrious one with three feet 1026 invoked and used his beloved sudarshana weapon. There was a sudden trembling in Diti’s heart as she remembered the words spoken by her husband. Blood oozed out of her breasts. With his own maya destroyed, he tried to approach Keshava again. He tried to angrily grasp him in his arms, but he saw that he remained outside the clasp. He now started to strike him with fists that were as hard as the vajra. But Adhokshaja struck him at the root of his ear with his hand, like the lord of the Maruts striking Tvashta’s son. 1027 The conqueror of the universe struck him casually. However, his body was whirled around and his eyeballs fell out of their sockets. His arms, feet and head were shattered and he fell down, like a gigantic tree uprooted by the wind. He lay down on the ground, but his radiance did not fade. He bit his lips with his terrible teeth. Brahma and the others arrived and saw him. They said, ‘Wonderful. Who can obtain such a wonderful death? Alone, he is the one on whom yogis meditate. Desiring liberation from the linga sharira, they meditate on him. He is the one who has struck the bull among the daityas with his foot. He gave up his life while he glanced towards his 1028 face. These two attendants obtained this wicked end because of the curse. After some more births, they will again regain their status. We bow down to you. We bow down to you, the one who enjoys all the sacrifices. For the sake of preservation, you assume this pure form of sattva. It is good fortune that the one who made the universe suffer has been slain. O lord! We are devoted to your feet and have found happiness.’ Hiranyaksha’s valour was impossible to withstand. However, Hari, the original boar, killed him in this way. Praised by the one who is seated on the lotus 1029 and others, he returned to his own world, where there are uninterrupted festivities. O excellent friend! I have explained to you Hari’s activities as the first avatara. Hiranyaksha was great in his valour. But in a great battle, he toyed with him and killed him.’”’

Suta said, ‘O brahmana! 1030 Thus, Kshatta, the great devotee, heard about the illustrious one’s account from Kousharava and was supremely delighted. There are others, pious and famous devotees, and one rejoices on hearing about their deeds, not speak of the one who bears the mark of the shrivatsa. When the Indra among elephants was seized by a crocodile, the female elephants shrieked and meditated on his lotus feet. He immediately freed it from its hardship. Which grateful person will not serve the one who can be easily approached by upright men who seek him as their only refuge? Wicked people find it impossible to approach him. To bring about the death of Hiranyaksha, in his pastimes, he performed the extraordinary act of assuming the form of a boar. O brahmanas! If one hears, chants or finds delight in this account, one is instantly liberated, even if one has committed the sin of killing a brahmana. This pure and sacred account brings great merit. It confers wealth, fame, a long life and welfare. In the field of battle, it increases the valour of the breath of life and the senses. O dear one! Those who hear it obtain Narayana as the destination.’Chapter 3(20)

Shounaka asked, ‘O Suta! After having established himself on earth, what did Svayambhuva Manu do, to establish doors and paths 1031 for those who would be born later? The immensely fortunate Kshatta was a well-wisher who was extremely devoted to Krishna. He abandoned his elder brother because he and his sons committed offences against Krishna. He was born from Dvaipayana’s body and was not inferior to him in greatness. With all his soul, he sought refuge with Krishna and with those who followed him. Having cleansed himself by visiting the tirthas, what did he ask Maitreya, supreme among those who know the truth, after approaching him when he was seated in Kushavarta? 1032 O Suta! They must have started to converse about unblemished accounts that destroy sins, like the waters of the Ganga, which seeks refuge with Hari’s lotus feet. O fortunate one! Recount those pervasive deeds to us. They are worthy of recounting. Hari’s pastimes are like amrita and no one who possesses the taste will be satisfied from drinking this in.’

In Naimisha, Ugrashrava was thus asked by the rishis. His mind was immersed in the atman of the illustrious one and he told them, ‘Listen.’

Suta said, ‘He heard how Hari had used his own maya to assume the form of a boar and raise the earth up from rasatala and about how he had casually toyed with Hiranyaksha and killed him. Delighted, the descendant of the Bharata lineage spoke to the sage.

‘Vidura said, “O brahmana! You know about the progress of the one who is not manifest. After creating the Prajapatis, so as to ensure the creation of subjects, what did the lord of Prajapatis 1033 do? Tell us. Commanded by Brahma, how did brahmanas like Marichi and Svayambhuva Manu indulge in creation? Did they create with their wives or were their actions independent? Did they 1034 collectively engage in the action of creation?”

‘Maitreya replied, “From the three gunas, Mahat was created through incomprehensible destiny, Purusha and time, agitated by the illustrious one. 1035 Rajas dominated Mahat and ahamkara was created from Mahat. It was of three types. 1036 From this was created space and the other elements and so on, in groups of five. 1037 However, acting as independent entities, they were incapable of creating this material world. Through the divine one’s yoga, they came together and created that golden egg. The egg was without an atman and lay down in the waters for more than one thousand years. After this, the lord entered it. A lotus that was as radiant as one thousand suns sprouted from his navel. It was the abode of all creatures and Svayambhu, who rules himself, was manifested from this. For the sake of the creation of the universe, so that it might be exactly as it had been earlier, the illustrious one, who was lying down in the waters, made his intelligence enter him. 1038 From his shadow, he first created five kinds of ignorance—tamisra, andha-tamisra, tamas, moha and mahatamas. However, all of this was full of tamas and he did not like it. Therefore, he gave up his own body, which was in the form of night and was accepted by yakshas and rakshasas. Hunger and thirst result from this. 1039 Afflicted by hunger and thirst, they rushed towards him. Overcome by hunger and thirst, they said, ‘Do not save him. Devour him.’ The god became anxious and told them, ‘Do not eat me. Protect me. O yakshas and rakshas! You have been born from me and are my offspring.’ He then created the foremost among the gods, who blazed because of their radiance. When he discarded his resplendence, the gods accepted this resplendence in the form of the day. The god then created those who were not gods 1040 from his hips and these were extremely addicted to intercourse. Since they were excessively addicted, they wished to have intercourse with him. The illustrious one laughed at the shameless asuras. But finding that they were following him, he was enraged and scared. He fled quickly. He went to Hari, the granter of boons and the one with whom the afflicted seek refuge. To show his compassion towards his devotees, he shows himself in a form that is desired by them. ‘O paramatman! Save me. You commanded me to create offspring, but these wicked ones have attacked me and wish to have intercourse with me. O lord! Save me. You are the destroyer of hardships and you are the only one who can remove the difficulties of the worlds. You are the only one who can create difficulties for those who do not seek the refuge of your feet.’ Since he knows everyone’s mind, he understood the misery and said, ‘Give up your terrible body.’ Thus addressed, he cast the body aside. This body assumed the form of the evening. There were tinkling anklets on her lotus feet and her eyes were mad with intoxication. Her hips were covered with an excellent piece of cloth and she wore a shining girdle with bells above this. There was no gap between her high and thick breasts and they touched each other. Her nose and teeth were excellent. Her smile was gentle and she glanced playfully at them. She possessed a mass of dark blue hair and she hid herself in shame. O Dharma! 1041 All the asuras took her to be a woman 1042 and were confused. ‘Wonderful! What beauty. What perseverance. What budding youth. She is without desire, but is roaming around amidst us, who are full of desire.’ They debated a lot about evening, who was in the form of a woman. Wicked in intelligence, they respectfully asked her, ‘Who are you? O one whose thighs are like a plantain tree! Whom do you belong to? O beautiful one! What is the reason behind your coming here? Your beauty is priceless. Why are you tempting unfortunate ones like us? O lady! Whoever you may be, we have had the good fortune of seeing you. While you are playing with a ball, you are agitating the minds of those who are looking at you. O beautiful one! While you are repeatedly bouncing the ball on the ground with the palm of your hand, your lotus feet do not remain in the same place. Your waist is suffering from the weight of your large breasts. Your clear eyes are peaceful and the braid of your hair is excellent.’ In this way, the asuras, foolish in their intelligence, took the evening twilight to be a woman and, tempted, seized her. With a deep sense of purpose, the illustrious one 1043 laughed. From inside his own atman, he created large numbers of beautiful gandharvas and asparas. He gave up that beautiful and beloved form of moonlight. Delighted, with Vishvavasu at the forefront, they 1044 accepted this. From his own distracted form, the illustrious one then created bhutas and pishachas. On seeing that they were naked, with dishevelled hair, he closed his eyes. The lord abandoned a body and they seized the creator’s body that was in the form of yawning. 1045 This is seen in living beings in the form of sleep, that is, sluggishness of the senses. They 1046 attack those who are defiled and this is said to be the unmada state. Thinking himself to be full of energy, the illustrious lord Aja created large numbers of Sadhyas and ancestors, while remaining invisible. The ancestors accepted the body from which they themselves had been created. Wise ones offer oblations to Sadhyas and ancestors. While remaining invisible, he created Siddhas and vidyadharas and gave them his wonderful body that is known as antardhana. 1047 While looking at his own reflection in the water, the lord admired himself and from this reflection, he created kinnaras and kimpurushas. They assumed the form that Parameshthi cast aside. Hence, at the time of dawn, they come together as couples and sing, praising his deeds. He stretched his body out at full length and lay down, thinking a lot, because the creation was insufficient. Therefore, he cast aside this body. O dear! The hair that dropped from this body became snakes. From the body that was still writhing around were born cruel nagas with large hoods on their thick necks. The self-created one took himself to have been successful in his objective. After this, using his mental powers, the creator of the worlds created Manus. In control of his atman, he then gave his own human body to them. On seeing this, all those who had been created earlier praised Prajapati. ‘Wonderful! O creator of the universe! What you have done is a good deed. Since rites have now been established, 1048 all of us will now eat our shares of the offerings.’ Full of austerities, knowledge, yoga and meditation, the rishi who was the controller of his senses 1049 created his beloved sons, in the form of the rishis. To each of them, Aja gave a part of his own body, characterized by meditation, yoga, powers, austerities, knowledge and non-attachment.”’Chapter 3(21)

‘Vidura said, “O illustrious one! The lineage of Svayambhuva Manu is greatly revered. Tell me about how offspring were generated and multiplied through sexual intercourse. Svayambhuva had two sons, Priyavrata and Uttanapada. They followed dharma and protected the earth, consisting of seven dvipas. 1050 O brahmana! He had a daughter, famous by the name of Devahuti. O unblemished one! You told me that she was the wife of Prajapati Kardama. She possessed all the signs of yoga. Through the seed of the great yogi, how many children did she have? I wish to hear this. Tell me. O brahmana! The illustrious Ruchi and Daksha were Brahma’s sons. Having obtained Manu’s daughters as wives, 1051 how did they have offspring?”

‘Maitreya replied, “The illustrious Kardama was commanded by Brahma to have offspring. On the banks of the Sarasvati, he tormented himself through austerities for ten thousand years. Kardama immersed himself in meditation and engaged in the rites of yoga. 1052 He devotedly served Hari, the one who grants boons to those who seek refuge with him. In krita yuga, the illustrious lotus-eyed one was pleased. O Kshatta! He showed him his form of Shabda-Brahma. 1053 He was without any impurities and was as resplendent as the sun. He wore a garland made out of white lotuses and water lilies. His lotus face was beautiful, with soft locks of dark blue hair. His garments were spotless. He wore a diadem and earrings. He playfully held a conch shell, a chakra, a club and a white lotus. His smiles and glances gladdened the heart. His lotus feet were placed on the shoulders of Garuda. Shri was on his chest and the Koustubha gem hung around his neck. He saw him stationed in the sky in this way. Having obtained his desire, he 1054 was delighted and satisfied. He lowered his head and prostrated himself on the ground. He was naturally affectionate. He joined his hands in salutation and prayed.

‘“The rishi said, ‘O lord of all the stores of sattva! Everything has now been accomplished. My eyes have obtained success and I have seen you. O lord! Across many births, virtuous yogis remain firmly fixed in yoga, developing themselves and hoping to see you. Your lotus feet are like a boat to cross the ocean that is the cycle of life on earth. However, there are those whose intelligence has been deluded by your maya and they only worship them to satisfy their desires. O lord! You satisfy those desires, even if such people happen to be in hell. I also wish to fulfil desire and marry a woman who is like me in conduct, who will be like a cow in my role as a householder. 1055 I have approached your feet, the source of everything, with this perverse desire. You are like a tree that yields all the objects of desire. O Prajapati! O lord! This entire world is afflicted by desire and is bound down by the ropes that are your words. O eternal and pure one! I am also following the way of the worlds and am rendering the offerings to you. Abandoning the worlds, the ways of the worlds and animals, there are those who seek prosperity under the shadow of your lotus feet. They converse with each other about your qualities. They drink those words, which are like nectar, and extinguish the dharma of bodies. Your wheel rotates around the axis of the eternal brahman. It has thirteen spokes and three hundred and sixty joints. 1056 There are six rims, innumerable leaves and three naves. 1057 The universe whirls around at terrific speed, severing everything. You alone can desire to create the universe and there is no second one who is a controller. O illustrious one! You used your yoga maya to create, preserve and destroy, just as a spider uses its own powers to fashion a web. O lord! This material creation is not what you wish for. You have used your maya to manifest these gross and subtle elements so as to satisfy us. Use your maya to show us your favours. Let the illustrious one’s splendid form, with the tulasi, be seen. Using your maya, you have ensured the conduct of the material worlds. You have realized them, but are beyond the enjoyment of that action. You are the one who must constantly be worshipped. Your lotus feet are worthy of being worshipped. You are the one who showers down on those who crave for these insignificant desires.’”

‘The rishi said, 1058 “The one with the lotus in his navel was thus sincerely praised. He was beautiful, astride the wings of Suparna. His smiles were full of affection and as he glanced, his eyebrows arched gracefully. He spoke in words that were like amrita.

‘“The illustrious one replied, ‘Having known your intentions, I have already arranged the objective for which you followed the rules and worshipped me. O ruler of subjects! If people like you worship me, surrendering themselves and fixing their atmans on me, they are never unsuccessful. The emperor Manu, Prajapati’s son, is famous for his auspicious deeds. He lives in Brahmavarta and rules over the entire earth, with its seven oceans. 1059 O brahmana! He is knowledgeable about dharma. With his queen, Shatarupa, the royal sage will come here day after tomorrow, wishing to see you. His dark-eyed daughter has come of age and possesses good conduct and qualities. O lord! He is looking for a husband for her and will bestow her on you, since you are appropriate. She is the kind of person on whom your mind has been fixed for many years. O brahmana! The king’s daughter will soon serve you, as you desire. Through your seed, she will give birth to nine offspring. Through their seeds, the rishis will have offspring through your daughters. You will carry out my instructions properly and your mind will be clean. Surrendering the fruits of all your action to me, as a tirtha, you will obtain me. You will show compassion towards living creatures and grant them freedom from fear. You will realize your atman and the world in my atman. You will see me in your atman. O great sage! Through your seed, a portion of me will be born through your wife Devahuti and I will compose a text about the truth.’” 1060

‘Maitreya said, “When the illustrious one, who had directly manifested himself before the senses, said this, he went to the lake known as Bindusaras, with the Sarasvati encircling it. While he looked on, he 1061 departed, praised by all the lords among the Siddhas, along the path followed by the Siddhas. One could hear the fluttering of the wings of the Indra among the birds chant out beautiful collections of hymns from the Sama Veda. After the pure one had left, the illustrious rishi, Kardama, remained in Bindusaras, waiting for the right time. Manu mounted a chariot that was decorated with plates made out of molten gold. He ascended it with his wife and daughter and roamed around the earth. O excellent archer! On a day that had been appointed by the illustrious one, he arrived at the sage’s hermitage, after the sage had completed his vows. Teardrops fell down from the eyes of the illustrious one when he was overcome with great compassion at those who sought refuge with him. 1062 Hence it came to obtain the name of Bindusaras. It was flooded by the pure and auspicious waters of the Sarasvati, which are like amrita, and was frequented by large numbers of maharshis. The lake was surrounded by nets of sacred trees and creepers. Auspicious animals and birds called there. There were fruits and blossoming flowers of all the seasons. The clumps of groves were full of prosperity. There were the calls of large numbers of maddened birds. Intoxicated bees flew around. Crazy peacocks danced around in pride. Intoxicated cuckoos challenged each other. The place was adorned with kadamba, champaka, ashoka, karanja, bakula, ashana, kunda, mandara, kutaja and young chuta trees. 1063 There were the sweet sounds of the calling of karandavas, plavas, swans, ospreys, aquatic fowl, cranes, chakravakas and chakoras. 1064 The place was surrounded by deer, boar, porcupines, gavayas, elephants, gopucchas, 1065 lions, monkeys, mongooses and musk deer. The original king entered that tirtha with his daughter. He saw the sage seated there, like a fire into which oblations had been offered. Since he had performed fierce austerities for a long time, his body blazed like lightning. However, since the illustrious one had looked at him with gentle eyes and because he had heard his words, which were like amrita, he wasn’t excessively emaciated. He was tall and his eyes were like the petals of lotuses. His hair was matted and his garment was made out of bark. He seemed soiled, like a gem that had not been polished. The god among men approached him in his cottage and bowed down before him. He 1066 greeted him back respectfully, as was befitting. When he had accepted those honours and was seated, the sage remembered the instructions of the illustrious one. He controlled himself and spoke gentle and affectionate words. ‘O lord! You are wandering around, for the sake of protecting the virtuous and the slaughter of the wicked. You are the one who protects with Hari’s powers. I bow down to you, a representative of the pure one. Depending on the place, you assume the forms of the sun god, the moon god, Agni, Indra, Vayu, Yama, Dharma and Prachetas. You ascend your victorious chariot, decorated with a large number of jewels. On your chariot, you stretch and twang your bow with a terrible roar, terrifying the wicked. The tread of the feet of your foot soldiers makes the entire earth tremble. Like the sun, you wander around with a large army. O king! Thus, you establish all the rules and the norms for the varnas and the ashramas that have been laid down by the illustrious one, but are violated by bandits. When you sleep, the adharma of greedy and unrestrained men flourishes. This world will be taken over by bandits and destroyed. O brave one! Let me ask you the reason why you have come here. Without any hesitation, we will carry out whatever is in your heart.’”’Chapter 3(22)

‘Maitreya said, “All of his qualities and deeds were praised by the sage in this way. The emperor seemed to be ashamed and replied in the following words.

‘“Manu said, ‘With a desire to preserve himself, Brahma, who is full of the metres, created you 1067 from his mouth and you are full of austerities, learning and yoga, and are free from lust. The one with the one thousand hands and one thousand feet created us for your protection. It is therefore said that brahmanas are his heart and kshatriyas are his limbs. Hence, brahmanas and kshatriyas protect each other. The lord of cause and effect protects all of us in this way. O illustrious one! After seeing you, all my doubts have been dispelled. You have affectionately explained to me the dharma of one who wishes to protect. You cannot easily be seen by those who have not cleansed their souls. O illustrious one! It is good fortune that I have been able to see you. You are everything that is auspicious. It is good fortune that I have been able to touch the dust on your feet with my head. It is good fortune that I have been instructed by you. You have shown me a great favour. It is good fortune that such pure words have entered through the openings in my ears. O sage! I am suffering because of my affection towards this daughter of mine. You should listen to this miserable one and having heard, show me your compassion. This daughter of mine is the sister of Priyavrata and Uttanapada. She wishes to be united with a husband who is her equal in age, conduct and qualities. Since she heard from Narada about your conduct, learning, beauty, age and qualities, she has fixed her mind only on you. O best among brahmanas! Therefore, accept her. I am respectfully offering her to you. She is exactly like you in her soul and will assist you in performing the duties of a householder. Even if one has freed oneself from attachment, not to speak of someone who is attached to desire, the refusal of a desired objective, when it is offered on its own, is not praised. If a person refuses something that has been offered and then seeks it from a miser, his pervasive fame is destroyed. His respect is destroyed because others ignore him. O learned one! I have heard that you wish to marry. Therefore, to terminate your vow, 1068 please accept the one I am offering to you.’

‘“The rishi replied, ‘It is certainly the case that I wish to marry, nor have I promised anyone else. Your daughter and I are similar in age. Therefore, our marriage has the required sanction. O lord! Let your daughter’s desire be fulfilled and let the marriage take place in accordance with the proper rites. Who will not accept your daughter? Through her own beauty, she surpasses Shri. 1069 When she plays with a ball on the terrace of your palace, her eyes excited and the anklets tinkling on her feet, her beauty is enhanced. On seeing her, Vishvavasu’s senses were confounded and he fell down from his chariot. She is Manu’s daughter and Uttanapada’s sister. She is an ornament among women and those who have not served at Shri’s feet cannot see her. When she approaches on her own, which wise person will not welcome this? Therefore, I will accept this virtuous one, for as long as she accepts my seed. After that, I will follow the revered dharma of the best of the paramahamsas, spoken about by the illustrious one, which is free from violence. 1070 This wonderful universe exists and will be dissolved because of the lord of the Prajapatis. He is the illustrious and infinite one and he is the supreme yardstick for me.’”

‘Maitreya said, “O wielder of a fierce bow! He said this and became silent, using his mind to meditate on the one who has a lotus in his navel. Devahuti’s mind was captivated by his smiling face. After having clearly got to know the intentions of his queen and Devahuti, he was delighted and bestowed his daughter, who was equal to him in qualities. Full of affection, Empress Shatarupa bestowed extremely expensive marriage gifts, like ornaments, garments and household articles on the couple. The emperor was freed from the anxiety of bestowing his daughter on an appropriate groom. He was full of great anxiety 1071 and embraced her in his arms. He was incapable of bearing the separation and repeatedly shed tears. His daughter’s hair was drenched with the tears from his eyes and he exclaimed, ‘O mother! O child!’ He took permission from the best among sages to leave. With his wife, the king ascended the chariot and left for his own city. Along both banks of the beautiful river, Sarasvati, he saw the prosperous hermitages of tranquil rishis and the beautiful abodes of rishis. The subjects got to know that their lord was returning from Brahmavarta. They rejoiced and greeted him with songs of praise and the playing of musical instruments. When Yajna Varaha shook his body, his body hair fell down at a spot. This became the city known as Barhishmati and it was endowed with every kind of wealth and prosperity. Evergreen and shining kusha and kasha grass grew there. The sages used these to perform sacrifices and defeat those who caused obstructions to sacrifices. The illustrious Manu spread out a mat of kusha and kasha grass. He performed sacrifices to the Purusha from whom he had obtained this place on earth. The lord entered the place named Barhishmati, where he resided. He entered his residence, which was free from the three kinds of torment. 1072 With his wife and his subjects, he enjoyed the objects of pleasure, without any impediments. His deeds were sung about by celestial singers, along with their wives. Every day, at the time of dawn, he listened to Hari’s account with a devoted heart. Svayambhuva Manu was immersed in yoga maya and was like a sage. The enjoyment could not make him deviate from the supreme and illustrious one. He listened to accounts of Vishnu’s deeds, meditated on them and composed and spoke about them. Thus, the yamas in the manvantara allotted to him passed. His own manvantara lasted for seventy-one yugas. He spent them being associated with Vasudeva and overcame the three kinds of torment. O friend! If men seek refuge with Hari, how can hardships due to the body, mind and divine or earthy reasons constrain them? He was asked by sages and told them about the many kinds of auspicious dharma that should be followed by men in different varnas and ashramas. He was engaged in the welfare of all creatures. This is the extraordinary conduct of the original king, Manu. I have described it to you and it is worthy of being described. Now hear about his prosperous daughter.”’Chapter 3(23)

‘Maitreya said, “When her parents left, the virtuous one understood the wishes of her husband. She always tended to him affectionately, just as Bhavani 1073 does to the lord Bhava. She was pure in her mind and self-controlled. Without any guile, she tended to him with affection and spoke to him in sweet words. She gave up desire, pride, hatred, greed and vanity. With undeviating attention, she always satisfied her energetic husband. Manu’s daughter followed the vows of the noble devarshi, looking upon him as superior to a divinity. She expected great benedictions from her husband. After a long period of time, she became weak because of the vows she had observed. Grieving and driven by compassion, he spoke to her in words that were full of love.

‘“Kardama said, ‘O Manu’s daughter! I am satisfied with your respect, supreme service and supreme devotion. Everyone who possesses a body loves that body. However, you have not tended to it properly and have become emaciated for my sake. I have been engaged in my own dharma and in austerities and meditation. Through the favours of the illustrious one, I have obtained learning and yoga in my atman. Through serving me, you have also obtained those. I am giving you the insight that will drive away fear and grief. All material objects obtained are destroyed through the illustrious Urukrama merely bending his eyebrows. What use are they? By milking your own dharma, you have obtained this divine success. Enjoy it. Men find this extremely difficult to obtain, including kings who perform rites.’”

‘Maitreya continued, “He possessed the strength of yoga maya and was accomplished in knowledge. When she heard what he said, the lady was satisfied. Her face beamed with smiles. She glanced at him bashfully. She spoke in humble words that choked with love.

‘“Devahuti said, ‘O bull among brahmanas! O husband! I know that you have obtained success and that you are the master of yoga maya. I know your powers. However, a promise was made that a proper physical union between us should take place. For virtuous women, delivering a child is a great quality. Therefore, instruct about what must be done for that purpose. I have become emaciated because my great passion has not been satisfied. Let the poor body be fit so that the desire in my mind can be fulfilled. O lord! Also think about a suitable house.’”

‘Maitreya continued, “O Kshatta! To do what would bring pleasure to his beloved, Kardama resorted to yoga. He produced a vimana that could travel wherever one willed. It was divine and had all the objects of pleasure. It was decorated with all kinds of gems. Its prosperity kept on gradually increasing. There were pillars encrusted with jewels. There were divine objects and it was pleasant in all the seasons. It was ornamented with colourful festoons and flags. There were colourful garlands and bees sweetly hummed around them. Many articles of fine cotton and silk were spread around. Beds, beautiful couches, whisks and seats were separately arranged in storeys that were progressively laid out on top of each other. Here and there, it was decorated with works of artisans. The floors were made out of emeralds and the platforms were made out of coral. The entrances had thresholds made out of red coral and the doors were made out of diamonds. The summits were fashioned out of blue sapphire and pots made out of gold were placed atop these. The excellent rubies set in walls made out of diamonds seemed to be like eyes. There were colourful canopies and the extremely expensive arches were made out of gold. Many swans and pigeons called out. They mistook the artificial ones to belong to their own kind and repeatedly flew towards them. There were places for pleasure, chambers for resting, rooms for sleeping, quadrangles and outer courtyards, all constructed comfortably. He 1074 was himself astounded. He saw that she was looking at the house and wasn’t quite pleased in her heart. Kardama, who could understand the wishes of all creatures, himself spoke to her. 1075 ‘O timid one! Have a bath in this lake and then ascend the vimana. This tirtha has been created by the illustrious one and bestows all the wishes that men want.’ The lotus-eyed one listened to her husband’s words. She was attired in soiled garments and the hair on her head was matted. Her limbs were covered with filth and her covered breasts were discoloured. She entered the lake in the Sarasvati, the store of auspicious waters. In a house inside the lake, there were one thousand maidens. All of them were young in age and bore the scent of fragrant lotuses. On seeing her, the women stood up immediately. They joined their hands in salutation and asked, ‘We are your servant-maids. Please tell us what we can do for you.’ With extremely expensive articles required for a bath, they bathed the spirited one. They respectfully gave her two new and spotless garments. They gave her extremely expensive ornaments that were excellent and radiant. They gave her food that possessed all the qualities and liquor that was like amrita to drink. She saw herself in a mirror, with garlands and spotless garments. With a great deal of respect, the maidens decorated her with auspicious marks. She bathed and her head was washed. She was adorned with every kind of ornament. There was a golden necklace around her neck. Her bangles, girdle and anklets tinkled. There was a golden girdle, encrusted with many kinds of jewels, around her hips. She was adorned with an extremely expensive and beautiful necklace. Her teeth were excellent. Her eyebrows were excellent. The edges of her eyes were gentle and soft and rivalled lotus buds. There was shining and dark blue hair around her face. As soon as she remembered her beloved husband, the bull among rishis, she found herself, with the women, where Prajapati was. Surrounded by those one thousand women, she found herself in her husband’s presence. On seeing the power of his yoga, a doubt arose in her. He saw her, clean after the bath, and shining as she had never done before. Her shining form was beautiful and her charming breasts were covered. She was attired in excellent garments and one thousand vidyadharis 1076 were in attendance. O destroyer of enemies! Full of affection towards her, he made her ascend the vimana. His greatness was not diminished inside the vimana. She loved him and he was himself served by those vidyadharis. He was as radiant as the lord of the stars surrounded by the stars, followed by large numbers of blooming night lotuses. 1077 In that vimana, he went to the valleys of the Indra among kulachalas. 1078 This is where the eight lokapalas seek their pleasure. 1079 Ananga’s friend, the breeze, blows pleasantly there. The heavenly river 1080 descends there, with an auspicious sound. Praised by the Siddhas and surrounded by the women, he enjoyed there for a long time, like the lord of treasures. 1081 With his beautiful wife, he enjoyed himself in gardens like Vaishrambhaka, Surasena, Nandana, Pushpabhadraka, Manasa and Chaitraratha. 1082 His splendid and great vimana could travel anywhere at will. In that, surpassing all the others who possessed vimanas, he travelled throughout the worlds, like the wind. For men who are determined in their minds and seek refuge at the tirtha of the illustrious one’s feet, the dispeller of hardships, what is difficult to accomplish? He showed his wife the globe of the earth and how everything was established, full of great wonders. The great yogi then returned to his hermitage. Manu’s daughter was eager for intercourse and he divided himself into nine parts. As he enjoyed and gave pleasure to the beautiful one, many years passed like an instant. In the vimana, she lay down on an excellent bed that increased her sexual desire. Desiring the company of her husband, she was not aware of the amount of time that had passed. The couple desired intercourse and used their powers of yoga. A hundred autumns passed in satisfying desire, but it was only like an instant. The lord, who knew about his atman, was capable of discerning everyone’s wishes and satisfying them. He divided himself into nine parts and deposited his seed. Thus, on the same day, Devahuti gave birth to nine daughters. All of them were beautiful in all their limbs and bore the fragrance of red lotuses. Seeing that her husband was about to leave, the beautiful one outwardly showed the signs of smiling. However, her heart was agitated and sad. Her feet were beautiful with nails that were like gems. With a lowered face, she scratched on the ground with these nails. Restraining her tears, she spoke soft and charming words.

‘“Devahuti said, ‘O illustrious one! You have fulfilled everything that you promised. However, since I have sought refuge with you, you should grant me freedom from fear. O brahmana! Your daughters will themselves have to search out husbands who are their equals. When you leave for the forest, who will dispel my grief? O lord! I have spent a great deal of time in pandering to the objects of the senses and have abandoned the paramatman. I have acted so as to remain attached to the objects of the senses. I remained ignorant about your supreme sentiments. Therefore, grant me freedom from fear. Attachment to the cycle of birth and death is ordained for those who are wicked and without intelligence. It has been said that any association with virtuous people leads to non-attachment. If a person does not perform acts of dharma, does not observe non-attachment and does not serve the one whose feet are a tirtha, even if he is alive, he is as good as dead. Indeed, I have been firmly deceived by the illustrious one’s maya. Therefore, though I could have obtained emancipation from you, I did not free myself from the bondage.’”’Chapter 3(24)

‘Maitreya said, “Manu’s daughter spoke praiseworthy words about non-attachment. The compassionate sage remembered what had been said by the illustrious one and spoke to her.

‘“The rishi said, ‘O princess! O praiseworthy one! Do not be dejected about yourself in this way. The illustrious and undecaying one will soon enter your womb. O fortunate one! Using dama and niyama, follow the vows, perform austerities and donate wealth. 1083 Worship the lord faithfully. When the illustrious one is worshipped by you, he will enhance my fame. As your son, he will impart knowledge about the brahman and severe the bonds in your heart.’”

‘Maitreya continued, “Devahuti honoured Prajapati’s command. With complete respect, she worshipped the preceptor who is deep inside everyone. After a long period of time had elapsed, the illustrious Madhusudana was born from Kardama’s seed, like fire from kindling. At that time, there were clouds in the sky and musical instruments were sounded from within the clouds. Gandharvas sang and apsaras danced in joy. Extremely happy, those who roamed around in the sky showered down divine flowers. All the directions, the waters and everyone’s mind was pleased. Svayambhu came to Kardama’s hermitage, surrounded by the Sarasvati, along with the rishis, Marichi and the others. O slayer of enemies! Aja, the self-ruling one, knew that the illustrious supreme brahman, in his portion of sattva, had been born, so as to teach knowledge of samkhya. With a pure heart, he worshipped what the illustrious one desired to do. Delighted, he addressed Kardama 1084 in these words.

‘“Brahma said, ‘O son! You have worshipped me without any duplicity and the objective has been accomplished. O one who shows honours! You have respected my words. This is exactly the kind of service that sons should render to their father. With respectful words of agreement, the senior’s words must be complied with. O child! These honest daughters of yours are slender-waisted. They will expand this creation and they will have a large number of progeny. Therefore, according to conduct and taste, bestow them on the best among rishis. Give your daughters away today and your fame will spread throughout the earth. I know that, using his own maya, Purusha has descended today. O sage! For the sake of creatures, that treasure has assumed the body of Kapila. His hair is golden and matted. He is lotus-eyed. He bears the marks of the lotus. His feet are like lotuses. He will uproot all karma through jnana, vijnana and yoga. O woman! Kaitabha’s slayer 1085 has entered your womb. He will sever the bonds of ignorance and doubt and roam around the earth. He is the lord of the large number of Siddhas. He will be extremely revered by the teachers of samkhya. In this world, he will be known as Kapila. He will wander around and increase your fame.’”

‘Maitreya continued, “Along with the Kumaras 1086 and Narada, the couple was thus assured by the creator of the universe. Brahma 1087 then mounted his vehicle, yoked to swans, and went to his region, above the three worlds. O Kshatta! When he had left, the performer of the one hundred sacrifices 1088 urged Kardama. As instructed, he bestowed his own daughters on the procreators of the universe. He gave Kala to Marichi, Anasuya to Atri, Shraddha to Angiras, Havirbhu to Pulastya, Gati to Pulaha, the virtuous Kriya to Kratu, Khyati to Bhrigu and Arundhati to Vasishtha. He gave Shanti to Atharvan, the one who extends a sacrifice. Having married, the bulls among the brahmanas left for their own abodes with their wives. O Kshatta! After marrying, the rishis took their leave from him. Having obtained it, they happily left for their own respective hermitages. Having learnt that Triyuga, the bull among the gods had descended, he went to him in a secluded spot. 1089 He bowed down before him and said, ‘Because of their own inauspicious deeds, the wicked ones are being cooked in hell. Indeed, the gods have been pleased after a very long time. Ascetics meditate properly in yoga, in secluded spots, and ripen themselves through many lives, endeavouring to see his feet. Though we are the lowest of the low, that illustrious one has been born in our house today, so as to nurture his devotees, even if they are ordinary. O one who increases the respect of his devotees! O illustrious one! You desire to impart knowledge. O illustrious one! Though you do not have form, all of these are your forms. Whatever forms cause delight to your devotees are forms appropriate for you. The seat of your feet deserves to be always worshipped by gods who desire to comprehend the truth. You are full of prosperity, non-attachment, fame, knowledge, strength and prosperity. I seek refuge with you. You are transcendental and supreme. You are the great Purusha. You are wise time. You are the three modes. 1090 You are the protector of the world. Through his own powers, he has assimilated the entire universe into his atman. He is the one who exerts his powers easily. I seek refuge with Kapila. You are the lord of all subjects. I seek something from you today. Since you have taken your descent, I have freed from all debts and my desires have been fulfilled. I wish to travel along various paths, with you in my heart, and bereft of all sorrows.’

‘“The illustrious one replied, ‘Whatever I speak, whether it is in the sacred texts or in ordinary speech, is a yardstick for the world. O sage! Therefore, since what I told you should not become false, I have been born to you. My birth in this world is for those who seek liberation from the linga sharira. This is for expounding the revered truth that leads to realization of the atman. This path of self-realization of the unmanifest atman has been lost for a long period of time. Know that I have assumed this body for the sake of propagating it. You sought my permission. With my permission, go where you want. Give up all rites. 1091 Conquer death, which is so very difficult to vanquish. For the sake of immortality, worship me. You will see the self-resplendent atman in me, the one that is inside the hearts of all living beings. Look at the atman inside your own atman. Be free from sorrow and fear. I will bestow the adhyatma 1092 knowledge that extinguishes all karma on my mother. Through this, she will also overcome all fear.’”

‘Maitreya continued, “Prajapati was thus addressed by Kapila. He circumambulated him, keeping him to the right, 1093 and cheerfully left for the forest. Seeking refuge in the atman, the sage took to the vow of silence. He roamed around the earth, without any attachment. He did not light a fire, nor did he have a house. He fixed his mind on the brahman and on the supreme that is beyond cause and effect. This is the one who has no gunas, but manifests himself in the form of the gunas. He can only be perceived through single-minded devotion. He became free of ego and free of any sense of ownership. He became free of the opposite pairs of sentiments. 1094 He looked within himself and was impartial towards everything. He looked inwards and became tranquil, like the calm waves of the ocean. His sentiments were full of great devotion towards the illustrious and omniscient Vasudeva, who is inside everyone’s atman. He realized the atman and became free of bondage. He saw that the illustrious one was in the atmans of all creatures. He saw the atman in all creatures and the illustrious one in his own atman. He was devoid of desires and hatred. He looked at everyone with an impartial mind. Immersed in devotion towards the illustrious one, he obtained the illustrious one as a destination.”’Chapter 3(25)

Shounaka said, ‘The illustrious Kapila, the expounder of the truth about samkhya, is himself without birth. However, for the purpose of teaching men about the atman, the illustrious one used his own maya to be born himself. He was indeed a great man, supreme among yogis. His glory is described in the sacred texts. I have heard about him, but my senses are still not satisfied. Using the maya of his own atman, the illustrious one undertakes everything easily. I am devoted to him. Please recount all his deeds.’

Suta said, ‘The illustrious Maitreya was Dvaipayana’s friend. Thus asked by Vidura about transcendental knowledge, he cheerfully spoke about it.

‘Maitreya continued, “When his father left for the forest, he wished to do that which would bring his mother pleasure. Therefore, the illustrious Kapila resided in Bindusara. When he was seated comfortably, Devahuti remembered the words that the creator had spoken to her. Therefore, seeking the path that would lead to the truth, she spoke to her own son.

‘“Devahuti said, ‘O lord! I am extremely disgusted with the agitation caused by the transient senses. O lord! Because they are pervasive, I am immersed in the darkness of ignorance. It is extremely difficult to reach the other shore of this darkness of ignorance. But you are like my true insight. Through your favours, I have obtained you after many births. You are the original illustrious one. You are indeed the lord of all creatures. The world is blinded by the darkness of ignorance and like the sun, you have arisen like an eye. O god! Therefore, you should dispel my delusion. You have yourself created this sense of misconception about me and mine. You are the refuge and I have sought refuge with you. For your devotees, you are like an axe that severs the tree of samsara. 1095 I wish to know about Prakriti and Purusha. You are best among those who know about true dharma and I am bowing down before you.’”

‘Maitreya continued, “He heard his mother’s unadulterated wishes, which increases the desire for emancipation in men. He applauded her intelligence, which had turned towards the atman, the destination sought by the virtuous. With a smile on his beautiful face, he replied.

‘“The illustrious one said, ‘In my view, adhyatma yoga is the best for men. This leads to complete detachment from happiness and unhappiness. O unblemished one! In ancient times, I spoke about this yoga to the rishis who wished to hear about it. I will tell you about it, with all its complements. The mind is indeed the bond for an atman that seeks to be free. When attached to the gunas, it is the cause of bondage. When one is attached to the Purusha, there is emancipation. When the mind transcends me, mine, ego and impurities like desire and avarice, it is pure and looks upon pleasure and pain impartially. Then the atman is seen to be the absolute Purusha, beyond Prakriti. It is immutable, self-luminous, minute and indivisible. The person is then full of knowledge and non-attachment and full of devotion. He perceives himself to be indifferent and material existence loses its strength. If yogis want success in attaining the brahman, there is no path as auspicious as that of being immersed in devotion towards the illustrious one who is in all atmans. Wise men know that strong attachment 1096 is what binds the atman down. However, when that attachment is applied to something virtuous, it opens up the door to emancipation. Virtuous people possess virtuous traits as ornaments. They are tolerant, compassionate, friendly towards all creatures and tranquil. They have no enemies. Their hearts are fixed only on me, firm in devotion. For my sake, they abandon all action and abandon their relatives and friends. They seek me as a refuge. They hear and converse about my accounts. Since their minds are on me, they are not tormented by different kinds of torments. O virtuous lady! Those who have given up all kinds of attachment are virtuous. You must seek association with such people. That way, the taint of attachment will be removed from you. In the association with virtuous people, there is conversation about my deeds of valour, pleasing to the ear and the heart. By serving them, faith, love and devotion are progressively developed and these quickly take one along the path to liberation. Through devotion, non-attachment towards the senses is developed in a man. He sees, hears and thinks about my deeds. His mind accepts these and becomes united with yoga. He easily seeks to follow the path of yoga. He does not serve the attributes of Prakriti. Knowledge and non-attachment develop. Through yoga and fixed devotion towards me, in this life, he obtains me, the one who resides in all atmans.’

‘“Devahuti asked, ‘What kind of devotion towards you is fit to be practised by me? How can I instantly obtain liberation at your feet? O embodiment of emancipation! You have said that yoga flies like an arrow towards the illustrious one. How many limbs does it have? How does one understand the truth about it? O Hari! Since I am a woman who is limited in intelligence, please explain this to me. Through your favours, I will easily understand what is difficult to understand.’”

‘Maitreya continued, “Kapila understood his mother’s intention. Affection was generated in him towards the one he had been born from. Therefore, he explained to her the tattvas 1097 that are spoken of as samkhya and he also told her about the course of bhakti yoga.

‘“The illustrious one said, ‘If a person is single-minded and devoted to the illustrious one, this is superior to being successful. The natural tendency is to then offer the presiding deities of the senses of perception and rites prescribed in the sacred texts to him, without any motive. This is the tattva. Just as fire digests what has been eaten, this quickly dissolves the linga sharira. There are those who do not desire to become one with me. They do everything for me and are engaged in serving at my feet. These devotees associate with each other and describe my glorious exploits. O mother! These devotees see my beautiful and divine forms, with smiling faces and red eyes. They desire to speak to these forms, the granters of boons. They see these charming forms, with exalted limbs, the pastimes, the smiles, the pleasant glances and the delightful words. Their minds and their senses are captivated. Though they do not desire it, because of their devotion, they are united with me as a destination. They do not desire the blissful prosperity of the illustrious one or the powers of the lord of maya. Nor do they aspire for the eight kinds of siddhis. However, with me, the supreme one, they enjoy these in my world. O one who is serene in form! There, those who are devoted to me are never destroyed. Weapons and time cannot harm them. I am loved by them like a son, a friend, a preceptor, a well-wisher, a divinity and like their own selves. In this world, if people give up all wealth, animals, houses and everything else and only worship me, whose face is in every direction, with single-minded devotion, I take them away beyond death. When they give up their bodies, I take their atmans beyond this world and the next. There is no one other than me, the illustrious one, the supreme lord and Purusha, the one who is in the atmans of all creatures, who can counter this terrible fear. 1098 It is out of fear from me that the wind blows. It is out of fear from me that the sun heats. It is out of fear from me that Indra showers, Agni burns and death roams around. Using bhakti yoga, united with knowledge and non-attachment, yogis obtain welfare at my feet and enter there, without any fear. In this world, this is the only way for men to obtain welfare. Firm in bhakti yoga, their minds must be firmly fixed on me.’”’Chapter 3(26)

‘“The illustrious one said, ‘I will now separately tell you about the characteristics of the tattvas. Through knowing these, a man is free from the gunas of Prakriti. I will tell you about the supreme knowledge that men who have realized the atman describe as something that severs the bonds of the heart. Purusha is the atman who is without a beginning and is nirguna. He is distinct from Prakriti and is superior. He manifests himself inside and is self-luminous. It is through him that the universe is maintained. As part of his pastimes and his own will, the lord has accepted this subtle and divine Prakriti, who possesses all the gunas. Creating many kinds of gunas, Prakriti creates subjects who are similar in form. Prakriti shrouds knowledge and on seeing this, everyone in the world is instantly confounded. Prakriti’s act, undertaken through the gunas, is identified as that of Purusha and it is thought that Purusha is the one who performs these acts. The lord is not the doer. His atman is that of an indifferent witness. But he is bound down in this cycle of creation and assumes a state of dependence. Learned ones know that Prakriti is cause, effect and the doer. Purusha is superior to Prakriti, but is seen to be the one who experiences pleasure and pain.’

‘“Devahuti said, ‘O Purushottama! Tell me about the characteristics of Purusha and Prakriti. They are the cause behind this creation, which is both manifest and unmanifest.’

‘“The illustrious one replied, ‘The three gunas are unmanifest and eternal. In this form, they are cause and effect and are known as Pradhana. When the undifferentiated becomes differentiated, this is known as Prakriti. 1099 The learned know the brahman as the effects of Pradhana, with an aggregate of twenty-four attributes—five, five and fourteen. 1100 There are five mahabhutas—earth, water, fire, air and space. It is my view that their tanmatras, smell and the others, are also similar in number. There are ten organs of sense and these are said to be ears, skin, eyes, tongue, nose, the organ of speech, hands, feet, organ of generation and the anus as the tenth. Those that are internal are manas, buddhi, ahamkara and chitta. The difference between these four is noticed in the way they function. 1101 These are enumerated as the attributes of the brahman and I have spoken about their arrangement. Time is the twenty-fifth. It is said that the power of Purusha that causes fear is time. This is because the individual atman is confounded by ahamkara, having come into contact with Prakriti. 1102 O Manu’s daughter! The undifferentiated gunas of Prakriti were in equilibrium. However, when the illustrious one caused an agitation, this came to be noticed as time. He is in the form of Purusha inside and is in the form of time on the outside. Using his own maya, the illustrious one controls and is inside all living entities. The supreme Purusha agitates his own womb 1103 and deposits his own seed, driven by the dharma of destiny. She delivered the golden tattva known as Mahat. The seed of the universe was hidden inside it and was immutable. The universe was inside it and manifested itself. Through his own energy, the illustrious one drank up the terrible darkness, the darkness that causes the sleep. 1104 The quality of sattva is pure and tranquil and is the abode of the illustrious one. This is the consciousness made up of Mahat tattva and is known by the name of Vasudeva. The attributes of consciousness are clearness, lack of change and tranquility. It is said to be like water in its natural state, before it assumes characteristics. 1105 Mahat tattva resulted from the illustrious one’s energy and underwent change. This led to the three kinds of ahamkara that have the capacity to perform action. Vaikarika, taijasa and tamasa were created and so were the mind, the senses and the mahabhutas. The manifestation of Purusha with the elements, the senses and the mind is known as Samkarshana. He possesses one thousand heads and is Ananta himself. The characteristics of ahamkara are being the doer, being the instrument and being the effect, or alternatively, serenity, terror and confusion. 1106 The mind resulted from modifications of sattvika or vaikarika ahamkara. This has the traits of thinking and reflection and desire results from these. The learned know this by the name of Aniruddha, the lord of the senses. He is dark blue, like a blue lotus in the autumn. The yogis propitiate him gently. O virtuous lady! The modification of taijasa ahamkara created intelligence. This confers the ability to identify objects and facilitates the senses. The separate characteristics of intelligence are said to be doubt, misapprehension, right perception, memory and sleep. The senses are created from taijasa ahamkara and are classified into organs of perception and organs of action. The breath of life is the power behind organs of action. 1107 Intelligence is the power behind organs of perception. Urged by the illustrious one’s energy, tamasa ahamkara was transformed. This led to the tanmatra known as sound and then to the element of space. The sense of hearing evolved from sound. Wise people know that the characteristics of the tanmatra that results from space, that is, sound, are the capacity to convey meaning, to demonstrate this to the speaker and to be the subtle form of space. The functions and characteristics of space are to provide space for beings, cover them from the inside and from the outside, and to provide support to the actions of the breath of life, the senses and the mind. The tanmatra of space, sound, was transformed by the progress of time. Touch resulted and the wind resulted from this. The skin leads to the perception of touch. Touch is the tanmatra of the wind. The characteristics of touch are softness, hardness, cold and heat. The action of the wind is characterized by movement, accumulation, receiving and conveying particles associated with sound 1108 and providing support to all the senses to perform their actions. Urged by destiny, the wind’s tanmatra, sound, assumes different forms. Fire arose from this and the eye, which perceives different kinds of rupa. 1109 O virtuous lady! The characteristics of the tanmatra known as rupa are to assign dimensions, quality, individuality and position to an object and to impart radiance to fire. The attributes of fire are to illuminate, to cook, to drink, to eat, to destroy cold, to dry and to lead to feelings of hunger and thirst. Urged by destiny, the fire’s tanmatra, rupa, went through transformations. This resulted in the tanmatra known as taste. Water was produced from this and the tongue, which perceives taste. Taste is one. However, when it comes into contact with substances, it assumes different forms like astringent, sweet, bitter, pungent and sour. The characteristics of water are moistening, coagulating, causing satisfaction, sustaining life, refreshing, softening, driving away heat and providing abundance. Urged by destiny, water’s tanmatra, taste, went through transformations. The tanmatra known as smell resulted. The earth was produced from this and the sense of smell, which perceives smell. Smell is one. However, when it comes into contact and mixes with different proportions of substances, it assumes diverse traits like mixed odour, offensive odour, fragrance, mild fragrance, strong fragrance, acidic odour and so on. The characteristics and functions of the earth are forming a perception of the brahman, finding a place for itself, sustaining other objects and to provide for differentiations among creatures in terms of their qualities. The distinctive quality of space is said to be the ear, the organ which perceives sound. The learned know that the distinctive quality of air is the tactile organ, which perceives touch. The distinctive quality of fire is said to be the eye. The learned know that the distinctive quality of water is the perception of taste. The distinctive quality of the earth is said to be the organ of smell. The cause is seen to exist in the effect. Thus, the traits of the former exist in the latter. Hence, all the traits are seen to be found in the earth. When the seven, Mahat and the others, 1110 were separate, the origin of the universe entered them, along with time, action and the gunas. They came together and were activated in this way and an egg that was without intelligence was created. Virat Purusha arose from this. This egg is known as Vishesha and is surrounded by layers, water and the others, each progressive layer ten times larger than the preceding one. On the outside, they are covered by Pradhana. This extensive world is the illustrious Hari’s form. He arose from the golden egg that was lying down in the water. The great god entered this space and divided it into many parts. The mouth emerged first and speech was generated from the mouth. Along with speech, Agni and the nostrils were created and prana and the sense of smell. Vayu emerged from the sense of smell and the two eyes and the sense of seeing. Surya evolved from this, the two ears and the sense of hearing. The directions resulted from this. Virat Purusha’s skin appeared and his hair, beard and moustache. The herbs and plants were created from this. The penis was generated thereafter. Semen resulted and water was created from this. The anus appeared and apana was created from the anus. It is because of apana that the world suffers from the fear of death. The hands were created and strength resulted from this. The self-ruling one 1111 was created from this. The feet and locomotion were manifested and Hari issued from this. The blood vessels were formed and the red blood, which resulted in the rivers. The stomach emerged thereafter. Hunger and thirst were formed and the ocean was formed from them. The heart was created and the mind arose from the heart. The moon was born from the mind. Intelligence resulted and the lord of speech 1112 was born from intelligence. Ahamkara and Rudra were created. Consciousness was manifested, along with the divinity who presides over consciousness. Though these different divinities were created, they were incapable of making him 1113 wake up. Therefore, so as to make him arise, they again entered their respective positions in his body. Agni and speech entered the mouth, but Virat did not wake up. Vayu and the sense of smell entered the nostrils, but Virat did not wake up. Aditya 1114 and the sense of seeing entered the eyes, but Virat did not wake up. The directions and the sense of hearing entered the ears, but Virat did not wake up. The herbs and plants and the body hair entered the skin, but Virat did not wake up. Semen and water entered the penis, but Virat did not wake up. Death and apana entered the anus, but Virat did not wake up. Indra and strength entered the hands, but Virat did not wake up. Vishnu and locomotion entered the feet, but Virat did not wake up. The rivers and blood entered the blood vessels, but Virat did not wake up. Hunger, thirst and the ocean entered the stomach, but Virat did not wake up. The moon and the mind entered the heart, but Virat did not wake up. Brahma and intelligence entered the heart, but Virat did not wake up. Rudra and ahamkara entered the heart, but Virat did not wake up. Consciousness and Kshetrajna, the lord of consciousness, then entered the heart. At this, Virat Purusha arose from the waters. When a man is asleep, prana, the senses and the mind have no power to wake him up on the basis of their own powers alone. Therefore, through devotion, non-attachment, knowledge, intelligence and adherence to yoga, one should think about the supreme atman 1115 that is inside one’s own atman.’”’Chapter 3(27)

‘“The illustrious one said, ‘Though Purusha resides in a body created by Prakriti, he is not touched by Prakriti’s gunas. He is without gunas and without change. He has no attributes of being a doer. He is like the sun, distinct from its reflection in the water. When the gunas of Prakriti are absorbed by the jivatman, he becomes confounded because of the action of ahamkara and takes himself to be the doer. Therefore, he helplessly has to undergo his position in samsara and is not satisfied. Because of being associated with faulty action, he is born as superior, middling and inferior species. 1116 He does not really exist in this material form, but does not withdraw from it. He contemplates material objects, just as one experiences calamities in a dream. Therefore, one must use intense bhakti yoga to gradually withdraw the consciousness from this attachment to the wicked path and bring it under the forces of non-attachment. With faith, one must practise the path of yoga, yama and the other modes. A person’s sentiments must be truly immersed in me and he must chant and hear about me. He must be impartial towards all creatures, without enmity and without being attached. He must follow brahmacharya and be silent, thus strengthening his own dharma. He must be content with whatever is easily obtained. A sage must be moderate in eating. He must seek out a secluded spot. He must be tranquil, friendly and compassionate and realize his atman. He must not get attached to the body and the unreal possessions associated with it. Through knowledge, he will comprehend the truth about Prakriti and Purusha. He must withdraw his intelligence from material existence and keep any other such conceptions far away. Just as one sees the sun with one’s eyes, one will then be able to realize the atman in one’s own self. He will be freed from the linga sharira, which appears to be real, though it is unreal. This is because faulty insight has entered the real, though everything is without duality. The reflection of the sun in the water can be seen in its second reflected image on a wall. But the sun is actually situated in the sky. In this way, a person who has realized the truth can realize the radiance of the real 1117 in its reflections in the three kinds of ahamkara, the elements, the senses and the mind. When one is asleep, the elements, their subtle tanmatras, the senses, the mind are absorbed in the unmanifest. 1118 The one who is awake and without ahamkara is the atman. In that state, a seer may take himself to have been destroyed, but that sense of destruction is false. This is because ahamkara has been destroyed. One feels afflicted, like a person whose wealth has been destroyed. In this way, one comprehends one’s atman, which is the one who makes ahamkara and material objects manifest and is the foundation.’

‘“Devahuti asked, ‘O brahmana! O lord! How can Prakriti ever be separated from Purusha? They are both eternal and depend on each other. The earth and its attribute of smell and water and its attribute of taste can never exist independently. Nor can intelligence and that which is superior to it. 1119 Prakriti’s gunas exist and they provide a basis for Purusha. Though he is not the doer, these bind him down through action. How can emancipation from them be obtained? By reflecting on the tattvas, one may be freed from great fear. However, since the causes have not been destroyed, it will appear again.’

‘“The illustrious one replied, ‘One should not desire the fruits of action. With a pure mind, one must be engaged in one’s own dharma. There must be intense devotion towards me and one must hear about me for a long time. Through knowledge and insight about the tattvas, non-attachment becomes stronger. One must engage in austerities and yoga and be immersed in intense meditation. Even in this world, if Prakriti is burnt down day and night, it gradually vanishes from Purusha. This is like fire, which becomes hidden inside its source, the kindling. Always looking towards its taints and after enjoying its products, Prakriti is abandoned. There is nothing inauspicious in the lord, who is established in his own greatness. If a person is asleep, many kinds of calamities appear before him in a dream. However, when he is awake, these do not have the power to confound him. In this way, if a person knows about the truth and if his mind is in me, if a person seeks delight in his own atman, Prakriti is never able to harm him. Thus, if a sage is addicted to adhyatma for a long time, over many births, and if non-attachment towards everything has arisen in him, he obtains Brahma’s world. Through my favours, a devotee attains this objective. He obtains his own state and there is nothing superior to this. He obtains refuge with me, a state that is known as that of kaivalya. 1120 In this world, such a persevering person truly obtains this state. Because of his own insight, his doubts are dispelled. Having gone there, a person does not return. 1121 Such a yogi is separated from his linga sharira. O dear one! There are siddhis obtained through yoga, but these are maya. When a person is not attached to these and does not pursue any other objective, he obtains me as a destination. This is the infinite and death’s laughter is not heard there.’”’Chapter 3(28)

‘“The illustrious one said, ‘O daughter of a king! I will explain yoga to you, along with the bija. 1122 The mind is thereby restrained and cheerfully proceeds along the virtuous path. The performance of one’s own dharma according to capacity, the avoidance of contrary dharma, satisfaction with what has been obtained through fate, worshipping the feet of those who have realized the atman, avoidance of ordinary acts of dharma, 1123 addiction to the dharma of moksha, eating in moderation, permanent stay in a peaceful and secluded spot, non-violence, truthfulness, acceptance of a minimal amount of artha, brahmacharya, austerities, purity, studying, the worship of Purusha, silence, control through good asanas, steadiness, gradual control of prana, withdrawal of the senses from objects that are dear to the heart, fixing the mind and prana in svadhishthana, 1124 concentration on Vaikuntha’s pastimes and meditation on the atman—through these and other means, one must direct the wicked mind to the virtuous path. The intelligence must be gradually controlled. One must attentively control the breath of life. Having spread out a seat in a pure place, he must control himself through asanas. He must be seated upright, comfortably, and must control his breath. Through repeated puraka, kumbhaka and rechaka, 1125 he must purify the passage of prana. In this way, even if the mind is wayward, it becomes steady and fixed. If a yogi has controlled his breath of life, the mind soon becomes free of disturbances. This is like gold becoming free of impurities when it is fanned by the wind and the fire. Through pranayama, one can cleanse the body of its impurities; through dharana, the sins; through pratyahara, all attachment; and through dhyana, all the gunas that are not supreme. When the mind has become completely pure and well controlled through yoga, one must meditate on the form of the illustrious one, with the eyes fixed on the tip of the nose. His lotus face is gracious. His eyes are red, like the inside of a lotus. His complexion is dark blue, like the petals of a blue lotus. He wields the conch shell, chakra and mace. His silk garments are yellow and they shine like the filament of a lotus. He bears the shrivatsa mark on his chest. The brilliant Koustubha jewel is around his neck. He wears a garland of wild flowers and crazy bees hum around it. He is adorned with an extremely expensive necklace, bracelets, diadem, armlets and anklets. There is an excellent girdle around his hips. He stands in the lotus hearts of his devotees. He is tranquil and beautiful to behold. He is charming to the mind and the eye. He is charming to behold and is eternally worshipped by all the worlds. He seems to be a young boy and showers his favours on his servants. He is a tirtha and his fame is worth describing. He has extended the fame of excellent ones. Until the mind ceases to waver, one should meditate on all the limbs of this divinity. Whether he is standing, walking, seated or lying down, with devotion and purity in his heart, he must meditate on the pastimes of the beautiful one who is inside the heart. When the sage reaches a state such that his mind is fixed on all the limbs of the illustrious one together, he must fix his mind on the limbs, one by one. He must first focus on the illustrious one’s lotus feet, decorated by the signs of the vajra, a goad, a standard and a lotus. The prominent and shining red nails are like the lunar circle, dispelling the great darkness in the heart with the moonlight. He must meditate on the illustrious one’s lotus feet for a long time. After washing these, the waters of the best of the rivers 1126 issued forth and became auspicious, like a tirtha. Shiva bore them on his head. In his mind, he must meditate on the vajra, 1127 which will be hurled against the mountain of sin. The lotus-eyed Lakshmi is worshipped by all the gods and is the creator’s mother. 1128 His two knees are placed on her thighs and she massages them with her delicate hands. In his heart, he must meditate on the lord’s knees. Atop Suparna’s 1129 shoulders, his thighs are beautiful. They are the source of energy and shine like the atasi flower. 1130 The excellent yellow garment extends downwards and is encircled by a girdle around his rounded hips. His navel is like a lake and is in his stomach, which is the source of the worlds. The lotus, the source of all the worlds, sprouted from there and is the seat of the self-creating one. 1131 He must meditate on the two nipples of the lord, which are like exquisite gems and appear white and resplendent, illuminated by the necklace of pearls. The supreme one’s chest is the abode of great prosperity. 1132 It brings great pleasure to the minds and eyes of men. The neck enhances the beauty of the Koustubha gem. He must fix his mind on this, which is worshipped by all the worlds. The strength of the arms provide support to the guardians of the worlds. The arms were polished by the movements of Mount Mandara. 1133 He must meditate on the dazzling splendour of the one thousand spokes 1134 and the conch shell, resembling a swan, 1135 held in the hand. He must remember the beloved Koumodaki. 1136 It is smeared with mire, from the blood of enemy soldiers. The garland echoes with the buzz of bees that surround it in search of honey. He must meditate on the sparkling gem 1137 around the neck, which is like the consciousness of living beings. Out of compassion towards his servants, he assumes different forms. He must meditate on the illustrious one’s lotus face. His prominent nose and clear cheeks sparkle, illuminated by the movement of the glittering earrings that are shaped like makaras. With a mind that does not waver, he must meditate on the face that is like Shri’s abode. 1138 It looks beautiful because of a mass of curly hair surrounding it. It is served by bees. 1139 The lotus eyes have charming eyebrows and surpasss the beauty of a couple of fish. The frequent glances from his eyes are full of great compassion and destroy the three kinds of torment. 1140 His gentle smiles come with great favours. He is in everyone’s heart and with great devotion, one must meditate on him for a long time. For all people, if one bows down to him, Hari’s extremely benevolent smile dries up the terrible ocean of tears. For the sake of the sages, he has used his maya to fashion his arched eyebrows which charm and confound Makaradhvaja. 1141 One can easily meditate on his abundant laughter. His radiant and red lips display his small teeth, which are like an array of kunda flowers. With devotion and love, one must meditate on Vishnu, who resides in the inner core of everyone’s heart. With a mind fixed on him, one must not look at anything else. In this way, one develops love for the illustrious Hari. One’s heart melts with devotion. One finds that the body hair stands up in delight. Immersed in this intense love, tears of joy flow repeatedly. Then the person gradually disengages his mind from the hook. 1142 When the mind is not attached to material objects and seeks refuge in emancipation, it becomes like the flame of a lamp and desires emancipation. Without being separated, the person sees the atman and is freed from the flow of the gunas. In this way, the mind resides in the ultimate and the great and withdraws from the external purveyors of happiness and unhappiness. The person attributes the cause and agent of joy and delight to his own false atman. 1143 He obtains the truth of the paramatman. When such a successful person has the good fortune of realizing his own true form, he can no longer see whether his body is moving, stationary, or is standing up. This is just like a person intoxicated and blind with liquor coming under the sway of destiny and not realizing whether he is wearing clothes or not. As long as the karma started by himself continues, the body and the senses are under the subjugation of destiny. However, if a person is situated in the yoga of samadhi, he no longer accepts material objects and the visible word. 1144 They seem to be a dream. Just as a mortal man is seen to be different from his son and his wealth, even if they are his own and he loves them, the atman is different from the body and other things. 1145 A flaming torch, sparks and smoke are distinct from the fire, though they arise from the fire and are intimately connected with it. The bhutas, the senses and the mind do arise from Pradhana, but are different from the seer. Similarly, the illustrious one, known as the brahman, is distinct from the jivatman. All creatures are in the atman and the atman is in all creatures. In this way, and in no other way, one must see the atman in all living beings. Though the fire is one, it can be seen to originate from many sources. Depending on variations in gunas in different wombs, the atman manifests itself differently in nature. This is the divine Prakriti, who is manifested as cause and effect and is extremely difficult to comprehend. After having understood this, one becomes established in one’s own true form.’”’Chapter 3(29)

‘“Devahuti said, ‘O lord! You have spoken about the characteristics of Mahat and the others, Prakriti, Purusha and their own manifested nature and their own true nature and foundations, as described in Samkhya. Now tell me in detail about the path of bhakti yoga. O illustrious one! Tell me about the many kinds of births in the world of the living, so that non-attachment towards everything can be kindled in a person. Please tell me about your own form as time and about other supreme forms. You use this form to make people undertake good acts. Because their eyes are not open, people are deluded by false ego. They remain asleep for a long time in darkness, without a refuge. Without intelligence, they are exhausted because they are bound to action. You have indeed appeared like a sun of yoga.’”

‘Maitreya said, “The great sage applauded the gentle words spoken by his mother. O best among the Kurus! Pleased, he replied to her with compassion.

‘“The illustrious one replied, ‘O beautiful one! It has been thought that there are many kinds of paths for bhakti yoga. Depending on their own nature, qualities and sentiments, men have divided it into various branches. If a person who engages in this has the intention of causing violence, or is insolent, jealous or angry, his insight is differentiated and he is a tamasa devotee. If a person is in pursuit of material objects, fame and prosperity, and worships me in places of worship, his insight is differentiated and he is a rajasa devotee. If a person desires to free himself of karma by dedicating them to the supreme, and if he worships the one who should be worshipped, his insight is differentiated 1146 and he is a sattvika devotee. I reside in everyone’s heart. Just as the waters of the Ganga flow towards the ocean, merely by listening to my qualities, the mind continuously flows towards me. This is said to be the characteristic of the nirguna type of bhakti yoga. This is the devotion towards Purushottama that is without any motive. Even if salokya, sarshti, samipya, sarupya and ekatva are offered, 1147 such people who are devoted to me, do not accept anything other than service to me. This is said to be the extreme form of bhakti yoga, where one transcends the three gunas and attains my state. One must be immersed in the greatness of one’s own dharma and perform action without any motive. One must always be engaged in the auspicious rites, without any excessive violence. Beholding my image, seeing it, touching it, worshipping it, praising me and chanting about me, he must be non-attached and based on sattva, see me in all creatures. He must show a great deal of respect to the great, compassion towards the poor, friendship towards those who are equals and practise yama and niyama. He must hear about adhyatmika matters, chant my names, be upright, associate with noble people and be without any kind of ahamkara. When a person who follows my dharma hears about my qualities, his consciousness is completely purified. On merely hearing about my qualities, a man is attracted towards me. The wind carries a scent from the source and it is picked up by the organ of smell. In that way, a person who is devoted constantly to yoga picks up realization about the atman. I am always present in all beings, as the atman in creatures. If a mortal person ignores me, he worships something that is false. I am the lord who is present in the atmans of all beings. If a person abandons me and ignorantly worships someone else, he offers oblations into ashes. 1148 O one who offers honours! If a person hates me in someone else’s body, he suffers from differentiation in his thoughts. If he is firm in enmity towards creatures, his mind will never find peace. O unblemished one! If my image is worshipped with various kinds of objects, following diverse kinds of rituals, but creatures are shown disrespect, I am not satisfied with that kind of worship. Until he knows that I am in his heart and inside all living beings, he can perform his own tasks and worship me as the lord in an image. If a person differentiates between himself and another person’s body, his sight is differentiated and I cause him great fear from death. I am in all creatures and I have made my abode in the atmans of all creatures. Therefore, with friendship and without any differentiation in one’s sight, I should be worshipped with donations and respect. O auspicious one! Living beings are superior to those who do not live. Those who possess prana are superior to those who are only alive. Those who possess consciousness are superior to those who only possess the senses. Those who perceive through taste are superior to those who perceive through touch. Those who perceive through smell are superior to both of these. And those who perceive through sound are better than the earlier ones and those who perceive through form are better still. Those who possess teeth in both jaws are even better. Among these, quadrupeds are superior to those with many feet and bipeds are superior to quadrupeds. Among the four varnas, brahmanas are the best. Among brahmanas, those who know the Vedas are superior, but those who understand the meanings are superior to them too. Better than the person who knows meanings is the one who can dispel doubts and better than such a person is the one who performs his own tasks. Better than this is the person who is free of attachment, not desiring any fruits and possessing dharma in his atman. Better than him is the person who offers everything ceaselessly to me, action, wealth and his own atman. A man who renders his atman to me renders all his action to me. He acts impartially towards everyone and I do not see anyone who is superior to this. In his mind, he bows down before all creatures and shows a great deal of respect to them. He knows that parts of the illustrious lord have penetrated every living being. O Manu’s daughter! I have described bhakti yoga and yoga. 1149 By following either of these, a man can attain Purusha. This is the form of the illustrious one. This is the brahman, the paramatman. This is Pradhana, Purusha and the divinity who undertakes action. The divine form that causes differences is known as time. Through differences in the elements, Mahat and the others, this gives rise to fear. He enters inside all living beings. He is the support for all living beings and also destroys them. He is known as Vishnu, the lord of sacrifices. He is time and is the lord over all controllers. There is no one whom he loves. There is no one whom he hates. He has no relative. He enters those who are not distracted. But for those who are distracted, he causes birth and death. The wind blows because it is scared of him. The sun heats because it is scared of him. The god 1150 showers down because he is scared of him. The heavenly bodies shine because they are scared of him. The trees, creepers and herbs are scared of him and therefore bear flowers and fruits at the right times. The rivers flow because they are scared of him and that is also the reason why the ocean does not overflow. The fire burns and the earth, with its mountains, is not submerged because of fear of him. It is because of his rules that the sky grants habitation for creatures that breathe. It is because of him that Mahat, surrounded by the seven sheaths, expands its body into the worlds. The gods who are responsible for the gunas revere him and are scared of him when they undertake creation. Depending on the yuga, when the mobile and the immobile undertake their tasks, they are under his subjugation. He is without end, but he brings about the end. He is time. He is without beginning, but he is the undecaying one who created the beginning. He causes people to be born through their fathers and mothers. He is the one who kills. He is death, the one who brings about an end.’”’Chapter 3(30)

‘“Kapila said, ‘Indeed, people do not know about his great strength, though they are at the mercy of time, just as a mass of clouds does not know about the strength of the wind that carries it away. For the sake of happiness, whatever one obtains with a great deal of difficulty, is destroyed by the illustrious one and a man sorrows on this account. This body, and everything associated with it, is temporary. However, out of delusion, an evil-minded person takes them and homes, fields and riches to be permanent. A living being finds satisfaction as whatever kind of species it is born in, and is never disgusted. Even if the body is in hell, a man does not want to give it up. Confounded by the maya of the god, he finds satisfaction in that existence in hell. With deep-rooted affection in his heart for himself, his wife, his children, his houses, his animals, his riches and his relatives, he takes himself to be extremely fortunate. In an attempt to maintain these, all the limbs burn with anxiety. The foolish person, evil in his intentions, incessantly performs wicked acts. The senses are agitated by the false charms of wicked women. He takes delight in talking to them in private and in the sweet words of children. Attentively engaged in the secret 1151 dharma of a householder, he faces a lot of misery. The householder acts so as to counter misery and takes this to be joy. He obtains a great deal of wealth by causing violence here and there. He himself eats only what is left after his dependents have eaten and heads downwards. 1152 In trying to subsist, his attempts are repeatedly frustrated. Overcome by greed, he is ruined and desires the wealth of others. He is unable to sustain his family. He is unfortunate and his efforts are futile. He is without riches and miserable. The evil-minded person grieves and sighs. In this way, seeing that he is unable to support his dependents, his wife and the others no longer respect him, as they used to do earlier. It is like the attitude of a farmer towards an old bull. Even then, no disgust is generated in him. About to die, he is maintained by his own dependents. He is deformed because of old age and in this way, in his home, he approaches death. He is neglected and eats like a dog in the house. Suffering from disease and indigestion, he eats little and his movements become limited. Because of the pressure of the air, his eyeballs bulge. His glands become obstructed because of phlegm. He coughs and finds it difficult to breathe. There is a gurgling sound in his throat. He lies down, surrounded by his grieving relatives. Having come under the subjugation of the noose of time, even when he is spoken to, he does not reply. In this way, having indulged in the unrestrained senses in an attempt to sustain his family, he dies in pain and not without consciousness, with the relatives weeping. Two terrible messengers of Yama arrive and their eyes are full of rage. On seeing them, his heart is terrified and he releases urine and excrement. They forcibly tie a rope around his neck and imprison him 1153 in a body, so that pain can be caused. Like a convict being punished by the king’s soldiers, he is dragged a long distance away. When he is conveyed in this way, his heart is shattered by the threats and he trembles. Dogs devour him along the way and, afflicted, he remembers his own sins. He suffers from hunger and thirst. Along the path, he is scorched by hot sand, the sun, forest conflagrations and wind. He is severely struck on the back with whips. Without rest and water, he is unable to move. Exhausted, he falls down here and there, unconscious, but raises himself again. Along that evil path, he is swiftly conveyed to Yama’s abode. Suffering, in two or three muhurtas he is conveyed a distance of ninety-nine thousand yojanas 1154 and reaches there. He is surrounded by blazing torches and his body is set on fire. He is sometimes made to cut up his own flesh and eat it, or get it eaten by others. In Yama’s abode, while he is still alive, his entrails are torn out by dogs and vultures. He is tormented by the bites of snakes, scorpions, gnats and other such things. His limbs are chopped off. Elephants and other such animals crush him. He is hurled down from the peaks of mountains. He is imprisoned inside the water, or in caves. Whether a man or a woman, the person suffers pain in hells known as tamisra, andha-tamisra, rourava and others and also those constructed for people who indulge in illicit relations. O mother! It is said that heaven and hell are on this earth. The pain of hell is also noticed in this world. In this way, he may have maintained his family and filled his stomach. However, after death, he gives up both his family and his body and enjoys these kinds of fruits. After having given up his own body, he enters the darkness alone. The sin of injury he has caused to creatures is the only thing that sustains him then. It is because of destiny that a man obtains and enjoys this defilement in hell, having maintained his family. Having lost his riches, he is like a person who is afflicted. A person who is eager to maintain his family only through adharma, obtains his ultimate state of darkness in andha-tamisra. Headed downwards and born as a subhuman species, he goes through many kinds of afflictions. As he gradually passes through these, he again obtains an auspicious birth.’ 1155Chapter 3(31)

‘“The illustrious one said, ‘Depending on his karma, a living being obtains a body under the supervision of the god. Using a particle of a man’s semen, he enters the womb of a woman. The mixing 1156 takes place in a single night. A bubble results on the fifth night. In ten days, there is a mass like a jujube berry. 1157 After that, there is flesh and it becomes an egg. The head is formed in a month. The arms, feet, limbs and other parts of the body develop in two months. Nails, body hair, bones, skin, genital organs and the anus are formed in three months. The seven ingredients 1158 of the body are formed in four months and hunger and thirst develop in the fifth. The placenta provides a covering in the sixth month and there is movement on the right side of the stomach. The ingredients of the body develop from the mother’s intake of food and drink. The being lies down in a hollow that is full of urine and excrement, a place where worms breed. All his limbs are delicate and they are constantly wounded from the biting of the worms. Hungry all the time, he loses consciousness because of the suffering. The mother eats excessively bitter, pungent, hot, salty, astringent, acidic and other such food. Touched by these, there is pain in all his limbs. He is enveloped by the embryo. 1159 On the outside, he is covered by the entrails. His head is bent down towards the stomach. His back and neck are arched. Like a bird in a cage, he is unable to move his own limbs. Depending on destiny, he may gain his memory and remember his karma in one hundred earlier births. Remembering these, he sighs deeply. How can one obtain peace in that state? Beginning with the seventh month, consciousness develops. Because of the wind of delivery, he trembles and cannot remain in one place, but is tossed around inside the stomach, like the worms born from the excrement. The living being is terrified and looks for a protector. Surrounded by the seven sheaths, he falteringly prays to the one who has hurled him inside the stomach. The living being says, “I approach and seek protection at the lotus feet of the one who creates the universe with his will. He assumes many kinds of forms and roams around the earth. I go and seek refuge with him, so that he can grant me freedom from fear. Since I was wicked, he is the one who has decided that this kind of destination is appropriate for me. I am in this body made out of five elements, but am actually separate from it. I am falsely covered by the senses and the gunas. I am the atman which is consciousness. The omniscient one is unrestricted in his greatness and I bow down to the being who is beyond Prakriti and Purusha. It is because of his greatness that one is bound down in karma and the gunas. One is suffering pain and is wandering around on this path of samsara. The memory has been destroyed. Without his great mercy, how can one realize one’s true nature? Mobile and immobile objects follow him. Other than that divinity, who can provide me knowledge about the past, the present and the future? Along the trail of karma, the jivatman follows him. We worship him so that the three kinds of torments are countered.” He is in another person’s body, he is in a hollow inside the body, suffering from the fire in the stomach and immersed in a pool of blood, urine and excrement. His body is severly scorched. He is anxious to emerge and counts the months. Miserable in his intelligence, he asks, “O illustrious one! When will I be released from here? O lord! I am ten months old and have been reduced to this state. I have been made to accept this state because of your mercy. May the protector of the distressed be satisfied with what he has done. Indeed, what can I do for him, except to join my hands in salutation? The jivatman is bound by the seven sheaths and can use his intelligence to perceive and control pleasure and pain in his own body. O ancient being! You have created this. I can see you outside my heart. You appear like a sanctuary. O lord! I am residing here, in an abode that is full of many kinds of miseries. I do not wish to leave this womb and immerse myself in the well of ignorance outside. If one goes there, one is captured by the divine one’s maya. Indeed, with that false intelligence, one circles around in the cycle of birth and death. Therefore, let this agitation be over. With my atman as a well-wisher, I will quickly deliver myself from this darkness. Now that I have obtained Vishnu’s feet, let this hardship of many holes 1160 not be something I have to face again.” After ten months in the womb, the learned one makes up his mind in this way. However, when he is in this act of praising, the wind of delivery at the time of birth immediately propels him downwards. He is violently pushed by the wind, afflicted and his head downwards. He emerges with difficulty and finds it hard to breathe. He loses his memory. He falls down on the ground, mixed with blood and writhes around like a worm in the excrement. With his knowledge lost, he obtains a perverse state and cries. He is dependent on others. He is nurtured by others, who do not know his desires. Even if he is given something he does not want, he is unable to refuse. The being is made to lie down on an unclean bed, defiled by those who are born from sweat. 1161 He is incapable of scratching his limbs. He cannot sit, arise or move. He has been deprived of his knowledge. His delicate skin is bitten by gnats, mosquitoes and other bugs, like worms biting other worms. In this way, he suffers from miseries in childhood and as a boy. Unable to obtain what he desires, he is overwhelmed by grief. Because of his ignorance, his rage is ignited. As his body grows, so do his pride and anger. Driven by desire, he fights with others who are driven by desire and ensures his own destruction. The body is made out of five elements. However, he is perpetually ignorant about the body. He accepts notions of “I” and “mine” and acts in accordance with this wicked intelligence. He performs acts for the body and is bound in the cycle of birth and death. Because of his ignorance, he is tied down in the bondage of action. He gives himself hardships that follow him. He is repeatedly brought back to the wicked path and acts for the sake of the penis and the stomach. Having resorted to these, the being finds delight and enters darkness again, as earlier. Because of association with the wicked, truth, purity, compassion, silence, intelligence, prosperity, modesty, fame, forgiveness, fortitude, self-restraint and fortune are destroyed. One must not associate with disturbed, foolish and wicked people who have separated themselves from their atmans. They are as inauspicious as domesticated deer that women play with. There is no confusion or bondage from attachment to something that is as great as the attachment towards women, or association with men who are thus attached. At the sight of his own daughter, Prajapati 1162 was smitten by her beauty. When she assumed the form of a doe, he shamelessly assumed the form of a buck and ran after her. Among all kinds of living beings that have been created by the creator, and those created thereafter, there is no man who is not attracted to the maya of a woman, the rishi Narayana being the only exception. Behold my maya in the form of a woman, whereby I have conquered the directions. A mere arching of her eyebrows can make people follow her tracks. If one aspires to reach the ultimate shore of yoga, one must never associate with a woman. By serving me, one obtains realization of the atman. However, it is said that she is the gate to hell. A woman has been fashioned by the god and her maya approaches slowly. One must look upon her as death towards one’s own self, like a pit that is covered by grass. In an earlier life, if one was attached to women, one obtains the state of being a woman. Because of my maya she thinks that her husband is approaching and that she has obtained riches, offspring and a house from him. She should know that her husband, offspring, home and her own self are the result of destiny and that they are like the singing of a hunter when he summons a deer to its death. Because of the body, 1163 the jivatman wanders around, from one world to another. Enjoying the fruits, a man incessantly undertakes action. The jivatman follows the body, consisting of the elements, the senses and the mind. When these come to an end, the body dies. But is manifested again in birth. The gross body perceives objects. When it is incapable of perceiving objects, this is said to be panchatva. Because of the sense of “I”, when the objects can be perceived again, this is said to be birth. The eyes can perceive the forms of objects. However, when they cannot perceive objects, this means that the eyes are incapable of seeing. Neither the eyes, nor the seer, can see. 1164 A steadfast person knows this progress of the jivatman and is not terrified, miserable or scared. He roams around in this world without any attachment. Through yoga and intelligence, he possesses the proper insight and is full of non-attachment. In this world that is fashioned by maya, he roams around in his body.’”’Chapter 3(32)

‘“Kapila said, ‘A person who is in the householder stage performs the dharma meant for those who live in homes. He enjoys his own dharma of kama and artha and repeatedly performs the same tasks. He is confused by desire and withdraws from the dharma of devotion to the illustrious one. Full of devotion, he performs sacrifices and rites for the gods and the ancestors. The man’s mind is full of devotion and he performs the vows for the gods and the ancestors. He goes to the world of the moon and drinks soma, but returns again. When the worlds head towards destruction and Hari, seated on Ananta, lies down on the couch made out of the Indra among serpents, the worlds meant for householders are also destroyed. Those who are intelligent do not enjoy their own dharma for the sake of kama and artha. They are without attachment and give up their tasks. 1165 They are tranquil and pure in their intelligence. They constantly follow the dharma of nivritti. They are without a sense of ownership and without ahamkara. They purify their intelligence through sattva and engage in their own dharma. Through the gate of the sun, they go to the Purusha whose face is in every direction. He is the lord of this world and the next. He is the one who causes the creation and destruction of nature. Those who worship Brahma, taking him to be the supreme, reside in his supreme world for two parardhas. After this, there is destruction. 1166 Having experienced a period of two parardhas, characterized by the three gunas, the supreme Svayambhu enters the immutable, desiring to dissolve the earth, water, fire, wind, space, the mind, the senses, the objects of the senses and the elements that cover them. There are yogis who have controlled their breath of life and minds and are non-attached. Along with Brahma, they enter the immortal, ancient and illustrious Purusha. However, despite reaching that supreme state, they have not lost their ahamkara. 1167 He has made his abode in the lotus hearts of all living beings. O beautiful one! Therefore, with devotion, go and seek refuge with the one whose glories you have heard about. He 1168 is the creator of mobile and immobile objects. The Vedas are in him. Along with the rishis, the Kumaras and the others are lords of yoga and have propounded the path of success through yoga. They are non-attached in their deeds. However, even when they reach the supreme brahman, the Purusha who is a bull among Purushas, because of the gunas, they have a sense of ownership and touched by this ahamkara, have a sense of difference. 1169 When the lord of time decides that it is time, he 1170 is born again. Because of the transformation in the gunas, he is born and creates again, as earlier. Because of the dharma they followed, they 1171 also enjoy supreme prosperity. However, because of the transformation in the gunas, they are born again. In this world, there are those whose minds are attached to action. They always faithfully perform all the tasks that are not prohibited. Because of rajas, their minds are anxious. They have not been able to conquer their senses and their souls are full of desire. As householders, they have wishes and every day, perform sacrifices for the ancestors. These men serve the three objectives of life 1172 and their intelligence turns away from Hari’s accounts, though accounts about the great prowess of Madhu’s slayer are worth hearing about. Those who cast aside the nectar-like accounts of Achyuta, and hear wicked accounts instead, are like those who eat excrement and are indeed condemned by fate. They follow the southern path of the sun 1173 and go to the world of the ancestors. They are born as offspring of their own offspring 1174 and perform all the rites, ending with the cremation ground. When the merit of good deeds is exhausted, they return again to this world. Urged by destiny, with their prosperity over and helpless, they fall again. Therefore, in every possible way, you must worship Parameshthi. His lotus feet deserve to be worshipped. With faith, seek refuge in his qualities. If devotion to Vasudeva is practised through bhakti yoga, non-attachment and knowledge that leads to insight about the brahman are swiftly generated. Such a person’s mind is indifferent towards material objects and the workings of the senses. He does not discriminate between what is agreeable and what is disagreeable. He sees the atman in his own atman. He is without attachment and impartial in his vision. He does not think anything is to be accepted or rejected, but considers the supreme and elevated state. The supreme brahman is only knowledge, described as the paramatman, the lord and Purusha. The illustrious one is one, but is perceived in different ways. Through yoga, the yogi seeks the objective of complete non-attachment and desires to achieve this. The brahman is one and is nirguna. However, those who are averse to knowledge use their senses and it appears in the form of diverse objects, such as sound and other things. But this is because of confusion. The self-ruling Mahat appears as three kinds of ahamkara, the five elements and the eleven. 1175 The entire universe originated in the cosmic egg. This can be realized through faith, devotion, constant practice of yoga, meditation, disassociation and non-attachment. O lady who is my senior! I have thus spoken about the knowledge that enables realization of the brahman. Through this, one understands the truth about Purusha and Prakriti. Jnana yoga 1176 is about the nirguna and there are the attributes of bhakti towards me. Both have the same objective, expressed as realization of the illustrious one. The same object can have many attributes and different senses perceive these as different doors. In the same way, the single illustrious one is perceived in different ways in paths mentioned by different sacred texts. Religious rites, sacrifices, donations, austerities, studying, inquiry, conquest of the mind and the senses, renunciation of deeds, the different limbs of yoga, bhakti yoga, both kinds of dharma, pravritti and nivritti, 1177 understanding the truth about the atman and firm non-attachment—these are means of realizing the self-luminous and illustrious one, in saguna and nirguna forms. I have described the nature of the four kinds of bhakti yoga 1178 and about the imperceptible movement of time, which runs inside all living beings. I have spoken about the external and material appearance of the jivatman, caused by ignorance and karma. O dear one! When the atman enters these, it is unable to perceive its own progress. If a person is wicked or insolent, this instruction should never be explained to him, nor to one who is dumb, ill-behaved, or one who falsely flies the flag of dharma. It should not be instructed to a person who is greedy or one whose mind is attached to the house, nor to a person who is not a devotee, or a hater of my devotees. It should be taught to one who is faithful, devoted, humble, without a sense of envy and to a person who is friendly towards all creatures and disposed towards serving. It should be instructed to someone who is non-attached, internally and externally, and to one who is tranquil in his mind, to one who is without envy, is pure and to one who regards me as the dearest of loved ones. O mother! If a man listens to this faithfully, with his mind fixed on me, he certainly obtains my state.’”’Chapter 3(33)

‘Maitreya said, “Devahuti, Kardama’s beloved wife and Kapila’s mother, heard his words. She was freed from the veil of delusion. She bowed down before the one who had prepared the ground for obtaining success, by composing the various subjects on tattvas. 1179 She praised him.

‘“Devahuti said, ‘You were lying down inside the water. You are the seed behind the manifestation of everything—the elements, the senses, the objects of the senses, the mind and the flow of the gunas. Aja, born from the lotus in your stomach, himself meditated on you. You have divided your energy and ensured this flow of gunas. You have determined the creation of the universe. Your will is behind creation, preservation and destruction. You are the lord in all atmans. You are inconceivable and possess thousands of different kinds of powers. O protector! How did you take birth in my womb? It is in your stomach that everything existed. At the end of the yuga, you lay down on a single banyan leaf. Using your maya, like an infant, you sucked on your toe. O lord! You have assumed a body so that wickedness can decline and so that those who listen to your instructions can prosper. You assumed avataras like those of a boar, so that people can realize their atmans. If one hears your name being chanted, if one remembers it and worships you, even a svapacha is instantly purified and becomes worthy of performing a sacrifice. O illustrious one! Nothing need be said about a person who has seen you. How wonderful it is that even a svapacha is glorified if your name is on the tip of his tongue. Noble ones who take your name must have tormented themselves through austerities, offered oblations, bathed in sacred places and studied the Vedas in earlier lives. You are the brahman, the supreme being. With the mind turned inwards, you are worthy of being meditated upon. Because of your energy, the flow of gunas has vanished. 1180 I bow down before Kapila Vishnu, the store of the Vedas.’”

‘Maitreya continued, “The illustrious supreme being, known as Kapila, was thus praised. Devoted to his mother, he addressed his mother in words that were full of deep meaning.

‘“Kapila said, ‘O mother! I have instructed you about a path that is easy to follow. By following this, you will soon reach the supreme state. Have faith in my views, followed by those who know about the brahman. Through this, without any fear, you will reach me. Those who do not know about this head towards death.’”

‘Maitreya continued, “Thus, the illustrious one showed the path of the atman to the virtuous one. His mother obtained knowledge about the brahman. Taking her permission, Kapila left. In that hermitage, which was like a crest of flowers on Sarasvati’s head, she followed the instructions of her son, controlled herself and engaged in yoga. She bathed repeatedly. 1181 Her curly hair became tawny and matted. She dressed herself in rags. Because of her fierce austerities, she became emaciated. Through the yoga of his austerities, Prajapati Kardama had created a home that was unmatched, coveted even by those who rode on vimanas. The couches possessed the complexion of the foam of milk. They were made of ivory and the spreads were made out of gold. The seats were golden and the cushions were pleasant to the touch. The walls were made out of sparkling crystal and encrusted with extremely expensive emeralds. There were glistening lamps made out of jewels and the women were adorned with gems. The beautiful garden in the house possessed many celestial and blossoming trees. Avian couples chirped and intoxicated bees hummed. Lovingly tended to by Kardama, when she entered the lake, full of fragrant lotuses, the followers of the gods sang words of praise. This was a place desired by Akhandala’s 1182 women. But she gave it up. Her face was only slightly distressed, because she was separated from her son. Her husband had left for the forest. Thereafter, her son also left and she was distressed. Even though she knew the truth, she was like an affectionate cow separated from her calf. O child! She meditated on her divine son, Kapila Hari. Hence, soon, she no longer had any attachment for that kind of house. She mediated on the illustrious one’s form and smiling face. She had been told by her son that this could be realized through meditation and all her thoughts were on parts of the body. 1183 Because of the flow of devotion and yoga, non-attachment became strong. Because of proper observation of the rites, knowledge about the brahman was generated. Her mind became pure. She realized the atman, whose face was in every direction. The diverse kinds of maya and gunas vanished. Her intelligence was immersed in the illustrious brahman, who resides in all atmans. She was freed from the misery of the jivatman and all kinds of afflictions disappeared. She achieved nivritti. She was always immersed in samadhi and was freed from the delusion of the gunas. She no longer remembered herself, just as one doesn’t remember what one sees in a dream. Her body was sustained by others. 1184 Hence, she was not emaciated and there was no chance of disease. Though she was covered in filth, she was as radiant as a fire without smoke. Her limbs were full of austerities and yoga. Her hair was dishevelled and she lost her garments. With her intelligence immersed in Vasudeva, she did not realize this and divinities protected her. In this way, following the path instructed by Kapila, she soon obtained the supreme. She obtained the illustrious brahman and attained the state of nirvana. 1185 O brave one! The place where she obtained success is named Siddhapada. It is the most sacred place and is famous in the three worlds. Through yoga, her mortal body was cleansed of all impurities and became a river. O amiable one! It is the best among rivers, conferring siddhis and frequented by the Siddhas. With his mother’s permission, the illustrious Kapila, the great yogi, left his father’s hermitage and left for the north-eastern direction. He was praised by the Siddhas, the charanas, the gandharvas, the sages and large numbers of apsaras. The ocean offered him honours and a place to reside in. He is immersed in yoga there, praised by the teachers of samkhya. For the deliverance of the three worlds, the self-controlled one is there. O son! O unblemished one! I have told you what you asked about, the sacred conversation between Kapila and Devahuti. If one hears this, or narrates this, about the sage Kapila’s secret views on the yoga of the atman, his intelligence becomes fixed on the illustrious one, with Suparna on his standard. He obtains the illustrious one’s lotus feet.”’

This ends the Third Skandha.

The Bhagavata Purana 1

Fourth Skandha

Chapter 4(1): 66 shlokas

Chapter 4(2): 35 shlokas

Chapter 4(3): 25 shlokas

Chapter 4(4): 34 shlokas

Chapter 4(5): 26 shlokas

Chapter 4(6): 53 shlokas

Chapter 4(7): 61 shlokas

Chapter 4(8): 82 shlokas

Chapter 4(9): 68 shlokas

Chapter 4(10): 30 shlokas

Chapter 4(11): 35 shlokas

Chapter 4(12): 52 shlokas

Chapter 4(13): 49 shlokas

Chapter 4(14): 46 shlokas

Chapter 4(15): 26 shlokas

Chapter 4(16): 27 shlokas

Chapter 4(17): 36 shlokas

Chapter 4(18): 32 shlokas

Chapter 4(19): 42 shlokas

Chapter 4(20): 38 shlokas

Chapter 4(21): 52 shlokas

Chapter 4(22): 63 shlokas

Chapter 4(23): 39 shlokas

Chapter 4(24): 80 shlokas

Chapter 4(25): 62 shlokas

Chapter 4(26): 27 shlokas

Chapter 4(27): 30 shlokas

Chapter 4(28): 65 shlokas

Chapter 4(29): 87 shlokas

Chapter 4(30): 51 shlokas

Chapter 4(31): 31 shlokasChapter 4(1)

‘Maitreya said, “Through Shatarupa, Manu had three daughters. They were known as Akuti, Devahuti and Prasuti. Though Akuti had brothers, with Shatarupa’s permission, the king bestowed her on Ruchi, on the condition that putrika dharma should be followed. 1186 The illustrious Prajapati, Ruchi, was full of the radiance of the brahman, because of his supreme meditation. Through her, he had offspring who were twins. Of these, the male was Vishnu himself, the one who assumes the form of a sacrifice. The female was Dakshina. 1187 She was a portion of the goddess of riches, the one who is never separated. 1188 Svayambhu Manu brought his daughter’s son, full of great beauty, to his own home, while Ruchi happily accepted Dakshina. She desired him 1189 and the illustrious Yajna, the lord of sacrifices, married her. Satisfied with her, he had twelve sons through her. These twelve were Tosha, Pratosha, Santosha, Bhadra, Shanti, Idaspati, Idhma, Kavi, Vibhu, Svahna, Sudeva and Rochana. During Svayambhuva manvantara, they were the gods, named Tushitas. Marichi and the others were the rishis and Yajna was the lord of the large number of gods. 1190 Manu’s two sons, Priyavrata and Uttanapada, were greatly energetic. During that period, their sons, grandsons through sons, grandsons through daughters and subsequent descendants proliferated. O son! Manu bestowed his daughter, Devahuti, on Kardama. I have already spoken to you about them and you have heard it. The illustrious Manu bestowed Prasuti on Daksha, Brahma’s son. The large number of his descendants spread throughout the three worlds. I have already told you about Kardama’s nine daughters, who became the wives of brahmana rishis. I will now tell you about their sons and grandsons. Listen to me. Kardama’s daughter, Kala, was Marichi’s wife and she had children known as Kashyapa and Purniman. Their descendants filled the world. O scorcher of enemies! Purniman’s sons were Viraja and Vishvaga. His 1191 daughter, Devakulya, washed Hari’s feet and became the celestial river. 1192 Anasuya, Atri’s wife, gave birth to three extremely famous sons—Datta, Durvasa and Soma. They were born from the atman, Isha and Brahma.” 1193

‘Vidura asked, “What was the reason for these best among the gods, the cause of creation, preservation and destruction, to be born in Atri’s house? O preceptor! They must have been born because they desired to do something. Please tell me.”

‘Maitreya replied, “Atri, supreme among those who knew about the brahman, was urged by Brahma to create. With his wife, he went to the kulachala Riksha and started to perform austerities. 1194 There were clusters of palasha and ashoka flowers in the groves there. In every direction, there was the sound of water flowing along River Nirvindhya. 1195 For one hundred years, the sage controlled his mind and engaged in pranayama. He stood on one foot and was without the opposite pair of sentiments. He survived on air. He thought, ‘O lord of the universe! I seek refuge with you. Please grant me a son who is exactly like you.’ The three worlds were scorched. Because of the pranayama, a fire emerged from the sage’s head and the three 1196 witnessed its powers. The three, whose fame was praised by apsaras, sages, gandharvas, Siddhas, vidyadharas and serpents, went to the hermitage. The sage’s mind was illuminated by their simultaneous appearance. On seeing the bulls among the gods, he stood up on that one leg. He prostrated himself on the ground before the ones who should be worshipped, like a rod, and with his hands joined in salutation. They were respectively on a bull, a swan and Suparna, 1197 and had their own respective signs. Their glances were favourable and their smiling faces were satisfied. Dazzled by their radiance, the sage closed his eyes. His mind was fixed on them and his hands were joined in salutation. In gentle words, he prayed to those who were the greatest in the worlds. Atri said, ‘You have divided up the task of the creation, the preservation and the destruction of the universe. Depending on the yuga, you use the attributes of maya to assume different forms. O Brahma, Vishnu and Girisha! I bow down before you. You are the ones who have come here because I have invoked you. For the sake of a son, I used different methods to concentrate on the single illustrious one. It is a great surprise to me that all of you have come here. It is impossible for the minds of embodied beings to perceive you. Show me your favours and tell me about this.’ O lord! Hearing his words, those bulls among the gods laughed. In gentle words, they replied to the rishi. The gods said, ‘O brahmana! It shall be as you have desired it and not contrary to it. You are right in your determination. We are the one you have meditated upon. O dear one! O beloved one! Therefore, our portions will be born as your sons and they will be famous in the worlds. They will also extend your fame.’ Having granted the desired boon, the lords of the gods, who had been worshipped properly, departed while the couple looked on. Soma was born from Brahma’s portion, Datta, who knew about yoga, from Vishnu and Durvasa from Shankara’s portion. Now hear about the offspring of Angiras. Shraddha, Angiras’s wife, had four daughters—Sinivali, Kuhu, Raka and Anumati as the fourth. 1198 He also had two other sons, famous during the Svarochisha manvantara—Utathya, who was the illustrious one himself, and Brihaspati, who knew about the brahman. Through his wife Havirbhu, Pulastya had a son named Agastya, who used to be Daharagni 1199 in another birth, and the great ascetic, Vishrava. Through him and Idavida, 1200 were born the sons Kubera, the god who was the lord of the yakshas, Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Vibhishana, through another wife. 1201 O immensely intelligent one! The virtuous Gati, Pulaha’s wife, had three sons—Karmashreshtha, Variyan and Sahishnu. Kratu’s wife, Kriya, gave birth to the valakhilya rishis. There were sixty thousand of them and they blazed with the energy of the brahman. O scorcher of enemies! Through Urja, 1202 Vasishtha had seven unblemished sons who were brahmana rishis, Chitraketu being the foremost. They were Chitraketu, Surochi, Viraja, Mitra, Ulbana, Vasubhridyan and Dyuman. Through another wife, his sons were Shakti and the others. Chitti, Atharvan’s wife, obtained a son who was firm in his vows. He was Dadhichi or Ashvashira. Now hear from me about Bhrigu’s lineage. Through his wife, Khyati, the immensely fortunate Bhrigu had two sons named Dhatri and Vidhatri. He also had a daughter, Shri, who was devoted to the illustrious one. Meru bestowed his daughters, Ayati and Niyati, on these two sons and Mrikanda and Prana were born from them. 1203 Markandeya was Mrikanda’s son and the sage Vedashira was Prana’s son. Kavi, from the Bhrigu lineage, had the illustrious Ushanas 1204 as a son. O Kshatta! All these sages populated the world with their offspring. I have spoken to you about Kardama’s descendants through his daughters. If one faithfully listens to this account, all great sins are instantly destroyed. Daksha, Aja’s son, 1205 married Prasuti, Manu’s daughter. Through her, he had sixteen daughters whose eyes were unblemished. The lord bestowed thirteen of these on Dharma and one on Agni. One was bestowed on all the ancestors combined. One was bestowed on Bhava, 1206 who removes the afflictions of the world. Shraddha, Maitri, Daya, Shanti, Tushti, Pushti, Kriya, Unnati, Buddhi, Medha, Titiksha, Hri and Murti—these were Dharma’s wives. Shraddha’s son was Shubha, Maitri’s was Prasada, Daya’s was Abhaya, Shanti’s was Sukha, Tushti’s was Muda, Pushti’s was Smaya, Kriya’s was Yoga, Unnati’s was Darpa, Buddhi’s was Artha, Medha’s was Smriti, Titiksha’s was Kshema and Murti’s was Prashraya. Murti, a store of all the qualities, also gave birth to the two rishis, Nara and Narayana. When these two were born, the universe was filled with great delight. The minds, directions, winds, rivers and mountains were pleased. Celestial trumpets were sounded and showers of flowers rained down. The sages uttered words of praise. Gandharvas and kinnaras sang words of praise. Divine women danced and there were excellent auspicious signs. All the gods, Brahma and the others, assembled and uttered words of praise. The gods said, ‘He has fashioned everything with his own maya, just as all these forms have appeared in the sky. He has now appeared in the forms of the rishis in Dharma’s house. We bow down to the supreme Purusha. He is the one who is responsible for creation, calamities and destruction. He has used sattva to create the large number of gods and he can be perceived through the tattvas. His merciful glances are full of compassion and surpass the lotus, the unblemished abode of Shri.’ O son! In this way, the illustrious one was praised by the large number of gods. Having been worshipped and having glanced favourably at them, they left for Gandhamadana. Those two illustrious ones manifested themselves as Hari’s portions. For the sake of reducing the earth’s burden, they were born as the two Krishnas, the extenders of the Yadu and Kuru lineages. 1207 Through his wife, Svaha, Agni had three sons—Pavaka, Pavamana and Shuchi. They preside over the fire and subsist on the oblations that are offered. Through them, Agni had forty-five descendants. Thus, including the grandfather and the fathers, there are forty-nine. Those who know about the brahman offer oblations into the fire in their names. These divinities of the fire are the objective in agneya rites and sacrifices. The ancestors are Agnishvatta, Barhishad, Soumya and Ajyapa. 1208 Some receive oblations through the sacrificial fire, others without the sacrificial fire. Their common wife is Svadha, Daksha’s daughter. The maiden who was bestowed on them 1209 had two daughters, Vayuna and Dharini. Both of them were knowledgeable about the brahman and were accomplished in jnana and vijnana. Bhava’s wife was Sati and she followed the god Bhava. However, she could not obtain a son who was like him in qualities and conduct. Her father was against the innocent Bhava and in rage, while she was still young, she engaged in yoga and gave up her body.”’Chapter 4(2)

‘Vidura asked, “Bhava was best among those who possessed good conduct and Daksha was affectionate towards his daughter. Why did he hate him and neglect his own daughter, Sati? He is the preceptor of mobile and immobile objects. He shows no enmity and is tranquil in his attitude. He is satisfied within himself. He is a great divinity to the world. Why did he hate him? O brahmana! Tell me about the reason for the enmity between the father-in-law and son-in-law, which led Sati to give up her life, something that is very difficult to give up.”

‘Maitreya replied, “In ancient times, the creators of the universe 1210 performed a sacrifice where all the supreme rishis assembled. All the large number of immortals, along with their followers, and the sages, with their sacrificial fires, went there. The rishis saw him 1211 enter that great assembly, blazing like the rays of the sun. His radiance dispelled the darkness. Their senses were overwhelmed and those who were at the assembly, including the sacrificial fires, arose from their seats. The sole exceptions were Virinchi and Sharva. 1212 The illustrious Daksha was properly honoured by the lords of the assembly. He bowed down before Aja, the preceptor of the worlds, and taking his permission, sat down. He saw that Mrida 1213 was already seated and did not show him respect. Unable to tolerate this, he looked at him with an adverse glance in his eyes, as if to burn him down. He said, ‘O brahmana rishis, gods and sacrificial fires! Listen to me. I am speaking about virtuous conduct and this is not because of ignorance or envy. This one is shameless and has diminished the fame of the guardians of the worlds. He has defiled and deviated from the path followed by those who are virtuous in conduct. Since he has accepted my daughter, he is like my disciple. In front of brahmanas and the sacrificial fire, behaving like a virtuous person, he accepted the hand of my daughter, who is like Savitri. His eyes are like those of a monkey, but he accepted the hand of someone who has the eyes of a fawn. Though I deserved it, he did not stand up and honour me. Nor did he address me with appropriate words. He does not follow the rites. He is impure. He is insolent and violates the norms. I bestowed this child on him unwillingly, like conferring sacred words 1214 on a shudra. He resides with terrible pretas. 1215 He is surrounded by large numbers of pretas and bhutas. He wanders around naked, like one who is mad. His hair is dishevelled. Sometimes, he laughs. And sometimes, he cries. He bathes himself in the ash from cremation grounds. He garlands himself with skulls and bones from the dead bodies of men. He is spoken of as Shiva, but is not Shiva. 1216 He is mad and is loved by people who are mad. He is the lord of large numbers of pramathas and those who have immersed themselves only in tamas. He is the lord of those who are crazy. He destroys purity and is evil in his heart. Urged by Parameshthi, 1217 I bestowed this virtuous one on him.’ Daksha censured Girisha, who sat quietly, in his way.

‘“He then touched water and started to angrily curse him. ‘This Bhava is worst among the large number of gods. When there are sacrifices to the gods, the gods, Indra, Upendra and the others, obtain their shares. But he will not get a share.’ The foremost among those who were at the assembly tried to restrain him. However, Daksha invoked this curse on the lord of the mountains. O Kouravya! With increasing intolerance, he left and went to his own residence. Nandishvara, foremost among those who followed Girisha, got to know about his curse and he became blind with rage. He invoked a terrible curse on Daksha and on the brahmanas who had approved the words spoken against Shiva. ‘The illustrious one does not bear enmity towards anyone. Therefore, if any mortal person hates him, his insight will be coloured by differentiation and he will not realize the truth. He will be addicted to the deceitful dharma of a householder and will desire to engage in ordinary sensual pleasures. His intelligence will be lost in what is said about the Vedas and he will engage in tasks for the sake of the fruits. Daksha is an animal. He has forgotten the nature of the atman and has accepted the body to be supreme. He will be excessively addicted to women and will soon have the head of a goat. His knowledge and intelligence are clouded by ignorance. He is dumb and thinks that everything is about rites. Those who follow him and disrespect Sharva will circle around in samsara. Those who hate Hara will be attracted to the flowery words of the sacred texts and will repeatedly churn those fragrant scents. However, they will be confounded and will not be able to churn their own atmans. The brahmanas will eat everything. They will resort to learning, austerities and vows only for the sake of maintaining themselves. They will roam around and beg in this world, seeking wealth and the gratification of the senses in their bodies.’ On hearing the words invoking a curse on the lineage of brahmanas, Bhrigu invoked a counter-curse. Like Brahma’s staff, this was impossible to violate. ‘If a person adopts Bhava’s vows, or follows those who do so, that person will be a heretic. 1218 His path will be contrary to the virtuous one. He will lose all purity. His intelligence will be foolish. His hair will be matted and he will decorate himself with ashes and bones. He will consecrate himself for worshipping Shiva and sura and asava will be his divinities. 1219 Since you have censured the Vedas and brahmanas and the ordinances meant to direct men, you have resorted to the way of heretics. This 1220 is the eternal and auspicious path for the worlds. It has been followed earlier and Janardana has laid down the yardstick for it. This is the eternal and virtuous path for attaining the pure and supreme brahman. By condemning it, you will become a heretic. For them, the king of the bhutas is the divinity.’ When Bhrigu was uttering this curse, the illustrious Bhava, somewhat distressed in his mind, left the place, along with his followers. The creators of the worlds continued with the sacrifice, which lasted for one thousand years. O great archer! At this, the bull, Hari, was worshipped. After this, they bathed at the confluence of the Ganga and the Yamuna. Thus purifying themselves, all of them returned to their own abodes, where they had come from.”’Chapter 4(3)

‘Maitreya said, “In this way, the enmity between the son-in-law and the father-in-law constantly continued for an extremely long period of time. Brahma Parameshthi instated Daksha as lord over all the Prajapatis and he became conceited. He disregarded those who knew about the the state of the brahman 1221 and performed a vajapeya sacrifice. After this, he started an excellent sacrifice known as brihaspati-sava. At this, all the brahmana rishis, all the divine rishis and the ancestors and the gods were welcomed with auspicious benedictions, and along with the husbands the wives also came. While travelling through the sky, they conversed about this. Thus, the goddess Sati, Daksha’s daughter, came to know about the great festivities on the occasion of her father’s sacrifice. All of them, the women of the minor divinities, were headed there from all the directions. With golden necklaces and excellent garments, they were proceeding in their vimanas, along with their husbands. With polished earrings and beautiful eyes, they passed above her own residence. On seeing this, she anxiously went to her husband, the lord of the bhutas, and spoke to him. Sati said, ‘Prajapati, your father-in-law, has now started great festivities in connection with a sacrifice. O beloved! The gods are going there. If you so desire, let us also go there. Wishing to meet their well-wishers, I am certain that my sisters are also going there, along with their husbands. With you, I also wish to receive the presents that will be given there. My sisters are respected by their husbands. My mother’s sisters and my beloved mother will be there. O Mrida! My mind is anxious to meet them and see the flags raised by the maharshis at the sacrifice there. O Aja! 1222 Through your own maya, you have manifested everything, consisting of the three gunas. But I am an ordinary woman who does not know about the truth. O Bhava! I am miserable and wish to see the place where I was born. O one without birth! Behold those other women proceeding in large numbers, ornamented and decorated, and with their husbands and friends. O Shitikantha! 1223 They are proceeding through the sky in the vimanas, like a flock of white swans that are calling. O noble god! After hearing about a festival in her father’s house, how can the body of a daughter not be agitated? Even if not invited, people go to the houses of their well-wishers, husbands, preceptors and fathers. O immortal one! I desire this boon from you. O lord! You should show me this compassion. I am located in half of your own self and you possess unrestricted insight. I wish that you should show me this kindness.’ The lord of the mountain was thus addressed by his beloved.

‘“Affectionate towards his well-wishers, he laughed and replied. However, he remembered the wicked and malicious words that pierced the inner organs, uttered in front of the creators of the worlds. The illustrious one replied, ‘O beautiful one! What you have spoken is indeed true. Even if uninvited, one should go to one’s relatives, as long as their outlook is not tainted by an intent to find fault. Anger and arrogance can be stronger than relationships. Learning, austerities, wealth, physical beauty, youth and lineage are six good qualities for the virtuous, but not for those who are perverse and wicked. Because of their arrogance, they cannot see the superiority of others. One should disregard such relatives. If one does not wish to be disturbed, one should not go to their houses. They will look upon visitors with a crooked intelligence. Their eyebrows will be furrowed and their eyes will be intolerant. If a person is hurt by the stone-headed arrows of enemies, one is not hurt as much as one is by the wicked words spoken by a relative who is crooked in intelligence. One then lies down, afflicted in all one’s limbs, and with one’s heart grieving. With the inner organs suffering, one is tormented day and night. O one with the beautiful eyebrows! It is evident that amongst Prajapati’s daughters, you are loved because of your good behaviour. But it is my view that because of your relationship with me, about which he repents, you will receive no honour from your father. If the heart burns with wickedness and if the senses are afflicted at the prosperity of those who possess the intelligence to behold the Purusha, because of one’s own inability, one hates people who can use their energy to rise to the supreme state, just as asuras hate Hari. O slender-waisted one! Mutual rising up, welcoming and obeisance is indeed recommended for the virtuous. However, wise people who possess the intelligence only do it for the one who is inside all hearts, and not for those who take pride in the body. He is pure sattva and is spoken of as Vasudeva. In sattva, the illustrious Purusha, Vasudeva, is manifested in his unveiled form. I think it is proper that I should bow down to Adhokshaja. That being the case, you should not look at Daksha and those who follow him, even though he gave you your body. Daksha is envious of me. O one with the beautiful thighs! At the sacrifice of the creators of the universe, even though I was innocent, he uttered vile words against me. If you disregard my words and go there, I do not think anything good will come out of it. When a respected person is insulted by one’s own relatives, it is described as instant death.’”’Chapter 4(4)

‘Maitreya said, “After saying this, Shankara stopped. In either case, 1224 he thought about the possibility of his wife’s death. She wished to see her well-wishers, but was uncertain. She left, but returned to Bhava. She was caught in two minds. She was miserable that she would be prevented from seeing her well-wishers. Because of her affection, she wept. She was distressed and tears began to flow. She glanced towards the unmatched Bhava and, trembling, glanced at him in rage, as if she would burn him down. With her heart shattered by sorrow and rage, Sati sighed and left him. Her feminine nature made her lose her judgement. She abandoned the beloved and virtuous one, who had affectionately given her half of his body, and went to her father’s house. When Sati left alone, thousands of the three-eyed one’s followers, the yakshas Maniman and Mada, with their followers, and with the Indra among bulls 1225 at the forefront, swiftly followed, quick in their valour and without any distress. They made her sit on the Indra among bulls, who was decorated. There were sarikas, 1226 balls, 1227 mirrors, lotus flowers, a white umbrella, whisks and garlands. There was singing and music from drums, conch shells and flutes. The sacrificial arena was ornamented with sounds of the brahman being chanted by large numbers of brahmana rishis. There were gods in every direction. There were sacrificial vessels made out of clay, wood, iron and gold and darbha grass and hides were laid out. She entered. The people were scared of the performer of the sacrifice. 1228 Therefore, when she arrived, no one received and honoured her, with the exception of her sisters and mother. With eyes and throats full of affectionate tears, they respectfully welcomed her and joyfully embraced her. She saw that there was no share of the sacrifice meant for Rudra and that her father had ignored the lord and god. The goddess was herself ignored at the sacrificial assembly. Therefore, she became angry, as if she would burn down the worlds in her rage.

‘“The large number of bhutas sprang up. But, using her own energy, she restrained them. In the hearing of the universe, in a voice that stuttered because of her rage, she condemned the one who hated Shiva, the one who had resorted to the path of the smoke. 1229 The illustrious goddess said, ‘He is extremely loved by the worlds. Those who possess bodies love him as much as they love themselves. He is in all atmans and is free from enmity. Barring you, who will be envious of him? O brahmana! Barring you, who will search for taints in the virtuous qualities of others? Good people play down small faults and magnify qualities, while the greatest ignore the faults. However, you only find faults. 1230 Among those wicked ones who look upon this inert body as the atman, it is not surprising that there should be this condemnation of the great. Indeed, this is good, because their own energy is thus diminished by the dust on the feet of those great beings. His deeds are sacred and his commands are inviolate. Even if the two aksharas in his name 1231 are inadvertently uttered by men once, they instantly destroy all sin. Alas! Because you hate Shiva, you have become worse than auspicious. He is a friend to the universe. Like bees, great ones who desire to savour the essence of the brahman seek out his lotus feet in their minds. However, he is the one you hate. You say that Shiva is inauspicious, but others do not think that. His dishevelled hair is matted. He smears himself with ashes from cremation grounds and wears garlands of human skulls. He resides with pishachas. But Brahma and the others touch what has fallen from his feet with their heads. If wicked people vilify the lord, one must block one’s ears. If unable to do so, one must leave. He is the one who protects the path of dharma. If men show him disrespect, if one is able, one must forcibly sever those tongues and even give up one’s life in the process. You have censured Shitikantha. Therefore, I will not retain this body, which has been obtained from you. It is said that if one is blinded and has imbibed poision ignorantly, it must be vomited out. Great sages find delight in their own selves and do not have to follow the views of what is stated in the Vedas. Just as the paths followed by gods and men are different, one should follow one’s own dharma and not criticize others. It is true that karma can be driven by pravritti or nivritti. The signs of both have been described in the Vedas. But the signs of both cannot simultaneously be found in the same agent. However, if a person is immersed in the brahman, he need not undertake either kind of action. O father! You should not be arrogant about your prosperity, this sacrificial arena, or the path of the smoke. Nor should one be satisfied and praise the food from sacrifices, enhancing the body. The signs of what avadhutas obtain are not manifest. Enough of this body, obtained from someone like you, who has injured Hara. Enough is enough. I am ashamed because I was created from a wicked person. Shame on this birth from a vile person who reviles the great. The illustrious one, with the bull on his banner, refers to your gotra and calls me Dakshayani. 1232 This causes great distress to me. I instantly lose my joy and my smiles. I will give up this inert body that has been obtained from your limbs.’ O slayer of enemies! In the sacrificial arena, she spoke to Daksha in this way. She silently sat down on the ground and faced the northern direction. Attired in yellow garments, she touched water. Closing her eyes, she immersed herself in the path of yoga. She controlled her posture and brought equilibrium in her breath of life. 1233 She made udana rise up from the chakra at the navel, 1234 gradually brought it up and used her intelligence to stabilize it near the heart. The unblemished one then raised it up through the throat to in between the eyebrows. Her body repeatedly rested on the lap of the greatest among the great. 1235 Because of her anger at Daksha, the spirited one wished to give it up. She used dharana to generate wind and fire in her body. She thought about the intoxicating lotus feet of her husband, the preceptor of the worlds, and about no one else. Sati saw that all the impurities in her body had been destroyed. That samadhi instantly ignited a blazing fire. On seeing that great and extraordinary sight, extremely great sounds of lamentation arose in the firmament and on earth. ‘Alas! Enraged at him, the goddess, loved by the god, has given up her life. Alas! Behold the great disregard by Prajapati, the creator of mobile and immobile objects. Because of that dishonour, his daughter, Sati, has given up her life. The spirited one sought the respect that she deserved. With extreme intolerance in his heart, this one is a hater of the brahman. He will reap great ill repute in the worlds. Because of his crime of hatred towards Purusha, his own daughter prepared to die, but he did not restrain her.’ Witnessing Sati’s extraordinary act of giving up her own body, people spoke in this way.

‘“Her attendants raised their weapons and rushed towards Daksha, intending to kill him. The illustrious Bhrigu saw that they were descending with force. Desiring to kill those who were going to destroy the sacrifice, he used hymns from the Yajur Veda to offer oblations into the dakshinagni. 1236 When the adhvaryu offered these oblations, thousands of gods named Ribhus manifested themselves. They were powerful, possessing their energy from the austerities of the soma sacrifice. They raised flaming firebrands as weapons and using their brahmana energy, slaughtered and routed the pramathas and guhyakas in different directions.”’Chapter 4(5)

‘Maitreya said, “From Narada, Bhava got to know that Bhavani 1237 had died because of the dishonour shown by Prajapati and that his own attendants and soldiers had been driven away from the sacrificial arena by the Ribhus. He was filled with great rage. Dhurjati 1238 bit his lips in anger. Rudra rose up violently and laughed loudly. He plucked out a lock from his matted hair, fierce like the fire and blazing like lightning, and flung it down on the ground. An extremely gigantic being arose and he seemed to touch the firmament. 1239 He possessed one thousand arms and was as dark as a cloud. His three eyes blazed like the sun. His teeth were terrible and the hair on his head flamed like the fire. He wore a garland made out of skulls and held up many kinds of weapons. He joined his hands in salutation and asked, ‘O illustrious one! What will I do?’ The lord of the bhutas replied, ‘O Rudra! O soldier! You are my portion and are foremost among my soldiers. Destroy Daksha and his sacrifice.’ Thus commanded by the angry and intolerant lord, he circumambulated the god of the gods. O son! He took himself to be a part of his powers and therefore, able to withstand the greatest. He was followed by Rudra’s attendants, who roared loudly. He himself roared in an extremely terrible voice. He raised his trident, which was capable of even destroying the destroyer of the universe. 1240 With the ornaments on his feet announcing his arrival, he rushed forth.

‘“The officiating priest, the performer of the sacrifice 1241 and those at the assembly saw a storm of dust in the northern direction. ‘What darkness is this? Where has this storm of dust come from?’ The brahmanas and the wives of the brahmanas speculated in this way. ‘The winds are not blowing. Nor can these be bandits, since Prachinabarchi, 1242 whose staff of chastisement is terrible, is still alive. Nor is this the time for cows to be driven home. Where has this dust come from? Is it time for the worlds to head towards destruction?’ The women, with Prasuti 1243 as the foremost, were anxious in their minds. They said, ‘This is a calamity that has been brought about by his sin. While her sisters looked on, the lord of subjects insulted his innocent daughter, Sati. At the time of destruction, his 1244 matted and dishevelled hair is spread around. He uses his trident to pierce the Indras among elephants who are in charge of the directions. He dances, with his hands, which are like standards, holding up his weapons. He laughs loudly and the thunder of that sound shatters the directions. When he is intolerant, his energy is impossible to withstand. When he is overcome with rage and knits his eyebrows, he is impossible to behold. His terrible teeth scatter the stellar bodies. When the lord is enraged, even Vidhatri 1245 cannot ensure good fortune.’ Glancing in agitation, the people uttered many such words. Ominous and fearful portents repeatedly appeared in their thousands, from all sides in the sky and on earth, signifying calamity to Daksha and to themselves.

‘“O child! At that time, the great sacrificial arena was attacked by Rudra’s attendants. There were dwarves wielding many kinds of weapons. There were others wielding many kinds of weapons and they were brownish and darkish in complexion. Their faces and stomachs were like makaras. O Vidura! They ran around and surrounded the place from all sides. Some shattered the pillars towards the east, others the quarters meant for the wives. Still others devastated the assembly hall, the storehouse for sacrificial offerings, the residence of the performer of the sacrifice and the large kitchen. Some broke the sacrificial vessels, others extinguished the sacrificial fire. Some urinated on the sacrificial pits. Some destroyed the boundaries around the sacrificial altar. Some bound the sages, others threatened their wives. Some seized the gods who were nearby and were trying to run away. Maniman tied up Bhrigu and Virabhadra tied up Prajapati. Chandisha tied up the god Pushan and Nandishvara seized Bhaga. All the officiating priests, all those assembled at the sacrifice and all the residents of heaven saw this. They suffered a great deal from the stones that were hurled at them and fled in different directions. In the middle of the assembly, Bhrigu had laughed, brandishing his beard. 1246 Therefore, the illustrious Bhava 1247 plucked out his beard, while he was using the sacrificial ladle to offer oblations. In rage, the illustrious one flung Bhaga down on the ground and plucked out his eyes, because in the middle of the assembly, he had moved his eyes and encouraged Daksha while he was cursing. While the great one 1248 was being cursed, Pushan had smiled, displaying his teeth. Therefore, he 1249 extracted his teeth, just as Bala had done to Kalinga. 1250 After this, Tryambaka 1251 sat down on Daksha’s chest and tried to sever his head with a sharp-edged weapon. But he was unsuccessful. Hara Pashupati 1252 again tried to sever it with weapons invoked with mantras. However, the skin was tough and couldn’t be cut. He was extremely surprised and thought for a long time. The lord of animals 1253 then noticed the way animals were slaughtered on the sacrificial stake. He used this to sever the head from the body of the one performing the sacrifice. 1254 On beholding this deed, the bhutas, pretas and pishachas applauded, while the others lamented the calamity. Full of rage, he then offered the head as an oblation into the dakshinagni. Having burnt down the sacrificial arena, he left for the abode of the guhyakas.”’ 1255Chapter 4(6)

‘Maitreya said, “All the large number of gods were defeated by Rudra’s soldiers. All their limbs were severed and mangled by spears, lances, swords, maces, bludgeons and clubs. Filled with fear, the officiating priests and those at the assembly went and bowed down before Svayambhu. They told him everything. The illustrious one, born from the lotus, and Narayana, the atman of the universe, had already seen that this would happen. Therefore, they did not go to the sacrifice. Hearing this, the lord said, ‘An offence has been perpetrated against a more energetic person. In general, if one does this, one can never obtain peace. You have committed a crime against Bhava. He was entitled to a share in the sacrifice, but you excluded him. With purified hearts, you should go to his lotus feet and seek his favours. He is quickly propitiated. You hope that the sacrifice should be revived. However, if he is angry, the worlds and their guardians will not exist. You should swiftly beg his forgiveness. His heart has been pierced by harsh words and the god has recently lost his beloved. I, Yajna, 1256 you, others, those who possess material bodies and the sages do not know the true measure of his strength and energy. He is self-dependent. Who but he can think of a means?’ Aja instructed the gods in this way.

‘“He took them, the ancestors and the Prajapatis with him and left his own residence to go to that of the enemy of Pura. 1257 This was Kailasa, supreme among mountains, and loved by the lord. This is the birthplace of herbs and is enjoyed by Siddhas and others by virtue of their austerities, mantras and yoga. It is always inhabited and surrounded by kinnaras, gandharvas and apsaras. The summits are made out of many kinds of gems and are coloured with diverse kinds of minerals. There are many kinds of trees, creepers and shrubs. It is surrounded by many kinds of animals. There are many sparkling waterfalls. There are diverse kinds of caverns and peaks. It is a place for pleasure and Siddha women sport there, along with their lovers. There are the sounds of peacocks calling. There is the humming of intoxicated and senseless bees. There is the singing of cuckoos and the chirping of birds. Trees that yield every object of desire raise up their lofty branches, like hands, and seem to summon the birds. Elephants seem to make the mountain whirl and the waterfalls seem to make it sing. It is adorned with trees like mandara, parijata, sarala, tamala, shala, tala, kovidara, asana, arjuna, chuta, kadamba, nipa, naga, punnaga, champaka, patala, ashoka, bakula, kunda and kurabaka. 1258 There were golden-hued lotuses of a species with excellent pollen and the place was decorated with kubjas, 1259, mallikas 1260 and madhavis. 1261 There were trees like jackfruit, udumbara, 1262 ashvattha, 1263 plaksha, 1264 nyagrodha, 1265 fennel plants, birch, herbs, areca nuts, areca nut palms and jambus. There were date palms, hog plum trees, mango trees, chironji trees, 1266 madhukas 1267 and ingudas. 1268 There were other kinds of trees and it was bright with bamboos and hollow reeds. There were many kinds of lotuses—kumudas, utpalas and shatapatras. Along the shores of the lakes, full of lotuses, there were the pleasant sounds of flocks of birds singing. There were deer, monkeys, boar, lions, bears, gavayas, 1269 sharabhas, 1270 ruru antelopes, buffaloes and other animals. There were animals with their ears near their entrails, with one leg, with faces like horses, and wolves and musk deer. The sandy shores of the lakes were beautiful because of clumps of plantain trees. It was surrounded by the Nanda, with the waters rendered sacred because Sati had bathed there. Beholding this mountain of the lord of the mountains, the gods were filled with wonder. There, they saw the beautiful city known as Alaka. There was a grove named Sougandhika 1271 and the lotuses in it had the same name. The two rivers, Nanda and Alakananda, flowed outside the city. They were sanctified by the dust raised from the lotus feet of the one whose feet are tirthas. 1272 O Kshatta! When their desires are exhausted, celestial women descend from their own vehicles and sport there. They immerse themselves and sprinkle their men with water. When they go and bathe there, the fresh kunkuma powder falls from their bodies and turns the water saffron. Even if they are not thirsty, the male and female elephants drink this water. There are hundreds of vimanas, made out of silver, gold and extremely expensive jewels. The wives of sacred people assemble there, making it look like the sky, with clouds tinged with lightning. They passed beyond the city of the lord of the yakshas 1273 and Sougandhika forest, filled with trees that yielded every object of desire and colourful garlands, fruits and leaves. There were many red-necked birds 1274 that sang sweetly and there was the melodious humming of bees. There was the calling of the best among swans and there were beds of lotuses in the waterbodies. The wind bore the scent of yellow sandalwood and agitated the wild elephants, which rubbed themselves against each other. Thoughts of desire again sprung up in the minds of the wives of the sacred people. The lakes had steps that were made out of lapis lazuli and there were garlands of lotuses. It was inhabited by kimpurushas.

‘“After seeing this, not very far away, they saw a banyan tree. It was one hundred yojanas in height. Its branches extended for seventy-five yojanas. The shade always extended in every direction. Therefore, there was no heat and there were no nests. This was a tree where people engaged in great yoga, the refuge of those who sought emancipation. The gods saw Shiva, who had abandoned his rage, seated there, like Death. Tranquil in his form, he was tended to by serene and great Siddhas, Sanandana and the others. He was being worshipped by his friend, the master of the guhyakas and the rakshasas. 1275 The lord of intelligence and knowledge was immersed in the path of yoga. Because of his affection and desire to ensure the welfare of the worlds, the friend of the universe was practising it. His signs were those desired by ascetics—ashes, a staff, matted hair and deer hide. The complexion of his body was like that of an evening cloud. The crescent moon dazzled on his forehead. He was seated on a mat of darbha grass and was speaking to Narada, who had asked, about the eternal brahman, while other virtuous ones listened. The left one of his lotus feet was placed on his right thigh and his left hand was on his left knee. 1276 A garland of rudraksha beads was around his right wrist and he was seated in tarka mudra. 1277 He was in samadhi, in a position of nirvana and being one with the brahman. Girisha had the support of a yogakaksha. 1278 The guardians of the world and the sages joined their hands in salutation and bowed down before the one who was the first thinker among all thinkers.

‘“He saw that the one who created himself 1279 had come, along with the gods and the lord of the gods. 1280 The one who is worshipped arose and bowed down to them by lowering his head, like the revered Vishnu did to Kashyapa. 1281 After this, the large number of Siddhas and the maharshis who were all around Nilalohita also bowed down. After he had been worshipped, the one who created himself smilingly spoke to the one who had the moon on his forehead. Brahma said, ‘I know you as the lord of the universe. You are both the womb and the seed of the universe. You are Shakti and Shiva and the eternal brahman. O illustrious one! Both Shiva and Shakti are your own forms. Just as a spider plays with its web, you create, preserve and destroy the universe. Through Daksha’s sacrifice, you have instituted a system for milking sacrifices, so that dharma and artha can be protected. It is you who have determined the ordinances revered by brahmanas who are firm in their vows. O auspicious one! You are the one who expands and confers the world of heaven, and worlds that are superior to heaven, on those who perform auspicious deeds. For those who perform inauspicious deeds, you assign the terrible tamisra. Why should there be anything contrary to this? 1282 Virtuous ones who have completely surrendered themselves to you see you in everything and do not differentiate between beings. However, there are also beings who differentiate between others and their own selves. Like animals, they generally succumb to rage. 1283 Those who are differentiated in their intelligence perform such acts. Such wicked people always harbour anger in their hearts at the prosperity of others. By using harsh and piercing words, they cause pain to others. There is no need for someone like you to kill them. They have been killed by destiny. There are some who suffer from the insurmountable maya of the one with the lotus in his navel. Touched by this, their intelligence is differentiated. If someone acts in this way, he deserves pity, because this is due to destiny. Virtuous ones show compassion towards such a person and do not use force against him. O one who can see everything! Your intelligence has not been touched by the insurmountable maya of the supreme Purusha. But they have been destroyed by this. Their minds follow the path of action for fruits. O lord! You should show them your own favours. O intelligent one! Let Prajapati’s destroyed sacrifice be revived. Inferior priests did not offer you a share, though you deserve a share when the sacrifice is completed. Let the performer of the sacrifice become alive again. Let Bhaga get back his eyes. Let Bhrigu’s beard grow back again. As earlier, let Pushan get his teeth back. The bodies of the gods and the officiating priests have been mangled by weapons and stones. O intelligent one! Through your favours, let them quickly recover again. O Rudra! Whatever is left after the sacrifice is over is your share. O destroyer of the sacrifice! From now on, a sacrifice will have a share for Rudra.’”’Chapter 4(7)

‘Maitreya said, “O mighty-armed one! Thus entreated by Aja, Bhava was satisfied. He smiled and said, ‘Listen.’

‘“Mahadeva said, ‘O lord of subjects! I do not take offence, pay any attention, or think about what has been done by the ignorant. They have been overwhelmed by the god’s maya. I only wielded the rod of chastisement. Prajapati’s head has been burnt down and he will have the head of a he-goat. Bhaga will see his share of the sacrifice through Mitra’s eyes. Pushan will use the teeth of the one who performs the sacrifice to chew and will eat only flour. The gods, who have agreed to give me a share of the leftovers, will regain their natural limbs. The adhvaryus and others who have lost their arms will use the arms of the Ashvins, while those whose hands have been severed will use those of Pushan. Bhrigu will have the beard of a he-goat.’”

‘Maitreya continued, “O son! All the beings heard the words spoken by the generous Mrida. They were satisfied and uttered words of praise. Along with the rishis, the gods 1284 invited Mrida. Along with Mrida and Brahma, they went to the place where the sacrifice was being held. Everything was done as the illustrious Bhava had indicated. Ka’s body was fixed to the head of the animal meant for the sacrifice. 1285 When Daksha’s head was being fixed, Rudra glanced at him. Waking up as if he had been asleep, he saw Mrida standing in front of him. Prajapati’s heart was polluted with hatred for the one with the bull on his banner. However, as soon as he saw Shiva, it became as clean as a lake in the autumn. He wished to utter words of praise to Bhava. But since he remembered his daughter and his voice choked with tears of affection and anxiety, he was incapable of doing this. Overwhelmed by affection, he calmed his mind with great difficulty. With his intelligence restored and without any duplicity in his sentiments, he praised the lord.

‘“Daksha said, ‘You have shown a great favour to me. Deceived by me, you invoked a punishment on me. O illustrious one! You and Hara do not ignore brahma-bandhus, not to speak of those who are firm in their vows. From your own mouth you first created brahmanas who know about the brahman, for the sake of upholding learning, austerities and vows. O supreme one! O lord! That is the reason you protect brahmanas from all calamities, like a herdsman using a rod to protect a herd of animals. Since I did not know about the truth, in the assembly hall, I hurled harsh words that were like arrows, but you ignored them. Because I censured someone who was the greatest, I was headed downwards. However, the illustrious one looked at me with compassion and saved me. Let him be satisified with what he has done.’”

‘Maitreya continued, “He thus sought his forgiveness from Mrida. With the permission of the brahmanas and with the preceptors, the officiating priests and the others, he started the rites again. The place had been contaminated by the touch of the brave ones. 1286 Therefore, to purify it and continue with the sacrifice, the best among brahmanas tendered three offerings of cakes to Vishnu. O lord of the earth! As the adhvaryu held the oblations, the performer of the sacrifice purified his intelligence and offered them to Hari, who manifested himself. He illuminated the ten directions with his radiance, making their energy fade. He was brought there by Tarkshya, whose wings are the two stotras. 1287 His complexion was dark and his garments were golden. His diadem dazzled like the sun. His face was adorned with blue locks that were like dark bees and earrings. He wielded a conch shell, a lotus, a chakra, an arrow, a bow, a mace, a sword and a shield in arms decorated with golden ornaments. He was like a blossoming karnikara tree. His wife 1288 and a garland of wild flowers were on his chest. Even a tiny bit of his smiling glance delighted the universe. There were whisks made out of yak hair, resembling swans, fanning his sides. He was beautiful, with a white umbrella resembling the moon held aloft his head. All the large number of gods saw him arrive. With Brahma, Indra and the three-eyed one 1289 leading, they instantly arose and bowed down to him. His radiance robbed them of their energy. Awed by him, their tongues were silent. They joined their hands in salutation above their heads and presented themselves before Adhokshaja. His greatness was beyond the mental comprehension of the self-creating one 1290 and the others. But out of compassion, he had manifested himself in that form and according to their intelligence, they chanted his praises. Daksha tendered the deserved offerings in an excellent vessel. Extremely delighted, he controlled himself. Joining his hands in salutation, he chanted the praise of the lord of sacrifices, the supreme preceptor of the creators of the worlds, 1291 the one who is served by attendants like Nanda and Sunanda.

‘“Daksha said, ‘You are pure. You are in your own abode. You are beyond everything that is a mental state. You are consciousness alone. You are without a second. You are beyond fear. You control maya. But when you enter it as Purusha, you seem to be contaminated by it, though you are self-dependent.’

‘“The officiating priests said, ‘O one who is not tainted! O illustrious one! Because of Rudra’s curse, our intelligence became attached to action for fruits. We did not know the truth about you. We have known this sacrifice, with its three parts, 1292 as something that bears the signs of dharma. We knew the ordinances of sacrificing to the gods as the truth.’

‘“The assistant priests said, ‘O one who grants refuge! We do not have a refuge along this path of birth and death. There is a heavy burden and it is difficult to pass, with Death looming in front. When one searches for material satisfaction, there are predatory beasts. It is like a mirage and homes are heavy with the burden of opposite sentiments. One is scared of these ditches. There are carnivorous beasts, with a circle of a forest conflagration around it. Those who are ignorant about the meaning suffer from this. When will those who have been touched by desire seek out your feet?’

‘“Rudra said, ‘O granter of boons! Even in this world, your excellent feet deliver all the objectives that are desired. They deserve to be lovingly worshipped, even by sages who possess no attachment. Though my intelligence is fixed on them, the ignorant ones in this world say that I am not purified. However, because of your supreme favours, I attach no value to what they say.’

‘“Bhrigu said, ‘Because of your maya, Brahma and the other embodied beings have been deprived of their knowledge of the atman. They sleep in the darkness of ignorance. Even now, they do not understand your true nature, which is inside their atmans. You are the atman and a friend to those who bow down before you. Show me your favours.’

‘“Brahma said, ‘If a man looks at you with eyes that differentiate between various kinds of knowledge, he does not realize your true nature. You are the store of knowledge, artha and the gunas. You are regarded as distinct from what is made out of maya.’

‘“Indra said, ‘O Achyuta! This form of yours, which leads to the creation of the universe, brings delight to the mind and the eyes. Your eight arms possess upraised weapons, meant to punish and chastise those who hate the gods.’

‘“The wives 1293 said, ‘This sacrifice was devised by the creator as a sacrifice dedicated to you. However, because he was enraged at Daksha, Pashupati destroyed it today. The sacrificial animals are quiet and their dead bodies are lying down. O one whose atman is the sacrifice! O one with beautiful eyes like a lotus! Let it be purified by your glance.’

‘“The rishis said, ‘O illustrious one! Your activities are incomprehensible. You execute them yourself, but are not touched by the action. Ishvari 1294 is worshipped for prosperity. She herself follows you, but you do not pay any attention to her.’

‘“The Siddhas said, ‘This account of your pastimes is a river that is full of pure nectar. Our minds are like elephants, suffering because they have been burnt in forest conflagrations. Thirsty, we immerse ourselves in it and do not remember the conflagration of samsara. Having merged with the brahman, we do not desire to come out.’

‘“The wife of the person performing the sacrifice 1295 said, ‘O lord! Welcome. I bow down to you. Show me your favours. You are Shri’s abode. May you and your beloved Shri save us. O supreme lord! Like a body without a head, the sacrifice is not beautiful without you. It is like a man who is a headless torso.’

‘“The guardians of the world said, ‘You have been seen by us with eyes that are imperfect in sight. 1296 You are like a seer within and see this universe. O infinite lord! It is indeed because of your maya that you manifest yourself as a sixth, along with the five elements.’

‘“The lords of yoga said, ‘O lord! To you, there is no one more loved than a person who does not see himself as different from you, the atman of the universe. There are those who faithfully worship you, without deviating and without following anything else. O gracious one! Show them your favours. He is the destiny behind the creation, preservation and destruction of the universe. Through his maya, he manifests many kinds of gunas. Using his powers, he has created this differentiation between living beings. However, in his own atman, the interaction between these gunas ceases. We bow down before you.’

‘“Brahma said, ‘I bow down before the one who is the refuge of sattva, the source of dharma and everything else. You are nirguna. Your state is not known to me and certainly not to others.’

‘“Agni said, ‘It is because of your energy that my energy blazes in the kindling. In every good sacrifice, I bear the oblations that are soaked in ghee. You are the one who protects the sacrifice. You have five forms and are worshipped properly through the five hymns of the Yajur Veda. 1297 I bow down to the sacrifice.’

‘“The gods said, ‘After the last kalpa, you withdrew everything that you caused inside your own stomach. You are the Purusha who lay down in the waters on the excellent bed that was Shesha, Indra among serpents. You are the path towards adhyatma, which Siddhas search for, and meditate on, in their hearts. You are now moving around in the range of our visions. We are your servants.’

‘“The gandharvas said, ‘O god! Marichi and the others, Brahma, Indra and the others, the large number of gods, with Rudra at the forefront, are your portions. O supreme lord! This entire universe is a receptacle that you are playing with. O protector! Therefore, we always bow down before you.’

‘“The vidyadharas said, ‘Having obtained this body, 1298 an evil-minded person sticks to the wrong path because of your maya and has notions of “I” and “mine”. He is distracted by his desire for material objects and confounds himself. A person who finds delight in the amrita of your account will be delivered from this.’

‘“The brahmanas said, ‘You are the sacrifice. You are the oblations. You are yourself the sacrificial fire. You are the mantras, the kindling, the darbha grass and the sacrificial vessels. You are the supervising priest and the officiating priests. You are the couple 1299 and the divinity. You are agnihotra, svadha, soma, clarified butter and the sacrificial animal. In the past, in the form of a giant boar, you roared and playfully raised the earth from rasatala on your tusks, like an Indra among elephants picking up a lotus, and were praised by the yogis. Your body consists of the three. 1300 You are the rites of the sacrifice. May he show us his favours. We have deviated from a virtuous act 1301 and all of us desire to see him. O lord of the sacrifice! When your name is chanted by men, all obstructions to a sacrifice head towards their destruction. We bow down to him.’”

‘Maitreya continued, “O fortunate one! While Hrishikesha, the protector of the sacrifice, was thus being praised, the wise Daksha started the sacrifice that had been destroyed by Rudra. The illustrious one is in all atmans. Though he enjoys all the shares of the sacrifice, he was satisfied with his own share. O unblemished one! He addressed Daksha and said the following.

‘“The illustrious one said, ‘I am Brahma and Sharva 1302 and the supreme cause behind the universe. I am the lord of the atman. I am the witness. My own insight is without any differentiation. O brahmana! I have entered my own maya, full of the gunas. I create, preserve and destroy the universe and have a different name, depending on the action. There is no one second to the brahman and I am the paramatman. Those who see differences between Brahma and Rudra, or between living beings, are ignorant. A man sometimes thinks that his own limbs, head, hands and other parts are different. But if a person is devoted to me, his intelligence is not differentiated in this way. If a person does not see the three 1303 as one and perceives differences, he does not find peace. The brahman is in the atmans of all living beings.’”

‘Maitreya continued, “The lord of all the Prajapatis was instructed by the illustrious Hari in this fashion. He first worshipped him through rites and then worshipped the other gods in both ways. 1304 He controlled himself and worshipped Rudra, offering him his own share. When the concluding rites of the sacrifice were over, he offered soma to the ones who were entitled and to others. Having done this, with the priests, he bathed. 1305 Through this worship, on his own, he obtained powers. However, the gods also conferred the boon that his intelligence would be on dharma and went to heaven. We have heard that in this way, Dakshayani Sati gave up her former body. She was then born through Himalaya and his wife, Mena. Ambika again accepted her beloved as her husband. She was single-minded in her devotion towards him and to no one else, just as Shakti is dormant inside Purusha. Thus, the illustrious Shambhu performed the act of destroying Daksha’s sacrifice. I heard this from Uddhava, who was devoted to the illustrious one and was Brihaspati’s disciple. This is the sacred account of what the supreme lord did. If a man always devotedly listens to it and narrates it, he obtains fame and a long lifespan. His sins are cleansed. O Kourava! All his taints are purged.”’Chapter 4(8)

‘Maitreya said, “Brahma’s sons, Sanaka and the others, Narada, Ribhu, Hamsa, Aruna and Yati, did not resort to the life of a householder. They held up their seed. O destroyer of enemies! Adharma’s wife was Mrisha and she gave birth to twins—Dambha and Maya. Since Nirriti had no offspring, she accepted that couple. 1306 O immensely intelligent one! From them were born Lobha and Nikriti. From these were born Krodha, Himsa, Kali and his sister, Durukti. 1307 O excellent one! Through Durukti, Kali had Bhaya and Mrityu as offspring. Through this couple, Yatana and Niraya were born. 1308 O unblemished one! I have briefly told you about the secondary creation, after destruction. If a man hears this sacred account thrice, all impurities are cleansed from his soul. O extender of the Kuru lineage! I will now describe the lineage of Svayambhuva Manu, who was auspicious in his deeds and was born as Hari’s portion. Through Shatarupa, he had sons named Priyavrata and Uttanapada. They were born from Vasudeva’s portion and were established as protectors of the universe. Uttanapada had two wives, Suniti and Suruchi. Suruchi was the one who was loved more. The other wife’s son was Dhruva.

‘“Once, the king was fondling Suruchi’s son, Uttama, on his lap. Dhruva tried to clamber up, but the king did not welcome this. When Dhruva, her co-wife’s son, tried to do this, in the king’s hearing, Suruchi became envious and spoke proudly. ‘O child! You do not deserve to ascend on to the king’s lap. Though you are a king’s son, you have not been born from my womb. Since you are a child, you do not know that you have been born from another woman’s womb. Therefore, know that what you are trying to get is impossible to obtain. Your wishes will be in vain. If you desire the king’s throne, worship Purusha through austerities. Through his favours, you may then be born through my womb and be successful.’ He was thus pierced by the harsh words of his mother’s co-wife. He sighed like an angry serpent that had been beaten with a stick. He saw that his father was silent and did not say anything. Therefore, he left his presence and weeping, went to his mother. He was sighing and his lips were trembling. Suniti picked up the child on her lap. From the mouths of the residents of the city, she heard what her co-wife had said and was distressed. She lost her patience and lamented in grief. The maiden was like a creeper burnt down in a forest conflagration. She remembered the words of her co-wife. Her face was like a lotus and tears flowed from her beautiful eyes. She sighed deeply and could not see an end to her miseries. The maiden spoke to the child. ‘O son! Do not blame others for this inauspicious state. A person who inflicts pain on others has to himself suffer it. Suruchi spoke the truth. You were born from me. An unfortunate person like me bore you in her womb. You were reared on the milk of someone my husband is ashamed about. He does not accept me as his wife. O son! Remain above jealousy. What your stepmother has said is true. Abide by that path. If you desire an excellent seat, worship Adhokshaja’s lotus feet. By worshipping his lotus feet, Aja obtained the qualities required for creating the universe and obtained the status of Parameshthi. His feet deserve to be worshipped by those who have controlled their atmans and their breath of life. The illustrious Manu was your grandfather. Single-minded in devotion to him, he performed sacrifices with copious amounts of dakshina. Through this worship, he obtained a status that is difficult to get. He obtained happiness on earth, and divine liberation thereafter. O child! Seek him out as a refuge. He is devoted to his devotees. Those who search for liberation seek out the path to his lotus feet. With no one else in mind, think of your own dharma. Placing him in your mind, worship Purusha. Other than the lotus-eyed one, I cannot think of anyone else who can dispel this unhappiness. Though she is sought after by others, Shri, with a lotus in her hand, seeks him out.’ These words, uttered by his mother, were full of great import and entered his ears. He thought about them. Using his will to control his mind, he left his father’s city.

‘“Narada got to know about his desires. He approached and touched his head with his purifying hand. Surprised, he exclaimed, ‘The energy of kshatriyas is wonderful. It does not tolerate the slightest bit of disrespect. Even though he is a child, he has taken to heart the harsh words spoken by his stepmother.’ Narada said, ‘O son! We notice that boys are attracted to playing and similar things. The sense of respect or disrespect is not developed. Even if that sense is developed, other than being confounded, there is no reason for a man to be dissatisfied. In this world, people are different because of their own karmas. O son! Therefore, a wise man should be satisfied with that alone. One must witness the progress of the lord and of destiny. Your mother has instructed that you must seek to elevate yourself through yoga, so that you can obtain his favour. However, it is my view that this is very difficult for men to pursue. Non-attached, sages have followed this path across many births. They have meditated, resorting to fierce yoga. However, they have not been able to find what they were searching for. Therefore, return. This determination of yours is bound to fail. In due course of time, you should strive for what will bring you benefit. This happiness and unhappiness are determined by destiny. If an embodied person wishes to cross over to the other side of darkness, he should satisfy himself with this. One should take delight at someone who possesses superior qualities. One should have compassion for one who has inferior qualities. One should seek friendship with equals. Thereby, one will not succumb to the torment.’ Dhruva replied, ‘O illustrious one! For those who suffer from happiness and unhappiness, driven by compassion, you have spoken about equanimity. But men like us find this extremely difficult to perceive. My heart has been shattered by Suruchi’s harsh words, which are like arrows. I am not humble. I am a kshatriya and have not achieved that kind of tolerance. I desire to obtain a state that is best in the three worlds, one that has not been obtained by my forefathers, or by anyone else. O brahmana! Tell me about that virtuous path. O illustrious one! Indeed, you have been born from Parameshthi’s limbs. For the welfare of the world, you roam around like the sun and play on your veena.’ Hearing this, the illustrious Narada was delighted. Out of compassion towards the child, he spoke these excellent words. Narada said, ‘The path indicated by your mother is most beneficial for you. With a mind that is completely absorbed, worship the illustrious Vasudeva. If one desires the benefit known as dharma, artha, kama, moksha, the only means of accomplishing that is by serving at Hari’s feet. O son! O fortunate one! Therefore, go to the banks of the Yamuna. The pure and sacred Madhuvana is there and Hari is always present there. Thrice a day, have a bath in Kalindi’s auspicious waters. Perform the indicated rites. Think of a suitable asana for yourself and be seated there. Perform the three kinds of pranayama 1309 and gradually purify your breath of life, senses and mind, giving up all impurities. With a steady mind, meditate on the preceptor of all preceptors. He is ready to show his favours. His face and glance are always pleasant. He possesses an excellent nose and excellent eyebrows. His forehead is beautiful and he is the most handsome among the gods. He is youthful and his limbs are beautiful. His lips and eyes are red. He is the only refuge one should bow down to. He is the pleasant refuge and an ocean of compassion. He bears the mark of shrivatsa. He is dark blue in complexion. He is Purusha, wearing a garland of wild flowers. He manifests four arms that hold a conch shell, a chakra, a mace and a lotus. He wears a diadem, earrings, armlets and bracelets. The Koustubha gem adorns his neck. He is attired in yellow silk garments. His girdle is ornamented with tinkling bells. There are golden anklets around his feet. He is beautiful to behold and serene. He is a delight to the mind and the eyes. His feet are radiant because of an array of nails that are like jewels. He is stationed in this form in the hearts of his devotees, like the stamen in a lotus. One should meditate on this smiling form, which looks benevolently at his devotees. One must control one’s mind and single-mindedly immerse oneself in him, supreme among those who grant boons. Thus, in one’s mind, one must meditate on the extremely fortunate form of the illustrious one. One will soon be filled with supreme nivritti. Enriched in this way, one will not return. 1310 O son of a king! Listen to this extremely secret japa. 1311 If a man recites this for seven nights, he can see beings who travel through the skies. 1312 “Oum! I bow down before the illustrious Vasudeva.” 1313 Using this mantra, a learned person must worship the god with different objects. A person who knows about the time and the place, will accordingly use different objects and different modes. He will offer pure water, garlands of wild flowers, roots, fruits, fresh grass, buds and bark that are approved for worship and tulasi, loved by the lord. If one can get it, one can use an image for the worship. If not, one can worship him by using earth and water. The sage must be tranquil and control his mind and speech. He must frugally eat whatever is available in the forest. Uttamashloka uses his own incomprehensible maya to voluntarily assume avataras and undertake many kinds of deeds. In one’s heart, one must meditate on these. Those who have worshipped him earlier have used many kinds of objects and forms. With the mantra in one’s heart, one must use these. He is the embodied form of the mantra. In this way, the illustrious one, who is in the mind, must be worshipped with body, mind and words. A man must properly worship him with faith and devotion. He increases their faith and bestows on these embodied beings, the benefit that they desire, dharma and the other objectives. One must be indifferent towards the objects of the senses and practise bhakti yoga in earnest. For the sake of liberation, one must worship him constantly and attentively.’ Thus addressed, the king’s son bowed down before him and circumambulated him. He went to sacred Madhuvana, decorated with Hari’s footprints.

‘“When he had entered the forest for austerities, the sage went to the inner quarters. The king welcomed him with objects of honour. When he was comfortably seated, he spoke. Narada asked, ‘O king! What have you been thinking about for a long time, with a face that is dry? Has your pursuit of kama, dharma or artha been obstructed?’ The king replied, ‘O brahmana! My son is a child. He is only five years old, but is great and wise. I and my wife have been cruel in our hearts and have exiled him, along with his mother. O brahmana! He is without a protector in the forest. I hope my son has not been devoured by wolves. He is hungry and exhausted and is lying down. His face is like a lotus and must have faded. Alas! Look at my evil conduct, having been vanquished by a woman. The excellent one wished to affectionately climb on to my lap, but I did not welcome him.’ Narada said, ‘O lord of the earth! Do not grieve. Your son has been protected by the god. You do not know about his powers. His reputation pervades the universe. O king! The lord 1314 will perform a task that is extremely difficult for even the guardians of the worlds to achieve. He will soon return here and bring great fame to you.’ The lord of the earth heard what the devarshi said. He disregarded the prosperity of the kingdom and only thought about his son.

‘“Having arrived there, he 1315 bathed. He controlled himself and fasted during the night. As instructed, he attentively worshipped Purusha. He spent one month in worshipping Hari. He only ate at the end of every third night and ate wood apples and jujube berries, only enough to sustain himself. In the second month, the boy continued to worship the lord. He only ate every sixth day and his food consisted of dry blades of grass and leaves. In the third month, he meditated and worshipped Uttamashloka. He subsisted on water, that too, on every ninth day. In the fourth month, he meditated on the god and worshipped him. He controlled his breathing and subsisted on air, that too, on every twelfth day. When the fifth month arrived, the son of the king conquered his breath of life. Standing on a single foot, he meditated on the brahman. He was as immobile as a post. He withdrew his mind from all elements and objects of the senses. In his heart, he meditated on the form of the illustrious one and looked at nothing else. He thus fixed his dharana on the brahman, the foundation of Mahat and the others, and the lord of Pradhana and Purusha. At this, the three worlds started to tremble. The son of the king stood on one leg and the earth was pressed down by his big toe. Half of the earth bent down, just as a boat carrying a large elephant is rocked, depending on whether the elephant raises its left leg or its right. He meditated on the one who is the atman of the universe. Unwavering in his intelligence, he obstructed the gates in his body and his breath of life. The worlds could not breathe and suffered severely. With the guardians of the world, they went and sought refuge with Hari. The gods said, ‘O illustrious one! O abode of sattva! We do not know why the breath of life of every mobile and immobile object has been restricted. Therefore, do what is necessary to save us from this danger. You are the refuge and we have come to you, seeking refuge.’ The illustrious one replied, ‘Do not be frightened. The child is performing extremely difficult austerities and I will ask him to refrain. Return to your own abodes. Uttanapada’s son has identified his atman with mine. That is the reason your breath of life has been obstructed.’”’Chapter 4(9)

‘Maitreya said, “Urukrama spoke to them in this way and dispelled their fears. They bowed down to him and returned to heaven. The one with the thousand heads wished to see his devotee and, astride Garuda, went to Madhuvana. With a purified intelligence, he 1316 was immersed in fierce yoga, with the lord’s form manifested in the lotus of his heart, as resplendent as lightning. He suddenly discovered that this form vanished. Instead, he saw that identical form stationed outside. On seeing him arrive before him, he bent his body down and prostrated himself on the ground, like a rod. The boy looked at him, drinking him in with his eyes. It was as if he was kissing him with his mouth and embracing him with his arms. Hari is situated in everyone’s heart. He saw him standing there, hands joined in salutation, full of the brahman and wishing to praise him, but not knowing how. Out of compassion, he touched the child on the forehead with the conch shell. As soon as this was done, he got back his speech. He realized the true nature of the divine paramatman. Full of sentiments of devotion, whose status had been determined, he started to quickly chant the praises of the glorious one whose fame is pervasive.

‘“Dhruva said, ‘O lord who is inside! O one who possesses infinite powers! You have used your powers to penetrate me and revive my power of speech, which was asleep, and also my hands, feet, ears, skin and breath of life. O illustrious Purusha! I bow down to you. O illustrious one! You are one. You have used your own great powers, known as maya, and its gunas, to create Mahat and all the others. You are Purusha and you enter and manifest yourself in the form of the different temporary gunas, like fire in different kinds of wood. Like a man who wakes up from sleep, he 1317 sought refuge with you as a protector. Through the knowledge you gave him, he could see the universe. 1318 Those who desire liberation seek refuge at your feet. You are a friend of the afflicted. How can a person who is accomplished in learning forget you? Your maya has certainly confounded the intelligence of those who worship you for reasons other than to be liberated from this cycle of birth and death. You are like a tree that yields every object of desire. But they worship you to satisfy desires in a body that is like a corpse. Such men desire the pleasure of the touch, 1319 available even in hell. O protector! The delight that embodied beings find from meditating on your lotus feet and hearing the account of your greatness from your devotees, is not there in the brahman. 1320 What need be said about those who fall down from their vimanas, struck by the sword of Death? Let me have repeated association with those in whom devotion towards you is flowing. O infinite one! Let me be with great ones whose hearts are unsullied. In that way, I will easily overcome the terrible and great hardships of this ocean of life and cross it. I will drink the amrita of your qualities and become intoxicated. O lord! O one with a lotus in the navel! As a result of an association with them, one does not remember this beloved mortal body and sons, well-wishers, houses, riches and wives. This is what happens from association with those whose hearts are eager for the fragrance of your lotus feet. O one without birth! I know your gross form, consisting of inferior species, trees, birds, reptiles, gods, daityas, mortal beings and the others. This has manifest and unmanifest dimensions, based on Mahat and other principles. O supreme one! I do not know your supreme form, which is beyond words. O supreme being! At the end of the kalpa you lie down, withdrawing everything into your stomach. O friend of Ananta! You look at yourself, lying down on his 1321 lap. From the ocean in your navel sprouts a golden lotus and the radiant one 1322 is manifested from this lotus. I bow down to the illustrious one. You are eternally free and pure. You are the omniscient atman. You are the immutable original being. You are the illustrious lord of the three. 1323 Through your own unobstructed vision, you comprehend the state of different kinds of intelligence. You are the witness, stationed as the lord of sacrifices. You are beyond all this. There are always two kinds of contrary manifestations in you, knowledge and ignorance. There are many kinds of progressive powers. You are the brahman, the cause of the universe. You are one, infinite and original. You are only bliss and without change. I worship you. O illustrious one! Compared to other blessings, true benediction is in your lotus feet. For those who worship you, you are the embodied form of all objectives. O noble one! O illustrious one! Hence, you nurture those who are distressed, like a cow which takes care of a calf. Show your compassion towards miserable ones like me.’”

‘Maitreya continued, “He was thus worshipped by the intelligent one, whose resolution was true. The illustrious one is devoted to his servants. He applauded these words and said the following.

‘“The illustrious one replied, ‘O son of a king! I know the determination in your heart. O fortunate one! O one who is excellent in vows! I will give it to you, though it is extremely difficult to obtain. O fortunate one! I will confer on you the brilliant and eternal world, 1324 which has not been obtained by anyone else. The planets, nakshatras, stars and luminous bodies circle around it. They are like a group of cows circling around a central pole. 1325 It is beyond those who reside in a kalpa. 1326 The stars presided over by Dharma, Agni, Kashyapa, Shukra and the sages 1327 who are residents of the forest circle around it, keeping it to their right. When your father leaves for the forest, he will give you the earth and based on dharma and with your senses unimpaired, 1328 you will protect it for thirty-six thousand years. While out on a hunt, your brother, Uttama, will be killed. Her mind distressed by this, his mother will go to the forest to search for him and will enter a forest conflagration. I am the heart of sacrifices. You will perform sacrifices dedicated to me and offer a lot of dakshina. Having enjoyed a lot of blessings in this world, at the end, you will turn to the truth and remember me. You will then go to my abode, worshipped by all the worlds. It is located above that of the rishis. 1329 Having gone there, no one returns.’”

‘Maitreya continued, “The illustrious one, with Garuda on his banner, was thus worshipped and offered to bestow his own state. While the child looked on, he returned. Having served at Vishnu’s feet, he 1330 obtained his desired objective. However, though he obtained what he wished, he wasn’t extremely happy. He returned to the city.

‘“Vidura asked, ‘Hari’s supreme state is extremely difficult to obtain. This can only be earned by those who worship his feet without being distracted by maya. He obtained this and accomplished his objective in a single life. Why did the one who knew about the truth think that he was unsuccessful?’”

‘Maitreya replied, “He remembered his stepmother’s words, which had pierced his heart like arrows. He did not desire emancipation from the lord of emancipation. Therefore, he suffered from repentance.

‘“Dhruva thought, ‘Through meditation, I obtained his feet in a single life. I obtained those feet within six months, something that Sananda and the others, who hold up their seed, seek to realize. Having obtained that refuge, I retreated from it because of the differentiation in my intelligence. Alas! Behold an unfortunate person like me. I did not understand the atman. Having obtained the feet of someone who can sever the cycle of existence, I asked for something temporary. My intelligence was polluted by gods who have positions lower than mine. As a wretched person, I did not accept Narada’s words. Divine maya took hold of me. Like a person asleep, my vision was differentiated. I tormented myself, thinking of a second that is non-existent. 1331 I lament because I took my brother to be an enemy. Like treating a person who is dead, everything that I sought for is futile. Through austerities, I pleased the atman of the universe, who is extremely difficult to please. I should have asked for the severance of this cycle of life. However, abandoned by fortune, I sought this cycle of life. He wished to confer on me his own state. But foolishly, with my merit exhausted, I asked him for honours, like a person without riches seeking unhusked grains from an emperor.’”

‘Maitreya continued, “O son! People like you are eager to touch the dust on Mukunda’s lotus feet. Other than servitude to him, they do not desire anything for themselves. Satisfied with whatever has been obtained, they take themselves to be prosperous. When the king heard that his son was returning, as if returning from the world of the dead, he did not believe it. ‘How can an unfortunate person like me be so fortunate?’ He was overwhelmed by a great tide of joy and had faith in the worlds of the devarshi. He was extremely happy with the person who had brought him the news and gave him an extremely valuable necklace. He mounted a chariot made out of molten gold, yoked to excellent horses. He was surrounded by brahmanas, the elders of his family, advisers and relatives. There was the sound of conch shells, drums being played, flutes, and recitations of the brahman. Anxious to see his son, he quickly emerged from the city. The queens, Suniti and Suruchi, were ornamented in gold. With Uttama, they ascended a palanquin and advanced. On seeing him approach from the grove, the king swiftly got down from his chariot. Distracted by affection, he approached him. With a mind that had been anxious for a long time, he sighed deeply and embraced the one born from his body in his arms. Having touched Vishvaksena’s feet, he 1332 had been cleansed of all the bonds of sin. With his cherished desire satisfied, he repeatedly inhaled the fragrance of his son’s head and bathed it with cool tears that flowed from his eyes. He first worshipped his father’s feet and obtained his benedictions. He bowed his head down before his two mothers and was honoured by the foremost among the virtuous ones. Suruchi raised her son, 1333 who was prostrate at her feet. In a voice that choked with tears, she embraced him and said, ‘May you live for a long time.’ If the illustrious one is pleased with someone and bestows qualities on him because of friendliness, all creatures bow down before him, like water automatically flowing downwards. Overwhelmed by affection, Uttama and Dhruva embraced each other’s bodies. Delighted, they shed tears and their body hair stood up. His mother, Suniti, embraced her beloved son, whom she loved more than her own life. She touched his body and was not satisified. But she abandoned all grief. O brave one! Copious flows of milk flowed from her breasts, which were incessantly bathed by auspicious tears of joy that flowed from the eyes of someone who had given birth to a brave person. People praised the queen. ‘It is good fortune that your son has dispelled your grief. After having been lost for a long time, he has been regained and will protect the circle of the earth. You must have worshipped the illustrious one, who dispels the sorrows of those who bow down before him. Patient people constantly meditate on him and conquer death, which is extremely difficult to vanquish.’ The people praised and cherished Dhruva in this way.

‘“Happy, the king made him and his brother climb on to a she-elephant and entered the city. Here and there, dazzling arches that were in the shape of makaras had been constructed. There were pillars made out of plantain trees and young areca nut trees, with branches laden with fruit. Every door had pots filled with water, with burning lamps on them. There were decorations of mango leaves, garments, garlands and strings of pearls that hung downwards. The ramparts, gates and houses were decorated with molten gold. Everything was ornamented and the tops of the mansions were as radiant as vimanas. The quadrangles, highways, seats and roads were cleaned with sandalwood water. Everywhere, fried, unhusked grain, flowers, fruits, rice and offerings were strewn around. Here and there, as Dhruva passed along the road, the women of the city showered white mustard, unhusked grain, curds, water, durva grass, flowers and fruits on him. Out of their affection, those virtuous ones pronounced benedictions over him. Listening to melodious songs, he entered his father’s residence. That supreme of residences was decorated with collections of extremely expensive jewels. Always nurtured by his father, he lived there, like a god in heaven. The couches were made out of ivory and had the complexion of the froth of milk. They were covered with golden spreads. There were extremely expensive seats and the cushions were decorated with gold. The walls were made out of crystal and extremely expensive emeralds. There were dazzling lamps made out of jewels, held by statuettes of women, also made out of jewels. The beautiful gardens were full of colourful and celestial trees. Pairs of birds sang there and intoxicated bees buzzed. The steps leading down into the lakes were made of lapis lazuli and the lakes were full of blue lotuses and lilies. They were inhabited by flocks of swans, karandavas, chakravakas and cranes. Uttanapada, the royal sage, heard about, and also saw, his son’s wonderful powers and was greatly surprised. He saw that he had come of age. With the approval of the ordinary people, who loved Dhruva, the king made him the lord of the earth. The lord of the earth saw that he himself was old. He perceived the progress of the atman and devoid of attachment, left for the forest.”’Chapter 4(10)

‘Maitreya said, “Dhruva married the daughter of Prajapati Shishumara. Her name was Bhrami and her sons were Kalpa and Vatsara. He had another wife named Ila, Vayu’s daughter. Through her, the extremely strong one had a son named Utkala, whom women loved like a jewel. 1334 Uttama did not marry. While out on a hunt on a mountain, he was killed by an auspicious person who was stronger. 1335 His mother followed the path her son took. Hearing about his brother’s death, he was filled with rage, intolerance and grief. He ascended his victorious chariot and went to the abode of those auspicious people. The king went to the northern direction, frequented by Rudra’s companions. In a valley in the Himalayas, he saw the city, inhabited by guhyakas. The large-armed one blew on his conch shell and this echoed in the sky and in the directions.

‘“O Kshatta! Hearing this sound, the minor goddesses 1336 were anxious and extremely scared. The minor gods, powerful and great warriors, emerged. They were unable to tolerate that sound. Raising their weapons, they attacked him. When they descended, the brave maharatha, fierce in wielding the bow, simultaneously struck each of them with three arrows. Those arrows were stuck to each of their foreheads. Though they thought that they would be repulsed, they praised this action of his. They were also angry, like snakes struck with the foot. They sought to hit back by simultaneously striking him with double the number of arrows. 1337 There were one lakh and thirty thousand of them and they wished to retaliate. They angrily showered down clubs, swords, spears, javelins, battle-axes, spikes, broad swords, bhushundis 1338 and colourfully tufted arrows on him, his chariot and his charioteer. Enveloped by that copious shower of weapons, Uttanapada’s son could not be seen, like a mountain during the rains. The Siddhas were watching from the sky and cries of lamentation arose among them. ‘Alas! Like a submerged sun, Manu’s son has been destroyed in this ocean of auspicious people.’ The yatudhanas roared, proclaiming that they had been victorious in the battle. However, the chariot emerged, like the sun from behind a cover of mist. Causing distress in the minds of the enemy, he twanged his divine bow. Like the wind dispelling an army of clouds, he shattered the torrents of their weapons with a flood of arrows. Released from his bow, they pierced the armour of the rakshasas. The sharp arrows penetrated their bodies, like the vajra shattering mountains. The broad-headed arrows severed heads beautiful with earrings, thighs that were like golden palm trees, arms ornamented with bracelets and bodies with necklaces, armlets, crowns and extremely expensive headdresses. This resplendence in the field of battle delighted the minds of the brave. There were some from the horde of rakshasas who were not killed by the arrows of the noble kshatriya in that field of battle. Like herds with whom a king of animals 1339 has played, the bodies of most of them were mangled and they fled. In the great field of battle, Manu’s supreme descendant did not see any more assassins. Though he wished to see the city of the enemy, he did not enter. ‘One does not know what those skilled in maya intend.’ The one with the colourful chariot spoke in this way to his charioteer, remaining vigilant about what the enemy might do. At this time, he saw a great storm of dust cover the directions and the sky and heard a sound like the roaring of the ocean. In an instant, in every direction, the sky was shrouded by an army of clouds. There were flashes of lightning and the clap of thunder, terrifying all the directions. O unblemished one! Floods of blood, mucus, pus, excrement, urine and fat showered down from the sky in front of him, along with headless torsos. From every direction, clubs, maces, swords, bludgeons and stones showered down. A mountain appeared in the sky. Snakes with lightning in their breath, vomiting fire and with angry eyes, rushed at him. So did herds of mad elephants, lions and tigers. An ocean with terrible waves flooded the entire earth. It emitted a loud roar and was terrible, like at the end of a kalpa. There were many such things that would have caused terror to those less spirited. The asuras used the fierce maya of asuras to generate these. The sages heard that the asuras had used maya, extremely difficult to withstand, against Dhruva. They assembled, desiring his welfare. The sages said, ‘O son of Uttanapada! The illustrious god, the wielder of the Sharnga bow, destroys the enemies of those who are devoted to him and removes their afflictions. On uttering his name, or hearing it, people completely overcome death, which is so very difficult to vanquish. He will do it to you too.’”’ 1340Chapter 4(11)

‘Maitreya said, “Hearing the words of the rishis, Dhruva touched water and affixed the weapon fashioned by Narayana to his bow. O Vidura! Just as hardships are dispelled by the onset of knowledge, as soon at it was affixed, all the maya devised by the guhyakas was destroyed. The rishi’s 1341 weapon was affixed to the bow, with golden shafts and tufts made out of the feathers of swans. Like peacocks call in terrible tones and enter a forest, it emerged and penetrated the army of the enemy. Here and there in the field of battle, the auspicious people were afflicted by sharp arrows sharpened on stone. Enraged, like serpents raising their angry hoods against Suparna, they raised their weapons and attacked him. As they attacked him in the field of battle, he severed their arms, thighs, necks and stomachs with those arrows. Piercing through the solar circle, he dispatched them to the supreme world that is frequented by those who hold up their seed. In large numbers, the innocent guhyakas were slaughtered by the one with the colourful chariot. Dhruva’s grandfather 1342 was overcome by pity. With the rishis, Manu approached.

‘“Manu said, ‘O child! Enough of this excessive rage. This is the wicked gate to darkness. Overwhelmed by this, you have killed the auspicious people who are innocent. O son! This is not proper for our lineage. This is a deed condemned by the virtuous. You have started this act of killing the minor gods who are innocent. O dear one! O one who is devoted to one’s brother! You are tormented at your brother’s death. But because of the crime of a single person, many are being killed because of association. This is not a path for virtuous ones who follow Hrishikesha. Though they are like your own self, you are seizing others and slaughtering them like animals. You have worshipped Hari with the sentiment that his abode is in all beings and that all creatures are like your own self. You have obtained Vishnu’s supreme state, which is so very difficult to obtain. Hari remembers you and men revere you because of that. How have you acted in this way? Instead, you should teach others about virtuous vows. The illustrious one is pleased through tolerance, compassion, friendliness towards all creatures and equality, because he is in all atmans. When the illustrious being is pleased, one is freed from the gunas of Prakriti. Freed from the jivatman, 1343 one obtains nirvana in the brahman. The bodies of men and women are formed out of the five elements. In this world, further creation occurs from association between men and women. O king! In this way, through the maya of the paramatman and the interaction of the gunas, creation, preservation and destruction take place. The supreme being is nirguna and is only an apparent instrument. This manifest and unmanifest universe whirls around, like a lump of iron. 1344 Indeed, the illustrious one’s powers are in time, the flow of the gunas and the various kinds of energy. He is the agent, but is also not the agent. He is the destroyer, but is also not the destroyer. Indeed, the lord’s actions are impossible to comprehend. He is infinite. He is the annihilator. He is time. He is without beginning. He is the beginning of everything. He is without change. He uses people to create other people. As an annihilator, he uses death to destroy. There is no one who is his ally. There is no one who is his adversary. As death, the supreme one equally enters all beings. Just as dust particles follow the wind, the large number of creatures move and follow the lord. The lord enhances, or diminishes, the lifespans of living entities. He confers good fortune and misfortune, but is himself beyond these two states. O king! Some speak of this as karma. Others say that this is nature. Some say this is time. Others say that this is destiny. Still others say that this is because of men being prone to desire. The immutable and immeasurable one gives rise to many kinds of powers. O son! Who is capable of knowing the intentions of the one who creates himself? O son! These followers of Dhanada are not your brother’s slayers. O son! It is indeed destiny which is the reason behind the birth and death of men. He is the one who creates the universe. He is the one who destroys it. Despite this, he is not touched by ahamkara, or gunas and actions. He is in the atmans of all beings who have been created. He is the lord of creatures. He is the creator of creatures. United with the maya of his powers, he creates, preserves and destroys. O son! He is death. He is immortality. He is destiny. Surrender to the one who is in all atmans. He is the refuge of the universe. He is the one to whom the creators of the universe 1345 render offerings, like a bull controlled by its master through a rope around the nose. When you were five years old, your heart was shattered by the words of your stepmother and you left for the forest, abandoning your mother. You performed austerities and worshipped the one who cannot be realized through the senses. You obtained a state that is above the three worlds. O dear one! Free yourself from this enmity. Base your atman on the nirguna and immutable one, who is without a second. Search your atman and look towards your atman. Free yourself from this sense of differentiation, which is non-existent, but appears to exist. In your atman, realize the illustrious and infinite one. He is bliss alone and possesses all the powers. Through devotion to the supreme one, you will slowly sever the bond of ignorance, the strong sense of “I” and “mine”. O fortunate one! Control your rage, which is an impediment to supreme welfare. O king! Constantly resort to learning, just as one uses medication to treat a disease. If a man is overwhelmed by this, 1346 people are greatly terrified of him. A learned person who desires fearlessness for himself does not succumb to it. Since you were intolerant towards those who killed your brother, you have shown disrespect towards Girisha 1347 and Dhanada, by killing the auspicious people. O child! Quickly pacify the great one 1348 through respectful and reverential words, so that he does not use his energy to destroy our lineage.’”

‘Maitreya concluded, “In this way, Svayambhuva Manu instructed his grandson Dhruva and was worshipped by him. With the rishis, he 1349 returned to his own city.”’Chapter 4(12)

‘Maitreya said, “Having learnt that Dhruva’s rage had subsided and that he had refrained from killing, the illustrious lord of riches arrived there, praised by charanas, yakshas and kinnaras.

‘“Dhanada joined his hand in salutation and said, ‘O heir of a kshatriya! O unblemished one! I am satisfied with you, since you have listened to the instructions of your grandfather and have abandoned enmity, which is extremely difficult to cast aside. You did not kill the yakshas. Nor did the yakshas kill your brother. Time is the lord over the creation and destruction of living beings. Misconceptions of “I” and “you” persistently exist because of a man’s ignorance. Because one thinks about it, 1350 one is bound to hardships and they appear like dreams to a person who is asleep. O Dhruva! O fortunate one! Therefore, go to the illustrious Adhokshaja. Think that he is in the atmans of all creatures. He is embodied in the atmans of all creatures. For deliverance and your severing the cycle of existence, worship the one whose feet deserve to be worshipped. Through the power of his own maya, he attaches himself to the gunas, but remains detached. O king! O Uttanapada’s son! Without any hesitation, ask me for a boon, for whatever desire exists in your heart. Since you are constantly devoted to his lotus feet, you deserve to be granted a boon. O dear one! That is what we have heard about you.’”

‘Maitreya continued, “The immensely fortunate and immensely intelligent Dhruva was urged by Rajaraja 1351 to accept a boon. He asked that Hari’s memory should always be with him and that he might easily cross the darkness, 1352 which is so very difficult to cross. With a cheerful mind, Aidavida 1353 granted him the boon and vanished, while he looked on. Then he 1354 also returned to his own city. There, he performed sacrifices to the lord of sacrifices, with copious quantities of dakshina. He also performed sacrifices with objects for the gods 1355 and rites meant to lead to the fruits of these rites. His entire soul was on Achyuta and there were strong flows of devotion towards him. He saw himself in all creatures and saw the lord also established there. The subjects thought that he possessed good conduct. He was devoted to brahmanas and to the distressed. He protected the ordinances of dharma. They thought he was like their father. He ruled the globe of the earth for thirty-six thousand years. He enjoyed until his store of good deeds was exhausted. He refrained from enjoyment, so that his store of bad deeds was also exhausted. In this way, the great-souled one was not disturbed by his senses for a period that lasted for many years. After spending this time in the pursuit of the three objectives, 1356 he handed over the royal throne to his son. He then thought that this universe was fashioned by the maya of the atman. 1357 It was fashioned out of ignorance, like a city of the gandharvas. 1358 He thought that he himself, his wife, his children, his well-wishers, his forces, his prosperous treasury, his inner quarters, the beautiful pleasure gardens to roam around in and the surface of the earth, girdled by the ocean, were temporary and were the creatures of time. He left for Vishala. 1359 He purified himself there, bathing in the auspicious waters. He steadied himself in an asana and controlled his breath of life, using his mind to control his senses. He incessantly meditated on the illustrious one’s gross form, thus entering a state of samadhi. Because he was constantly devoted to the illustrious Hari, he was overwhelmed and tears of joy repeatedly flowed from his eyes. His heart seemed to melt and his body hair stood up. He no longer remembered who he was and was freed from his linga sharira.

‘“Dhruva then saw a vimana from the sky descend in front of him. It illuminated the ten directions, as if the lord of the stars had arisen. He saw two gods there. They possessed four arms and were dark and young. Their eyes were red, like lotus flowers. They stood there, leaning on their maces and attired in excellent garments. They were adorned in diadems, necklaces, armlets and beautiful earrings. He understood that they were the servants of the famous one. 1360 He stood up. But because he was bewildered, he forgot how to receive and worship them in the proper way. He only chanted the names of Madhu’s enemy. 1361 He respectfully joined his hands in saluation to those two foremost attendants. His mind was focused on Krishna’s feet. He joined his hands in salutation and humbly bowed down his head. Smiling, Sunanda and Nanda, revered by the one with the lotus in his navel, approached and said, ‘O king! O extremely fortunate one! Listen attentively to our words. When you were five years old, you satisfied the divinity with your austerities. We are the attendants of the god who wields the Sharnga bow. He is the creator of the entire universe. We have come here to take you to the illustrious one’s world. You have conquered Vishnu’s region for yourself, something that is extremely difficult to obtain. It is beyond what the gods 1362 can reach and they can only look at it. Ascend to the place that the moon, the sun, the planets, the nakshatras and the stars circle around, keeping it to their right. O dear one! This is a place that none of your forefathers has been able to reach. Ascend to Vishnu’s supreme state, worshipped by the universe. This excellent vimana belongs to Uttamashloka, the foremost one. O long-lived one! It has presented itself and you are worthy of climbing on to it.’ The one loved by Urukrama heard the sweet words, which were like drops of honey, spoken by the two foremost attendants of Vaikuntha. He performed his ablutions and performed the daily auspicious rites. He bowed down to the sages and received their benedictions. He circumambulated that excellent vehicle and worshipped it. He greeted the two attendants. Assuming a dazzling and golden form, he tried to climb on.

‘“However, Uttanapada’s son saw that Death had arrived. He placed his feet on Death’s head and mounted that extraordinary residence. 1363 Drums, kettledrums and smaller drums were sounded. The foremost among gandharvas sang his praise and showered down flowers. As he was about to ascend to the world of heaven, Dhruva suddenly remembered his mother, Suniti. ‘How can I abandon the miserable one and go to heaven?’ Those two excellent gods 1364 discerned his thoughts and showed him that the goddess was already proceeding ahead of him, in another vehicle. As he proceeded, the gods, on their own vimanas, praised him and showered down flowers. One after another, he saw that he passed by all the planets. In that celestial vehicle, he went past the three worlds and that of the sages. 1365 Beyond all of them, Dhruva reached Vishnu’s abode. In every direction, the place was resplendent because of its own illumination, indeed also providing illumination to the three worlds. This place cannot be reached by those who are not compassionate towards other creatures. Those who always perform beneficial acts reach there. Those who are tranquil, look upon everyone as equals, are pure and please all creatures; and those who look upon Achyuta as a beloved relative, can easily go to Achyuta’s abode. In this way, Dhruva, Uttanapada’s son, was devoted to Krishna and became a sparkling jewel on the crest of the three worlds. O Kouravya! The stellar bodies ceaselessly circle around this spot with great speed, like a herd of tethered bulls circle around a threshing post. The illustrious rishi, Narada, witnessed his greatness. He played on his stringed instrument and chanted this shloka at the sacrifice organized by Prachetas. Narada said, ‘Suniti was certainly devoted to her husband. Through the power of his austerities, her son obtained this destination. Those who speak about the Vedas know about the means to reach it, and can see it, but do not possess the powers to reach it, not to speak of kings. When he was five years old, his heart was shattered by the words, which were like arrows, of his father’s wife. Following my instructions, he went to the forest and obtained the lord’s abode, a status that can be obtained only by those who possess the qualities of devotion. There is no kshatra-bandhu 1366 on earth who can aspire to ascend to this status, even after many years. As a child who was five or six years old, he obtained this state within a few days, after pleasing Vaikuntha.’ I have told you everything that you had asked me. This is the excellent account of Dhruva’s conduct and fame, revered by the virtuous. This account brings fortune and fame and increases lifespans. It is auspicious and brings great benedictions. It helps attain heaven and the eternal worlds and is extremely pleasing to the mind. It is praiseworthy and destroys all sin. His deeds are loved by Achyuta. If one repeatedly listens to them with faith, one develops devotion towards the illustrious one. Thereby, there is a destruction of all kinds of hardships. If one desires greatness, this account is a tirtha. The hearer develops good conduct and other qualities and the account is for those who wish for energy. Thereby, spirited ones obtain honour. Controlling oneself and in the company of brahmanas, one should recite the great conduct of Dhruva, who is chanted about in excellent shlokas, in the morning and the evening. One should make the faithful listen to it on the day of the full moon, on sinivali, 1367 on the twelfth lunar day, 1368 when the nakshatra Shravana is in the ascendant, at the end of the day, at the time of vyatipata, 1369 at the time of sankramana 1370 and on Sunday. Such a person should desire nothing other than seeking refuge with the one whose feet are tirthas. There, one will find the atman in one’s own atman and will be successful and contented. If a person bestows the truth about this knowledge on the ignorant, he is on the virtuous path towards immortality. The god who is the lord of the distressed will take compassion on him and show him his favours. O extender of the Kuru lineage! I have thus described to you Dhruva’s famous account. His deeds were pure. As a child, he abandoned playthings and his mother’s house and went and sought refuge with Vishnu.”’

Chapter 4(13)

Suta said, ‘Vidura heard what Kousharava had described about Dhruva’s ascent to his status in Vaikuntha. His devotion towards the illustrious Adhokshaja became firmer and he started to ask yet again.

‘Vidura asked, “O one excellent in vows! Who were known as Prachetas and who were their offspring? Which famous family did they belong to and where did they undertake the sacrifice? I think that Narada, who met the god, is extremely fortunate. He is the one who spoke about kriya yoga and the rites one should observe for worshipping Hari. Those men 1371 followed good conduct and their own dharma. They performed a sacrifice to the illustrious one who is the lord of sacrifices. It was to them that the devoted Narada described everything. There, the devarshi described the illustrious one’s account. O brahmana! I wish to hear about it. You should describe everything to me.”

‘Maitreya replied, “When his father left for the forest, Dhruva’s son, Utkala, did not desire the prosperity of being an emperor and did not wish for his father’s throne. Right from his birth, his soul was tranquil. He was unattached and was impartial in his outlook. He saw the atman pervading the world and saw the world in his own atman. Through the fire of continuous practice of yoga, he burnt down all karma and impurities in his mind. He saw that his own atman was no different from the brahman, the nirvana in whom all differences cease to exist. He is the single one, true knowledge and complete bliss, existing everywhere. He thus realized his own true nature. To foolish people along the road, he appeared to be stupid, blind, deaf, mad and dumb. However, his intelligence was not like that. He was like a fire without flames. But the aged in the family and the ministers were of the view that he was stupid and mad. Therefore, they made his younger brother, Vatsara, Bhrami’s son, the king. Svavirthi was Vatsara’s beloved wife and she had six sons—Pushparna, Tigmaketu, Isha, Urja, Vasu and Jaya. Pushparna had two wives—Prabha and Dosha. Prabha’s sons were Pratar, Madhyadina and Sayam. Dosha’s three sons were Pradosha, Nishitha and Vyushta. 1372 Vyushta’s wife was Pushkarini and she had a son named Sarvateja. Through his wife Akuti, he 1373 had a son named Chakshu, who would become Manu later. 1374 Manu’s queen, Nadvala, gave birth to twelve faultless sons—Puru, Kutsa, Trita, Dyumna, Satyavat, Rita, Vrata, Agnishtoma, Atiratra, Pradyumna, Shibi and Ulmuka. Through his wife, Pushkarini, 1375 Ulmuka had six excellent sons—Anga, Sumanasa, Khyati, Kratu, Angiras and Gaya. Sunitha, Anga’s wife, gave birth to the wicked Vena. Because of his wicked conduct, the royal sage 1376 was disgusted and left the city. O dear one! The words of the sages were like the vajra. They were enraged and cursed him. After this, they churned the right hand of the dead body. 1377 At that time, there was no king in the world and the subjects were oppressed by bandits. As part of Narayana’s portion, Prithu, the first lord of the earth, was born.”

‘Vidura asked, “The king 1378 was virtuous, great-souled and a store of good conduct. He was devoted to brahmanas. How did he get such a wicked son, who made him so distressed that he had to leave? The sages were knowledgeable about dharma. King Vena was supposed to wield the rod of chastisement. What was his offence, as a consequence of which the brahmanas cursed him? The king is a protector of the subjects and even if he commits a crime, the subjects should not disrespect him. In addition to his own energy, he is nurtured through the energy of the guardians of the world. O brahmana! You are supreme among those who know about the past and the future. I am devoted and faithful towards you. Tell me about the activities of Sunitha’s son.”

‘Maitreya continued, “The royal sage, Anga, performed a great horse sacrifice. Though they were summoned by learned brahmanas, the gods did not go there. The officiating priests were surprised and told the one who was performing the sacrifice, 1379 ‘Though the oblations have been offered, the gods are not accepting them. O king! The oblations are pure and have been collected with devotion. The hymns have also been properly chanted by those who are firm in their vows. We do not know of the slightest bit of disrespect that we have shown to the gods. As a result of this, the gods have witnessed the sacrifice, but are not accepting their shares.’ Hearing the words of the brahmanas, Anga, the performer of the sacrifice, was greatly distressed. With the permission of those who were present in the assembly, he broke his vow of silence and asked them. ‘Though asked, the gods have not come to the sacrifice. They have not accepted their shares. O leaders of the assembly! Tell me. What offence have I committed?’ The leaders of the assembly replied, ‘O lord among men! You have not committed even a trifling crime. However, you did commit a sin in your former life. That is the reason you still don’t have a son. O fortunate one! O king! Therefore, strive to obtain an excellent son. Desiring a son, worship the lord of sacrifices and he will grant you a son. When Hari, the lord of sacrifices, is directly invoked for the sake of an offspring, all the residents of heaven will accept their respective shares. Hari confers all the objects of desire that men wish for. However, the fruits that a man obtains depends on the way the worship is carried out.’

‘“So that the king might obtain offspring, the brahmanas determined this. They offered cakes to Vishnu in the form of Shipivishta. 1380 A being arose. He was adorned in golden garlands and sparkling garments. He held a golden vessel with cooked payasam. 1381 With the permission of the brahmanas, the king accepted the rice in his cupped palms. The generous one smelt it and happily gave it to his wife. It had the power to deliver a male child. The queen accepted it from her husband and ate it. She didn’t have any children. But she conceived, and at the right time, gave birth to a son. Since his childhood, this son was devoted to his maternal grandfather, Mrityu. 1382 Because he was born from this portion of adharma, he was devoted to adharma. Wielding a bow and arrow, the wicked one would go on a hunt to the forest and kill the distressed deer. Therefore, people would exclaim, ‘This is Vena.’ 1383 He was extremely terrible and merciless. While playing in the playground with boys who were his age, he would kill them, as if he was slaughtering animals. On seeing this, the king tried to restrain him with many kinds of punishment. However, unable to control him, he became extremely miserable. ‘Householders who do not have offspring have probably worshipped the gods. 1384 That is the reason they do not have to bear the hardship caused by wicked children, which is so difficult to bear. The great fame of men is destroyed because of this wicked adharma. There are quarrels with everyone and there is never ending hardship. Such a person is a son only in name, bound by the bonds of delusion. What learned man will show respect towards a person who causes hardships in the home? However, I think that a bad son who is the source of grief is superior to a good son. Because of the terrible hardship he causes at home, a mortal person loses all attachment towards his home.’ Thus, the king was miserable in his mind. He could not sleep. He arose in the night. While Vena’s mother was asleep, unnoticed by men, he abandoned his house and his great prosperity, and left. The subjects got to know that their detached lord had left. They were filled with great grief. The priests, advisers and large number of well-wishers searched everywhere on earth for him. However, he was as hidden as Purusha inside the heart of an imperfect yogi. They could not find the footprints of the lord of the earth. Therefore, they gave up the attempt and returned to the city. O Pourava! With tears in their eyes, they honoured the assembled rishis and told them that their master had disappeared.”’Chapter 4(14)

‘Maitreya said, “Bhrigu and the other sages looked towards the well-being of the people. They saw that in the absence of someone to protect them, men would be the same as animals. The ones who knew about the brahman summoned Sunitha, the mother of a brave one. Though the ordinary people did not approve of this, they instated Vena as the lord of the earth. On hearing that Vena, who was extremely fierce and uncontrolled, had ascended on to the throne, all the bandits immediately hid themselves, like rats scared of a snake. Having ascended the throne, the king became insolent and thought he possessed the eight kinds of prosperity. 1385 He took himself to be great and insulted those immensely fortunate ones. He became blind with insolence. He was as proud as an elephant uncontrolled by a goad. He travelled astride his chariot and made the earth and the sky tremble. Everywhere, he used drums to make an announcement. ‘O brahmanas! You will not perform sacrifices and offer oblations. No donations will be given.’ In this way, dharma was restrained.

‘“The sages witnessed the evil conduct that Vena was engaged in. Thinking of the hardships faced by the people, they were full of compassion and assembled at a sacrificial arena. ‘Alas! Like a piece of wood that has been ignited at both ends, people are facing a great hardship from both sides, from bandits and from the protector. Even though he did not deserve to be a king, there was the fear of not having a king. There was a danger then. But now, how can people be made safe? He is like a snake who has been nourished with milk, even though he causes harm to the one who nourishes him. Born from Sunitha’s womb, Vena is naturally vile. Though he was appointed to protect the subjects, he is causing violence to subjects. Therefore, we must seek to pacify him. Otherwise, the sin will touch us too. Though we knew that Vena was wicked in nature, we made him the king. If he does not accept our words and continues to follow adharma, we will have to pacify him. He has already been scorched by the censure of the people. We will burn him down with our own energy.’ Having decided this, the sages concealed their rage. They approached Vena and addressed him in conciliatory tones. The sages said, ‘O noble king! Understand what we are telling you. O son! This will enhance your lifespan, prosperity, strength and deeds. Men who follow dharma in words, thought, body and intelligence and confer freedom from grief on people are bestowed with infinite worlds where there is freedom from attachment. O brave one! Therefore, do not destroy the signs of peace among the subjects. If this is destroyed, the king falls down from his state of prosperity. O king! If a king protects his subjects from wicked advisers and thieves, and protects them, accepting the taxes, he obtains delight in this world and in the world after death. The illustrious lord of sacrifices must be worshipped in the kingdom and in the city and people must follow their own dharma, according to their varna and their ashrama. O immensely fortunate one! The illustrious creator of beings, the one who is the atman of the universe, is pleased with a king who thus follows his instructions. When the lord of the lords is satisfied, what can not be obtained in this universe? Indeed, the worlds and the guardians of the worlds devotedly render him offerings. When the brahmanas perform sacrifices in your kingdom, the gods, who are Hari’s portions, are also properly worshipped through these observances and are extremely satisified. They give what is desired. O brave one! You should not try to show them disrespect.’ Vena retorted, ‘All of you are foolish. You respect adharma as dharma. You are abandoning the husband who provides you sustenance and worshipping a paramour. Foolish people show disrespect towards a king, who is the embodied form of the lord. Such people do not obtain any benefit in this world or in the next. Vishnu, Virinchi, Girisha, Indra, Vayu, Yama, Ravi, 1386 Parjanya, Dhanada, Soma, Kshiti, 1387 Agni, the lord of the waters, these and other gods who possess the power to grant boons and curse, exist in the king’s body. The king is full of all the gods. O brahmanas! Therefore, forget all envy and use your rites to worship me. Bring me the offerings. Other than me, which other man can have the first share in sacrifices?’ In this way, his intelligence was crooked and he was following a wicked path. Since he had deviated from everything auspicious, though he was entreated, he did not pay attention to what they sought.

‘“O Vidura! Priding himself on his learning, he thus insulted the brahmanas. Since their wishes had been shattered, they became angry with him. ‘Let him be killed. This wicked one should be slain. His nature is extremely terrible. If he remains alive, it is certain that he will soon reduce the world to ashes. He is wicked in conduct and does not deserve to be seated on an excellent throne meant for a king among men. He is without shame and criticizes Vishnu, the lord of sacrifices. Having obtained this kind of prosperity because of his favours, who but Vena will be so inauspicious as to vilify him?’ The sages decided to kill him and manifested their rage. Since he had criticized Achyuta, he was already dead. But they slew him through their humkara. 1388 After this, the rishis left for their own hermitages. Sunitha grieved. However, she preserved her son’s dead body with her knowledge and yoga. 1389

‘“On one occasion, the sages bathed in the waters of the Sarasvati. Having offered oblations into the fire, they sat down on the banks of the river and began to converse about auspicious accounts. They saw many kinds of omens manifest themselves, signifying terror to the worlds. ‘Because there is no protector, may the earth not suffer from any misfortune on account of bandits.’ While the rishis were reflecting on this, a dust arose in all the directions. This was caused by a large number of thieves running around, engaged in plundering. There was no protector. Knowing this, they tried to kill each other and plundered the riches of people, thus causing this disturbance. Without a king, a country loses its spirits and is generally full of thieves. Though the people saw this sin being committed, they were unable to do anything. ‘A brahmana should be impartial in outlook and peaceful. However, if he ignores the afflicted, his powers ebb away, like water from a pot with a hole in it. The lineage of the royal sage, Anga, does not deserve to perish. This king’s lineage was invisible in its valour and sought refuge with Keshava.’ Having determined this, the rishis churned the dead king’s thigh with force and a man named Bahuka arose. 1390 He was as dark as a crow and his limbs were extremely short. His arms were small and his chin jutted out. His arms were short and his nose was flat. His eyes and hair were coppery red. He bowed down to them and humbly asked, ‘What will I do?’ O son! They asked him to sit and he became Nishada. 1391 The descendants of Nishada roamed around in mountains and forests. He took upon himself all of Vena’s sins.”’Chapter 4(15)

‘Maitreya said, “After this, the brahmanas again churned the arms of the king, who had no son. A male and a female were born. The rishis knew about the brahman and knew that the couple was born from the illustrious one’s portion. They were extremely satisfied and said, ‘This one 1392 is a portion of the illustrious Vishnu, the protector of the world. And this one 1393 has been born as a portion of Lakshmi, who is never separated from the supreme being. This man will be the first king and his fame will be extensive. This great king will be named Prithu, because his fame will be extensive. 1394 This goddess possesses excellent teeth and is an ornament among all qualities and ornaments. This beautiful one will have the name of Archi and will be attached to Prithu. 1395 Desiring to protect the world, Hari’s portion has directly been born through him. And this is Shri, who is inseparable from him, and has therefore been born.’ The brahmanas praised him. The best among gandharvas sang his praise. The Siddhas showered down excellent flowers. The celestial women danced. Conch shells, trumpets, drums and kettledrums were sounded in the sky. All the gods, the rishis and large numbers of ancestors assembled there. Brahma, the preceptor of the universe, arrived there, with the gods and the lords among the gods. He saw the signs of the wielder of the mace 1396 on the right hand of Vena’s son. Because of the signs of the lotus on the soles of his feet, he 1397 thought that he was Hari’s portion. An unobstructed mark of the chakra 1398 is a sign of the Parameshthi’s portion. The consecration was undertaken by brahmanas who knew about the brahman. From every direction, people brought ingredients required for the consecration. The rivers, oceans, mountains, serpents, cattle, birds, animals, the sky, the earth and all the creatures brought tribute and assembled. The king was dressed in excellent garments and wonderful ornaments. With his ornamented wife, Archi, he was as resplendent as a second Agni and was instated. O brave one! Dhanada brought him an excellent golden throne. Varuna brought him an umbrella that was as radiant as the moon, dripping with water. Vayu brought him whisks made out of yak hair. Dharma brought a garland that would bring glory. Indra brought an excellent diadem and Yama a staff to be used for controlling. Brahma gave him armour permeated with the brahman. Bharati 1399 gave him an excellent necklace. Hari gave him the sudarshana chakra and his wife bestowed uninterrupted prosperity on him. Rudra gave him a sword with the marks of ten moons. Ambika gave him a shield with the marks of one hundred moons. Soma gave him horses that were made out of amrita. Tvashta gave him a chariot that was the embodiment of beauty. Agni gave him a bow made out of the horns of goats and bulls. Surya gave him arrows that were as brilliant as his rays. The earth gave him sandals that had the power of yoga. The sky brought an offering of collections of flowers. Those who travel in the sky gave him the knowledge of drama, singing, the playing of musical instruments and the power to disappear. The rishis conferred infallible benedictions. The ocean gave him a conch shell born from the ocean. The oceans, mountains and rivers granted the great-souled one passage for his chariot. The sutas, magadhas and bandis were stationed there and sung his praise.

‘“Prithu, Vena’s powerful son, understood that he was being praised. He seemed to smile and addressed them in words that rumbled like clouds. Prithu said, ‘O amiable sutas, magadhas and bandis! You have spoken about my qualities, but they are yet to manifest themselves in this world. On what basis are these praises being ascribed to me? May they exist in me and may your words not be rendered false. O speakers of sweet words! Therefore, enough of what has been heard. Save them for the future and compose words of praise then. Indeed, when there are discussions about Uttamashloka’s qualities, civilized people do not praise contemptible people like me. If a person has the capacity to invoke great qualities in him, why will he allow his followers to praise him, when they are still non-existent? A person who thinks that he might obtain learning in the future, does not realize that his intelligence is crooked and that people laugh at him. Even if powerful people are famous, they do not like their own praise. A generous and humble man censures this. O sutas and others! We are not yet known in this world for any superior deeds. Like a foolish person, how can I engage you to sing my praise?’”’Chapter 4(16)

‘Maitreya said, “The singers heard what the king said and their minds were satisfied by his words, which were like amrita. However, urged by the sages, they continued to sing his praise. ‘Our description of your greatness has not been enough. You are the noble god, who has used his maya to descend here. Though you have been born from Vena’s limbs, the intelligence of lords of speech is bewildered, when they seek to describe your glory. We are interested in hearing about the exploits of the generous Prithu, who has descended as Hari’s portion, and whose account is like amrita. We have been instructed and urged by the sages. We will seek to spread accounts of your praiseworthy deeds. He is foremost among those who uphold dharma. He makes people follow dharma. He protects the ordinances of dharma and chastises those who act in a contrary way. For the welfare of both the worlds, 1400 from time to time, his own body will manifest the different bodies of the guardians of the worlds. At the right time, he will generate riches and at the right time, release them, like the powerful and radiant sun. 1401 Vena’s son will be tolerant of crimes, even if he continually suffers from them. He will be compassionate towards beings. Like the behaviour of the earth, he will always be forgiving towards those who are suffering. He is the divinity Hari, who has assumed the form of a king among men. When the god 1402 does not shower down, like Indra, he will protect the subjects who find it difficult to remain alive. He will delight the world with a face that is the embodied form of the moon. His affectionate glances and his bright smiles will render everything beautiful. His path will be difficult to understand and his acts will be mysterious. His intelligence will be deep and he will guard his riches. He will alone be the reservoir of an infinite number of qualities and greatness. Like Prachetas, 1403 Prithu’s nature will be hidden from view. He will be impossible to assail and impossible to withstand. Even when he is near, he will seem to be far away. Vena’s son, who has arisen from the fire, 1404 will be impossible to overcome. Through his spies, he will see the acts of creatures, whether they are overt or covert. Like the breath of life in bodies, he will be like an indifferent witness. He will not punish those who do not deserve to be punished, even if they happen to be the sons of his enemies. He will punish even his own sons. His punishment will be based on the path of dharma. Right up to Mount Manasa, Prithu’s wheel of rule will be unrestricted and will extend to everywhere that the illustrious sun god illuminates with his rays. 1405 Through his own deeds, he will delight the world. Since he delights the minds of the subjects, he will be known as rajan. 1406 He will be firm in his vows and will not waver from the truth. He will be devoted to brahmanas and will serve the aged. For all creatures, he will be a refuge. He will bestow honours and be affectionate towards the distressed. He will revere other men’s wives like his own mother. He will treat his own wife like one half of his own self. Towards the subjects, he will be as gentle as a father. He will be a servant to those who know about the brahman. Those with bodies will love him like their own selves. He will enhance the joy of his well-wishers. He will associate with those who are free from all attachments. Against the wicked, his hand will wield the rod of chastisement. He is the illustrious lord of the three worlds himself, who, mysterious in his atman, has made his portion descend. Because of the futile constructs of lack of knowledge, one sees him as manifesting in many different forms. This brave king is a protector and guardian of the earth’s sphere, from Mount Udaya onwards. 1407 He will be astride his victorious chariot and with a bow, will circle the sun from the right to the left, just as the sun does. Here and there, kings, along with the guardians of the world, will bring him tribute. Their women will consider him as the original king. Like the one with the chakra as a weapon, his fame will extend. He will be the lord of subjects. To provide a means of subsistence to subjects, this supreme king will milk the earth, like a cow. Playfully, he will use the ends of his bow to shatter the mountains, just as Indra does, and will level the earth. He will twang his own bow, made out of the horns of goats and bulls. When he travels around, he will be impossible to resist. At that time, wicked people will hide themselves in different directions. He will be like a lion with its tail raised up. He will perform one hundred horse sacrifices at the source of Sarasvati. When the hundredth sacrifice is going on, Purandara will steal the sacrificial horse. In his grove, alone, he will meet the illustrious Sanatkumara and will worship him with devotion. He will then obtain unadulterated knowledge and obtain the supreme brahman. Prithu will be extensive in his valour and famous for his bravery. Everywhere he goes, he will hear words and songs about himself. His unrestricted wheel of rule will conquer the directions. With his own energy, he will uproot the stakes of the world. He will be the immensely fortunate lord of the earth, and the asuras and the gods, with Indra, will sing about him.’”’Chapter 4(17)

‘Maitreya said, “Vena’s illustrious son was thus glorified because of his qualities and deeds. He greeted and honoured them back and gave them whatever they wished for. He honoured the varnas, with brahmanas at the forefront, the servants, the advisers, the citizens of the city and the countryside, the guilds and the ordinary people.”

‘Vidura asked, “The earth can assume many different forms. Why did she assume the form of a cow? When Prithu milked her, who was the calf? How did the milking take place? The goddess is naturally uneven. How did he level her? The horse was meant for a sacrifice. Why did the god steal it? O brahmana! The illustrious Sanatkumara is supreme among those who know about the brahman. When he obtained jnana and vijnana, what destination did the royal sage obtain? O lord! I am devoted to no one other than you and the illustrious Krishna. His auspicious activities are excellent to hear, such as when he resorted to former bodies. I am devoted to you and Adhokshaja. You should therefore tell me about how he milked the earth, in the form of Vena’s son.”’

Suta said, ‘Maitreya was urged by Vidura to speak about Vasudeva’s account. He praised him and, pleased, replied.

‘Maitreya continued, “O dear one! Prithu was instated by the brahmanas and the ministers as a protector of the people. But at that time, the surface of the earth did not yield any food. The subjects were hungry and their bodies were emaciated. They went to their protector and addressed him. ‘O king! Our stomachs are burning with hunger, like fire in the hollow of a tree. You are our lord now and will find a means of livelihood for us. You are our refuge and we have come to you for refuge. O divinity in the form of a lord of men! We are afflicted by hunger, please try to give us some food, before we perish because our store of food is exhausted. As a guardian of the people, you will indeed find a means of sustenance for us.’ Prithu heard the piteous lamentations of the subjects. O best among the Kuru lineage! He thought for a long time about the reason. Using his intelligence, he decided on the course of action. 1408 Enraged, like the destroyer of Tripura, he picked up his bow and arrow and targeted an arrow in the earth’s direction. On seeing that he had picked up the weapon, the earth trembled. She adopted the form of a cow and started to run away, like a terrified female deer that is being pursued by a hunter. At this, Vena’s son became angry and his eyes turned as red as the rising sun. Fixing an arrow to his bow, he pursued her, wherever she tried to run away. The goddess ran to the directions and the sub-directions and to the space between heaven and earth. But wherever she ran, she saw him pursue her, with the upraised weapon. Just as people cannot avoid death in the worlds, she could not find any escape from Vena’s son. Therefore, with a scared and grieving hurt, she returned.

‘“She told the immensely fortunate one, ‘O one who knows about dharma! O one who is affectionate towards those who seek refuge! Since you have been instated as the protector of all creatures, save me too. That being the case, why do you want to kill a distressed person like me, who has not committed a crime? Since you are regarded as someone who knows about dharma, how can you strike a woman? Even if women commit crimes, people do not strike them. O king! That apart, someone like you is compassionate and devoted to those who are distressed. I am like a strong boat on which the world is established. After having shattered me, how will you sustain yourself and these subjects on the waters?’ Prithu replied, ‘O earth! Since you have disobeyed my commands, I will kill you. You have taken your share in the sacrifice, but have not given us the wealth. Every day, you eat green grass, but do not yield milk from your udders. Since you are wicked in this way, punishment is indicated. The seeds of herbs were earlier created by Svayambhu. But you are indeed wicked in intelligence. Despite this, you are hiding them within yourself and not releasing them. You are ignoring me. They are lamenting, afflicted and overcome by hunger. I will slice your flesh with my arrows and pacify them. For kings, the slaying of a wicked and self-centred person who is not compassionate towards creatures, regardless of whether the person is a man, a woman or a eunuch, is not considered to be killing. You are insolent and obstinate and have used your maya to assume this form. I will use my arrows to reduce you to pieces as small as sesamum seeds. I will use the strength of my yoga to sustain the subjects.’ He was the embodied form of rage and was like Death personified. The trembling earth joined her hands in salutation and spoke to him. The earth said, ‘I bow down to the supreme Purusha. He uses his maya to manifest himself in many diverse forms that are characterized by gunas. I use my understanding to bow down to his true form. He is not affected by material objects, the sense of being a doer and delusion. The creator fashioned me, with the collection of gunas in different kinds of creation, as a resting place for those beings. The self-ruling one has now presented himself, raising his weapon to kill me. Whom will I turn to for refuge? Using his own maya and himself as the only refuge, at the beginning, the inconceivable one created all mobile and immobile objects. Indeed, he is the one who exerts to confer protection. How can a person who is devoted to dharma desire to kill me? The supreme lord is one, but is seen to appear in many different forms because of his maya. It is because of this that even those with cleansed souls find it difficult to realize him. He is the one who created the creator. People can certainly not fathom his deeds. His powers are the cause behind creation, preservation and destruction. Material objects, action, controllers, consciousness and the sense of the atman flow from him. He is the one who manifests and withdraws his powers. I bow down to the supreme Purusha, the cause behind everything. O lord! You have created this universe, the elements, the senses and the inner organs. O one without birth! As the original boar, you raised me out of the waters of rasatala and instated me. You raised me out of the waters and established me, like a boat, desiring to protect the subjects. That valiant form was that of Dharadhara. 1409 For the sake of milk, he now wishes to slay me, holding a fierce arrow. Indeed, people cannot understand the actions of their lords, especially those like me, whose intelligence is confused by maya and the gunas of creation. Confounded, my mind does not comprehend your ways. I bow down to those brave ones who ensure fame.’”’Chapter 4(18)

‘Maitreya said, “Despite being addressed in this way, Prithu was still angry and his lips quivered. Scared, she steadied herself and spoke again. ‘O lord! Please control your rage and listen to what I have to say. Like a bee, a learned man accepts the essence from everywhere. Whether it is for the welfare of men in this world or in the next world, sages who have realized the truth have prescribed some modes. If one follows the principles that have been instructed earlier properly, with undiluted devotion, one easily attains the objective. Neglecting those, an ignorant person starts to determine his own modes. He deviates and despite trying repeatedly, he does not attain the objective. O lord of the earth! I have seen that the herbs that were formerly created by Brahma were being enjoyed by those who were wicked and were not firm in their vows. Rulers of the world, like you, did not protect me and neglected me. The world became full of thieves. The herbs were meant for sacrifices and I hid them. After a long period of time, within me, those herbs and grains have indeed diminished. Therefore, you should try to extract them through means that have been indicated earlier. O brave one! O mighty-armed one! Think of a calf to whom I am devoted, a vessel for the milk and a person who can do the milking. O one who desires to protect creatures! I will then be milked and yield all the objects of desire as milk. O illustrious one! You will obtain the desired food that will nourish. O king! O lord! Level me, so that when the rainy season is over, the beneficial water that is showered down by the god remains on me.’ The king accepted the agreeable and beneficial words that the earth spoke.

‘“He made Manu the calf and milked all the herbs and grains with his own hand. Everywhere, other learned ones also extracted the essence of everything. As determined by Prithu, others also milked the objects of their desire. O excellent one! The rishis made Brihaspati the calf and their senses the vessel and milked the pure hymns. The large number of gods made Indra the calf and milked soma juice into a golden vessel. This milk gave them valour, energy and strength. The daityas and danavas made Prahlada, the bull among asuras, the calf. In an iron vessel, they milked sura and asava. The gandharvas and apsaras made Vishvavasu a calf. In a vessel that was the cup of a lotus, they milked the sweet and beautiful art of singing and dancing. The immensely fortunate ancestors made Aryama the calf. Using an unbaked earthen vessel, those divinities of shraddha ceremonies devotedly milked kavya. The Siddhas thought of Kapila as a calf. They used resolution as a vessel to milk the siddhis. The vidyadharas milked the knowledge of travelling through the sky. There were others, well versed in maya. They thought of Maya as a calf. Using their will as a vessel, they milked Maya and the extraordinary technique of disappearing. The yakshas, rakshasas, bhutas, pishachas and those who eat raw flesh made the lord of bhutas 1410 a calf. Using a vessel made out of a skull, they milked asava that was made out of blood. In this way, snakes without hoods, scorpions, snakes and serpents made Takshaka the calf. Using their holes as vessels, they milked poison. Herbivores made the bull 1411 a calf. Using the forest as a vessel, they milked green grass. Animals with sharp teeth and predatory beasts made the lion a calf. Using their own bodies as vessels, they milked flesh. Birds used Suparna as a calf and milked movable and immovable creatures. The trees made the banyan tree the calf and extracted their own juices as milk. The mountains made the Himalayas the calf. Using their own slopes as vessels, they milked many kinds of minerals. Every species used the foremost among it as a calf. They had their own respective vessels and their own respective milk. As determined by Prithu, every object of desire was milked from the earth. In this way, Prithu and the others survived on the food the earth provided and each had his own respective food. O extender of the Kuru lineage! There were differences in the vessels used for milking and variations in the milk that was yielded. King Prithu was pleased that every object of desire had been milked. Affectionately, he thought of her as his daughter and loved her like a daughter. Using the ends of his own bow, the king of kings shattered the tops of the mountains. The lord who was Vena’s son made the surface of the earth almost level. Thus, like a father, Vena’s illustrious son provided a means of subsistence for the subjects. Here and there, as they deserved, he constructed habitations for them. Villages, cities, habitations, many kinds of forts, residences for cowherds, pens for animals, camps, mines, agricultural settlements and villages on mountains were established. Before Prithu, there was no such planning of cities, villages and other places. Without any fear, here and there, they dwelt happily.”’Chapter 4(19)

‘Maitreya said, “The king consecrated himself for one hundred horse sacrifices. This land of Manu, with the Sarasvati flowing towards the east, is known as Brahmavarta. The illustrious Shatakratu saw that Prithu would surpass his own deeds and could not tolerate the great festivities of sacrifices he had undertaken. The lord Hari is the illustrious lord of sacrifices and is present in all atmans. The lord, who is the preceptor of the worlds, was himself present at these. He was accompanied by Brahma, Sharva and the guardians of the worlds and their companions. The gandharvas, sages and large numbers of apsaras chanted his praise. There were the Siddhas, the vidyadharas, the daityas, the danavas, the guhyakas and the others and the foremost among Hari’s attendants, Sunanda and Nanda being the chief. Eager to serve him, devotees of the illustrious one, like Kapila, Narada, Datta, 1412 the lords of yoga and Sanaka and the others followed him. O descendant of the Bharata lineage! The earth was milked in accordance with dharma and yielded every object of desire. She was milked for every object of desire and satisfied the intentions of the performer of the sacrifice. All the rivers flowed with every kind of taste, milk, curds, food and other dairy products. The large bodies of the trees yielded honey and fruit. The oceans brought stores of jewels and the mountains provided four kinds of food. 1413

‘“The extremely generous Prithu regarded Adhokshaja as his lord. However, the illustrious Indra suffered from jealousy and tried to create impediments. Vena’s son, the performer of the sacrifice, was completing the last horse sacrifice, dedicated to the lord of sacrifices. Regarding him as a rival, he 1414 remained invisible and stole the sacrificial animal. The illustrious Atri saw him travelling swiftly through the sky, like a heretic pretending to be someone detached, like a confused person taking adharma to be dharma. Urged by Atri, Prithu’s maharatha son pursued him. Intending to kill him, he angrily said, ‘Wait. Wait.’ However, he looked at his form. His hair was matted and he was covered with ashes. Therefore, taking him to be the embodied form of dharma, he did not release his arrow. When he returned without killing him, Atri again urged him, ‘O son! Kill the one who is destroying the sacrifice. This is the great Indra, worst among the gods.’ Thus urged, Vena’s grandson became angry and followed him through the sky, like the king of eagles 1415 pursuing Ravana. The self-ruling one 1416 gave up the form he had assumed and vanished, abandoning the horse. The brave one seized his own animal and returned to his father’s sacrifice. O lord! The supreme rishis saw the extraordinary deed that he had done and gave him the name of Vijitashva. 1417 The lord Hari 1418 created a terrible darkness and stole the horse again, severing the golden rope with which it was tethered to the ring on the sacrificial post. Atri showed that he was travelling swiftly through the sky. Since he was carrying a skull and a khatvanga, the brave one did not obstruct him. 1419 However, when Atri urged him, he angrily affixed an arrow. The self-ruling one gave up the form he had assumed and vanished, abandoning the horse. Virashva 1420 seized the horse and went to the place where his father’s sacrifice was being held. Since that time, those who are weak and ignorant have assumed the disguise that was used by Hari. 1421 Desiring to steal the horse, Indra assumed these forms. These sinful signs and marks are known as khanda. 1422 Wishing to destroy the sacrifice of Vena’s son, Indra stole the horse in this way. He assumed and discarded the disguise of men who are heretical in intelligence. They are naked, or dress themselves in red garments. They propagate false dharma as dharma. Since they are accomplished and eloquent, people who are misguided are generally attracted to these.

‘“The illustrious Prithu was extensive in his valour. Knowing about Indra, he became angry and affixed an arrow to his upraised bow. The officiating priests saw that he had affixed an invincible and forceful arrow, with a desire to kill Shakra. They restrained him. ‘O immensely intelligent one! It has been instructed that nothing other than the sacrificial animal should be killed here. We will summon Indra, the lord of the Maruts, who sought to destroy your objective, here. Because of your energy, he has already lost his powers. O king! Using mantras that have never been used before, we will thereafter offer the one who caused you injury as an oblation.’ O Vidura! They advised the master of the sacrifice 1423 in this way. Using the sacrificial ladle, the enraged officiating priests started to offer him as an oblation. However, Svayambhu restrained them. ‘Indra should not be killed by you. He is known as Yajna because he is part of the illustrious one’s body. You wish to kill him, but the gods who are worshipped are also parts of his body. O brahmanas! Indra performed the act of trying to obstruct the sacrifice undertaken by the king. Regard this as a great transgression of dharma. Prithu has performed one less than one hundred sacrifices, but let him be more famous than Indra.’ ‘Enough of sacrifices, which you have performed well. 1424 You know about the dharma of liberation. O fortunate one! You should not succumb to rage any longer. Both you and the great Indra are embodied forms of Uttamashloka. O great king! Do not worry. 1425 Respectfully listen to my words. If a man thinks of doing something, but it is frustrated by destiny, when his mind succumbs to great anger, he enters the darkness of ignorance. Since the gods have created obstructions, let this sacrifice be stopped. Indra created the heretics who caused a transgression of dharma. These heretical views, which people find attractive, have been created by Indra. Look at the way he stole the horse and caused an obstruction to the sacrifice. You have descended on this world as a saviour of dharma among people, appropriate for the age. Because of Vena’s wicked activities, those practices have disappeared. O Vena’s son! That is the reason you have been born as Vishnu’s portion. O lord of subjects! Consider the resolutions of the creator of the universe and fulfil them. Indra’s maya is the mother of many kinds of wrong dharma. O lord! Destroy the terrible path of the ascetics.’ Thus instructed by the preceptor of the worlds, the lord of the earth affectionately had an alliance with Maghona. 1426 Prithu, the performer of a lot of deeds, had the bath that is taken at the end of a sacrifice. Satisfied at the way the sacrifice was undertaken, the granters of boons 1427 conferred boons on him. O Kshatta! Respectfully, the king first honoured brahmanas. Having obtained dakshina, they were content and showered benedictions on him. ‘O mighty-armed one! All of us have come here because we have been invited by you. 1428 We have been worshipped, honoured and have been given gifts—the ancestors, the gods, the rishis and men.’”’Chapter 4(20)

‘Maitreya said, “Satisfied with the performance of the sacrifice, the illustrious Vaikuntha, the lord of sacrifices and the one who enjoys sacrifices, arrived there, along with the Lord Maghavan. He told him 1429 the following.

‘“The illustrious one said, ‘O dear one! This one has caused an obstruction to your hundredth horse sacrifice. But he is asking you for forgiveness. Therefore, you should pardon him. O lord of men! In this world, the best among men are virtuous and extremely intelligent. Since the atman is not the body, they are not malicious towards other creatures. 1430 If men like you are confounded by divine maya, the long period of serving the aged becomes futile exertion. A learned person knows that this body is the creation of ignorance, kama and karma. That being the case, a person in whom knowledge has been generated, has no attachment towards it. If a learned person is not attached to the body, why will he have a sense of ownership towards things that result from it—a house, children and riches? The atman is one and pure. It is self-resplendent and nirguna, though it is a store for the gunas. It is not covered by anything and goes everywhere. It is a witness and there is nothing that is superior to the atman. If a man knows that his atman is within himself, he is established in me. He is not affected by Prakriti and its attributes. O king! If a person follows his own dharma and always worships me devotedly, without any motive, his mind gradually obtains gratification. Such a person discards the gunas and is impartial in his outlook. He obtains unadulterated tranquility in me. Like the brahman, he is indifferent and obtains kaivalya. He is indifferent towards whatever controls material objects, the senses of perception and action and the mind. He fixes himself on the atman and realizes it, obtaining fortune. The linga sharira consists of different kinds of flows of the gunas, which causes material objects to interact with each other. 1431 Bound in affection towards me, learned people do not react to prosperity or adversity. O brave one! Such a person conquers all the senses and is indifferent towards happiness and unhappiness and looks upon the superior, the medium and the inferior impartially. Having been appointed by me, offer protection to the entire world, accompanied by all the people. A king obtains benefit by protecting the subjects and in the next birth, obtains a one-sixth share of the good deeds they perform. However, if he is only a collector who receives taxes and fails to protect the subjects, he loses his good merits and obtains the sins. 1432 In this way, if you accord prominence to dharma and follow what has been sanctioned by the best of brahmanas, you will be the best among those who protect. You will be loved by people and in a short period of time, you will see the Siddhas come to visit you in your house. O Indra among men! Ask for any boon from me. Because of your qualities and good conduct, I am tied to you. I cannot be easily obtained through sacrifices, austerities and yoga, but can be obtained by those who are indifferent in their intelligence.’ Vishvaksena, the preceptor of the worlds, instructed the conqueror of the world in this way. He bowed his head down and accepted Hari’s commands. Ashamed of his own deeds, Shatakratu affectionately touched his feet and he gave up all enmity and embraced him. Prithu worshipped the illustrious atman of the universe with offerings. He seized his lotus feet and his devotion gradually increased.

‘“The one with eyes like the petals of a lotus was about to leave. However, he looked at him with compassion and lingered on. Since he loved virtuous people, he did not leave. Because his eyes were overflowing with tears, the original king could not see him. Since his voice choked with tears, he could not say anything. He joined his hands in salutation and stood there, embracing Hari in his heart. He then wiped away the flowing tears and saw Purusha standing before him, his feet touching the ground and the top of his hand resting on the enemy of serpents. 1433 Prithu was not satisfied and said, ‘O lord! The lords who grant boons result from your boon. Confused by the transformation of gunas within his own self, which learned person will seek a boon from you? O lord! O bestower of kaivalya! Embodied beings who go to hell also enjoy them. I will not ask for these. O protector! If I can taste the asava of your lotus feet, which flows from the hearts of great ones and emerges through their mouths, I do not desire any of that. Give me the boon of ten thousand ears so that I can hear about your glory. O Uttamashloka! Emerging from the mouths of great ones, drops of the nectar from your lotus feet are borne by the wind. It again brings back memory to those who have forgotten about the true path, the bad yogis. This restoration is sufficient boon for us. O one who knows about qualities! If one can manage to hear about the excellent account of your auspicious fame in an assembly of noble ones even once, unless he is an animal, which person will desire a cessation of that? Even Shri wishes to receive the accumulation of your qualities. I hanker to worship the complete Purushottama, who is a reservoir of qualities, just as the one with the lotus in her hand 1434 does. Since we are competing for the same master, let there be no quarrels between her and me. We are both single-minded in our attention to your feet. O lord of the universe! Even though we wish to perform a little bit of this worship, the mother of the universe 1435 may be angry with us. But you are extremely devoted to the distressed. Since you possess your own powers, why are you content with her? Virtuous people worship you in this way and dispel the confusion that is created by maya and the gunas. O illustrious one! We do not know if virtuous people have any other motive than that of remembering your lotus feet. I think your words confound the universe. You have told your devotee, “Ask for a boon.” If people are not bound by what has been said in your words, who will be confused and perform the rites? 1436 O lord! People are separated because of your maya. An ignorant person desires everything other than his atman. Just as a father himself acts for the welfare of his child, you should also act on our behalf.’ The one who sees the entire universe was thus worshipped by the original king and replied, ‘O king! You will remain devoted towards me. You will possess the good fortune of acting with your intelligence immersed in me. You will cross over my maya, which is so very difficult to cross. O lord of subjects! Therefore, without any distractions, carry out my commands. People who act in accordance with my instructions, obtain benefits everywhere.’ He honoured the words spoken by Vena’s son, the royal sage, who worshipped him. Having shown him his favours, Achyuta made up his mind to leave. Since his mind looked on all of them as manifestations of the lord of sacrifices, the king joined his hands in salutation and devotedly worshipped the divine rishis, the ancestors, the gandharvas, the Siddhas, the charanas, the serpents, the kinnaras, the apsaras, the mortals, the birds and all the other kinds of creatures with sweet words. Worshipped thus, all of them followed Vaikuntha. The illustrious Achyuta robbed the hearts of the royal sage and the priests and returned to his own abode. He had revealed himself to the king, who bowed down to the one who cannot be seen and is not manifest, the god of the gods. After this, he went to his own city.”’Chapter 4(21)

‘Maitreya said, “It 1437 was decorated with pearls, flowers, garlands, silk garments and golden arches. Here and there, it was embellished with great fragrances and incense. The highways, quadrangles and roads were sprinkled with water mixed with sandalwood and aloe and beautified with flowers, unhusked grain, fruits, minerals, parched grain and lamps. There were pillars of plantain trees and clean areca nut trees with fruits and flowers. Everywhere, it was decorated with garlands made out of the tender leaves of trees. The subjects received him with collections of lamps and an infinite number of auspicious objects. There were beautiful maidens ornamented with sparkling earrings. There were the sounds of conch shells and drums. Officiating priests chanted sounds of the brahman. The brave one was devoid of pride. Praised in this way, he entered his residence. Here and there, immensely illustrious ones honoured him and he honoured back the inhabitants of the city and the countryside, happily giving them whatever would please them. He was the greatest of the great and right from the beginning, had repeatedly performed many unmatched tasks. He ruled the globe of the earth and obtained pervasive fame, eventually ascending to the supreme state.”’

Suta said, ‘Kousharava praised the original king, who possessed great fame because of a large number of qualities, qualities that were praiseworthy. At this, Kshatta, the great devotee of the illustrious one, praised the master of the assembly 1438 and spoke to him. Vidura said, “Prithu was instated by the brahmanas and obtained a great deal of praise from the gods. He was radiant because of Vaishnava energy and used his hands to milk the earth. What experienced man will not listen to his deeds? All the other kings and the guardians of the world survive on his valour even now, obtaining their wishes. Tell me about his auspicious deeds.”

‘Maitreya continued, “He resided in the region that was between the rivers Ganga and Yamuna. Desiring to exhaust his store of good deeds, he enjoyed only what had matured. 1439 Everywhere, in all parts of the land, in the seven dvipas, he alone was the one who wielded the rod of chastisement. 1440 The only ones who could counter him were those born from lineages of brahmanas and those who were from Achyuta’s gotra. 1441 Once, he consecrated himself for a great sacrifice. O excellent one! The residents of heaven, brahmana rishis and royal sages assembled there. There, everyone was honoured according to what he deserved. In the midst of the assembly, like the lord of the stars amidst the stars, he stood up. He was tall and his arms were thick. He was fair. His eyes were like red lotuses. He possessed an excellent nose and a handsome face. He was amiable and his shoulders were rounded. His teeth and his smile were beautiful. His chest was broad and his loins were wide. His beautiful stomach had three lines, like the leaf of a banyan tree. His shining navel was deep, like a whirlpool. His thighs seemed to be made out of gold and his insteps were arched. The hair on his head was fine, curly, glossy and dark. His throat was like a conch shell. He wore two extremely expensive silken garments, a lower garment and an upper garment. Because of the rituals he had followed, many beautiful signs could be seen on his body. He had cast aside his ornaments. He was attired in black antelope skin. With a blade of kusha grass in his hand, he performed the required rites. He glanced around with eyes that were like stars in a sky wet with dew. He spoke to the assembly in a loud voice and delighted them. The words were beautiful, clear and with colourful quatrains, deep and certain in their import. It was as if he was saying this for the sake of everyone’s welfare.

‘“The king said, ‘O members of the assembly! O fortunate ones! Listen to me. You virtuous ones have assembled here. If virtuous people ask about dharma, a person must answer according to his own learning. In this world, I have been instated as a king who wields the rod of chastisement over subjects. I must protect their respective means of subsistence and establish their separate ordinances. Those who know about the brahman speak about worlds. If I perform my tasks properly now and if the one who sees everything is pleased, I will obtain my objects of desire there. If a king collects taxes and does not instruct subjects about dharma, he forfeits his own good fortune and shares in the sins committed by the subjects. O subjects! Therefore, for the sake of your own benefit and as a funeral offering towards your master, 1442 you must turn your intelligence towards Adhokshaja. That will be a favour to me. O unblemished ancestors, gods and rishi! Please approve of what I am saying. After death, equal fruits are obtained by the doer, the preceptor and the approver. O supreme among worthy ones! There are some who hold that there is a lord of sacrifices. Otherwise, in this world and in the next, how can there be worlds 1443 that are as radiant as the moonlight? 1444 Manu, Uttanapada, King Dhruva, the royal sage Priyavrata, my paternal grandfather Anga and others like Aja, 1445 Bhava, Prahlada and Bali have held that the wielder of the mace exists. With the exception of those like Mrityu’s daughter’s son, 1446 who deserves to be pitied, who are confused about dharma, it has generally been held that there must be a cause behind material objectives, 1447 heaven and emancipation. If an ascetic has the intention of serving at his feet, the impurities of intelligence accumulated through many births, which increase day by day, are instantly cleansed, as if by the river 1448 that emerges from the toes on his feet. The valour of such a man is enhanced and with all his impurities cleansed, his non-attachment and vijnana increase. He does not undergo the cycle of life, the source of hardships. Therefore, according to your occupations, minds, words, bodies, gunas and own deeds, worship him without any reservations. His lotus feet yield the objects of desire. Convinced that this will yield benefits, depending on your abilities, you will then obtain success. He is devoid of gunas, but he manifests himself as a sacrifice with qualities of many different kinds of material objects, traits, rites and chants. Such a sacrifice is accomplished with diverse signs and names. Though his own form is made out of pure concentrated consciousness, he accepts such sacrifices. The aggregate of material nature, time, hopes and dharma in physical bodies leads the consciousness to accept these. The lord visualizes different manifestations of the fruits of these rites, just as, depending on the qualities of the wood, the fire blazes inside it. Hari is the preceptor and lord of those who receive shares in sacrifices. 1449 I am fortunate that those who have an association with me are showing me their favours by worshipping him incessantly on the surface of the earth, following their own dharma and firm in their vows. The devotees of the unvanquished one and noble brahmanas who possess tolerance, austerities and learning are resplendent. Let the energy and great power of royal lineages not seek to surpass them. Hari is the ancient Purusha and even that divinity is always devoted to brahmanas. It is by worshipping at their feet that he obtained Lakshmi, who never leaves him, fame and the supreme greatness that purifies the universe. He completely rules himself and resides in all hearts. The lord of every kind of desire loves brahmanas and is content when they are served. Therefore, humbly and with all your souls, serve brahmana lineages. That is supreme dharma. By continually having an association with them and serving them, a man can immediately achieve satisfaction of the soul and automatic personal serenity. Among those who accept the oblations of clarified butter, is there any superior mouth? The infinite one accepts oblations of clarified butter that are offered faithfully, using the mouths of those who indeed know about the truth. The one who does not abandon his devotees is not that pleased with oblations offered into the mouth of the fire, rendered without consciousness. A brahmana’s purity is eternal because of his faith, austeries, auspiciousness, silence, control and concentration. His insight illuminates the true objective, like the reflection in a mirror. O noble ones! Right up to the end of my life, I wish to bear on my crown the dust from the lotus feet of those who illuminate. This quickly destroys all sins. One must worship those who possess all the qualities. A person who has acquired good qualities, is a store of good conduct, is grateful and is a refuge for the aged, certainly obtains prosperity. I wish that the lineages of brahmanas, cattle and Janardana and his followers should be satisfied with me.’”

‘Maitreya continued, “When the king said this, the ancestors, the gods and the brahmanas were satisfied and delighted in their minds. Those virtuous ones applauded his virtuous words. The learned saying, ‘One can conquer the worlds through a son’, is true. Though the wicked Vena was slain through the curse of brahmanas, he overcame the darkness. Because he censured the illustrious one, Hiranyakashipu was also about to enter darkness, but was delivered because of the influence of Prahlada, his son. ‘O noble and brave one! 1450 O father of the earth! May you live for an eternal number of years, since you display this kind of devotion towards Achyuta, the lord of all the worlds. O one who is auspicious in deeds! With you as our protector now, it is as if Mukunda is our protector. Your words have described the divinity, Uttamashloka Vishnu, who is devoted to brahmanas. O protector! However, this is not extraordinary, since you rule over living creatures. You are devoted to your subjects and your nature is great and full of compassion. O lord! On account of our past deeds and touched by destiny, we were wandering around, with our insight destroyed. It is wonderful that you have made us cross this increasing darkness. O one with an elevated spirit! O glorified person! Through your own energy, you maintain brahmanas, kshatriyas and vaishyas. We bow down to you.’”’Chapter 4(22)

‘Maitreya said, “When the citizens were praising Prithu, whose valour was pervasive, four sages arrived there and they were as radiant as the sun. With his followers, the king saw those unblemished lords of the Siddhas, whose radiance illuminated the worlds, descend from the sky and recognized them. Just as the lord of senses rushes towards the objects of the senses, Vena’s son was eager to see them and instantly stood up, along with all his followers who were there at the assembly. They were worshipped in the proper way and accepted the offerings and the seats. Completely overpowered by their glory, he 1451 humbly lowered down his head. He took the water that had washed their feet and sprinkled it over the hair on his head. He was good in conduct and with his conduct, accorded them respect. They sat down on those golden seats, like sacrificial fires on altars. Delighted and full of devotion and control, he addressed Bhava’s elder brothers. 1452

‘“Prithu said, ‘O reservoirs of everything auspicious! This is wonderful. Since I have been able to see you, who even yogis find it difficult to see, I must have performed auspicious deeds. If brahmanas like you, and Shiva and Vishnu who follow you, are pleased, what will be difficult to obtain in this world and in the next? Even though you roam the worlds, people cannot see you, just as the omniscient cause of everything is in all atmans, but cannot be seen. Even if a householder possesses no riches, he is certainly blessed if the master of the house and his servants have water, grass and land in the house, which can be used to honour worthy and virtuous ones who visit. However, even if a house possesses every kind of wealth in abundance, if it does not have sacred water with which the feet of those whose feet are like tirthas can be washed, that house is like a tree inhabited by venomous serpents. O best among brahmanas! Welcome. Since childhood, you have followed vows of emancipation. Your conduct has been faithful and persevering. Because of our own deeds, we have descended into these hardships. O protectors! We have taken the satisfaction of the senses as the objective. Can there be welfare for us? Since you find delight in your own atmans, there is no need to ask questions about your welfare. Your minds and intelligence are such that the question of good fortune and misfortune does not arise. Therefore, I confidently look on you as well-wishers of those who are tormented and am questioning you. How can welfare be ensured quickly? It is evident that the illustrious one, who has no birth, shows favours towards his devotees and manifests his atman in the atmans of those like you, who roam around in the form of Siddhas.’”

‘Maitreya continued, “Prithu’s words were full of meaning, brief, spoken well and sweet. Hearing what he had said, Sanatkumara smiled slightly. Delighted, he replied.

‘“Sanatkumara said, ‘O great king! With the welfare of all creatures in your mind, you have asked an excellent question. You are learned. 1453 The intelligence of the virtuous is like this. When two virtuous ones meet each other, it is good for both. The resultant conversation and questioning enhances every person’s tranquility. O king! You mention an attachment for speaking about the qualities of the lotus feet of Madhu’s enemy. This unwavering devotion is extremely difficult to find. It washes away the impurities of lust and desire that exist in the inner recesses of the heart. The sacred texts have perfectly considered the causes for human welfare and have arrived at definitive conclusions—non-attachment to everything other than the atman and firm attachment to the atman and the nirguna brahman, devotion, the observance of dharma towards the illustrious one, inquiry about the adhyatmika, faith in yoga, worship of the lord of yoga, continuous listening to auspicious and sacred accounts, reluctance to associate with those who seek gratification in wealth or in the senses, avoiding and not accepting objects that such people seek for gratification, love for solitude, except at times when the nectar of Hari’s qualities can be drunk, non-violence, following the conduct of paramahamsas, remembering Mukunda, drinking the best of nectar in the form of his exploits, yama, niyama, refraining from slander, lack of desire towards objects in this world, tolerance of the opposites, 1454 repeated filling up of the ears with a recital of his qualities, bending down before him, unadulterated detachment towards apparent existence and non-existence and easy devotion towards the nirguna brahman. If a man has unwavering love for the brahman, through a preceptor, he obtains knowledge and non-attachment. Just as a fire burns down the source of its birth, 1455 the power of these burns down the impotence of the heart and the sheath of the subtle body, which consists of the five subtle elements. When this sheath is burnt down, he is liberated from all the differences that existed between the jivatman and the paramatman and from the gunas. This is like a man who sees his dream destroyed in front of him. He can then see himself, the objects of the senses and what is superior to both of these. A man thus sees nothing other than what has been designated as the truth. It is because of differences that a reflection is seen differently in water and in something else. 1456 When differences do not exist, a man sees no difference between himself and someone else. If one is attracted to the objects of the senses, the mind thinks about them and is agitated. Consciousness and intelligence are lost, like canals draining out water from a pond. One can no longer remember one’s consciousness. Knowledge is disturbed and memory is destroyed. When these are obstructed, the wise say that the atman itself has been lost. In this world, there is nothing more destructive of a man’s self-interests than loving something that is an impediment to self-realization of the atman. For men, thinking about wealth and the objects of the senses destroys all other objectives. With both jnana and vijnana destroyed, he enters immobile births. 1457 Those who wish to cross the terrible darkness must never be attached to anything. That is an impediment towards attaining dharma, artha, kama and moksha. Among these objectives, moksha is regarded as the most important. The other three objectives are always associated with the fear of Death. Irrespective of being a superior or an inferior creation, 1458 one is affected by the transformations of the gunas. Therefore, there is no peace and the lord 1459 destroys any benefits that may have been obtained. O Indra among men! He is in everything immobile and mobile, covered with bodies, sense organs, the breath of life, intelligence and the ego. He is inside all hearts. He knows about the kshetra and controls it. He is everywhere in the universe. Know the truth that the illustrious one shines everywhere in the universe. Know that you are no different from him. He manifests himself as the one who leads to cause and effect. When intelligence is affected by his maya, a garland appears like a snake, but can be distinguished with clear discrimination. He is always free and pure. He is the unadulterated and pure truth. He overcomes Prakriti, contaminated by karma. Surrender to him. With devotion, enjoy the toes of his lotus feet, which are like petals. Devotees can uproot the firm bonds of karma. Even if a person continually tries to stem the floods of attachment to the objects of the senses, if his mind is not attached to Vasudeva, he does not succeed. Therefore, worship him as the refuge. Those who have not sought refuge with the lord find this ocean of life to be a great hardship. It is extremely difficult to cross. The six are like crocodiles. 1460 Therefore, you should worship the lotus feet of the illustrious Hari. He is like a boat one can use to cross the hardships that are extremely difficult to cross.’”

‘Maitreya continued, “Kumara, Brahma’s son, who possessed true knowledge about the atman, instructed him about the path to realize the atman. The king praised him and replied.

‘“The king said, ‘O brahmana! O illustrious one! Earlier, Hari, who is compassionate towards those who are in distress, showed me his favours. You have now come here to complete the task. You have carried everything out completely. You are as compassionate as the illustrious one. Everything that I possess, including my own self, is a leftover from virtuous ones. 1461 What can I give you? O brahmana! My life, my wife, my sons, my house, my garments, my kingdom, my army, the earth and the treasury—I am offering everything to you. The command of the army, the kingdom, the right to exert the rod of punishment and suzerainty over all the worlds should be given to a person who knows about the Vedas and the sacred texts. A brahmana himself eats, clothes himself and himself gives. Kshatriyas and the other varnas enjoy because of his favours. People like you know about the atman and about the movements of the illustrious one. With a complete understanding of the sacred texts, you have explained these to us. Filled with unlimited compassion, may you always be satisfied with what you yourself do. But for some water cupped in my palms, what can I possibly offer you in return?’”

‘Maitreya continued, “They were lords of yoga who knew about the atman and were thus worshipped by the original king. They praised his good conduct and while people looked on, left through the sky. Vena’s son, greatest among the great, was firm in what he had learnt about adhyatma. Having realized his own atman, he thought that he had obtained everything. He performed the required deeds, appropriate to the time, the place and his capacity. As was proper and according to his riches, he performed worship towards the brahman. Controlled and without any attachment, he vested all fruits in the brahman. He took his atman to be beyond Prakriti and only a witness to the action. He remained a householder and his kingdom was full of prosperity. However, like the sun, his mind had no sense of ego and was not attached to the objects of the senses. In this way, engaged in the yoga of adhyatma, he performed his deeds. Through Archi, he had five sons whom he respected—Vijitashva, Dhumrakesha, Haryaksha, Dravina and Vrika. But Prithu alone was the one in whom the qualities of all the guardians of the world were combined. For the sake of protection, from time to time, Achyuta, the creator of the universe, manifests his own self. Amiable in qualities, he 1462 delighted the subjects through his thoughts, words and deeds. The king thus obtained the name that he was a second King Soma. Like the sun, he heated the earth and received only for the sake of giving back wealth. His energy was as invincible as that of Agni. He was as difficult to defeat as the great Indra. He was like the earth in forgiveness. In granting the wishes of men, he was like heaven. Like Parjanya, he showered and satisfied desires. He was as difficult to understand as the ocean. In his spirit, he was like the king of the mountains. 1463 He was like Dharmaraja 1464 in his learning. He was as wonderful as the Himalayas. His treasury was like that of Kubera. In secret treasures, he was like Varuna. In strength, great energy and an ability to go anywhere, he was like Vayu. He was as irresistible as the illustrious god, the lord of the bhutas. 1465 He was as handsome as Kandarpa. 1466 He was as spirited as a king of deer. He was like Manu in his affection towards men. He was like the illustrious Aja 1467 in his lordship. In knowledge of the brahman, he was like Brihaspati. In control of the atman, he was like Hari. In devotion to cattle, preceptors, brahmanas and followers of Vishvaksena, and in modesty, gentle behaviour and trying for others, he was comparable only to his own self. Here and there in the three worlds, men loudly chanted his praise. It entered through the ears of women, just as accounts of Rama do to the virtuous.”’Chapter 4(23)

‘Maitreya said, “On one occasion, Vena’s son, who knew about his own self, saw that he had become old. The lord of subjects ensured unlimited prosperity for everything that he had himself created, 1468 the mobile and immobile objects in the world. He ensured a means of subsistence for those who followed dharma. He had been born for the purpose of accomplishing the commands of the lord and he implemented these. He gave the earth, who was like his own daughter and seemed to be weeping because of the separation, to his sons. The subjects were distressed. Alone, with his wife, he went to a grove. He followed rituals approved of by the vaikhanasas there. With the intensity he had earlier shown in his own conquests, he started austerities. He ate bulbs, roots and fruits. Sometimes, he only ate dry leaves. For some fortnights, he only drank water and ate nothing. For others, he survived only on air. In the summer, the brave one tormented himself with five fires. 1469 During the monsoon, the sage exposed himself to the rain. In the winter, he immersed himself in water up to the neck. He slept on the bare ground. He tolerated these and controlled his senses. He held up his seed and controlled his breath of life. He performed these excellent austerities and worshipped Krishna. Through these, he progressively purified himself. He destroyed the impurities of his store of karma. Through pranayama, he controlled the six categories. 1470 He severed all bondage. He followed the supreme path of adhyatma that the illustrious Sanatkumara had spoken about. Through this yoga, the bull among men worshipped Purusha. Faithfully, the virtuous one followed the dharma of worshipping the illustrious one. His devotion became fixed on the illustrious brahman and on nothing else. Through these perfect activities, his mind was purified and filled with sattva. He only remembered the illustrious one. His sense of knowledge and non-attachment was sharpened. He severed the sheath of the jivatman and all doubts were dispelled. All identification with the body was destroyed and he realized the nature of the atman. He had no desires. Through this knowledge, he severed and gave up the path of yoga too. 1471 If, without any deviation, a person is interested in the exploits of Gaja’s elder brother, he is not attached to anything else. In this way, the foremost among brave ones engaged the atman with the atman. 1472 Firmly immersed in the brahman, he gave up his own body. He blocked the anus with his heels and pushed up the vital air. He held it at the navel, the heart, the throat and the head, progressively and gradually pushing it up. 1473 He gradually pushed it up to the crown of the head and became free from all desire. He merged the breath of his life with Vayu, his body with the earth and his energy with Agni. In this way, the gaps in his body were merged with space and the liquid parts with water, each division going back to its origin—earth into water, water into fire, fire into air and air into space. The mind was merged into the senses and the senses into the tanmatras, from which, they had evolved. Having merged the objects of the senses and the elements, he merged everything into Mahat tattva. Then he merged this, the source of all gunas, into the being who is full of maya. Through his knowledge, non-attachment and valour, the lord obtained the self-realization of the atman and transcended everything men are subject to. He realized his true nature.

‘“His wife, the great queen known by the name of Archi, followed him to the forest. She was delicate and her feet did not deserve to touch the earth. She followed the dharma of being extremely devoted to her husband. She served him and followed him in whatever he subjected his body to. She was not afflicted, nor did she suffer from any torment. She was content with the pleasant touch of her beloved’s hand. She noticed that her husband’s body had decayed, without any signs of consciousness. She had loved the lord of the earth as much as she had loved her own self. After lamenting for a while, she placed the body on a funeral pyre on the summit of a mountain. Bathing in the water of a lake, she performed the prescribed rites. She offered water to her husband, the performer of generous deeds. She worshipped the gods who were in heaven. Thinking of her husband’s feet, she circumambulated the fire thrice and entered it. There were thousands of gods, the bestowers of boons, and the wives of those gods. On seeing that the virtuous lady had followed Prithu, her husband and supreme among brave ones, they praised her. They showered down flowers on the summit of Mandara. While the celestial trumpets were sounded, they conversed with each other. The goddesses said, ‘This wife, who served her husband, the lord of all the kings, with all her soul, is blessed. She is like Shri, the wife of the lord of sacrifices. This virtuous one is certainly headed upwards, following her husband, Vena’s son. Behold. Through her inconceivable deeds, Archi is surpassing all of us. Mortals have an uncertain lifespan on earth. However, if they seek the path of liberation at the feet of the illustrious one, there is nothing that cannot be achieved by them. The life of a human on earth is a great opportunity to follow the path of liberation. However, if a man is attached to the hardships that come from pursuing material objects, he deceives himself and is like an enemy to his own atman.’ Praised by the immortal women, the wife went to her husband’s superior world, obtained by Vena’s son, who realized the atman and sought refuge with Achyuta.

‘“Such was the extremely great Prithu, an excellent devotee of the illustrious one. He possessed greatness of conduct and I have described his conduct to you. If a person attentively and faithfully reads this extremely pious account, hears it or expounds it, he obtains the status obtained by Prithu. A brahmana obtains the radiance of the brahman, a king becomes the lord of the earth, a vaishya who reads it becomes a master of animals and a shudra obtains a prominent position. After hearing this account thrice, a man or a woman who does not have offspring, obtains excellent offspring and a person without riches obtains the best of wealth. A person whose deeds are not known of obtains great fame. A stupid person becomes learned. This account confers benedictions and counters anything inauspicious faced by men. It brings riches, fame, a long lifespan and heaven, and removes the impurities of kali yuga. Those who desire complete success in pursuing dharma, artha, kama and moksha should listen to it faithfully. This is supreme in accomplishment of the four objectives. A king who is seeking victory should listen to it. The kings will bring tribute in front of him, just as they did to Prithu. As one faithfully hears or reads the auspicious account of Vena’s son, one obtains freedom from attachment, unadulterated devotion to the illustrious one and undertakes acts faithfully. O Vichitravirya’s son! I have described this great account, which brings greatness. If a mortal person makes up his mind in this way, he obtains Prithu’s destination. If a person lovingly listens to Prithu’s account or narrates it day after day, he is freed from attachment. He develops devotion towards the illustrious one, whose feet are like a boat to cross the ocean of life. Such a man develops complete attachment towards him.”’Chapter 4(24)

‘Maitreya said, “Vijitashva, the son of Emperor Prithu, was extensive in his fame. He was affectionate towards his brothers and put his younger brothers in charge of the directions. Haryaksha was given the eastern direction and Dhumrakesha the southern. The lord gave the western direction to Vrika and the northern to Dravina. From Shakra he obtained the power of making himself invisible and was thus known as Antardhana. 1474 Through his wife Shikhandini, he obtained three sons who were extremely well regarded. Earlier, these had been the fire gods, Pavaka, Pavamana and Shuchi. They were born in this way because of Vasishtha’s curse and using the path of yoga, got back their original status. Through his wife Nabhasvati, Antardhana also had a son named Havirdhana. Though he had known that Indra had stolen the horse, he had not killed him. 1475 He thought that the king’s duties, extracting tribute and taxes and using the rod of chastisement, were extremely terrible. Therefore, he abandoned them and undertook a long sacrifice. In the course of this sacrifice, he realized his atman and worshipped the perfect Purusha, the paramatman. Through his meditations, he easily obtained his world. O Vidura! Through his wife Havirdhani, Havirdhana had six sons—Barhishad, Gaya, Shukla, Krishna, Satya and Jitavrata. O extender of the Kuru lineage! The extremely fortunate Barhishad, Havirdhana’s son, became a lord of subjects. He immersed himself in rites and in yoga. He continuously sacrificed, and worshipped the gods. The earth was always covered with kusha grass, with the tips of the blades pointing to the east. 1476 On the advice of the god of the gods, 1477 he married Shatadruti, the daughter of the ocean. She was beautiful to behold, charming in all her limbs, but was still young. At the time of the marriage, adorned in beautiful ornaments, she circumambulated Agni, who fell in love with her, as he had done with Shuki. 1478 The gods, the asuras, the gandharvas, the sages, the Siddhas and the serpents were captivated by the bride, when the directions tinkled with the bells on her anklets. Through Shatadruti, Prachinabarhi had ten sons. All of them had the same name. All of them observed identical vows. All of them were immersed in dharma. They were the Prachetas. When their father commanded them to have children, they entered the ocean and performed austerities there. They worshipped the lord of austerities 1479 for ten thousand years. Along the path, they had met Girisha and had pleased him. Controlling themselves, they meditated, chanted and worshipped according to what he had said.”

‘Vidura asked, “Along the way, how did the Prachetas meet Girisha? O brahmana! Pleased, what did Hara tell them? Tell me the import. O brahmana rishi! For embodied beings, a meeting with Shiva is indeed extremely difficult. The sages meditate, desiring such a meeting. The illustrious Bhava is satisfied within himself. However, for the maintenance of the worlds, he travels around, with the terrible Shakti.”

‘Maitreya continued, “The virtuous Prachetas accepted the words of their father. Firm in their minds about performing austerities, they left for the western direction. They saw an extremely large and extensive lake that was almost like an ocean. It was full of sparkling water and as clear as the mind of a great person. There were blue and red water lilies born from the water, lotuses that bloom in the night and blue lotuses. There were the sounds of swans, cranes, chakravakas and karandavas. There were creepers and trees and their body hair seemed to stand up in joy at the humming of the crazy bees. As if at the time of a festival, the wind flung up pollen from the lotuses in all directions. The princes were astounded to hear the divine singing of gandharvas, pleasant to the mind. Drums and kettledrums were being played. They saw the three-eyed Shitikantha emerge from the lake, with his attendants. The best among immortals was being praised by the followers of the gods. 1480 They saw his excellent face, ready to grant favours. Filled with curiosity, they bowed down before him. The illustrious Hara removes the afflictions of those who are afflicted and those who are devoted to dharma. Because of their knowledge of dharma and their good conduct, he was pleased. Delighted, he spoke to them.

‘“The illustrious Rudra said, ‘You are the sons of Vedishad. 1481 I know what you wish for. O fortunate ones! It is to show you favours that I have revealed myself to you. The illustrious and supreme Vasudeva is beyond the three gunas that living entities are characterized by. 1482 Anyone who seeks refuge directly with him is loved by me. If a man is devoted to his own dharma, after one hundred births, he reaches Virinchi. If he goes beyond that, he obtains me. If he does not deviate and is devoted to the illustrious one, he obtains the Vaishnava world, which gods like us obtain after the universal destruction. You are devoted to the illustrious one. I love you as much as I do the illustrious one. Those who are devoted to the illustrious one do not love anyone as much as they love me. This is a special chant, sacred and extremely auspicious. It brings great benefit. I will recite it for you. Listen.’”

‘Maitreya continued, “With kindness in his heart, the illustrious Shiva, who was devoted to Narayana, said this, while the princes joined their hands in salutation.

‘“The illustrious Rudra said, ‘Victory to you. 1483 You are most noble among those who know about the atman. You are auspicious. May I be blessed. You are the perfect one who should be worshipped. You are in all atmans. I bow down before you. I bow down before the one who has a lotus in his navel. You control the subtle elements and the sense organs. You are the tranquil Vasudeva. You do not change. You illuminate yourself. I bow down to Samkarshana, the subtle and invincible destroyer. I bow down to Pradyumna, who awakens the universe and is inside every atman. I bow down. I bow down to Aniruddha, the one who controls the mind and the sense organs. I bow down to paramahamsa, the complete one who is not affected. I bow down to the one who is the gate to heaven and liberation, the one who is always present among those who are pure. I bow down to the one with the golden seed, the one who gives power to the four kinds of officiating priests. I bow down to the one who provides energy to the ancestors, the lord of the three 1484 and the seed of the sacrifice. You are the one who provides satisfaction to all living beings. I bow down to the one who is in all atmans. You are the one who is the body of all beings and all the diverse material objects. I bow down to the one who is the protector of the three worlds and the lord of prowess and strength. Your signs reveal every kind of meaning. You are the sky. I bow down to the one who is inside and outside. I bow down to the immensely radiant one who provides all the auspicious worlds after death. You are pravritti and nivritti. You are the rites towards the gods and the ancestors. I bow down to the one who is Death, the one who provides misery as a consequence of adharma. I bow down to the one who is the lord of all benedictions. You are Manu. You are the cause of everything. I bow down to Dharma, the great one. You are Krishna, the infinitely intelligent one. You are the ancient Purusha. You are the lord of samkhya and yoga. You are the store of the three kinds of capacity. 1485 You are Mrida, 1486 the lord of ahamkara. You take the forms of knowledge and eagerness to act. I bow down to the one who manifests himself in different kinds of speech. Show yourself to us. We wish to see you in the form in which devotees worship you. Your agreeable form has all the senses and the gunas and is most loved by those who are devoted to you. Your form is gentle and dark, like clouds during the monsoon. You are an accumulation of everything that is beautiful. Your four-armed form is graceful. It is excellently shaped, with a handsome face. Your eyes are like the inner petals of a lotus. Your eyebrows are beautiful and your nose is excellent. Your teeth are beautiful and your forehead is handsome. You are adorned with symmetric ears. Your sidelong glances are affectionate and you seem to smile. Your flowing locks enhance your beauty. Your shining yellow and silk garments are like the filaments of a lotus. You are adorned with dazzling earrings. Your diadem, bracelets, necklace, anklets and girdle sparkle. You look even more beautiful because of the conch shell, chakra, mace, lotus and a garland of excellent jewels. Your shoulders are like those of a maned lion. You wear the extremely fortunate Koustubha around your neck. Shri is never distanced from you and surpasses the radiance of the stone used to test for gold. 1487 His acts of puraka and rechaka lead to a ripple in the three lines on the stomach, which is as beautiful as the leaf of a banyan tree. The deep and whirling eddy in his navel seems to withdraw the universe into it. Your hips are dark blue and are covered with a yellow and silken garment, with a golden girdle atop it. Because of symmetric and beautiful feet, shanks, thighs and insteps, you are extremely handsome. The nails on your feet are as beautiful as the petals of an autumn lotus. Their radiance dispels all the impurities that are inside us. So as to destroy all hardships, reveal your own form. O preceptor! You are the refuge. As a preceptor, reveal the path to those suffering from darkness. Those who desire purification for themselves must meditate on this form. While they perform their own dharma, bhakti yoga brings freedom from fear. All embodied beings find it extremely difficult to reach you, but those who are devoted can obtain you. Even the king of heaven seeks you. You can be obtained by those who single-mindedly seek self-realization. You are extremely difficult to worship and even the virtuous find it hard to reach you. But for single-minded devotion at your lotus feet, what external object can be desired? Death destroys the universe with a movement of his eyebrows, displaying his valour and prowess. But even he does not dare to destroy someone who has completely surrendered to you. A momentary association with those who are devoted to the illustrious one is superior to heaven, or being freed from rebirth on earth. What other benediction can a mortal person desire? Your lotus feet are praised as a tirtha. Bathing there, internal and external impurities are cleansed. 1488 Let there be benedictions for those who are extremely good in conduct. Grant us the favour of an association with them. If a person’s intelligence is not bewildered by external objectives and if he is not stuck in the cave of tamas, he enters the state of purification. Through bhakti yoga, he obtains the favours and is delighted. Such a sage sees that there is no objective other than you. This universe is your manifestation. You pervade the entire universe. You are the supreme brahman. Like the sky, your resplendence extends everywhere. Using your maya, you created many kinds of forms. You are also the one who maintains and without acting, you are the one who destroys. You are eternal and not affected, but you create this sense of differentiation. O illustrious one! We know that you are the one who controls your own self. With devotion, learned yogis, who pursue action and processes, 1489 worship you for success. The Vedas and the tantras state that you are the one who controls the elements, the senses and the mind. You are the original being, with your capacity dormant. You divide it into sattva, rajas and tamas. From this is evolved Mahat, ahamkara, space, fire, wind, water and earth, the gods, the rishis and the large number of creatures. As your own portions, you used your own powers to create and enter the four types of beings. 1490 This is known as the Purusha who exists within, who enjoys the senses, like honey collected by bees. All these worlds are extremely terrible in their force. In the course of time, you are the one who destroys them, like a dense mass of clouds dispelled by the irresistible wind. This is your true nature in beings, but beings can only infer it. 1491 Those who are mad think loudly about what should be done. In a desire for material objects, their avarice increases. Without being distracted, as death, you seize them suddenly, like the flickering tongue of a hungry snake that grabs a rat. Which learned man will neglect and discard your lotus feet in favour of a decaying body? Our father 1492 worshipped you without any hesitation and so unhesitatingly, did the fourteen Manus. For those who are learned, you are our brahman and our paramatman. The universe is scared of Rudra. But you are the destination who grants freedom from fear. O fortunate ones! O sons of a king! Perform your own dharma and purifying yourselves, chant this. Worship the illustrious one as a refuge. You are the atman who is inside all beings. You are established in all beings. Chant and worship him. Incessantly meditate on Hari. I have instructed you about the chant known as yogadesha. O ones who observe the vows of sages! Remember it. Control your intelligence. All of you should study this respectfully. In ancient times, the illustrious lord and creator of the universe taught us, Bhrigu and the other sons, this. They were entrusted with the task of creation and desired to create. When all of us, the lord of subjects, were instructed to create subjects, this destroyed the darkness and we were able to create different kinds of beings. Therefore, a man must always attentively chant this, being devoted to Vasudeva. He will then swiftly ensure well-being. Knowledge that leads to supreme benefit is best among all kinds of learning. This knowledge is like a boat that crosses the ocean of hardship, which is so very difficult to cross, and achieves happiness. I have chanted this song, a prayer to the illustrious one. If a person studies this faithfully, he will worship Hari, who is so very difficult to worship. From him, a man will quickly obtain everything that he desires. When he chants my song, the single lord will be extremely delighted and will bestow everything beneficial. If a mortal person wakes up at the right time and joining his hands faithfully, hears it or makes it heard, he is freed from the bondage of action. O those who bring delight to the king! My song is a prayer to the supreme being, the paramatman. Chanting this with single-minded attention is a great austerity. If you practise this, at the end, you will obtain everything that you wish for.’”’Chapter 4(25)

‘Maitreya said, “The illustrious one instructed the sons of Barhishad in this way and was worshipped by them. While those princes looked on, Hara instantly disappeared. All the Prachetas immersed themselves in water and performed austerities for ten thousand years. They chanted the prayer recited by the illustrious Rudra. O Kshatta! In his mind, Prachinabarhi was attached to various rites. Narada, who knew the truth about adhyatma, took pity on him and sought to wake him up. ‘O king! What benefit do you desire for the atman by performing these acts for fruits? The end of unhappiness and obtaining happiness are the best benefits. But those cannot be obtained through these.’ The king replied, ‘O immensely fortunate one! I do not know what is superior to these. My intelligence is entangled in these rites. Tell me about unadulterated knowledge, so that I can be freed from these rites. As a householder, one is engaged in deceitful acts, pursuing sons, wives and riches as objectives. Such foolish people roam around on the road of samsara and do not attain the supreme.’

‘“Narada said, ‘O king! O lord of subjects! Behold the animals being slaughtered at your sacrifice. Thousands of large numbers of living beings are being killed mercilessly. They remember your cruelty and are waiting. When you die, their rage will be aroused and they will pierce you with their horns. In this connection, I will tell you about an ancient history. This is about Puranjana’s conduct. Listen attentively to my words. O king! There was a king named Puranjana and his fame was extensive. He had a friend named Avijnata, since his activities could not be detected. 1493 Searching for a refuge, the lord wandered around the entire earth. He could not find anything that appealed to him and he became distressed in his mind. He desired to satisfy his desires and did not think that any of the cities on earth were good enough to satisfy what he was after. On one occasion, on the southern slopes of the Himalayas, he saw a city with nine gates and it possessed all the auspicious marks. 1494 There were ramparts, gardens, mansions, moats, windows and arches. There were many houses everywhere and the tops of the houses were made out of gold, silver and iron. There were assembly halls, quadrangles, highways, gambling houses, markets, dwelling houses, decorations of flags and festoons, places without trees 1495 and platforms. Outside the city, there was a grove filled with celestial trees and creepers. There was a lake filled with the calling of birds and the humming of bees. The banks of the lake were beautiful because of trees. Their branches fluttered because the cool breeze brought with it spray from waterfalls and the fragrance of flowers. The forest was filled with many animals. However, these didn’t cause an impediment because they followed the vows of sages. 1496 Travellers thought they were being invited by the calling of cuckoos. He saw a beautiful woman there, wandering around as she pleased. There were ten servants with her and each was the husband of one hundred wives. 1497 In every direction, she was guarded by a serpent with five hoods. 1498 She could assume any form at will. She was young and was searching for a husband. Her nose was excellent. Her teeth were excellent. She was young, with an excellent forehead. Her face was beautiful. Her ears were symmetric, ornamented with shining earrings. Around her beautiful hips, the maiden 1499 wore a yellow garment, with a golden girdle atop it. When she walked, like a resident of heaven, the anklets on her feet tinkled. Her breasts were rounded, with the signs of youth and with no space between them. As she walked like a female elephant, out of shame, she covered them with the end of her garment. Her smile was bashful and charming.

‘“‘Her sidelong glances were like arrows shot from the bow of her eyebrows. The brave one was smitten by love and addressed her in gentle words. “O one with eyes like the petals of lotuses! Who are you? Whom do you belong to? Where have you come from? O timid one! What do you wish to do in this city? Tell me. Who are the ten great warriors who follow you? Who is the eleventh? O one with the excellent eyebrows! Who are these women? Who is the serpent preceding you? Are you Hri, Bhavani or the goddess of speech? 1500 Wandering like a sage in this forest, are you searching for a husband? Has he satisfied all his wishes at your lotus feet, which are desirable? Are you the one who resides on a lotus 1501 and has the lotus been dislodged from your hand? O one with the beautiful thighs! Since your feet touch the ground, you cannot be any of these. With me, supreme among brave ones and glorious in his deeds, you should decorate this city, just as Shri ornaments the supreme world, along with the lord of sacrifices. Your bashful and sidelong glances have excited my senses. Your smiles and eyebrows have bewildered me. Touched by you, the illustrious Manobhava 1502 has agitated me. O beautiful one! Show me your favours. Your face is charming, with the excellent eyebrows. Your eyes have excellent pupils. Your face is encircled by locks of bluish-black hair. O one with the beautiful smiles! Because of your shyness, you are not looking at me.” Like an impatient person, Puranjana beseeched the woman. She was also bewitched by the brave one. She smiled and greeted him. “O bull among men! We do not accurately know who our creator is. Nor do we know ourselves, or others, our gotras, our names, or who has created us. We know that we exist here now and we do not know anything beyond that. O brave one! We do not know who constructed this city, where we seek a refuge for ourselves. O one who grants honours! These men and women are my male and female friends. When I sleep, they remain awake. This serpent guards the city. O fortunate one! It is good fortune that you have come here. O destroyer of enemies! With my friends, I will provide you with whatever ordinary sensual pleasures you wish to satisfy. O lord! Please reside in this city with nine gates. For one hundred years, I will bring you all the objects of desire. Accept them. How can I enjoy those with a person who does not know about sexual pleasures, a person who is ignorant about the next world and does not look forward to the future? Such a person is like an animal. One obtains dharma, artha, kama, joy from offspring, immortality and fame in this world, without any sorrow and without any disease. Those who know about kaivalya are ignorant of that. It is said that in this world, the welfare of ancestors, gods, rishis, living beings and one’s own self is ensured by a mortal person through the state of a householder. O brave one! You are famous and handsome. Why will a person like me not accept a beloved husband like you? O mighty-armed one! O one whose arms are like the coils of a serpent! Which woman on earth will not be attracted to the idea of being embraced by your arms? Through your favours, you are adequate to remove the hardships of those who are without a protector. You roam around, with your smiling glances.” O king! Thus, the couple entered into an agreement there.

‘“‘They entered the city, enjoying themselves there for a hundred years. Here and there, singers praised him in pleasant notes. When it was too hot, surrounded by women, he would enter the lake. Seven of the gates of the city were above and two were below. 1503 All these were for different purposes and the lord used them accordingly. O king! Five gates were to the east, one was to the south, one was to the north and two were to the west. I will describe their names to you. 1504 Khadyota and Avirmukhi were two gates to the east that were fashioned together. 1505 Using these, with his friend Dyumat, he used to go to the region named Vibhrajit. Nalini and Naalini were two gates to the east, fashioned together. 1506 With his friend Avadhuta, he used these to go to the region named Sourabha. The fifth gate in front was named Mukhya. 1507 With Rasajna and Vipana, the king of the city used these to go to the regions named Apana and Bahudana. O king! The southern gate of the city was known as Pitrihu. 1508 Along with Shrutadhara, Puranjana used this to go the region of Dakshina Panchala. The northern gate of the city was known as Devahu. 1509 Along with Shrutadhara, Puranjana used this to go to the region of Uttara Panchala. To the west was the gate named Asuri. 1510 Accompanied by Durmada, Puranjana used this to go to the region named Gramaka. 1511 To the west was also the gate named Nirriti. Accompanied by Lubdhaka, Puranjana used this to go to the region named Vaishasa. Among the citizens who were blind, there were two named Nirvaka and Peshaskrita. 1512 Though he possessed eyes, the lord used to go and act with them. Sometimes, accompanied by Vishuchina, he went to his inner quarters. When he went there, through his wife and children, confusion, satisfaction and joy would result. With desire in his heart, the ignorant one was thus deceived and attached to action. The king did exactly what his queen desired. When she drank, he would drink liquor and become senseless and intoxicated. When she ate, he ate. When she chewed, he chewed. Sometimes, when she sang, he sang. Sometimes, when she wept, he wept. Sometimes, when she conversed, he conversed. When she chattered, he chattered. When she ran, he ran. When she stood, he stood. When she lay down on the bed, he lay down. When she was seated, he sat down. Sometimes, when she heard, he heard. When she saw, he saw. Sometimes, when she smelt, he smelt. Sometimes, when she touched, he touched. Sometimes, when his wife grieved, he too grieved like a distressed person. When she enjoyed, he enjoyed. When she was happy, he was happy. He was thus captivated by his queen and his nature was deceived in every possible way. Though he didn’t wish it, like an ignorant person, he followed her. He was as helpless as a domesticated animal.’”’Chapter 4(26)

‘“Narada said, ‘One day, the great archer was astride his chariot, yoked to five horses and was advancing swiftly. There were two shafts, two wheels, one axle, three bamboo poles, five joints between the yoke and the pole, one rein, one charioteer, one seat, two poles for the yoke, five types of weapons, seven bumpers and five kinds of movement. He was adorned in golden ornaments. His armour and inexhaustible quivers were made out of gold. There were eleven commanders and he went to the forest of Panchaprastha. 1513 Proud, he picked up his bow and arrows and wandered around on a hunt. He was greedy for the unsavoury act of hunting. Though she did not deserve it, he abandoned his wife. He followed the conduct of asuras. His heart was terrible and he was without compassion. Using his sharp arrows, in that forest, he killed many forest dwellers. It is decreed that in the waterholes in a forest, a king may kill animals required for a sacrifice, but only as much as is required for the purpose. It is the rule that one should not kill out of greed. O Indra among kings! If a learned man knows and performs acts in accordance with the rules, he is not touched by those acts. However, if a man is overwhelmed by pride and acts in a contrary way, he is bound by those acts. He descends into the flow of the gunas. With his wisdom destroyed, he heads downwards. Arrows whetted on stone mangled the bodies of many with colourful feathers. There was destruction of the distressed ones. Those who had compassion in their hearts found this impossible to tolerate. He killed hares, boars, buffaloes, oxen, 1514 ruru antelopes, porcupines and many other animals, regardless of whether they could be used for sacrifices. After this, he was overcome by exhaustion. Hungry, thirsty and tired, he withdrew and returned to his residence. Having returned, he bathed and ate the appropriate food. All his exhaustion went away. As is proper, he adorned himself with scents, unguents and garlands. Having adorned all his limbs in this excellent way, his mind started to search for the queen. He was content and happy. He was extremely proud and his mind was affected by Kandarpa. He did not see the beautiful one, the mistress of the house of a householder. O Vedishad! Distressed in his mind, he asked the women in the inner quarters. “O beautiful women! As used to be the case earlier, is all well with you and your mistress? Unlike earlier, the prosperity of this household is not attracting me any more, since the house is without a mother and a wife who regarded her husband as a divinity. It is like a shattered chariot. What wise man will reside here, like a miserable person? Where is that beautiful lady? When I am submerged in an ocean of hardships, she saves me. At every step, she illuminates my intelligence.” The women replied, “O lord of men! We do not know why your beloved is behaving in this way. O destroyer of enemies! Behold. Without a spread, she is lying down on the bare ground.” Puranjana saw his own queen on the ground, resembling an avadhuta. He was attached to her and he was crushed. Not knowing the reason, he was filled with great bewilderment. With his heart shattered, he spoke to her in soft and comforting words. However, there were no signs that his beloved was feigning this because of love. The brave one, who knew how to beseech, entreated her in slow words. He touched her feet. Making her sit on his lap, he embraced her and spoke to her. Puranjana said, “O beautiful one! When servants commit an inauspicious act, if their masters do not impose punishment on their wrongdoing, taking them to be their own, the servants do not learn from the punishment and are unfortunate. Punishment is a supreme favour imposed on the servant by the master. O slender one! A person who does not take this to be a friendly act is foolish. You possess excellent teeth and charming eyebrows. Please smile and cast a loving and bashful glance at me. Your dark locks hang down, like a mass of bees. Your beautiful face has a tall nose. O spirited one! Reveal your face to those who are your own. O wife of a brave person! Other than those who are gods on earth, 1515 if there is anyone who has committed an offence against you, I will punish him. I will ensure that he does not obtain freedom from fear and since I am a servant of Muraripu, 1516 will see that he does not obtain happiness in the three worlds or anywhere else. I have not seen your face so faded and distressed, without a tilaka mark. 1517 Because of rage, it seems terrible. It is without radiance and without affection. I have never seen your well-formed breasts suffer so much because of grief. 1518 Your lips are like bimba fruit, but they are bereft of their reddish tinge. O loved one! Show me your favours. I have committed a crime. Overwhelmed by desire, I acted on my own and went on a hunt. Suffering from the force of flowery weapons, 1519 I am under your subjugation. My patience has been shattered. Acting according to duty, which beautiful woman will not unite with such a husband?”’”’Chapter 4(27)

‘“Narada said, ‘O great king! In this way, Puranjani 1520 used her charms to bring Puranjana under her control. She enjoyed herself, finding pleasure with her husband. O king! The queen, the one with the beautiful face, bathed herself well and approached the king, having performed the benedictions. He was content and welcomed her. Embraced by her, he embraced her shoulders. Bereft of his senses, he used loving words to converse with her in private. He did not realize the passing of time, which is so very difficult to cross. Night and day, he was captivated by the lady. The great-minded one was overwhelmed by this confusion. Using his queen’s arms as a pillow, he lay down on an extremely expensive bed. The brave one thought that she was supreme. Overcome by tamas, he no longer understood what was his and what belonged to someone else. 1521 With his senses overcome by the sin of desire, he pleasured with her. O Indra among kings! His youth passed away, as if it was but half a kshana. O king! Through Puranjani, Puranjana had eleven hundred sons. However, half of his life was over. O lord of subjects! In this way, through Puranjani, he had eleven hundred daughters and they brought fame to their father and mother. They possessed good conduct and noble qualities. The lord of Panchala 1522 wished to extend the lineage of his fathers. He had his sons married to wives and his daughters were married to grooms who were their equals. Each of those sons had a hundred sons. In this way, Puranjana’s lineage increased in the land of Panchala. He became attached to material objects and had a strong sense of “mine”. They ended up destroying his riches. He was attached to his home, his riches and those who lived on them. He consecrated himself for terrible sacrifices and rites, at which, animals were killed. Just like you, he worshipped gods, ancestors and the lord of bhutas. Thus, he was attached to his relatives and became inattentive. Those who love women find a certain time 1523 unpleasant and that arrived.

‘“‘O king! There was a lord of the gandharvas and his name was Chandavega. This powerful one had an army consisting of three hundred and sixty gandharvas. 1524 There were a similar number of gandharva women who were united with them. Some were dark and some were light. Together, they surrounded the city and plundered all the objects of desire. When Chandavega’s followers started to plunder Puranjana’s city, the large serpent tried to counter them. The powerful protector of Puranjana’s city fought with the seven hundred and twenty gandharvas for one hundred years. However, his friend was fighting single-handedly with many and his strength decayed. At this, his kingdom, city and relatives, were afflicted and filled with great anxiety. However, with his companions in Panchala, he 1525 was like a person who subsisted on the honey of the city. He had been conquered by a woman. Since tribute was brought to him, he did not realize the fear. O Barhishad! Kala had a daughter. 1526 Desiring a husband, she roamed around in the three worlds. However, no one wished to accept her. Because of her misfortune, she was known in all the worlds as Durbhaga. 1527 Satisfied with the royal sage, Puru, she once granted him a boon. 1528 On one occasion, I had come down from Brahma’s world to earth. Though she knew that I was following a great vow, 1529 overcome by desire, she sought me. She became extremely angry with me and invoked a curse on me, extremely difficult to withstand. “O sage! Since you have refused me, from now, you will not be able to remain at the same place for a long time.” Her wishes were not satisfied. However, instructed by me, she approached the lord of the Yavanas, named Bhaya, as her husband. 1530 “O bull among Yavanas! 1531 O brave one! I will accept you. You are the husband I wish for. If living beings make up a resolution about you, it is never rendered unsuccessful. Two kinds of foolish people are lamented about—those who do not give, and those who do not receive, in accordance with the norms laid down in the sacred texts, that is, those who do not desire to follow these modes. O fortunate one! Therefore, since I am offering myself to you, accept me. Take compassion on me. It is the dharma of a man to show compassion towards the afflicted.” The lord of the Yavanas heard the words that Kala’s daughter had spoken. He wished to carry out the secret task of the gods. He smiled and addressed her. “After thinking about it, I have determined a husband for you. This is despite people disrespecting you and not welcoming you because of your misfortune. Adopt a progress that cannot be detected. This world is determined by karma. Aided by my soldiers, without any obstructions, you will be able to destroy beings. This is my brother, Prajvara. 1532 Become his sister. Both of you roam around in this world, accompanied by my terrible soldiers, 1533 who cannot be detected.”’”’Chapter 4(28)

‘“Narada said, ‘O Barhishad! Bhaya’s soldiers were the agents of destiny. With Prajvara and Kala’s daughter, they travelled around the earth. O king! Once, they used terrible force to lay siege to Puranjana’s city. It was full of objects of pleasure and was guarded by the serpent who had turned old. With her force, Kala’s daughter took over Puranjana’s city. Whichever man was overpowered by her, instantly lost his powers. From all the directions, the Yavanas took possession. They entered through the gates and caused great suffering everywhere in the city. Puranjana was obsessed with himself and was oppressed by them. Attached to his relatives and with a sense of “mine”, he suffered from many kinds of torments. Embraced by the maiden, he lost his beauty. Addicted to material objects, he was miserable. His wisdom was destroyed. He lost his prosperity because of the force of the Yavanas and the gandharvas. He saw that his own city was devastated by the adversaries. His sons, grandsons, followers, advisers and wife were disrespectful and lost their affection. He was himself devoured by the maiden and those in Panchala were tarnished by the enemy. He was overcome by insurmountable thoughts, but could find no means of countering. He still hankered for objects of desire, but he was miserable because the maiden made them seem stale. He did not know what would happen to him. Though he tended to his sons and wive, he lost his affection for them. He was attacked by the gandharvas and the Yavanas and he suffered because of Kala’s daughter. Unwillingly, the king decided to abandon the city. At that time, Prajvara, Bhaya’s elder brother, arrived. Wishing to do what would bring pleasure to his brother, he burnt down the entire city. When it was on fire, the citizens, the attendants, the relatives and the followers suffered from the heat, as did the king. The Yavanas attacked his residence. He was devoured by Kala’s daughter. Prajvara approached the city. The protector of the city 1534 was aggrieved to see this. He was unable to protect the city any longer. Suffering, with great difficulty, he tried to leave, as if he was trying to escape from a fire in the hollow of a tree. But his limbs had become feeble. He had been robbed of his virility by the gandharvas. O king! Confined by his enemies, the Yavanas, he started to weep. There was a little bit left—daughters, sons, grandsons, daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, the home, wealth and belongings. Having been a householder and having accepted notions of “I” and “mine”, his intelligence was wicked. The time for separation from his wife arrived and he was miserable. He thought, “While I leave for the next world, my wife will be without a protector. She will grieve over her children. How will she maintain herself? She does not eat until I have eaten. She does not bathe until I have bathed. She is devoted to me. If I am angry, she is extremely scared. When I reprimand her, she is silent. When I do not know, she advises me. When I am not around, she is filled with sorrow. She is the mother of brave sons. How will she sustain the status of a householder? My miserable sons and daughters are dependent on me. When I have left, how will they sustain themselves? They will be in an ocean, with a broken boat.” In this way, with a miserable mind, he lamented, though he should not have done so. Having made up his mind to seize him, Bhaya approached him. Like an animal, the Yavanas dragged him away to their own abode. Sorrowing and afflicted by grief, his followers followed him. The serpent, which had also been obstructed, abandoned the city and departed. After this, the city was broken down and became one with nature. He was forcibly dragged by the powerful Yavanas. Overwhelmed by tamas, he did not remember his former well-wisher and friend. 1535 Having been cruel, he had slaughtered many sacrificial animals. They remembered his crimes and angrily sliced him with axes. For many years, he was submerged in a darkness that extended up to infinity. He lost his memory. Having been tainted because of his association with women, he suffered for eternity.

‘“‘Her thoughts had been fixed in his mind. 1536 Therefore, thereafter, he was born in Vidarbha in Rajasimha’s house, as a beautiful woman. 1537 Malayadhvaja, the king of Pandya, was a conqueror of enemy cities. He vanquished the kings and married the princess of Vidarbha through the viryashulka mode. Through her, he had a black-eyed daughter. There were also seven sons who were younger and they became kings of the seven Dravida countries. O king! Each of those sons had millions of sons. Their descendants will enjoy the earth until the next manvantara. Agastya married the daughter who was born first. She was firm in her vows. Dridhachyuta was born from her and he had the sage Idhmavaha as his son. Malayadhvaja, the royal sage, divided up the entire earth among his sons. After this, so that he could worship Krishna, he went to Kulachala. 1538 The princess of Vidarbha, with the intoxicating eyes, abandoned her home, sons and the objects of pleasure. Like moonlight following the moon, she rushed after the lord of Pandya. The rivers Chandravasa, Tamraparni and Vatodaka are there. He always used those auspicious waters to cleanse himself. He subsisted on bulbs, seeds, roots, fruits, flowers, leaves, grass and water. Because of the austerities he resorted to, his body gradually became emaciated. He became impartial in his attitude towards opposites—cold and heat, wind and rain, hunger and thirst, pleasant and unpleasant and happiness and unhappiness. Through austerities, learning, niyama and yama, he burnt up impurities and united himself with the brahman. He conquered his breath of life and consciousness. For one hundred celestial years, he remained in the same spot, like a pillar. He did not have attraction for anyone other than the illustrious Vasudeva. He realized the pervasive atman and all differences within his own atman. Like a witness, he saw everything as if in a dream, and ceased all action. O king! The illustrious Hari directly instructed him as a preceptor. The lamp of pure knowledge, which illuminates all directions of the universe, was ignited in him. He saw the supreme brahman within his own atman and his own atman in the supreme brahman. He gave up his consciousness and withdrew from everything. The princess of Vidarbha looked upon her husband, Malayadhvaja, as supreme among those who knew about dharma. Looking upon her husband as a divinity, she lovingly tended to him and gave up all objects of pleasure. She attired herself in bark and became emaciated because of her vows. She did not braid her hair. Remaining near her husband, she was tranquil, like the flames of a quiet fire. The maiden did not know that her beloved had given up his body, since he was seated in that steady posture. She conducted herself just as she used to do earlier. However, while she tended to her husband, she could no longer feel the heat in his legs. Her heart became anxious, like a doe that has strayed from the herd. Distressed and without a relative, she grieved. Incapacitated, she sprinkled her breasts with her tears. Alone, she wept loudly. “Arise! O royal sage! Wake up. This earth, with the ocean as a girdle, is terrified of bandits and kshatra-bandhus. You should save it.” Having followed her husband to that desolate spot, the lady lamented in this way. She fell down at her husband’s feet. She cried and tears flowed down from her eyes. She used wood to build a funeral pyre and placed her husband’s body on this pyre. She lit it and, lamenting, made up her mind to follow him in death.

‘“‘There was a brahmana who had realized his atman. He had once been a friend. 1539 O lord! At that time, he arrived there and comforted the weeping one. He addressed her in sweet and assuring words. The brahmana said, “Who are you? Whom do you belong to? You are grieving over the one who is lying down here. Who is he? Don’t you recognize me as a friend with whom you used to wander around earlier? O friend! Can you remember your friend Avijnata? You wished to be attached to earthly pleasures. You abandoned me and went in search of that. O noble one! You and I were swans, two friends who resided in Lake Manasa. But for one thousand years, both of us have been separated from our original residences. O friend! Your mind turned to carnal pleasures. You left me and went to earth. While you were wandering around there, you saw a place that was constructed by a woman. There were five gardens, nine gates, one protector, three chambers, six families and five marketplaces. It was made out of the five elements and a woman was the mistress. O lord! The gardens are the objects of the five senses. The gates are the nine apertures for the senses. The three chambers are fire, water and earth. The families are the collections of the senses. 1540 The marketplaces are the organs of action, where beings transact according to their capacity and nature. The man is truly the lord of all the powers. However, having entered there, he does not comprehend. You were touched by that lady. While you pleasured with her, you forgot all your learning. O lord! Because of your association with her, you have been reduced to this wicked state. You are not the daughter of Vidarbha, nor is this brave one your well-wisher. You are not Puranjani’s husband. You have been confined by these nine gates. It is because of the maya created by me that you think of yourself as a man or a virtuous woman. You are neither. Both of us are swans. 1541 Behold our true nature. I am you. Behold. You are no different from me. Those who are wise do not detect the slightest bit of difference between us. In a mirror, a man can use his eyes to see one or two. The difference between us is just like that.” In this way, the swan from Manasa obtained knowledge from the swan. He realized his own true nature. He regained his memory, lost because of the separation. O Barhishad! This adhyatma has been explained to you indirectly. That is because the illustrious god, the creator of the universe, prefers to remain indirect.’”’Chapter 4(29)

‘“Prachinabarhi said, ‘O illustrious one! We haven’t understood your words completely. The wise may be able to comprehend it, but not those like us, who are confounded by karma.’

‘“Narada replied, ‘Know that the being Puranjana creates a city for himself—with one leg, two legs, four legs, many legs, or no legs. 1542 The friend of the being, described as Avijnata, is the lord himself. Living beings cannot know him through names, acts or attributes. When a being desires to enjoy all the gunas of Prakriti, he accepts that nine gates, two hands and two feet are the most appropriate form. One should know the maiden as Buddhi, who creates the feeling of “I” and “mine”. With that presiding over the body, the being enjoys the qualities of the senses. The male friends are the senses, who ensure knowledge and action, while the female friends are their conduct. The serpent is prana, with its five kinds of flows. One should know the great commander as the mind, the leader of both types of senses. The Panchala kingdom is one where one enjoys the five objects of the senses. In its midst is the city with nine gates—the two eyes, the two nostrils, the two ears, the mouth, the genital organs and the anus. Some of them are in pairs. In association with the respective sense, the breath of life goes out through these. The eyes, the nostrils and the mouth are the five gates towards the east. The right ear is considered as the gate towards the south and the left ear as the gate towards the north. The anus and the genital organs are regarded as the two gates towards the west. Khadyota and Avirmukhi are two gates that have been fashioned together. Through these eyes, the lord visualizes form and the region known as Vibhrajit. Nalini and Naalini are the two nostrils and smell is the region known as Sourabha. Avadhuta is the faculty of smelling. The gate Mukhya is the mouth, Vipana is the organ of speech and that of taste is Rasavit. 1543 Apana is the conduct of the tongue, while Bahudana is the many kinds of eatable objects. The right ear is known as Pitrihu, while the left ear is Devahu. The rites of nivritti and pravritti, mentioned in the sacred texts, are known as Panchala. Hearing these, and accompanied by Shrutadhara, one follows the path of the gods or the path of the ancestors. The genital organs are Asuri. Foolish ones addicted to carnal pleasures use this to go to the region of Gramaka. The ability to procreate is spoken of as Durmada and the anus is said to be Nirriti. Vaishasa is hell and the ability to defecate is his friend, Lubdhaka. Hear from me about the two blind ones. For the being, these are the hands and the feet. Using these, he goes and does. The heart is the inner quarters. The mind is known as Vishuchi. Through its attributes, one obtains delusion, contentment and delight. One is made to act by her 1544 qualities and accordingly, one does different things. In this way, though the atman is a witness, it is made to undertake different kinds of activities. The body is the chariot and the senses are the horses. Though one doesn’t actually move, the number of years is the span of life. Good and bad deeds are the two wheels. The three gunas constitute the standard. The five joints between the yoke and the pole are the five aspects of prana. The mind is the rein, intelligence is the charioteer, the heart is the seat and opposite sentiments are the two poles for the yoke. The five senses are the five kinds of weapons. The seven bumpers are the constituents of the body. 1545 Akuti 1546 is external motion. Using the eleven types of soldiers of the senses, 1547 a being rushes after a mirage and takes pleasure in commiting the five kinds of killing. 1548 The passage of time was symbolized by the year, Chandavega. He commanded the days, in the form of the male gandharvas, and the nights, in the form of the female gandharvas. There are three hundred and sixty of each and as they progress, they diminish the lifespan. The daughter of Kala is old age herself and no one welcomes her. For the sake of destruction, Mrityu, the lord of the Yavanas, accepted her as his sister. Mental and physical ailments are the soldiers of the lord of the Yavanas. Prajvara stands for the two types of fever 1549 that make living beings suffer. In this way, destiny ensures that a being who is born suffers from many kinds of miseries for one hundred years. In the body, the jivatman is enveloped in darkness. It is nirguna, but the attributes of prana, the senses and the mind are imposed on the atman. It lies down in this bondage of desire and performs acts according to “I” and “mine”. The atman does not realize itself, or the illustrious one as the supreme preceptor. Though he is self-luminescent, Purusha surrenders to the gunas of Prakriti. He prides himself on his qualities and, helpless because of this, performs white, black and red acts. 1550 His subsequent birth depends on his deeds. Because of white acts, he sometimes obtains the shining worlds. 1551 Because of black acts, he sometimes obtains regions that are full of terrible unhappiness and grief. Because of the wickedness in intelligence, he is sometimes a man, sometimes a woman and sometimes a eunuch. Depending on the qualities of the deeds, one becomes a god, a human or an inferior species. Suffering from hunger, a miserable dog goes from one house to another house. Roaming around in that way, he obtains punishment or food. Pursuing desire, a being travels on the superior path or the inferior path. Depending on destiny, he experiences pleasure or pain above, below, or in the middle. The living being cannot end sufferings from any of these—destiny, other creatures, or one’s own self. 1552 None of these can be countered. This is like a man bearing a heavy burden on his head. He sometimes places the burden down on his shoulder. All attempts to counter are like that. O unblemished one! An act can never be the ultimate counter to any other act. Both of these are the outcome of ignorance. It is like countering a dream with another dream. In the mind, the linga sharira wanders around in a dream. But in reality, this is non-existent and when the dream is over, it retreats. The being does not realize his atman and confronts a succession of unreal objects. This material existence will cease only if one faithfully resorts to the supreme preceptor. Controlling oneself, one must engage in bhakti yoga to the illustrious Vasudeva. Complete non-attachment and knowledge will then be generated. O royal sage! If one assiduously cultivates the faithful and listens to accounts of Achyuta, these are swiftly obtained. O king! There are places where virtuous and broad-minded devotees of the illustrious one gather to talk about the illustrious one’s qualities. One should hear those with an eager mind. The conduct of Madhu destroys flows in every direction from the mouths of those great ones. One should drink that incessant flow of nectar. O king! If one drinks this with an attentive ear and without being satisfied, one will never be touched by hunger, thirst, fear, sorrow or delusion. Those in the world of the living always suffer from many kinds of natural hardships. That is because they are not attracted to accounts of Hari, which are like an ocean of amrita. The lord of the Prajapatis himself, 1553 the illustrious Girisha, Manu, Daksha and the other lords of subjects, Sanaka and the other faithful ones, Marichi, Atri, Angiras, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Bhrigu, Vasishtha and others who know about the brahman, ending with me, are lords of speech. We have resorted to austerities, learning and meditation, but have even now, not been able to see him through these means. Even when we see him, we do not really see the true nature of the supreme lord. Superior persons may worship the one with extensive strides through chants of the brahman, mantras and other signs. However, his movements are beyond all these and they do not know the supreme one. If a person worships the illustrious one in his heart, he shows his favours. In such cases, the person’s mind turns away from the rituals mentioned in the Vedas. O Barhishad! Therefore, do not resort to ignorant acts, expecting fruits from these. The pursuit of fruits is pleasant to the ears. However, it is futile and cannot touch the real purpose. Such people do not know their own world, not to speak of the god Janardana. It is said that their intelligence is shrouded in smoke and without knowing, they follow the rituals of the Vedas. You have covered the entire surface of the earth with darbha grass, with the points of the blades pointing towards the east. You are proud that you have slaughtered a large number of animals. But you do not know karma and that which is superior to it. Karma is that which satisfies Hari. Knowledge turns the intelligence towards him. Hari is himself in the atmans of living beings and he is the lord of their natures. His feet are the refuge that bring benefit to men in this world. He is the most beloved atman. If one resorts to him, there is not the slightest bit of fear. A person who knows this is learned. For such a learned person, the preceptor is Hari. O bull among men! Your questions have thus been answered. I will now tell you about something that is secret and has been determined. Listen. There is a deer grazing in the refuge of a beautiful garden of flowers. It is grazing on grass and is attached to the doe. Its eyes are eager to listen to the humming of bees. It has not noticed the wolves, which survive on the flesh of others, in front, nor that it is likely to be pierced by the arrows of a hunter from the rear. O king! You should see yourself as the deer whose heart is likely to be pierced. The hunter who is following you at the rear is Death. Undetected, his arrows will rob you of your life. In your state as a householder, you have sought refuge with women, who are like flowers. The satisfaction obtained from acts of desire are as insignificant as the honey and fragrance from flowers. You are thinking of intercourse and the trifling happiness that desire provides to the tongue, or the genital organs. Like the bees, your mind is immersed in the sweet and attractive songs sung by the wife and by other women. You are excessively attracted to the conversations of people. While you are thus submerged, like a pack of wolves, days and nights and special units of time like lava are taking away your lifespan. Yet, you find pleasure in your home. Think of what you are doing as the activities of the deer. Fix your consciousness in the inside of your heart and the proclivities of the sense organs in your consciousness. Abandon this householder stage, associated with women. This is the worst of accounts, about the association between men and women. Gradually, detach yourself and seek the one who is the refuge of hamsas.’

‘“The king replied, ‘O brahmana! O illustrious one! I have heard and considered what you have said. The preceptors did not know about this. If they knew, why did they not tell me? O brahmana! You have severed a great doubt that they had created. Even the rishis are bewildered by the state where the senses cease to function. A man may begin an action in this life, but gives up his body. In the next life and in a different body, he reaps the fruits. Everywhere, those who know about the Vedas talk about this principle and it has been heard. It is said that when an act is performed, it is not directly visible.’ 1554

‘“Narada said, ‘If an act is begun, a man enjoys the fruits in the next life too. There is no interruption because there is no change in the linga sharira and the mind. When a man lies down, he is sleeping and breathing, but forgets his identity. It is just like that. Action that has been undertaken is enjoyed by a different body. In his mind, a person says, “These are mine. This body is mine.” A man thus accepts the deeds that he has undertaken and this determines the nature of his future birth. One can think of two kinds of consciousness, resulting from the two types of senses. 1555 From the way the consciousness behaves, one can infer the acts undertaken in a former life. Sometimes, we feel something that has not been seen or heard in the present body. Sometimes, in the mind, we see forms that we have not experienced. O king! That is the way the linga sharira determines the creation of the next body. Believe that it must have been experienced before. Otherwise, it would not have touched the mind. The mind indicates the past forms of a man. O fortunate one! It also tells us about who will take birth in the future and who will not take birth. Sometimes, things that have not been seen or not been heard here, are seen by the mind. It must be understood that these have a basis in acts performed in a different place and a different time. All the many acts that progressively come and go are experienced by the mind and the senses. They leave imprints in the minds of people. When the mind is fixed on sattva and one is near the illustrious one, because of the association with him, everything is illuminated. This is like the dark one being seen in the presence of the moon. 1556 As long as a man is not disassociated from notions of “I” and “mine”, the gross body, an accumulation of intelligence, mind, the senses and their objects and gunas, continues. When a person is asleep or unconscious, when there is fever, or when one approaches death, the flow of the breath of life is obstructed and there is no sense of “I” and “mine”. In the womb and in childhood, because the eleven senses 1557 are not fully developed, the linga sharira cannot be seen, just as the moon cannot be seen on the night of the new moon. In the cycle of life, the objects of the senses never withdraw. Even in one’s sleep, one thinks about objects of pleasure, or about catastrophes that might happen. The linga sharira consists of five subtle elements, the three gunas and modifications of the sixteen. 1558 When this is united with consciousness, the jivatman is formed. It is through this 1559 that a body is cast off and a new body taken up. This is the way one obtains joy, misery, fear, unhappiness and happiness. A caterpillar does not give up a blade of grass, but moves on. 1560 Like that, even when a person dies, he does not give up the association with the former body. O Indra among men! Like that, until one has obtained another body, one cannot extinguish one’s karma. The mind is the reason for creatures being born and not being born. When one thinks about the pleasures from the objects of the senses, one frequently performs many kinds of acts. Because of these deeds, one is ignorant and binds oneself to these acts. Therefore, if you wish to counter the objects of the senses, with all your soul, worship Hari. Behold the universe as being under his control. Creation, preservation and destruction are dependent on him.’”

‘Maitreya continued, “The illustrious Narada, foremost among the devotees of the illustrious one, instructed him about the destination meant for hamsas. He then took his leave and went to the world of the Siddhas. Prachinabarhi, the royal sage, instructed his sons about protecting the subjects. He then went to Kapila’s hermitage to perform austerities. Free from attachment, with perseverance and single-mindedness, he worshipped Govinda’s lotus feet. With this devotion, he achieved tranquility. O unblemished one! The divine rishi himself sang about adhyatma. If a person hears it or narrates it, he is freed from his linga sharira. This account of Mukunda’s fame purifies the world. It flowed from the mouth of the noble and divine rishi and sanctifies the atman. If a person recounts it, he obtains Parameshthi. Freed from all bondage, he does not circle in the world any more. I have directly heard this extraordinary account of adhyatma. There is no doubt that a man can use this to free himself from association with women.”’Chapter 4(30)

‘Vidura said, “O brahmana! Earlier, you have spoken about Prachinabarhi’s sons. You told me that they obtained success and satisfied Hari through the prayer sung by Rudra. O Brihaspati’s disciple! They obtained the beloved side of the lord of kaivalya, after having met the god Girisha by chance. Did the Prachetas obtain it in this life, or later?”

‘Maitreya replied, “The Prachetas wished to follow the instructions of their father. They entered the water, meditated and performed austerities. They thus satisfied the one who creates all living bodies. After ten thousand years were over, the eternal being appeared before them. His beauty calmed and pacified their hardships. He was astride Suparna’s shoulder, resembling a cloud atop the summit of Meru. He was attired in yellow garments and wore the gem 1561 around his neck. He dispelled the darkness of the directions. He was adorned with shining gold ornaments. His cheeks and face were radiant. His diadem glittered. He held eight weapons. 1562 He was followed and served by his attendants, sages and the foremost ones among the gods. Like a kinnara, Garuda sung his praise. His eight arms were long and thick and Lakshmi was in their middle, close to his chest. He wore a garland of wild flowers and its radiance rivalled that of Shri. Barhishad’s sons surrendered themselves to the supreme being. He glanced compassionately towards them and addressed them in a voice that rumbled like a cloud.

‘“The illustrious one said, ‘O fortunate ones! O sons of a king! Ask for a boon. Because of your fraternal relationship, all of you are separately following the same dharma. I am satisfied with your brotherly love. If a man remembers you every day at the time of sandhya, 1563 he will love his brothers like his own self and be affectionate towards all creatures. If a person controls himself and chants Rudra’s prayer in the morning and in the evening, praising me, he will obtain every boon that he desires and excellent wisdom. You have happily accepted and followed the instructions of your father. Therefore, your unmatched glory will spread everywhere in the worlds. You will have a famous son, who will not be inferior in qualities to Brahma. He will populate the three worlds with his descendants. O sons of a king! Through Kandu, Pramlocha had a lotus-eyed daughter. 1564 When she was abandoned by her mother, the trees accepted her. She suffered because of hunger. Driven by compassion, King Soma placed his finger in her mouth and this showered down nectar. You have been instructed by your father, who is my follower, to have offspring. Without any delay, marry that beautiful maiden. All of you follow identical dharma and are equal in good conduct. The slender-waisted one will dedicate herself to you. She will be your wife and will exhibit identical dharma and good conduct. Through my favours, your energy will not diminish and you will enjoy the earth for one million celestial years, enjoying divine objects of pleasure. Because of your single-minded devotion to me, you will not be contaminated by any impurities of the gunas. You will not be associated with hell and will obtain my abode. Even if a man is engaged in the householder state, but is accomplished in his deeds and spends all his time on my accounts, it is considered that he is not bound to the householder stage. If a person increasingly fixes Vishnu in his heart, those who know about the brahman say that this is the realization of the brahman. A person who attains this state does not grieve. He is not delighted or confused.’”

‘Maitreya continued, “The bestower of the ultimate goal of life, 1565 Janardana, said this. The Prachetas joined their hands in salutation. Having seen him, their impurities of tamas and rajas were destroyed. In faltering words, they prayed to the best of friends.

‘“The Prachetas said, ‘We bow down before the one who destroys all hardships. We bow down before the generous one whose qualities and names have been enumerated. You are swifter than the speed of thoughts and words. We bow down before the one whose progress cannot be detected through any of the paths. We bow down before the one who is purity and serenity. You are established in your own position. It is because of the mind that you are manifested in this meaningless appearance of duality. We bow down before the one who creates, preserves and destroys the universe. Through your maya and gunas, you assume different forms. We bow down before the one who is pure sattva. You are Hari. You are the one who destroys the cycle of existence. You are Vasudeva. We bow down to Krishna, the lord of the Satvatas. We bow down before the one with the lotus in his navel. We bow down before the one who wears a garland of lotuses. We bow down before the one whose feet are like lotuses. We bow down before the one whose eyes are like the petals of lotuses. O illustrious one! You are the one who destroys many kinds of miseries and you have revealed yourself to us, who are suffering from hardships. What other kind of compassion can there be? O lord! O destroyer of everything inauspicious! Using our intelligence we must remember you at the right time and conceive you, because it is the truth that you are compassionate towards the distressed. This brings tranquility to creatures, even those who are the most inferior in this world. You are hidden in the inner hearts of everyone. How can you not know what we desire? O lord of the universe! You are the supreme benediction that we desire. O illustrious one! You are the preceptor and the recourse we seek. Show us your favours. O protector! You are the supreme, beyond the supreme. We seek a boon from you. Since there is no end to your powers, you are praised as the infinite one. When the parijata tree is easily obtained, a bee does not frequent any other tree. Since we have directly obtained shelter at your feet, what other boon shall we ask for? As long as we are touched by maya, we will circle around amidst these deeds. In every birth, may we obtain an association with those who are devoted to you. Even for a lava, 1566 we do not regard heaven, or not being born, as comparable to an association with those who are devoted to the illustrious one. What other benedictions can mortals seek? When you are worshipped or talked about, the thirst for material objects is quenched. There is no enmity towards beings and no kind of anxiety there. This is the illustrious Narayana himself, the objective sought by those who have renounced. Those who have been freed from attachment repeatedly praise him through virtuous accounts. Such people roam around your feet, desiring to purify themselves, as at a tirtha. If someone is terrified, why will the assemblage of such devotees not appeal to him? We met the illustrious Bhava, your beloved friend, for a short instant. For those on earth, death is extremely difficult to cure. However, you are an excellent physician and we have now been able to reach you. O lord! Whatever we have studied, whatever good deeds we have always followed to please seniors, brahmanas and the aged, whatever humility we have exhibited towards noble ones, well-wishers and brothers, the lack of envy we have shown towards all beings, whatever excellent austerities we have used to torment ourselves, the fact that we have submerged ourselves in the water and not taken food for a very long time—may all this serve the purpose of your satisfaction. You are the supreme being and this is the boon that we seek. Manu, the illustrious Svayambhu, Bhava and others have purified their hearts with austerities and knowledge. But even they could not comprehend the limits of your greatness. According to our capacity, we chant your praise. We bow down to the one who is impartial and pure, the supreme being. We bow down to Vasudeva, who is sattva incarnate. We bow down to you, the illustrious one.’”

‘Maitreya continued, “The Prachetas praised Hari in this way. He was devoted to those who sought refuge and happily granted them what they wished. Their eyes were not satiated from looking at him. Though they did not wish it, the one with unvanquished valour left for his own abode. After this, the Prachetas arose from the water. They saw that the earth was covered with very tall trees that obstructed the space between earth and heaven. They were angry. O king! To remove trees from the earth, like the samvartaka fire 1567 at the time of destruction, they angrily exhaled fire and wind from their mouths. They undertook this task of reducing the trees to ashes. On seeing this, the grandfather arrived there and used his reasoning to pacify Barhishad’s sons. The trees that remained were terrified. Instructed by Svayambhu, they bestowed their daughter on the Prachetas. Following Brahma’s instructions, they married Marisha. Since he had caused an act of great disrespect earlier, the one who had not been born from a womb was now born through a womb. 1568 When Chakshusha manvantara arrives, the progress of time will destroy the earlier creation. Directed by the god, Daksha will then wish to create subjects. While he was being born, his radiance surpassed the energy of all those who possessed energy. Because he was accomplished in his deeds, he came to be known as Daksha. 1569 The one without a beginning 1570 instated him in the task of creating and protecting subjects. He also engaged others and Daksha was made the lord over all these Prajapatis.”’Chapter 4(31)

‘Maitreya said, “After this, because they remembered what had been said by Adhokshaja, vijnana developed in them. 1571 They entrusted their son 1572 to their wife. They left their home. They left for the shores of the western ocean, where Jajali 1573 had obtained success. They initiated themselves into knowledge about the brahman, so that they developed the intelligence to look upon all creatures as their own selves. They conquered their breath of life, their minds, their thoughts and their visions. They mastered the asanas and their bodies were peaceful and upright. They engaged their minds in the supreme and uncontaminated brahman. Narada, praised by the gods and the asuras, saw them. On seeing him come, they arose, prostrated themselves and greeted him. As was decreed, they worshipped him. When he was happily seated, they spoke to him.

‘“The Prachetas said, ‘O divine rishi! Welcome. It is our good fortune that we have seen you. O brahmana! You move around, ending fear, just as the sun does. We have been instructed by the illustrious Shiva and Adhokshaja. O lord! However, because we have been attached to the householder stage, we have almost forgotten it. Therefore, awaken the knowledge of adhyatma, the insight about the pure truth, in us. We will then easily cross over the ocean of life, which is so very difficult to cross.’”

‘Maitreya continued, “The Prachetas asked the illustrious sage, Narada, this. The illustrious one is immersed in Uttamashloka and spoke to the kings.

‘“Narada said, ‘If Hari, the atman of the universe, is served, the birth, deeds, lifespans, minds and words of men are truly successful. There can be three kinds of birth in this world—through semen, through initation ceremonies and through consecration in sacrifices. It is said that there are three kinds of rites. 1574 But what use is this, or a lifespan like that of the gods, to a man? What purpose do learning, austerities, words, control over consciousness, intelligence, skill, strength and the power of the senses serve? What is the use of yoga, samkhya, sannyasa and studying? If a person does not satisfy himself with Hari, what is the point of other superior methods? Among everything, it is true that the atman is the best objective. Among all creatures, Hari, who can give us our atman, is the most loved. Watering the roots of a tree satisfies the trunk, branches and sub-branches. Like that, the nourishment of the breath of life nurtures the senses. Among all kinds of worship, that of Achyuta is the best. Water is generated from the sun and at the right time, enters creatures and mobile and immobile objects on earth. 1575 In that way, the flow of gunas emerges from Hari. This universe is the abode of the supreme atman. Sometimes, the two seem different, like the radiance of the sun from the sun. The senses are awake, but their powers and objects of the senses are dormant during sleep. They do not seem to act. With knowledge, all perceptions of differences melt away. O kings! Clouds, darkness and light appear in the sky, but progressively, also vanish. In this way, the powers and flows of sattva, rajas and tamas appear in the supreme brahman. That unlimited and single atman is in all bodies. He is Time, the cause, Purusha and the supreme lord. He uses his own energy to destroy the flow of the gunas. Worship him with single-minded devotion. If one is compassionate towards all creatures, satisfied with anything and if one pacifies all the senses, Janardana is quickly pleased. He regards himself as being under the control of those who are devoted to him, those who call on him with constant and increasing contemplation. The undecaying one does not move out of the spaces in their hearts. He removes all the impurities in their atmans. He does not accept the offerings of those who are evil-minded. Hari loves those who possess no riches, but know that he is the essence of the wealth they should love the most. There are some wicked people who despise the virtuous because of their learning, riches, noble birth, deads and pride. But he does not accept their worship. Though Shri follows him, he is not attached to her. Nor does he care for the lords of men and gods who regard themselves as self-sufficient. He loves the large number of his servants, who are dependent on him. How can any grateful person give up such a being?’”

‘Maitreya continued, “O king! The sage, Svayambhu’s son, thus made the Prachetas and others hear the account of the illustrious one and went to Brahma’s world. This glory of Hari emerged from his mouth and removed the impurities of the world. Having heard, they meditated on his feet and went to his abode. O Kshatta! I have thus told you everything that you had asked about, the conversation between the Prachetas and Narada and Hari’s praise.”’

‘Shri-Shuka said, “O supreme among kings! The lineage of Uttanapada, Manu’s son, has been described to you. Now hear about Priyavrata. He obtained knowledge of adhyatma from Narada, but returned to earth. After enjoying it, he divided it among his sons and obtained the lord’s abode. Kshatta heard the virtuous account about the glorious and unvanquished one, described by Kousharava. His delight increased and tears flowed from his eyes. He bowed his head down at the sage’s feet and held Hari’s feet in his heart. Vidura said, ‘O great yogi! You have shown me compassion today. You have shown me the shore beyond the darkness, where Hari can be reached by those who are not interested in trifles.’ Having bowed down to him and having taken his leave, Vidura went to Gajasahvya. Though he no longer possessed any desires, he wished to see his relatives and kin. O king! If one hears this account of kings who have offered themselves up to Hari, one obtains a long lifespan, wealth, fame, good fortune, the destination of life and prosperity.”’

This ends the Fourth Skandha and Volume 1.

1 For example, shlokas 2.4.10, 4.1.2 and 4.5.11 of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad use the two expressions together.

2 Chandogya Upanishad, 7.1.2.

3 Ancient Indian Historical Tradition, F.E. Pargiter, Oxford University Press, London, 1922.

4 Sutas were bards, minstrels, raconteurs.

5 Ugrashravas was a suta.

6 The Critical Edition of the Valmiki Ramayana was brought out by the Baroda Oriental Institute, now part of the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda. The Critical Edition of the Mahabharata was brought out by the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Pune.

7 The Bhagavad Gita translation was published in 2006, the translation of the Critical Edition of the Mahabharata in ten volumes between 2010 and 2014 (with a box set in 2015) and the translation of the Critical Edition of the Valmiki Ramayana in 2017. The translations are by Bibek Debroy, and in each case, the publisher is Penguin.

8 The Bhagavatamahapuranam, Nag Publishers, Delhi, 1987. This is a reprint of the Kshemaraja Shrikrishnadass, Venkateshvara Press, Bombay, text.



11 The Bhagavata Purana, Selected Readings, Ravi M. Gupta and Kenneth R. Valpey, Columbia University Press, 2016.

12 Krishna: The Beautiful Legend of God (Srimad Bhagavata Purana Book X), Edwin Bryant, Penguin Classics, 2004.

13 A Prose English Translation of Srimad Bhagavatam, Manmatha Nath Dutt, H.C. Dass, Calcutta, 1896.

14 Srimad Bhagavatam, Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, 1970 to 1977.

15 The Bhagavata Purana, translated and annotated by Ganesh Vasudeo Tagare, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, Delhi, 1976.

16 Srimad Bhagavada, Swami Tapasyananda, Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai, 1980.

17 Srimad Bhagavata Mahapurana with Sanskrit Text and English Translation, C.L. Goswami and M.A. Shastri, Gita Press, 2006.

18 A Study of the Bhagavata Purana or Esoteric Hinduism, Purnendu Narayana Sinha, Freeman and Company, Benares, 1901.

19 Two of the six Indian schools of darshana (philosophy).

1 Protection and destruction.

2 With knowledge of the Vedas.

3 Meaning the three qualities (guna) of sattva, rajas and tamas.

4 This first shloka has considerable scope for interpretation. Therefore, translations vary widely, depending on interpretations chosen. We have deliberately kept it simple. Although we have said this about this shloka, the same statement can also be made about all the other shlokas in this first paragraph. Indeed, this can be said about the first three chapters.

5 Bhagavata Purana.

6 Vedavyasa, although there is also the belief that it was originally composed by Narayana. Vedavyasa (or Vyasadeva) is more like a title. There is a Vedavyasa in every great age, the title being conferred on someone who collates and classifies the Vedas. This Vedavyasa’s name was Krishna Dvaipayana, Krishna because he was dark and Dvaipayana because he was born on an island (dvipa). Vedavyasa is the composer of the Mahabharata and the Puranas.

7 Relating to adhidaivika (destiny), adhibhoutika (nature) and adhyatmika (one’s own nature).

8 The Naimisha forest, or Naimisharanya. There is a play on words, with animisha being used as an adjective. We have translated this as open, the obvious meaning. But it has also been interpreted as sacred.

9 Ugrashrava, the son of Romaharshana or Lomaharshana. A suta was a charioteer, but also a bard and raconteur. Here, it is a proper name for Ugrashrava.

10 Specifically, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

11 The author of the Brahma-sutras, identified as Vedavyasa.

12 Interpreted as knowledge about the physical and the metaphysical.

13 Vedavyasa’s.

14 The four yugas are satya (krita) yuga, treta yuga, dvapara yuga and kali yuga and dharma progressively declines as one moves down the yugas.

15 The Yadavas.

16 Incarnation as avatara.

17 Ganga.

18 The Ganga does it first-hand, these sages can do it second-hand.

19 Powers of illusion.

20 The word used is pada, which means step. However, in the context of a shloka, it also means a quatrain, a shloka formed out of four padas.

21 Balarama.

22 The supreme soul.

23 The sage in question is Shuka, the son of Vedavyasa. The reference to the sacred thread needs explanation. The stage (ashrama) of sannyasa is the fourth stage and one embarks on this after the sacred thread ceremony has been performed, much earlier. However, desiring moksha, Shuka left on his pursuit and exile. The grieving Vedavyasa followed him and called out to him. Since Shuka had already merged into everything, only the trees answered back.

24 Spiritual truth.

25 Jaya is usually a name for the Mahabharata. But here, it is being used for the Bhagavata Purana. Narayana (one who lies down on the water) is one of Vishnu’s names. Nara and Narayana were also ancient sages. In the Mahabharata, Narayana is identified with Krishna and Nara with Arjuna. Sarasvati is the goddess of learning and speech.

26 Vishnu and Krishna’s name.

27 Bhakti yoga.

28 Vishnu and Krishna’s name.

29 The four classes and four stages of life, respectively.

30 Places of pilgrimage.

31 The obvious meaning is the Bhagavata Purana, though indirectly, one might also mean Krishna.

32 Meaning, one or the other of mind (mana), intelligence (buddhi) and ego (ahamkara).

33 For present purposes, prakriti can be taken as nature, though it is used in samkhya philosophy in a specific sense.

34 Respectively, Vishnu, Brahma and Shiva, the preserver, the creator and the destroyer.

35 By implication, Vishnu, since Vishnu is being identified with sattva, Brahma with rajas and Shiva with tamas.

36 Ahavaniya, garhapatya and dakshinatya (the fire that burns in a southern direction), the three sacrificial fires.

37 Bhutas.

38 Though we have translated it in this way, this is usually interpreted as cause and effect.

39 The qualities are sattva, rajas and tamas. The possession of qualities leads to manifested forms. The lack of qualities leads to things that are not manifest.

40 We have translated vijnana as self-knowledge, the transcendental consciousness. We will use jnana for knowledge.

41 The individual soul or jivatman.

42 Kala means part. The sixteen kalas are usually identified as the five organs of the senses (eyes, ears, tongue, nose, skin), the five objects of the senses (sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch), the five elements (earth, air, fire, water, space) and the mind. But this is subject to interpretation and this is not the only possible listing.

43 The great cosmic principle.

44 Brahma created Prajapatis, who went on to create other beings.

45 The form of Purusha. Alternatively, this is also interpreted as the second form of the Purusha.

46 Kumara means youth. These were sages who were born through mental powers, Sanaka, Sananda, Sanatana and Sanatkumara. However, they were not interested in the act of creation.

47 Celibacy.

48 There are seven nether regions—atala, vitala, sutala, rasatala, talatala, mahatala and patala. The earth had been dragged down there by the demon Hiranyaksha. To save the earth, Vishnu adopted the varaha (boar) incarnation.

49 Meaning Narada.

50 Also known as the Satvata Samhita or the Pancharatra Agama, texts followed by the Satvatas.

51 Daksha Prajapati had a daughter named Murti and she was married to Dharma. Nara and Narayana were the sons of Dharma and Murti.

52 Siddhas are sages who have been successful in attaining their objectives.

53 One of Kapila’s disciples.

54 One of the schools of darshana (philosophy).

55 Anasuya was the sage Atri’s wife. Anasuya had three sons, Dattatreya (born as Vishnu’s portion), Durvasa (born as Shiva’s portion) and Soma (born as Brahma’s portion). Alarka was the king of Kashi and Prahlada was the son of the demon Hiranyakashipu. Dattatreya taught both Alarka and Prahlada.

56 Ruchi was one of the Prajapatis.

57 Each manvantara (era) is presided over by a Manu. Fourteen manvantaras equal one of Brahma’s days. In the present cycle (kalpa), we are in the seventh manvantara, presided over by a Manu known as Vaivasvata. However, in the present cycle, the first Manu was Svayambhuva. The rishis, gods and Indra change from one manvantara to another. At the time of Svayambhuva Manu, the title of Indra was held by Yajna, the son of Ruchi and Akuti.

58 One with long strides, Vishnu’s name. As the son of Nabhi and Meru, his name was Rishabha or Adinatha.

59 King Prithu levelled the earth and made it attractive. Hence, the earth is known as Prithvi or Prithivi, after this name.

60 The sixth Manu in the present cycle.

61 The tenth, matsya (fish), incarnation.

62 The kurma (tortoise or turtle) incarnation, Mount Mandara was used as the rod for churning.

63 The physician of the gods.

64 Mohini means someone who allures and deludes. The gods and the asuras fought over the amrita. Assuming the form of Mohini, Vishnu gave the gods the amrita and deceived the asuras.

65 Daityas are a specific category of demons, the progeny of Diti.

66 The half-man half-lion (narasimha) incarnation, when Vishnu killed Hiranyakashipu.

67 Bali, Virochana’s son and Prahlada’s grandson, dislodged the gods from heaven. Since Bali was generous, Vishnu assumed the dwarf (vamana) incarnation and sought the territory that could be covered in three of his steps. In three strides, Vishnu covered the three worlds and Bali was banished to the nether regions.

68 In the form of Parashurama.

69 As Krishna Dvaipayana Vedavyasa.

70 Eighteenth, as Rama, to kill Ravana.

71 Rama (Balarama) was the nineteenth and Krishna was the twentieth.

72 The Kikata region is the territory around Magadha. Jina is one of Buddha’s names. Alternatively, jina may be an adjective, being applied to Shuddhodhana (Siddhartha’s father) in the sense of someone who was victorious.

73 There is a period of conjunction or interregnum between two yugas, referred to as sandhya (the twilight zone). This is the sandhya between the present kali yuga and the next satya yuga.

74 From what is true.

75 The six characteristics are knowledge, power, strength, prosperity, valour and energy. The six qualities are the five senses and the mind.

76 The wheel of the chariot, as a metaphor for the chakra.

77 Of life and death.

78 Shuka.

79 Act of giving up one’s life by fasting to death.

80 Shuka.

81 Krishna means Krishna Dvaipayana Vedavyasa. We have deliberately retained the word samhita here. It means a text consisting of a collation of verses.

82 The expressions used are interpreted in different ways. For instance, samadrik (impartial) is interpreted as someone who is impartial between the jivatman and the paramatman and has therefore realized the paramatman/brahman. Nirvikalpa (without discrimination) is interpreted as someone who has no sense of duality.

83 The sleep of ignorance.

84 When Shuka left in search of liberation, Vedavyasa followed him. Along the way, some naked apsaras were bathing. On seeing Shuka, they did not bother. However, on seeing Vedavyasa, they covered themselves. The story is recounted in the Mahabharata.

85 When Shuka arrived in Hastinapura. Kurujangala is the area around Kurukshetra, Parikshit’s kingdom. The capital was Hastinapura, also known as Gajasahvya or Nagasahvya.

86 Rajarshi means royal sage. Pandaveya means a descendant of the Pandavas and is a term being applied to Parikshit. The Satvata text means the Bhagavata Purana.

87 By sanctifying it.

88 Vasavi means Satyavati. Though she was brought up in a fisherman’s house, she was actually the daughter of King Uparichara Vasu. Hence, Vasavi. Vedavyasa was the son of Parashara and Satyavati.

89 The word used is dvija-bandhu, meaning those who are brahmanas only in name.

90 The Mahabharata.

91 The one who is permanent, Vishnu’s name.

92 Vedavyasa’s.

93 Divine sage.

94 Dharma, artha, kama and moksha.

95 Vedavyasa is also identified as the author of the Brahma-sutras.

96 Brahma.

97 Vishnu.

98 Kama and moksha.

99 Without a desire for the fruit.

100 The description of Vishnu.

101 Since they will be misled and will realize the purport of true dharma.

102 Obtained through material objects.

103 This can be interpreted as superior and inferior births, or superior and inferior worlds.

104 Vishnu’s name.

105 Vishnu’s.

106 Alternatively, the gross and the subtle.

107 This is interpreted as thrice a day, morning, noon and evening.

108 Adhidaivika (destiny), adhibhoutika (nature) and adhyatmika (one’s own nature).

109 Of birth and death.

110 Of action.

111 The path of devotion.

112 Samkarshana is Balarama, Krishna’s brother. Pradyumna is Krishna’s son and Aniruddha is Pradyumna’s son, Krishna’s grandson. However, Samkarshana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha are Krishna’s manifestations.

113 Her affection.

114 It freed Narada from the bondage of affection.

115 The sacred fig tree.

116 Used the jivatman to meditate on the paramatman.

117 For my death.

118 Brahma.

119 Meaning a mahayuga, consisting of a cycle of satya, treta, dvapara and kali.

120 This is interpreted as Brahma’s breath.

121 Vishnu.

122 The name of Vishnu’s bow, made out of horn.

123 Jujube or berry trees.

124 Shuka.

125 This is a reference to the Kurukshetra War, Srinjayas being a term used for those on the Pandava side. Vrikodara is a name for Bhima. Dhritarashtra’s son means Duryodhana. Drona’s son is Ashvatthama, who killed Droupadi’s sons (and others) while they were sleeping in the night. Krishna/Krishnaa is one of Droupadi’s names. The Mahabharata says that far from disapproving Ashvatthama’s act, Duryodhana applauded it.

126 Droupadi’s.

127 Duryodhana.

128 Kiritamali, one of Arjuna’s names. Gandiva is the name of Arjuna’s bow.

129 Brahma-bandhu, one who is a brahmana only in name.

130 Krishna was Arjuna’s friend and charioteer.

131 Ashvatthama’s father, Dronacharya, was Arjuna’s preceptor. Arjuna’s standard had an ape (Hanumat) on it.

132 Rudra is Shiva and Arka is the sun god. A demon named Vidyunmali was favoured by Shiva and obtained a chariot as a boon. However, Arka burnt this chariot down. Enraged, Shiva burnt Arka down. There is a place in Varanasi (named Lolarka) where Arka fell down. Alternatively, the text can also be construed as Brahma (rather than Arka), Ka being one of Brahma’s names. When Brahma desired his own daughter, Shiva chased Brahma.

133 A divine weapon named after Brahma, not to be confused with the brahmastra, also a divine weapon named after Brahma.

134 As a means of purification, water is touched before any deed. The knowledge of a divine weapon meant knowing the mantras to invoke it, release it and withdraw it. However, because Dronacharya thought Ashvatthama was undeserving, he did not teach his son how to withdraw divine weapons.

135 Jishnu is Arjuna’s name. Arjuna spoke to Krishna.

136 Prakriti.

137 Artha, kama and moksha.

138 That is, use your own brahmashira to counter it.

139 Arjuna.

140 Krishna.

141 In the Mahabharata, Arjuna withdraws his own weapon.

142 Ashvatthama’s mother was Kripi, descended from Goutama.

143 Droupadi.

144 One of Droupadi’s five sons was Arjuna’s son.

145 Ashvatthama.

146 Krishnaa, Droupadi.

147 Dronacharya’s.

148 The science of fighting and its sacred texts.

149 Ashvatthama.

150 Yudhishthira.

151 Satyaki.

152 Arjuna.

153 Krishna.

154 The one with four arms, Krishna.

155 Arjuna’s.

156 Ashvatthama had a gem on his forehead.

157 Krishnaa, Droupadi.

158 Krishnaa, Droupadi.

159 Yudhishthira.

160 Kunti.

161 Krishnaa, Droupadi.

162 Yudhishthira.

163 The queen means Droupadi and this is a reference to Droupadi being dragged to the assembly hall by the hair. Specifically, this is a reference to Duhshasana.

164 For King Yudhishthira.

165 Indra performed one hundred horse sacrifices.

166 Krishna.

167 Satyaki.

168 Addressed to Shounaka.

169 Abhimanyu’s wife and Parikshit’s mother.

170 Uttara was expecting Parkishit at the time. Parikshit would be the only descendant of the Pandavas.

171 Addressed to Shounaka.

172 Vishnu’s/Krishna’s chakra or discus.

173 Uttara was King Virata’s daughter.

174 Krishnaa, Droupadi.

175 Nandagopa was the leader of cowherds and reared the young Krishna.

176 Krishna’s name.

177 Kamsa deposed (and imprisoned) his father, King Ugrasena, and became the king of Mathura. There was a prediction that Devaki’s eighth son would kill Kamsa. Hence, Kamsa imprisoned Vasudeva and Devaki, killed their other children and tried to kill the infant Krishna.

178 A maharatha is in general a mighty warrior. More specifically, a maharatha is skilled in the use of all weapons and can take on ten thousand warriors single-handedly.

179 These are incidents from the Mahabharata. Duryodhana tried to poison Bhima and burn down the Pandavas in a fire. The flesh-eaters are rakshasas.

180 Because of their past actions.

181 Krishna broke a pot of butter and Yashoda tied him up with a rope.

182 Krishna was born as a Yadava, in the lineage of Yadu. Punyashloka is interpreted as King Yudhishthira.

183 Brahma.

184 The Yadavas.

185 Meaning, Arjuna’s friend. Though relatively rarely used, Krishna is also one of Arjuna’s names.

186 Vishnu’s abode, but being used here as a name for Krishna.

187 Yudhishthira.

188 An akshouhini is an army, consisting of 21,870 chariots, 21,870 elephants, 65,610 horse riders and 109,350 foot soldiers.

189 Because Duryodhana was the king, not Yudhishthira.

190 Yudhishthira.

191 Devavrata is Bhishma and the place of destruction means the battlefield.

192 The priest of the Pandavas.

193 Krishna.

194 Kubera is the lord of riches/treasure. Guhyakas are a semi-divine species who are Kubera’s companions.

195 Parashurama.

196 Shuka.

197 Bhishma. The eight Vasus had been born on earth as the sons of Shantanu and Satyavati and Bhishma was the eighth.

198 Probably directed specially towards Yudhishthira.

199 A great warrior, greater than a maharatha.

200 Arjuna.

201 Kunti was the sister of Vasudeva, Krishna’s father.

202 Bhishma.

203 Respectively, dana dharma, raja dharma and moksha dharma.

204 The movement of the sun to the north of the equator, the period from the winter to the summer solstice. Bhishma waited for uttarayana to die.

205 And assumes a human form.

206 Arjuna’s.

207 Arjuna.

208 Krishna.

209 Krishna’s pledge was that he would not fight. Bhishma’s pledge was that he would make Krishna take up weapons.

210 Krishna.

211 The whip in one hand and the reins in the other.

212 Dhritarashtra.

213 Because of sorrow at the relatives having been killed.

214 By making Parikshit live.

215 Yudhishthira.

216 Vishnu.

217 The rain god.

218 Yudhishthira.

219 Yudhishthira was named Ajatashatru (without enemies).

220 Subhadra, Arjuna’s wife.

221 Yudhishthira was senior to Krishna in age.

222 Uttara.

223 Kripacharya.

224 Nakula and Sahadeva.

225 Satyavati.

226 Sons of Pritha, the Pandavas.

227 A musical instrument.

228 Arjuna.

229 These benedictions were appropriate for one with qualities or attributes, but inappropriate for one without qualities or attributes.

230 As Narayana.

231 There was a forest (vana) named after a demon called Madhu. This was known as Madhuvana and became Mathura. Madhuvana is thus the area around Mathura.

232 Lakshmi. Vishnu is Lakshmi’s consort.

233 Dvaraka.

234 The area around Vrindavana.

235 Svayamvara is a ceremony where the maiden herself (svayam) chooses her husband (vara) from assembled suitors. Viryashulka is when the maiden is offered to the suitor who shows the most valour (virya), shulka meaning price. Chaidya means the king of Chedi, Shishupala, eventually killed by Krishna. Shishupala wished to marry Rukmini. But Krishna abducted Rukmini and married her.

236 Pradyumna was the son of Rukmini, Samba of Jambavati and Amba of Nagnajiti.

237 Bhouma means the son of the earth (Bhumi) and refers to Narakasura. Narakasura ruled in Pragjyotishapura and abducted 16,000 (16,100 is a more precise number) maidens. After Krishna killed Narakasura, he married these women.

238 Krishna’s.

239 Chariots, horses, elephants and foot soldiers.

240 Krishna.

241 The area around Dvaraka.

242 Whenever the sun set.

243 Of the residents, who were grieving because he had been away.

244 Implicitly, the hands were also red.

245 Virinchi is Brahma. Varinchya means Brahma’s sons, like Sanaka, Sananda, Sanatana and Sanatkumara.

246 The area around Mathura.

247 These are different lines of the Yadavas.

248 The capital city of the nagas.

249 Serpents. Nagas (also known as uragas) are different from snakes. They are semi-divine, can assume any form at will and reside in specific locations.

250 Akshata, this can mean grain of any kind. But it is specifically used for threshed and winnowed rice that has not been dehusked.

251 As a mark of welcome.

252 Krishna’s father. Krishna is Vaasudeva.

253 Krishna’s uncle.

254 Balarama.

255 Krishna and Jambavati’s son.

256 In this context, gandharvas means singers. The sutas were charioteers, as well as raconteurs of tales. Magadhas were minstrels and bards. So were bandis. But magadhas seem to have also composed, while bandis sung the compositions of others.

257 Shvapakas are sometimes equated with chandalas. Shva means dog and paka means to cook. Thus, shvapaka means someone who cooks dogs (eats dogs) or cooks for dogs (lives with dogs).

258 The word used is saranga and this has multiple meanings. It means dappled, but it also means a spotted antelope or a kind of bird. The feet could be compared with these. In interpretations, saranga is usually taken to be a metaphor for devotees.

259 Vasudeva had several wives. The seven mothers can be interpreted as Devaki’s co-wives. But in that event, since Vasudeva had eighteen wives, the number seven does not fit. ‘Seven mothers’ is interpreted as the biological mother, the preceptor’s wife, a brahmana’s wife, the king’s wife, a cow, the nursemaid and the earth.

260 The god of love.

261 Parikshit.

262 Jambudvipa is one of the seven continents (dvipa) that surround Mount Meru and Bharatavarsha is in Jambudvipa. Jambudvipa is named after jambu (jamun) trees that grow there.

263 With Krishna.

264 Parikshit.

265 The child Parikshit.

266 Literally, protected by Vishnu.

267 Shibi was a generous king. There is a famous story about Indra, in the form of a hawk, pursuing Agni, in the form of a dove, all this being done to test Shibi. Shibi saved the dove by offering his own flesh in return.

268 Dushyanta’s son means Bharata, the son of Dushyanta and Shakuntala. The Bharata lineage is named after him.

269 Partha Arjuna and Kartavirya Arjuna.

270 A lion.

271 Yudhishthira.

272 The lord of the mountains, Shiva.

273 Ramaa is Shri. So Rama’s refuge is Vishnu.

274 A king of the Bharata lineage, famous for his generosity and sacrifices.

275 Kali yuga and its characteristics having set in.

276 Shringi, the son of Shamika, cursed Parikshit that he would be slain by Takshaka, a serpent.

277 Shuka.

278 On the one (Krishna) he had seen in the womb. Test (pariksha) is thus another explanation of the name Parikshit, Parikshit testing every man in search of the one he had seen.

279 The bright lunar fortnight, when the moon waxes.

280 A kashtha is a small measure of time, equal to 1/30th of a kala. A kala is also a small measure of time. But in the context of the moon, kala is a digit, the entire cycle being made out of sixteen kalas. The reference to the moon is the reason why kashtha has been brought in.

281 Yudhishthira.

282 Left there by King Marutta.

283 Because of the sin.

284 Krishna.

285 Krishnaa, Droupadi.

286 A sage.

287 Maitreya’s name.

288 Vidura’s name.

289 Sanjaya.

290 Kripacharya.

291 Both tirthas and kshetras are sacred places of pilgrimage. However, tirthas are associated with water, while kshetras are not.

292 The word used is tata. It means father, but is applied to anyone who is older or senior.

293 The Yadus destroyed themselves.

294 Dhritarashtra, by teaching him.

295 The sage Mandavya (Animandavya) received excessive punishment from Yama and cursed Yama that he would be born as a shudra. Yama was born as Vidura. Strictly speaking, Vidura was not a shudra. He was the son of a brahmana father and a vaishya mother.

296 Since Yama was absent.

297 Parikshit.

298 Ajamidha was an ancestor and Ajamidha is a term applied to both Dhritarashtra and Yudhishthira.

299 Gandhari.

300 The text uses the word maitra. These are not just morning prayers, but those specifically addressed to Mitra.

301 Gavalgana was Sanjaya’s father.

302 Dhritarashtra.

303 Sanjaya.

304 Dhritarashtra.

305 Dhritarashtra and Vidura.

306 A gandharva.

307 Animals versus humans.

308 Flora versus fauna.

309 The one with seven flows.

310 The saptarshis. The saptarshis are the seven great sages. The list varies, but the standard one is Marichi, Atri, Angira, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu and Vasishtha. In the sky, the saptarshis are identified with the constellation of Ursa Major (Great Bear).

311 Ganga.

312 Meaning, thrice a day.

313 The five senses and the mind.

314 In the Mahabharata, a forest fire burnt down the cottage.

315 One whose famous deeds are spoken about.

316 Yudhishthira.

317 Bhima.

318 Narada.

319 The ones on the left, regarded as inauspicious.

320 A crow.

321 The word used is tata. It means son, but is applied to anyone who is junior or younger.

322 Arjuna.

323 Shurasena, Kunti’s father.

324 Vasudeva’s (Krishna’s father) name.

325 Ugrasena. Ugrasena’s younger brother was Devaka.

326 Hridika’s son was Kritavarma. Jayanta, Gada and Sarana were Krishna’s brothers.

327 Sudharma is the name of Indra’s assembly hall. Krishna obtained it from Indra and it remained with Krishna as long as he was on earth, returning to heaven thereafter.

328 Ananta’s friend is Balarama.

329 Satyabhama.

330 This is a reference to the parijata tree, which Satyabhama craved. Krishna seized it from Indra and brought it down to earth.

331 Arjuna.

332 Arjuna.

333 Krishnaa, Droupadi.

334 All these are incidents described in the Mahabharata.

335 The architect of the demons.

336 Bhima.

337 Jarasandha, who captured the kings for the sacrifice, where they were to be sacrificed.

338 We have deliberately retained the word pramatha. Pramatha is a tormentor and is used for a ghost or goblin. The lord of the pramathas is normally Shiva. But in this case, it is interpreted as Bhairava. Bhairava is sometimes an expression for Shiva, but not invariably.

339 Bhima killed Jarasandha.

340 Krishna’s.

341 A widow unbraids and loosens her hair.

342 The Pandavas had already eaten and Duryodhana sent Durvasa. There was no food left. Durvasa and his disciples went to have a bath before eating. Krishna arrived and ate the few vegetables left as leftovers. Since Krishna was satisfied, so was everyone in the three worlds and Durvasa and his disciples left after their bath.

343 Shiva.

344 Parvati.

345 Shiva gave Arjuna the pashupata weapon.

346 Dronacharya.

347 Meaning Prahlada. This is a reference to Vishnu in his narasimha (half-man, half-lion) incarnation.

348 The king of Trigarta, Susharma.

349 The king of Sindhu, Jayadratha.

350 This happened on the day Jayadratha was killed. Arjuna descended from the chariot to find water for the exhausted and thirsty horses.

351 After the Yadavas fought and Krishna died, Arjuna was escorting the Yadava women to Indraprastha. But with Krishna gone, he lost his powers and was defeated by the cowherds, who abducted the Yadava women.

352 The Bhagavad Gita.

353 These shlokas have been interpreted in many different ways.

354 His physical body and the earth’s burden.

355 The different incarnations.

356 Parikshit.

357 Aniruddha’s son.

358 A householder has to maintain three fires, ahavaniya, garhapatya and dakshinatya. When one gives up the householder stage, a prajapatya sacrifice is performed. The three fires are physically extinguished and symbolically imbibed within one’s own self.

359 Prana is the breath of life or the life force. Prana draws breath into the body, apana exhales it. Vyana distributes it through the body and samana assimilates it. Udana gives rise to sound.

360 Panchatva simply means death, that is, when the body is separated into the five elements. But there is another meaning too. A living being has four states—waking, dreaming, sleeping and turiya. Turiya is the fourth state, when one perceives union between the human soul atman and the brahman. Panchatva is the fifth state, beyond turiya.

361 Sattva, rajas and tamas.

362 A malevolent being that survives on human flesh.

363 As Yama.

364 Prince Uttara was Virata’s son and was killed in the Kurukshetra War. The brother Uttara is not to be confused with the sister, Uttaraa. Uttara and Uttaraa were cousin brothers and sisters.

365 Kripa.

366 And not kill him.

367 Dharma has one foot in kali yuga, two in dvapara, three in treta and four in krita.

368 While this means shudra, it also means outcast.

369 Indra.

370 Kshatra-bandhus.

371 Without following the norms of good behaviour.

372 Krishna.

373 Interpreted as crops and grass.

374 Its products were used in acts of dharma.

375 Dvija means a person born twice, the second birth referring to the sacred thread ceremony. Although dvija is usually applied to a brahmana, it applies to brahmanas, kshatriyas and vaishyas, but not to shudras.

376 This is addressed to the bull.

377 Surabhi is the mother of all cattle and the celestial cow.

378 This is addressed to the cow.

379 In the world hereafter.

380 Everywhere else refers to the consequences of wicked deeds.

381 Interpreted as those who believe in yoga, with the proposition that one is responsible for happiness and unhappiness.

382 Interpreted as the mimamsa school.

383 Interpreted as the samkhya school.

384 As the perpetrator of the act of adharma.

385 Parikshit.

386 Gudakesha is one of Arjuna’s names.

387 Yama.

388 Yudhishthira.

389 Vishnu/Krishna.

390 Shuka.

391 Without destroying the flower.

392 In kali yuga, even an intention to do a good deed brings success. But a bad deed has to be performed.

393 Shiva and Brahma respectively.

394 Garuda.

395 This is a reference to Ugrashrava having been born as a suta.

396 Ananta.

397 In embodied form, interpreted as Lakshmi.

398 Brahma.

399 The body and the mind.

400 The highest state of asceticism and meditation.

401 Parikshit.

402 This belonged to the sage Shamika, descended from Angiras.

403 From attachment.

404 That is, he was in the turiya stage.

405 He was not offered a mat of grass or a place on the ground to sit on.

406 Gift given to a guest.

407 These were Parikshit’s thoughts.

408 The sage’s.

409 River identified as the Kosi. In fairness, this can also be translated as touching kusha grass.

410 Shringi.

411 The Rig Veda, Sama Veda and Yajur Veda.

412 Shamika is now addressing Krishna.

413 The opposite sentiments of happiness and unhappiness, pleasure and pain and so on. Virtuous people are not touched by these.

414 Meaning Krishna, or the brahmana, who is like a god.

415 Ganga.

416 The holy basil.

417 Shiva.

418 Vishvamitra.

419 Parashurama.

420 The Arunas were a special class of rishis who initiated rites.

421 Since they have to rule, chastise and injure.

422 The water used to clean the feet.

423 Of the kingdom.

424 Ganga.

425 Of varna or ashrama.

426 An avadhuta is an ascetic who has renounced all worldly attachments. However, it also has the nuance of someone who has been cast off from society and has been excluded by it.

427 Literally, his garments were the directions.

428 Parikshit.

429 Other than children, he was also surrounded by women.

430 Kshatra-bandhus.

431 As in attendants, servants and dependents.

432 The one without qualities or attributes, the brahman.

433 Alternatively, as revered as the Vedas.

434 Of life.

435 Though it is sometimes used in the sense of an instant, a muhurta is a measure of time equal to forty-eight minutes.

436 A-U-M or O-U-M, this is the seed of the brahman.

437 Vishnu’s.

438 Devotion.

439 Yoga has eight elements—yama (restraint), niyama (rituals), asana (posture), pranayama (breathing), pratyahara (withdrawal), dharana (retention), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (liberation). That’s the reason the expression ashtanga (eight-formed) yoga is used.

440 Pranayama.

441 The form known as Virat.

442 Interpreted as earth, water, fire, air, space, ahamkara and Mahat.

443 Literally, pure form of Purusha.

444 There are seven nether regions—atala, vitala, sutala, rasatala, talatala, mahatala and patala.

445 Known as mahitala.

446 Known as nabhastala.

447 There are actually fourteen worlds (lokas), seven above and seven below. The seven above are—bhurloka, kharloka, svarloka, maharloka, janarloka, taparloka and satyaloka (brahmaloka).

448 The two Ashvins.

449 Brahma.

450 Metres, as in metres used in the Vedas.

451 The brahmarandhra.

452 Sattva, rajas and tamas.

453 The unmanifest one (avyakta) is interpreted as Pradhana.

454 All semi-divine species.

455 The dark-complexioned ones are shudras.

456 Brahma.

457 At the time of the deluge and destruction.

458 Such as heaven. These shlokas are interpreted in many different ways.

459 Being naked.

460 With their fruits.

461 So that they can no longer supply water.

462 So that they do not offer shelter.

463 The river Vaitarani flows in the nether regions and must be crossed before entering Yama’s world.

464 Alternatively, reddish-brown or yellow.

465 This blossoming lotus is in the heart. The reference is possibly to the anahata chakra, the fourth chakra that is in the heart. It is in the form of a lotus with twelve petals.

466 The shrivatsa mark.

467 Kshetra is the field, that is, the body. Kshetrajna is one who knows the body, that is, the soul, both human and universal. The context makes it clear what is meant and this is also true of the word atman.

468 The jivatman into the paramatman.

469 The gods.

470 This sentence has complex interpretations, using Mahat, Prakriti and ahamkara. We have kept it simple, since none of these interpretations is self-evident.

471 The chakras located in the navel, abdomen, heart, chest, palate and forehead.

472 From the manipura chakra to the anahata chakra.

473 Vishuddhi chakra.

474 Ajna chakra.

475 Two ears, two eyes, two nostrils and mouth.

476 Brahmarandhra.

477 Brahma.

478 Divine and semi-divine species.

479 Yoga leads to eight major siddhis or powers. These are anima (becoming as small as one desires), mahima (as large as one desires), laghima (as light as one wants), garima (as heavy as one wants), prapti (obtaining what one wants), prakamya (travelling where one wants), vashitvam (powers to control creatures) and ishitvam (obtaining divine powers).

480 Sattva, rajas and tamas.

481 The sacred fire that pervades the universe.

482 Sushumna is the central artery in the body. Those who pass through this reach the brahman. Those who pass through the passage known as pingala (on the right) reach the gods. Those who pass through the passage known as ida (on the left) reach the ancestors.

483 The serpent, Ananta or Shesha.

484 Brahmaloka or satyaloka.

485 One parardha is fifty years of Brahma’s life. So two parardhas is 100 years of Brahma’s life. Thus, this is more than 300 trillion human years.

486 Satyaloka.

487 The divinities who rule over the senses.

488 The jivatman in the paramatman.

489 The three Vedas.

490 Meaning Vasudeva.

491 Interpreted as Durga.

492 The fire god.

493 The twelve Adityas.

494 Interpreted as the earth.

495 Interpreted as Vishnu.

496 Interpreted as Varuna.

497 Shiva.

498 The one who is spoken about in excellent shlokas, Vishnu.

499 Or Nairitti, a demoness.

500 Kaivalya.

501 Of the sun.

502 Of blacksmiths.

503 On a peacock’s feathers.

504 Dharma, artha and kama.

505 Of ignorance.

506 The gods.

507 Shuka.

508 Sattva, rajas and tamas.

509 The three Vedas.

510 Brahma, the one without birth.

511 According to their capacity.

512 For the sake of creation, Sarasvati standing for speech, manifested from Brahma’s mouth.

513 The five elements.

514 The five organs of sense, the five objects of the senses, the five elements and the mind.

515 Vedavyasa.

516 That is, Narada asked Brahma. Hari taught Brahma.

517 Covering not just preservation, but creation and destruction too.

518 The maya.

519 Meaning heavenly worlds.

520 Sattva, rajas and tamas.

521 The imbalance in sattva, rajas and tamas led to the creation of Mahat. This can also be translated as action leading to Mahat’s birth.

522 The same as sattvika.

523 The same as rajasika.

524 Associated with space.

525 Fire’s attribute is form. However, the earlier attributes of touch and sound were also assumed.

526 Referred to as vishesha.

527 The directions mean the five organs of sense—Vayu presides over the skin, Surya over the eyes, Varuna (referred to in the text as Prachetas) over the tongue, and the two Ashvins over the nose and the ears. The other five preside over organs of action—Agni (referred to in the text as Vahni) over the organ of speech, Indra over the hands, Upendra (Vishnu) over the legs, Mitra over the anus and Prajapati (Brahma, referred to in the text as Ka) over the genital organs.

528 Ears, skin, nose, eye and tongue.

529 Organ of speech, hands, feet, anus and genital organ.

530 Brahmanda.

531 The earth and the region around the earth.

532 Since tapoloka is higher than janaloka, this is also interpreted as the area between the lips.

533 Therefore, it is not created and need not be identified on the body.

534 The seven constituents (dhatu) of the body are rasa (plasma), rakta (blood), mamsa (flesh), meda (fat), asthi (bones), majja (nerve or marrow) and shukra (semen, reproductive tissue). Chhanda is a metre and the seven used in the Vedas are Gayatri, Ushnik, Anushtubh, Brihati, Pankti, Trishtubh and Jagati.

535 Havya is offerings to the gods and kavya is offerings to the ancestors.

536 Sanaka, Sananda, Sanatana and Sanatkumara.

537 Shiva.

538 Such as the saptarshis.

539 Rakshasas.

540 Literally, based on the foot.

541 This is subject to various interpretations. In addition to foot, pada also means quarter. One quarter, or one foot, is for the three worlds of bhurloka, bhuvarloka and svarloka. The other three quarters, or feet, are for the worlds above, such as janaloka, tapoloka and satyaloka. The three heads support these and these are above maharloka, which is at the top.

542 Bhurloka, bhuvarloka and svarloka.

543 Brahmacharya, vanaprastha and sannyasa do not lead to offspring.

544 That is, meditate.

545 There are four types of officiating priests—hotar (one who recites from the Rig Veda), udgatar (one who recites from the Sama Veda), adhvaryu (one who recites from the Yajur Veda) and brahman (one who recites from the Atharva Veda). This brahman is not to be confused with the supreme soul (brahman or paramatman).

546 Of gods.

547 Gifts given to brahmanas after the sacrifice.

548 Procedures for the sacrifice.

549 The formal announcement of the intention to undertake the sacrifice.

550 For possible transgressions.

551 The number and names of Prajapatis varies. The number is sometimes given as ten and Brahma is excluding himself, leaving nine. The Prajapatis were born through Brahma’s mental powers.

552 Shiva.

553 Creation, preservation and destruction.

554 Shiva.

555 Interpreted as the gross body.

556 Interpreted as the gross elements.

557 Shiva.

558 Vishnu.

559 Prajapatis.

560 Ghosts.

561 A specific type of evil spirit.

562 Avataras assumed as part of his pastimes.

563 The boar (varaha) incarnation.

564 This was Hiranyaksha, who dragged the earth down into the ocean.

565 Suyama’s wife.

566 Hari means the remover. Svayambhu Manu was his maternal grandfather.

567 The path of samkhya.

568 Meaning someone who has been given. This was Datta or Dattatreya.

569 Sanaka, Sananda, Sanatana and Sanatkumara.

570 Ananga (Kama), the god of love, sent apsaras to tempt Nara and Narayana. But these apsaras saw more beautiful apsaras emerge from the bodies of Nara and Narayana.

571 He is above Nara and Narayana, though they are his forms.

572 This is Dhruva, the son of King Uttanapada. He was abused by his stepmother. He became the Pole Star, with saptarshis (the constellation Ursa Major) around him.

573 This is Prithu, born as Vena’s son. The earth (prithvi or prithivi) is named after Prithu.

574 Also referred to as Hayagriva, the one with the head or neck of a horse.

575 Interpreted as the Vedas.

576 Vaivasvata Manu.

577 The fish incarnation.

578 Alternatively, Narasimha.

579 An elephant.

580 Garuda.

581 The Adityas.

582 This is a reference to the dwarf (vamana) incarnation.

583 The science of life, healing and medicine.

584 As Parashurama. Parashurama exterminated kshatriyas from the world twenty-one times.

585 Dasharatha’s.

586 Dashagriva, Ravana.

587 Sita.

588 A makara is a mythical aquatic creature, but can loosely be translated as shark or crocodile. There is a minor tense issue in this shloka, where the future tense is used, the dialogue between Brahma and Narada having occurred prior to the Ramayana incidents. However, we have stuck to the past tense of the other shlokas.

589 Indra’s mount is Airavata, the elephant, loaned to Rama when he fought against Ravana. The broken tusks were stuck in Ravana’s chest and illuminated the directions.

590 Two strands of hair, white and black, resulted in the two births on earth, as Balarama and Krishna respectively.

591 Putana.

592 Kaliya.

593 Balarama.

594 Yashoda.

595 About his greatness.

596 Maya’s son was Vyomasura.

597 Indra. They did not perform the sacrifice dedicated to Indra.

598 Govardhana.

599 Dhanada’s (Kubera) follower was Shankhachuda, who wanted to abduct one of those women.

600 Meaning Dhenukasura.

601 Chanura and Mushtika.

602 Kuvalayapida.

603 Kalayavana.

604 Dvivida.

605 Born from the earth, hence, Narakasura.

606 Vedavyasa.

607 Though this is by no means obvious, this is interpreted as a reference to Buddha.

608 From the first three varnas.

609 This is a reference to the Trivikrama form, where one foot was placed on Satyaloka, above the three worlds and a place where there is equilibrium between the three qualities of sattva, rajas and tamas.

610 That is, the physical bodies.

611 In the plural, so Narada and Sanaka, Sananda, Sanatana and Sanatkumara. We will not always explain the other names through notes, except in instances where something needs to be clarified. The accounts will figure later in the Bhagavata Purana text.

612 Prahlada.

613 Svayambhu Manu and his wife, Shatarupa.

614 Ila’s son, Pururava.

615 King Janaka.

616 Yayati was Nahusha’s son.

617 Bhishma.

618 Shuka.

619 The atman.

620 When you recite it to others.

621 That is, the heart.

622 Autumn rains wash away muddy water.

623 A traveller who has returned to his own home after travelling.

624 The atman is not made out of the five elements, but the physical body is. A cause is something like karma, without a cause is something beyond karma.

625 As a human one.

626 Brahma.

627 Parikshit is asking for clarity on this.

628 A kalpa is the longer cycle of creation and destruction. Within that, there are subsidiary/secondary cycles of creation and destruction (vikalpa), the duration of a Manu’s rule.

629 Birth as someone who possesses qualities. Undesired means inferior birth.

630 Guilds.

631 Emergencies, known as apad dharma. In such situations, deviation from normal dharma is permitted.

632 Elements used in creation.

633 Spiritual.

634 Linga means linga sharira, the subtle body. How is it detached from the physical body?

635 Upavedas are texts like Ayurveda, Dhanurveda, Gandharva-veda. Texts of dharma mean the Dharmashastras.

636 Dharma, artha and kama.

637 Shuka.

638 Alternatively, as revered as the Vedas.

639 When Brahma was born.

640 With the physical body.

641 I and mine.

642 Brahma.

643 Not exactly, but roughly, akshara is a syllable.

644 The sixteenth is ta, the twenty-first is pa, counting the consonants and not the vowels. Combined, they become tapa, austerities.

645 The sense organs and the objects of the senses.

646 Vaikuntha.

647 Of Hari’s attendants and devotees.

648 Celestial vehicles.

649 Literally, shrivatsa means the place where Shri resides. It is a twirl of curly hair on Vishnu’s/Krishna’s chest.

650 The four are Prakriti, Purusha, Mahat and Ahamkara. The sixteen are the five organs of perception (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin), the five organs of action (hands, legs, stomach, genital organs, organ of excretion), five elements and the mind. The five are the tanmatras (subtle elements). These twenty-five are his tattvas.

651 Yoga leads to eight siddhis or powers. These are anima (becoming as small as one desires), mahima (as large as one desires), laghima (as light as one wants), garima (as heavy as one wants), prapti (obtaining what one wants), prakamya (travelling where one wants), vashitvam (powers to control creatures) and ishitvam (obtaining divine powers). These are minor and temporary powers. His personal powers are his knowledge, power, strength, prosperity, valour and energy.

652 Brahma’s.

653 The lord.

654 Tapa (tapas).

655 Before creation.

656 After creating the universe.

657 This can be taken to mean either the elements, or the created beings.

658 Brahma created so that it was just as it was in the previous kalpa.

659 In the Bhagavata Purana. These are thus the ten characteristics of the Bhagavata Purana. The text doesn’t have a numbering though. The ten are listed, sarga, visarga, sthana, poshana, uti, manvantara, isha-anukatha, nirodha, mukti and ashraya.

660 As the brahman.

661 This shloka has many complicated interpretations.

662 This water is known as garbhodaka, the water that was the womb.

663 Virat Purusha, in the form of Brahma.

664 Purusha is Nara (man) and since water was created from Nara, it is Naara. Ayana is resting place. Since his resting place was water (Naara), he is Naaraayana (Narayana).

665 As a separate organ of the body.

666 The skin.

667 Through offspring.

668 The genital organs and the presiding deity, Prajapati.

669 The presiding deity.

670 Apana and Mrityu.

671 These are the presiding deities.

672 The presiding deity.

673 The other seven are made out of water, fire, air, space, Mahat, ahamkara and Prakriti.

674 These are different categories of beings, some semi-divine. Some are benevolent, others are malevolent.

675 Mobile and immobile.

676 Born from wombs, eggs, sweat (insects) and trees and herbs.

677 Sattva dominated by sattva, sattva dominated by rajas, sattva dominated by tamas and so on.

678 And preservation and destruction.

679 The present kalpa is known as Shveta Varaha Kalpa.

680 Vidura.

681 Maitreya.

682 Maitreya was the son of Kusharava and Mitra. Therefore, he is referred to as both Kousharava and Maitreya. He was Parashara’s disciple.

683 Krishna. This refers to Krishna’s role as an ambassador soliciting peace, at King Duryodhana’s court. Rebuffed, he stayed in Vidura’s house, not in Duryodhana’s palace.

684 Shuka.

685 Yudhishthira.

686 Dhritarashtra.

687 Probably Dhritarashtra, but could mean Duryodhana too.

688 Vidura.

689 Often known as Vidura niti.

690 This is what Vidura said.

691 The brahmanas and the kshatriyas.

692 Krishna.

693 Duryodhana.

694 Duhshasana.

695 Shakuni.

696 These are Duryodhana’s words.

697 The words, which were like arrows.

698 Krishna.

699 Yudhishthira.

700 The emperor’s umbrella.

701 Dhritarashtra, Gandhari and Kunti, who were burnt down in the forest.

702 And the friction results in a fire.

703 Cows.

704 Earlier, Uddhava had been Brihaspati’s disciple.

705 Krishna and Balarama.

706 Brahma.

707 Shurasena’s.

708 Meaning Vasudeva, Krishna’s father. Kunti was Vasudeva’s sister.

709 Ugrasena.

710 Krishna. Kamsa had ousted Ugrasena.

711 Kartikeya.

712 Satyaki. Satyaki was Arjuna’s student.

713 Akrura.

714 Meaning Devaki.

715 Rig, Sama and Yajur Veda.

716 Meaning the Vedas.

717 This requires interpretation. The four aspects are Vasudeva, Samkarshana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha, respectively presiding over consciousness, ego, intelligence and the mind.

718 Satyabhama’s son.

719 Krishna.

720 Yudhishthira.

721 Arjuna.

722 Garuda/Suparna snatched amrita from Indra.

723 Pandu.

724 Dhritarashtra and Pandu respectively.

725 Caused by false sense of learning, wealth and noble birth.

726 Uddhava.

727 As a child, Uddhava preferred serving Krishna to having breakfast.

728 For Krishna.

729 Ajagara. Alternatively, python, a metaphor for time.

730 Before the churning of the ocean, the moon used to be in the ocean.

731 Yudhishthira.

732 The text uses the word vidhatri, meaning creator.

733 Alternatively, cause and effect, or this world and the next.

734 The metaphor of fire being hidden in the wood, until it is ignited through friction.

735 The city means Mathura.

736 Chedi means Shishupala. Killed by Krishna, he was liberated at the royal sacrifice.

737 Sattva, rajas and tamas.

738 Putana, in the form of a crane.

739 After being killed by Krishna.

740 Sudarshana chakra.

741 Garuda.

742 Kamsa.

743 Brahma.

744 Balarama.

745 To kill Krishna.

746 Kaliya, who inhabited the Yamuna and poisoned the water.

747 From the water.

748 The gopas were cowherds and their king was Nanda. This sacrifice was performed instead of Indra’s sacrifice.

749 A demon named Panchajana had swallowed Sandipani’s son. Krishna brought him back to life.

750 Bhishmaka’s daughter was Rukmini, an incarnation of Lakshmi. Thus, Rukmini was Krishna’s share.

751 Meaning the gandharva form of marriage, one of the eight different forms of marriage. King Bhishmaka had expected it to be svayamvara, where the prospective bride chooses her groom from amidst assembled suitors.

752 Just as Garuda took away his share of amrita.

753 Usually known as Satyabhama.

754 The Parijata tree, desired by Satyabhama.

755 Shachi, Indra’s wife, urged him to bring the tree back.

756 The earth’s son was Narakasura, killed with the use of the sudarshana chakra.

757 Naraka’s son.

758 Naraka’s name.

759 As a husband.

760 Kalayavana.

761 The king of Magadha, Jarasandha.

762 Mathura.

763 Krishna did not kill them himself, but got them killed through Muchukunda and Bhima.

764 He killed Shambara, Mura and Dantavakra himself. Dvivida and Balvala were killed by Balarama. Bana was defeated by Krishna, but was allowed to live.

765 On the sides of the sons of Dhritarashtra and of Pandu.

766 These are Krishna’s thoughts.

767 Dharma’s son, Yudhishthira.

768 Permitted by the brahmanas, the Yadavas drank the liquor.

769 Maireya is liquor made from molasses or grain.

770 Maitreya.

771 Krishna.

772 Uddhava was a Vasu in a former life.

773 The Prajapatis.

774 Brahma.

775 Dharma, artha, kama and moksha.

776 In the householder stage of garhasthya.

777 Brahma.

778 Uddhava. Uddhava’s father is usually referred to as Devabhaga. It is possible that Aupavaga is being used as an adjective, derived from upagu, meaning, something or someone near a cow.

779 The three worlds.

780 Vidura.

781 Uddhava.

782 Another name for the Yamuna.

783 Ganga.

784 Maitreya.

785 The heavenly river is Ganga and the spot is therefore identified as Haridvara.

786 The three worlds.

787 Krishna’s account.

788 Krishna Dvaipayana Vedavyasa.

789 Yama had inflicted an excessively harsh punishment on the sage and had been cursed by Mandavya.

790 Vichitravirya had a servant-maid and Vidura was the son of Vedavyasa and this servant-maid.

791 The universe had not been created.

792 This is interpreted in many different ways. Purusha is manifested from Vishnu and impregnates maya, or Purusha impregnates Prakriti.

793 Purusha.

794 Interpreted as ahamkara. Alternatively, Mahat tattva led to ahamkara.

795 Who preside over the senses.

796 Tanmatras.

797 Air possesses its own attributes, as well as that of space and so on.

798 Relating to adhidaivika (destiny), adhibhoutika (nature) and adhyatmika (one’s own nature).

799 Ganga.

800 Sattva, rajas and tamas.

801 Vishnu and Lakshmi entered Kala (time), or entered Prakriti (being referred to as Kala).

802 Mahat, ahamkara, five gross elements, five subtle elements, five organs of senses, five organs of action and mind.

803 Ten means the ten vital airs (prana)—prana, apana, vyana, udana, samana, naga, kurma, krikala, devadatta and dhananjaya. The three are adhibhuta, adhidaiva and adhyatma.

804 Virat Purusha.

805 Vishnu was inside Virat Purusha. The divinities had entreated Vishnu earlier.

806 Virat Purusha’s.

807 Virat Purusha’s.

808 Vayu.

809 Two different kinds of skin are mentioned. The earlier skin was charman, the outside skin. This skin is tvach, which means either the inside skin, or both the outside and inside skin taken together.

810 Prajapati.

811 Brahma.

812 Abhimana is pride/haughtiness, the false sense of ego. The lord is Rudra.

813 Depending on their combinations of gunas (sattva, rajas and tamas), gods, humans and inferior beings occupy these worlds.

814 Humans remained on earth and have transactions with the gods in the form of performing sacrifices to them.

815 Tamas.

816 The heavenly planets and earth.

817 Interpreted as the Vedas.

818 That is, miscreants.

819 Brahma.

820 Meaning Rudra.

821 Someone asks the child to play, or the child comes across an object it can play with.

822 The illustrious one.

823 In a dream.

824 This has been interpreted in different ways—the independence of the illustrious one and the dependence of living creatures on him; listening to his account and serving him; Hari and attachment to material objects; and knowledge and devotion.

825 In maya, but inside Hari.

826 Vishnu killed a demon named Madhu.

827 Of the devotees.

828 Virat.

829 Organs of sense, objects of the senses and organs of action.

830 Each avatara had a different composition of gunas.

831 Literally, abstention from acts, interpreted as non-attachment to the fruits of the acts.

832 Pratiloma means against the natural order and applies to progeny where the mother is superior in varna to the father. Anuloma applies to progeny where the father is superior in varna to the mother.

833 Student.

834 Kings born in the Puru lineage.

835 Sanatkumara.

836 Ganga.

837 Balarama (Samkarshana) is identified with the serpent Ananta-Shesha.

838 Detachment from fruits and renunciation of action.

839 A sage in the Vasishtha lineage.

840 Parashara wished to destroy the rakshasas. In an attempt to save his progeny, Pulastya dissuaded him. When Parashara complied, Pulasyta blessed him that he would recite the Puranas. There are different accounts of how the Bhagavata Purana was disseminated over time and they don’t always agree.

841 He was sleeping on Ananta-Shesha.

842 The four yugas make up a mahayuga and he slept for one thousand mahayugas.

843 Brahma.

844 Inside the lotus.

845 One hundred years.

846 Vishnu was attired in a yellow garment.

847 The image of Vishnu continues, but is not stated explicitly. The golden peaks are compared to his diadem and the garland of trees to the garland of flowers he wears. Vishnu’s arms and feet are compared to those of the mountain, Vishnu being superior in beauty.

848 Brahma.

849 The darkness of ignorance.

850 Atheists and heretics.

851 Vata, pitta and kapha. These can be loosely translated as wind, bile and phlegm. In ayurveda, these are the three doshas or humours in the body and they are always striving against each other.

852 This part uses the third person.

853 Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu.

854 Of time.

855 There are various listings of the five, such as—anger, confusion, hatred, lack of perseverance and vanity.

856 Before the destruction.

857 Lakshmi.

858 So that I am not attached to the fruits of the action.

859 As the power to know, the presiding deity of speech, intelligence and the Vedas.

860 Brahma.

861 One in whom the Vedas are vested, Brahma.

862 Vidura’s.

863 Brahma.

864 This can also be translated as the calyx.

865 Three means above the earth, the earth and under the earth. Fourteen means the fourteen lokas mentioned earlier.

866 Brahma’s world.

867 Time.

868 This gets into interpretation. Creation due to Prakriti is interpreted as creation that takes place outside the cosmic egg, while creation due to vikriti is interpreted as creation that takes place inside the cosmic egg.

869 The three kinds of destruction are regular ones caused by time (known as nitya), that resulting from a fire in Ananta’s mouth (known as naimittika) and that resulting from interaction between the gunas (known as prakritika).

870 Meaning Brahma.

871 Osadhi, more accurately, trees and herbs that die after yielding fruit.

872 Like bamboo.

873 The first kind of creeper is lata, which requires support to grow. This kind of creeper is virudha, not requiring support from another tree/plant to grow.

874 The first kind of tree is vanaspati, which has fruits, but without visible flowers. This kind of tree is druma, which has fruits and visible flowers.

875 Kind of ox.

876 These are cloven-hooved.

877 Uncloven-hooved.

878 Kind of buffalo.

879 Sharabha has many meanings—young elephant, camel. It is also a mythical animal with eight legs, believed to be stronger than a lion. In this context, one probably means the mythical animal.

880 Mythical aquatic creature, can loosely be translated as crocodile.

881 A different kind of vulture.

882 A different kind of crane.

883 A different kind of owl.

884 Sanaka, Sananda, Sanatana and Sanatkumara.

885 Resulting from both Prakriti and vikriti.

886 Learned ones, gods.

887 This is a total of nine. Therefore, siddhas probably is an adjective and means that any of the other categories can become a Siddha.

888 If one counts the earlier list as nine, one does have ten categories.

889 With other paramanus or atoms.

890 There are many difficulties in translating and interpreting this shloka. The meaning is not immediately obvious.

891 A pala is a measure of weight, but its stated weight varies across sources. 30 grams is a rough indication. Angula is the length of a finger. Masha is just short of one gram.

892 Season. There are six seasons—vasanta (spring), grishma (summer), varsha (monsoon), sharad (autumn), hemanta (just before winter) and shishira (winter).

893 Uttarayana is the movement of the sun to the north of the equator, the period from the winter to the summer solstice. Dakshinayana is the movement of the sun to the south of the equator, the period from the summer to the winter solstice.

894 Uttarayana is day and dakshinayana is night.

895 Samvatsara is the solar year, anuvatsara is the lunar year, parivatsara seems to have been calculated on the basis of Jupiter’s orbit and vatsara was calculated on the basis of the nakshatras. Since idavatsara occurred once every five years, it probably had an intercalary month.

896 Meaning the sun god.

897 One hundred years, according to their respective measurements of time.

898 Those who are beyond the three worlds.

899 Measured as years of the gods, krita yuga is four thousand years, treta yuga is three thousand years, dvapara yuga is two thousand years and kali yuga is one thousand years. This cycle is known as a mahayuga, but a mahayuga is more than ten thousand years. Each yuga has a sandhi at the beginning and an amsha at the end of the yuga. This is 400 years for krita yuga, 300 years for treta yuga, 200 years for dvapara yuga and 100 years for kali yuga. Hence, two thousand years are added to get twelve thousand years.

900 There were three feet in treta, two in dvapara and one in kali.

901 That is, mahayugas.

902 One of Brahma’s days.

903 One thousand divided by fourteen is 71.43.

904 These, including the lord of the gods (Indra) vary from one manvantara (the period of a Manu) to another.

905 Depending on the measure of time in the place one resides in. Alternatively, this may specifically refer to Brahma.

906 Brahma’s.

907 The present parardha.

908 For Hari.

909 Time.

910 Yojanas, though yojanas is not explicitly stated.

911 Covering the universe.

912 To Hari, the universe is like a paramanu.

913 Brahma’s.

914 Respectively, the darkness that makes one blind, darkness, great confusion and confusion. These have different nuances of interpretation in samkhya.

915 Nilalohita, nila (blue) and lohita (red).

916 Rud means to cry or weep.

917 That is, these are your names.

918 Brahma. They were born through Brahma’s mental powers.

919 Or Angira.

920 Meaning some other Brahma.

921 That is, Brahma.

922 Interpreted as collections of mantras.

923 The same as agnishtoma.

924 The names of different kinds of sacrifices.

925 These are the four kinds of conduct for brahmacharya. Savitra means that one is celibate for three nights, beginning with the sacred thread ceremony, reciting the savitri mantra. Prajapatya means the observance of celibacy for one year. Brahma means the observance of celibacy until the Vedas have been mastered. Brihat means the observance of celibacy throughout one’s life.

926 These are the four kinds of conduct for garhasthya. Varta means subsistence on the basis of permitted occupations. Sanchaya means subsistence on the basis of what has been stored, such as through earnings by performing sacrifices. Shalina means subsistence on the basis of whatever can be obtained without resorting to asking for alms. Shila-unccha means subsistence on the basis of collecting grains from the ground.

927 These are the four kinds of conduct for vanaprastha. Vaikhanasas are those who subsist on wild grain, obtained without resorting to agriculture; valakhilyas are those who subsist on fresh fruit; audumburas eat fruit gathered from whatever direction they first happen to look at in the morning; phenapas live on fruits and leaves that naturally drop down from trees.

928 These are the four kinds of conduct for those who are in sannyasa. Kutichakas follow the norms prescribed for the sannyasa stage. Bahvodas also follow these norms, but focus on knowledge, as do hamsas. A bahvoda carries three staffs and can stay at a place for three nights. A hamsa carries a single staff and can stay at a place for one night. There are such variations between the two, but they vary across texts. A nishkriya (also known as paramahamsa) is someone who has realized the brahman and has given up all action.

929 Dharma, artha and kama.

930 Vyahriti means the words bhuh, bhuvah and svah, uttered after Oum.

931 The sound of Oum.

932 The consonants, ka to ma, are Brahma’s sense organs.

933 Sha to ha.

934 This is probably a reference to Brahma having given up his body in shame.

935 Devahuti.

936 The father is Svayambhuva (Brahma) and the son is Svaayambhuva Manu.

937 Vishnu. This is interpreted as Krishna often resting his feet on Vidura’s lap.

938 The boar.

939 Sanaka, Sananda, Sanatana and Sanatkumara.

940 The three Vedas.

941 More accurately, his three joints were the rites of sacrifices.

942 Before creation.

943 The text uses the word rasa and we have translated this simply as water. Rasa, in these shlokas, is often translated and interpreted as rasatala. In other words, the earth was not just in the waters, but in the specific nether region known as rasatala.

944 This daitya was Hiranyaksha.

945 The Sudarshana chakra.

946 Red chalk from the earth.

947 The three Vedas.

948 The earth.

949 Referred to as Yajna Varaha.

950 Vessel used to offer a share to Brahma.

951 Cup for holding soma.

952 There are three ishtis or upasads associated with a sacrifice—diksha (the initiation into the sacrifice), prayaniya (the initial rites of the sacrifice) and upaniya (the concluding rites of the sacrifice).

953 Pravargya is the rite performed before a soma sacrifice. Before each of the upasads, pravargya is performed. Sabhya sacrifices are performed without a fire and avasathya ones with a fire.

954 Agnishtoma, atyagnishtoma, ukthya, shodashi, vajapeya, atiratra and aptoryama.

955 The Vedas.

956 A kulachala is a great mountain, but any great mountain is not a kulachala. Each of the seven regions has a kulachala and their names are Mahendra, Malaya, Sahya, Shuktiman, Riksha, Vindhya and Pariyatra.

957 In the form of the boar incarnation.

958 Dhruva.

959 Narada.

960 The ocean of life.

961 Rudra or Shiva.

962 Shiva.

963 Probably implying that there is no secrecy.

964 Interpreted as Shiva having rejected material objects and maya, though these are enjoyed by others.

965 Kama, the god of love.

966 Sati, Shiva’s wife, was also Daksha’s daughter and Diti’s sister.

967 The vajra.

968 Sudarshana chakra.

969 Vishnu.

970 The moon.

971 Indra and the other gods might harm her sons.

972 The power of the foetus.

973 The guna of rajas.

974 Interpreted as the Vedas.

975 They have Vishnu’s form, with four arms.

976 Meaning something that leads to ultimate bliss.

977 Kind of creeper.

978 Mandara is the Indian coral tree, kunda is a kind of jasmine, kuraba is the Barleria Caerulea, utpala is a water lily or the blue lotus, champaka is the sampangi flower, arna is the teak tree, punnaga is the nutmeg tree or a white lotus, naga (nagakesara) is the Indian rose chestnut, bakula is a tree with fragrant blossoms, ambuja is a lotus and parijata is the night-flowering coral jasmine. The text says kurava, we have corrected it to kuraba.

979 Tulasi.

980 Other than Krishna’s deeds.

981 Of ignorance.

982 Vaikuntha is above the worlds of the gods.

983 Sanatkumara and his brothers.

984 The sages were beyond mundane concerns and distinctions.

985 Such as inside a pot.

986 But aren’t really gods.

987 The universe is in Hari’s stomach.

988 Lust, anger and avarice.

989 The same as Padmanabha, the one who had a lotus in his navel.

990 Garuda.

991 Sanatkumara and his brothers.

992 The brahman.

993 Brahma.

994 Such as material objects.

995 Literally, a svapacha is someone who eats dogs or cooks for dogs. In most instances, it is used as a synonym for a chandala.

996 Of brahmanas.

997 Shiva.

998 Yama.

999 Instead of noble rishis, translations usually say that Vishnu’s words were like mantras composed by rishis, that is, Vedic hymns. This seems to be forced and unnecessary.

1000 One who has avataras in the first three yugas.

1001 Lakshmi.

1002 Auspicious planets like Mercury, Jupiter and Venus were surpassed by inauspicious ones like Mars and Saturn.

1003 Kashyapa.

1004 If there were twins, contrary to current practice, the one born first was regarded as younger and the one born later (who remained longer in the womb) was regarded as elder.

1005 Hiranyaksha.

1006 The gods.

1007 A necklace or garland indicating victory, usually made out of eight kinds of pearls. This is also the name of Vishnu’s necklace.

1008 Though Garuda has earlier been described as Tarkshya’s son, Tarkshya is also a name for Garuda.

1009 Prachetas is Varuna and Varuna’s capital city is named Vibhavari.

1010 In his boar incarnation.

1011 The boar’s.

1012 Vanagochara means an animal that dwells in the forest, as well as one that lives in the water. Therefore, it can be taken to mean an animal that is amphibious.

1013 The earth.

1014 The one with the golden hair, another name for Hiranyaksha.

1015 Brahma.

1016 Hiranyaksha.

1017 The same as Hiranyaksha.

1018 Brahma.

1019 Brahma.

1020 Cattle.

1021 Abhijit is usually taken to be one muhurta, not two. There are thirty muhurtas in a span of twenty-four hours, fifteen during the day and fifteen during the night. Some muhurtas are auspicious, others are not and Abhijit muhurta is the most auspicious of the fifteen muhurtas during the day. Literally, Abhijit is a muhurta that brings victory. Today, Abhijit muhurta, depending on the place, will be around noon.

1022 As a boar.

1023 They were ignorant because they didn’t know about Vishnu’s powers.

1024 The text uses the word Hari, which means Indra too. But because two uses of the word Hari might cause confusion, we have rendered this as Indra. The reference is to an incident where Tarkshya/Garuda carried away amrita and was struck by Indra’s vajra. Though Garuda wasn’t hurt, out of respect for the vajra, he dropped one of his feathers.

1025 Hiranyaksha.

1026 The three rites of a sacrifice, diksha (the initiation into the sacrifice), prayaniya (the initial rites of the sacrifice) and upaniya (the concluding rites of the sacrifice) being used as a metaphor.

1027 The lord of the Maruts is Indra and Tvashta’s son is Vritra.

1028 Vishnu’s.

1029 Brahma.

1030 Shounaka.

1031 Of liberation.

1032 Kushavarta is identified with Haridvara.

1033 Brahma.

1034 The preceding sentence means independent of their wives. This sentence means all the Prajapatis acting together.

1035 This shloka is capable of being interpreted in many different kinds of ways and so are the ones that immediately follow.

1036 Vaikarika, taijasa and tamasa.

1037 Five gross elements, five organs of perception, five organs of action and so on.

1038 Enter Brahma.

1039 From night.

1040 Asuras.

1041 Meaning Vidura.

1042 She was actually evening.

1043 Brahma.

1044 The gandharvas.

1045 Every living being has four bodies—tandra (lassitude), jrimbhana (yawning), nidra (sleep) and unmada (madness).

1046 Bhutas and pishachas.

1047 Meaning disappearance.

1048 Thanks to humans being created.

1049 Hrishikesha means controller of the senses and is a word normally applied to Vishnu/Krishna. But here, it is being used for Brahma and Brahma is also referred to as a rishi.

1050 The word dvipa not only means island, but also a continent or region of the earth. The earth was believed to be divided into seven continents.

1051 Respectively, Akuti and Prasuti.

1052 The word used is kriya yoga, which can be interpreted in diverse ways.

1053 A complete form with attributes described in the Vedas.

1054 Kardama.

1055 Be as useful as a cow is to a householder.

1056 The months and the days, with an intercalary month included.

1057 The rims are the seasons, the leaves being various units of time. The naves are units of four months each.

1058 This is Maitreya speaking, not Kardama.

1059 Brahmavarta is the area around Kurukshetra. The seven oceans are Lavana, Kshira, Sura, Ghrita, Ikshu, Dadhi and Svadu. These have been speculatively identified as Lavana (Indian Ocean), Kshira (Shirwan, part of the Caspian Sea), Sura (Sarain, the remaining part of the Caspian Sea), Ghrita (Erythraean Sea), Ikshu (the river Oxus), Dadhi (Dahae, the Aral Sea) and Svadu (Tchadun, the river in Mongolia).

1060 The Samkhya texts.

1061 Vishnu.

1062 This is taken to mean Kardama, who performed austerities and sought refuge with him. However, the statement is general and doesn’t specifically mention Kardama. Bindusaras or Bindusarovara is identified with Siddhapura (Sitpur) in Gujarat. Bindu means drop and saras means lake.

1063 Ashoka is a tree with red flowers, karanja is the Indian beech tree, ashana is the Indian laurel, kutaja is a kind of coral tree and chuta is mango.

1064 Chakravaka is the ruddy goose or Brahmany duck, karandava is a type of duck, plava is a diving aquatic bird, chakora is a partridge.

1065 Kind of monkey, with a tail resembling a cow’s tail.

1066 Kardama.

1067 Brahmanas.

1068 The vow of celibacy.

1069 Shri is interpreted as Devahuti’s ornaments, but there seems to be no reason to do this.

1070 That is, withdraw from the householder stage.

1071 At being separated from her.

1072 Relating to adhidaivika (destiny), adhibhoutika (nature) and adhyatmika (one’s own nature).

1073 Parvati.

1074 Kardama.

1075 That is, before she could speak.

1076 Female vidyadharas.

1077 This can be interpreted in two ways. The moon, the lord of the stars, makes night lotuses bloom. Alternatively, Kardama is the moon, the vimana is the sky, the maidens are the stars and the eyes of the maidens are night lotuses.

1078 As mentioned before, the kulachalas are Mahendra, Malaya, Sahya, Shuktiman, Riksha, Vindhya and Pariyatra. Their Indra is Mount Meru.

1079 Lokapalas are guardians of the world and the directions. The eight lokapalas are Kubera, Yama, Indra, Varuna, Ishana, Agni, Vayu and Nirriti.

1080 Ganga.

1081 Dhanada, Kubera.

1082 Manasa may also mean Lake Manasa.

1083 Yoga has eight elements—yama (restraint), niyama (rituals), asana (posture), pranayama (breathing), pratyahara (withdrawal), dharana (retention), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (liberation). That’s the reason the expression ashtanga (eight-limbed) yoga is used. Dama is control of the senses and can be equated with yama.

1084 And also Devahuti, though she is not specifically mentioned.

1085 Vishnu killed two demons named Madhu and Kaitabha.

1086 Sanatkumara and his brothers.

1087 The word used is Hamsa, meaning Brahma.

1088 Indra.

1089 Kardama went to Kapila. Vishnu is known as Triyuga because he has appeared in satya yuga, treta yuga and dvapara yuga, but not in kali yuga.

1090 The three gunas.

1091 Resort to sannyasa.

1092 Transcendantal, about the atman.

1093 Since the left is inauspicious, the person being circumambulated must be kept to the right.

1094 Happiness and unhappiness, heat and cold and so on.

1095 The wheel of life, the circle of birth and death.

1096 To objects of the senses.

1097 Truths, principles.

1098 Of birth and death.

1099 These shlokas have diverse interpretations. Given the way we have translated it, Pradhana is unmanifest and undifferentiated, while Prakriti is manifest and differentiated.

1100 Five tanmatras or subtle elements, five mahabhutas or gross elements, five organs of perception, five organs of action, manas (mind), buddhi (intelligence), ahamkara (ego) and chitta (consciousness).

1101 The mind creates doubt, intelligence leads to conclusions, ego leads to pride and consciousness results in remembrance.

1102 Thus identifying itself with the body.

1103 Prakriti.

1104 This is the darkness at the time of destruction, when Mahat is absorbed back into Prakriti and Vishnu sleeps.

1105 Through contact with other objects like the earth.

1106 Respectively associated with sattva, rajas and tamas.

1107 The breath of life is also created from taijasa ahamkara.

1108 Receiving and conveying to the nose and the ear.

1109 Colour and form.

1110 Mahat, ahamkara and the elements.

1111 Interpreted as Indra.

1112 Brahma.

1113 Virat Purusha.

1114 Surya.

1115 Kshetrajna.

1116 Respectively, gods, humans and subhuman.

1117 The atman.

1118 Prakriti.

1119 Consciousness.

1120 Emancipation.

1121 Is not born again.

1122 Bija is a mystic akshara from a mantra. When yoga has such an object of meditation, it is sabija. When meditation is on the atman, without any other object, it is nirbija.

1123 Pursuit of dharma (ordinary), artha and kama.

1124 The chakras in the body are muladhara, svadhishthana, manipura, anahata, vishuddha, ajna and sahasrara. As used in the text, svadhishthana probably means any of the first six chakras and not specifically the svadhishthana chakra.

1125 Respectively inhalation, retention and exhalation.

1126 Ganga.

1127 The sign of the vajra on the foot.

1128 The creator means Brahma. Since Brahma was created by Vishnu, Lakshmi is Brahma’s mother by extension.

1129 Garuda’s.

1130 The flower of flax, Linum usitatissimum. Vishnu’s complexion is often likened to this flower.

1131 Brahma.

1132 Lakshmi.

1133 When the ocean was being churned.

1134 Sudarshana chakra.

1135 Both are white.

1136 The name of Vishnu’s club.

1137 Koustubha.

1138 A lotus.

1139 Which take it to be a lotus. The eyes are being compared to fish.

1140 Relating to adhidaivika (destiny), adhibhoutika (nature) and adhyatmika (one’s own nature).

1141 Makaradhvaja is the one with the makara on his banner and means Madana. Madana distracts the sages from their meditations and Hari’s smile distracts Madana.

1142 This is interpreted in diverse ways, such as the following. Initially, the mind meditates on Hari, the hook. Once a person has progressed, the hook is no longer necessary and the person can meditate directly on the atman.

1143 That is, ahamkara.

1144 The text uses the word prapancha. This has many meanings, but visible world fits best.

1145 The other things are the senses and the mind.

1146 This probably means that the devotee sees himself as distinct from the brahman.

1147 Respectively, residence in the same world as Vishnu, powers like Vishnu, residing near Vishnu, forms like Vishnu and union with Vishnu.

1148 Rather than the fire.

1149 Meaning ashtanga yoga.

1150 Indra.

1151 Probably implying fraudulent.

1152 Hell or birth as inferior species.

1153 The jivatman.

1154 A yojana is a measure of distance, between 8 and 9 miles.

1155 As human, after having been born as inferior species several times.

1156 Of the sperm and the ovum.

1157 Karkandhu.

1158 Plasma, blood, muscle, fat, bone, marrow and seminal fluid. These are known as the seven dhatus.

1159 Alternatively, the membrane covering the embryo.

1160 Entering many wombs.

1161 Insects and worms.

1162 Brahma.

1163 Interpreted as the linga sharira.

1164 But this is not true of the jivatman.

1165 Tasks with a motive.

1166 Brahma is also destroyed.

1167 They are still proud of their devotion to Brahma. Thus, they are born again.

1168 Brahma.

1169 Between the jivatman and the paramatman.

1170 Brahma.

1171 The rishis.

1172 Dharma, artha and kama.

1173 Dakshinayana.

1174 That is, in the same families.

1175 Five organs of perception, five organs of action and the mind.

1176 The path of knowledge.

1177 Pravritti is action with a desire for the fruits, whereas nivritti is action without a desire for the fruits.

1178 While this could mean the four ashramas, it probably means sattva, rajas and tamas and the one which is beyond these three.

1179 It is possible to interpret this in many ways, the simplest is that Kapila founded the samkhya school.

1180 From me.

1181 Interpreted as thrice a day.

1182 Akhandala is Indra’s name.

1183 Vishnu’s body.

1184 Interpreted as celestial beings who took care of her.

1185 The stage of emancipation, when everything is extinguished.

1186 Manu gave her to Ruchi. A putrika is a daughter who is regarded as a son. After marriage, she lives in her father’s household. Her son is regarded as her father’s son and becomes the heir. Ruchi and Akuti’s son would thus be brought up as Manu’s son. This is usually done when the father doesn’t have a son. Here, this wasn’t the case, since Manu had sons named Priyavrata and Uttanapada.

1187 Dakshina means the fee given at sacrifices.

1188 The goddess of riches is Lakshmi. The separation bit can be interpreted as Lakshmi never being separated from Vishnu, or as Dakshina never being separated from Yajna.

1189 Dakshina desired Yajna.

1190 From one manvantara to another manvantara, Manu, the gods, the saptarshis and Indra (the title of the ruler of the gods) varies.

1191 Purniman’s.

1192 Ganga.

1193 They were respectively born as parts of Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma.

1194 The Riksha mountains are the eastern part of the Vindhya range.

1195 Today, this is known as the Newaz/Newaj, in Madhya Pradesh.

1196 Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

1197 The respective mounts of Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu. The signs mean a water pot (kamandalu) for Brahma, a trident for Shiva and sudarshana chakra for Vishnu.

1198 Sinivali is the deity (and the day) for the day preceding the night of the new moon; Kuhu is the deity (and the day) for the night of the new moon; Raka is the deity (and the day) for the night of the full moon and Anumati is the deity (and the day) for the fourteenth night of shukla paksha.

1199 Meaning the digestive fire.

1200 Vishrava’s wife.

1201 Vibhishana’s mother was Keshini.

1202 Also known as Arundhati.

1203 Mrikanda from Ayati and Prana from Niyati.

1204 Shukracharya.

1205 Aja is Brahma’s name.

1206 Shiva.

1207 Krishna is also one of Arjuna’s names.

1208 These are different categories of ancestors. For example, Ajyapas accept oblations of ghee, Soumyas (Somapas) accept soma and so on.

1209 Svadha.

1210 The Prajapatis.

1211 Daksha.

1212 Sharva is one of Shiva’s names.

1213 Shiva’s name, one who delights the world.

1214 The Vedas.

1215 A preta is a ghost, the spirit of a dead person, or simply something evil. A bhuta has the same meaning. Strictly speaking, there are differences between preta, bhuta and pishacha (one who lives on flesh). A preta is the spirit (not necessarily evil) of a dead person before the funeral rites have been performed. A bhuta (not necessarily evil again) is the spirit of a dead person who has had a violent death and for whom, proper funeral rites have not been performed, and may not even be performed. A pishacha (necessarily evil) is created deliberately through evil powers. Pramatha is an evil spirit who torments.

1216 The word Shiva means auspicious.

1217 Brahma.

1218 The word used is pashanda.

1219 Sura is a general term for liquor. Asava is made through distillation, not mere fermentation.

1220 The way of the Vedas.

1221 Meaning Shiva.

1222 The one without birth, meaning Shiva.

1223 The one with the dark throat, Shiva’s name.

1224 Whether she went or not.

1225 Nandi.

1226 A sarika bird is a kind of thrush, Turdus salica, a talking bird kept as a pet.

1227 For her to play.

1228 Daksha.

1229 Meaning Daksha, who was performing the sacrifice.

1230 To make it clear, we have taken a few liberties with the text.

1231 ‘Shi’ and ‘va’.

1232 Daksha’s daughter.

1233 Brought equilibrium between prana and apana.

1234 Manipura chakra.

1235 Shiva.

1236 There are three sacred fires at any sacrifice—ahavaniya (to the east), dakshinagni (to the south) and garhapatya (the fire for the householder).

1237 Sati.

1238 Shiva’s name, the one with matted hair on his head.

1239 Virabhadra, his name is mentioned later.

1240 Yama.

1241 Daksha.

1242 King Prachinabarchi, who punished bandits.

1243 Daksha’s wife.

1244 Shiva’s.

1245 Brahma.

1246 When Daksha insulted Shiva.

1247 Meaning Virabhadra.

1248 Shiva.

1249 Virabhadra.

1250 There was a gambling match, at which, Balarama had been deceived. Therefore, he had knocked out the teeth of Dantavakra, the king of Kalinga.

1251 The three-eyed one, Virabhadra.

1252 Virabhadra again, Virabhadra being one of Shiva’s forms.

1253 Pashupati.

1254 Daksha.

1255 Kailasa.

1256 Indra.

1257 Pura means Tripura. Shiva destroyed a city (actually three cities together) of the demons, named Tripura.

1258 Mandara is the coral tree, parijata is also the coral tree, sarala is a kind of pine, tamala is the sacred garlic pearl tree, shala is a kind of tree, tala is the palm tree, kovidara is a kind of orchid, asana (should read ashana) is the Indian laurel, arjuna is a tall tree, chuta is mango, kadamba is a kind of tree, nipa is another name for the kadamba tree, naga (nagakeshara) is a flowering tree, punnaga is nutmeg, champaka is a tree with yellow and fragrant flowers, patala is the Bignonia suaveolens, ashoka is Saraca indica, bakula is a tree with fragrant flowers, kunda is a kind of jasmine and kurabaka is a kind of amaranth tree.

1259 The prickly chaff flower.

1260 Jasmine.

1261 The hiptage shrub.

1262 The cluster fig tree.

1263 The holy fig tree.

1264 Also a holy fig tree.

1265 The banyan tree.

1266 Priyalas.

1267 Honey trees.

1268 A medicinal tree.

1269 Kind of ox.

1270 A sharabha is a mythical eight-footed animal, believed to prey on lions.

1271 Meaning, full of fragrance.

1272 Interpreted as Vishnu.

1273 Kubera, Kubera’s capital is the city of Alaka.

1274 Raktakantha, the Indian cuckoo.

1275 Kubera.

1276 This is known as the virasana posture.

1277 Literally, this means the posture adopted for debating and arguing. The tip of the thumb touches the index finger. The other fingers are close together and are held out straight. Tarka mudra specifically refers to the position of the hands, rather than the overall posture. It is also known as jnana mudra.

1278 This probably means the wooden support placed under an armpit, so that the erect posture can be maintained. But the expression is also used for a strap of cloth that is used to keep the left knee in place.

1279 Brahma.

1280 Indra.

1281 In the course of the vamana incarnation.

1282 That is, Daksha followed the recommended path of sacrifices.

1283 But why should you succumb to rage?

1284 The text uses the word shunashira, which means a particular class of gods.

1285 A he-goat. Ka means Daksha here.

1286 Virabhadra and the others.

1287 Garuda’s wings are the Sama Veda hymns, Brihat and Rathantara.

1288 Lakshmi.

1289 Shiva.

1290 Brahma.

1291 Prajapatis.

1292 A reference to the three Vedas.

1293 Of the officiating priests.

1294 Lakshmi.

1295 Daksha’s wife.

1296 Because we are still attached to bodies and material objects.

1297 Five forms means five kinds of sacrifice—agnihotra, darsha, purnamasa, chaturmasya and pashusoma. The five hymns from the Yajur Veda are ashravaya, shroushat, yaja, ye yajamahe and vashat.

1298 Human body.

1299 The person performing the sacrifice and his wife.

1300 The three Vedas.

1301 The sacrifice.

1302 Shiva.

1303 Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

1304 Presumably both means principal and secondary sacrifices.

1305 This is known as avabhritha, the purifying bath at the end of a sacrifice.

1306 Mrisha means falsehood, dambha means insolence and maya means deceit. Dambha (male) married Maya (female) and Nirriti adopted this couple.

1307 Lobha means avarice, nikriti means wickedness, krodha means anger, himsa means violence, kali means dissension and durukti means harsh speech.

1308 Bhaya means fear, mrityu means death, yatana means excessive pain and niraya means hell. Bhaya (male) married Mrityu (female).

1309 Puraka, rechaka and kumbhaka.

1310 To the cycle of birth and death.

1311 A mantra used for meditating and chanting.

1312 That is, divine and semi-divine species.

1313 Oum! namo bhagavate vasudevaya. There are twelve askharas (syllables) in this mantra.

1314 Dhruva.

1315 Dhruva.

1316 Dhruva.

1317 Brahma.

1318 Potentially, and thus create it.

1319 In general, the senses.

1320 Since the brahman is impersonal.

1321 Ananta’s.

1322 Brahma.

1323 What is intended is unclear. It could be the three Vedas, the three gunas, or past, present and future.

1324 Alternatively, the world known as Dhruva’s world. The word dhruva means eternal. Dhruva is the Pole Star.

1325 At the time of threshing.

1326 That is, it will not be destroyed when a kalpa is over.

1327 The sages are the saptarshis, the constellation of Ursa Major.

1328 Not suffering from old age.

1329 Meaning Ursa Major.

1330 Dhruva.

1331 There is no second to the omnipresent atman.

1332 Dhruva.

1333 That is stepson.

1334 This sentence is such that it can also be translated as, ‘He (also) had a daughter who was a jewel among women.’

1335 As will be clear, the auspicious person is a yaksha/guhyaka and the mountain is the Himalayas. The city is Alaka.

1336 Female yakshas. The male yakshas are referred to as minor gods.

1337 Each of them struck him with six arrows.

1338 Catapults.

1339 A lion.

1340 As will be clear, this is a suggestion that the narayanastra be used.

1341 Narayana rishi’s.

1342 Svayambhuva Manu.

1343 Or from the linga sharira.

1344 In the presence of a magnet.

1345 Such as Brahma.

1346 Anger.

1347 Shiva. Both Gireesha and Girisha are Shiva’s names. We have written both as Girisha. Gireesha means lord of the mountains, while Girisha means someone who lies down on a mountain.

1348 In the singular, meaning Kubera.

1349 Manu.

1350 The physical body.

1351 King of kings, a term used to refer to Kubera.

1352 Of ignorance.

1353 Aidavida means Idavida’s son and is Kubera’s name. Kubera’s father was the sage Vishrava and his mother was Idavida (also known as Ilavida).

1354 Dhruva.

1355 That is, not for Vishnu, but sacrifices with offerings for the gods.

1356 Dharma, artha and kama.

1357 The paramatman.

1358 Something not real.

1359 Badarikashrama.

1360 Vishnu.

1361 Madhusudana, Vishnu.

1362 Interpreted as the saptarshis.

1363 The vimana.

1364 Sunanda and Nanda.

1365 The saptarshis.

1366 Worst among kshatriyas, in this case, meaning an ordinary kshatriya.

1367 Day preceding the night of the new moon.

1368 Dvadashi.

1369 Vyatipata is an inauspicious period that lasts for almost twenty-four hours during every lunar month.

1370 More commonly known as sankranti. This is the time when the sun moves from one rashi (sign of the zodiac) to the next. There are twelve sankramanas in a year, though some are better known than others.

1371 The Prachetas.

1372 Prabha means the light of the day, dosha means night. Pratar is morning, madhyadin is midday and sayam is evening. Pradosha is late evening or the first part of the night, nishitha is midnight and vyushta is the latter part of the night, just before dawn.

1373 Sarvateja.

1374 Chakshusha Manu, after Svayambhuva Manu.

1375 Not to be confused with the earlier Pushkarini, Vyushta’s wife.

1376 Anga.

1377 Vena was killed by the curse. Prithu was born through the churning of the hand. There was no king because Vena had died without any sons.

1378 Anga.

1379 Anga.

1380 The cake is purodasa, made out of ground rice. Shipivishta is Vishnu in the form of the sacrifice, the form of the sacrificial fire, or the form of the sacrificial animal.

1381 A dish made out sweetened milk and rice.

1382 Mrityu is Death and Sunitha was Mrityu’s daughter.

1383 The root ven means someone who is jealous and harasses people.

1384 The king thought this.

1385 Compassion, forgiveness, cleanliness, lack of jealousy, altruism, lack of greed, purity and self-control.

1386 Surya.

1387 The earth.

1388 Humkara means to utter the sound ‘hum’, a sound believed to possess special powers.

1389 Interpreted as herbs and mantras.

1390 Alternatively, a man who was a dwarf. Bahuka means a dwarf, or a servile and dependent person.

1391 The word nishida means ‘sit down’. The nishadas were hunters who dwelt in mountains and forests.

1392 The male.

1393 The female.

1394 The word prithu means extensive, great, abundant.

1395 She will be Prithu’s wife.

1396 Vishnu.

1397 Brahma.

1398 On the palm.

1399 Sarasvati.

1400 This world and the next.

1401 He will collect taxes at the right time and spend them at the right time, just as the sun evaporates water during the summer and showers it down during the monsoon.

1402 Indra.

1403 Varuna.

1404 The sacrificial fire.

1405 Mount Manasa has been identified as being near Lake Manasa. It is a mountain that is believed to be to the east of Mount Meru and the sun’s chariot uses this as an axis to revolve around.

1406 A king is known as rajan because he delights (ranjayati) the subjects.

1407 Udaya is the mountain from behind which the sun rises.

1408 He decided that the earth was hiding foodgrains, plants and herbs.

1409 One who holds up (dhara) the earth (dhara).

1410 Rudra.

1411 Specifically, Shiva’s bull, Nandi.

1412 Dattatreya.

1413 The four types of food are those that are chewed (charvya), sucked (choshya or chushya), licked (lehya) and drunk (peya).

1414 Indra.

1415 Jatayu.

1416 Indra.

1417 Someone who has conquered (vijita) a horse (ashva).

1418 Hari, the tawny one, is also one of Indra’s names.

1419 A khatvanga is a staff with a skull on top. A khatvanga and a skull are the marks of a special kind of ascetic known as kapalaka. Therefore, Prithu’s son did not obstruct him.

1420 Meaning Vijitashva.

1421 Indra.

1422 Khanda means a mark and something that is deficient.

1423 Prithu.

1424 Brahma is now speaking to Prithu.

1425 About the sacrifice not having been completed.

1426 Indra.

1427 The gods.

1428 The brahmanas said this.

1429 Prithu.

1430 Even those who cause them injury.

1431 This shloka has several nuances of interpretation.

1432 A share of the sins committed by the people.

1433 Garuda.

1434 Lakshmi.

1435 Lakshmi.

1436 Vishnu’s words are interpreted as the Vedas. If the rites of the Vedas are not important, why will anyone follow them?

1437 The city.

1438 Maitreya.

1439 The text uses the word arabdha, meaning arabdha karma, the good deeds of the past that have now matured and can bear fruits.

1440 The seven dvipas (continents) of the world are Jambu, Plaksha, Shalmali, Kusha, Krouncha, Shaka and Pushkara.

1441 Family name, denoting common lineage.

1442 Because this benefits the king in the next world.

1443 Alternatively, bodies.

1444 There must be a superior entity who dispenses the fruits of good and bad karma.

1445 Brahma.

1446 Vena.

1447 Dharma, artha and kama.

1448 Ganga.

1449 The gods.

1450 The brahmanas addressed Prithu in this way.

1451 Prithu.

1452 These were the Kumaras, Sanatkumara and the others, sons born through Brahma’s mental powers. Since Shiva was born later from Brahma, they were Shiva’s elder brothers.

1453 Therefore, you already know the answer and need not have asked.

1454 Happiness and unhappiness and so on.

1455 The wood from which it has been kindled.

1456 Such as a mirror.

1457 He is born as a vegetable or a tree.

1458 A superior or an inferior birth.

1459 Time.

1460 Kama (desire), krodha (anger), lobha (avarice), moha (delusion), mada (arrogance) and matsarya (jealousy). Alternatively, the five senses and the mind.

1461 He got his kingdom and his own body because of the sages. Therefore, these are like leftovers and leftovers must not be given to a guest.

1462 Prithu.

1463 Meru.

1464 Yama.

1465 Shiva.

1466 The god of love, Kama.

1467 Brahma.

1468 Agriculture, habitations, etc.

1469 Four fires in four directions and the sun overhead.

1470 The five senses and the mind.

1471 This is subject to interpretation. He was not interested in the siddhis that yoga brings. He was no longer interested in yoga or knowledge.

1472 The jivatman with the paramatman.

1473 The chakras in the body are muladhara (base of the spine), svadhishthana (at the root of the sexual organs), manipura (navel), anahata (heart), vishuddha (throat), ajna (between the brows) and sahasrara (crown of the head). Though the text doesn’t mention each of these chakras, that is what is meant.

1474 Antardhana was Vijitashva’s name.

1475 At the time of Prithu’s horse sacrifice.

1476 Barhi is sacrificial grass like kusha. In a sacrifice, the blade of the kusha grass must point towards the east. Barhishad means someone who seats himself on barhi grass. Since the grass pointed towards the east (prachi), Barhishad was also known as Prachinabarhi.

1477 Brahma.

1478 Agni had fallen in love with the wives of the saptarshis. To dissuade him, Svaha, Agni’s wife, assumed the form of a female parrot (shuki) so as to seduce him.

1479 Vishnu.

1480 Gandharvas and kinnaras.

1481 Barhishad’s name.

1482 This shloka is interpreted in many different ways.

1483 Every shloka in this invocation has layers of interpretation.

1484 The three Vedas.

1485 The doer, the instrument and the action.

1486 Rudra.

1487 A touchstone is used to test for gold. Shri, in the form of the shrivatsa mark, is always on the chest.

1488 There is an implicit image of the Ganga flowing through the feet.

1489 Those who follow karma yoga or jnana yoga.

1490 Those born from wombs, those born from eggs, those born from sweat and trees and herbs.

1491 And not perceive it directly.

1492 Brahma.

1493 This is an allegory. Puranjana means someone who lives inside a city, the body being compared to a city. Avijnata is the atman.

1494 The nine gates of the body are two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, the mouth, the anus and the genital organs.

1495 Parks.

1496 That is, they were non-violent.

1497 Continuing with the allegory, the woman is intelligence (buddhi) and the ten servants are the ten senses. Each sense has several inclinations (the wives).

1498 The five hoods are prana, apana, vyana, samana and udana.

1499 The text uses the word shyama. The word shyama usually means dark. Shyama has a secondary meaning of a woman who has not borne children. That meaning seems more appropriate here.

1500 Modesty personified, Parvati and Sarasvati respectively.

1501 Lakshmi.

1502 The one born from the mind, Kama, the god of love.

1503 The two eyes, the two nostrils, the two ears and the mouth were above. The genital organs and the anus were below.

1504 When one faced the east, the two eyes, the two nostrils and the mouth faced the east. The right ear was to the south and the left ear was to the north. The genital organs and the anus were to the west.

1505 The two eyes.

1506 The two nostrils.

1507 The mouth.

1508 The right ear hears rituals that are for the path of the ancestors (pitris).

1509 The left ear hears rituals that are for the path of the gods (devas).

1510 Named after the asuras.

1511 Where one indulges in gramya (sensual and sexual) pursuits.

1512 Literally, without speech and without form.

1513 The chariot is his body, the five horses are the five senses, the two shafts are notions of ‘I’ and ‘mine’, the two wheels are good deeds and bad deeds, the axle is innate nature, the three bamboo poles are the three gunas, the five joints between the yoke and the pole are the five aspects of the breath of life, the rein is the mind, the charioteer is intelligence, the seat is the heart, the two poles for the yoke are grief and delusion, the five types of equipment are the five objects of the senses, the seven bumpers are the seven sheaths of the body, the five kinds of movement are the five organs of action, the bow is attachment, the inexhaustible quiver represents infinite desire and the eleven commanders are the ten senses and the mind.

1514 Gavaya.

1515 Brahmanas.

1516 Mura’s enemy, Krishna.

1517 Tilaka is a mark made on the forehead.

1518 They were wet with tears.

1519 The arrows of the god of love are made out of flowers.

1520 Puranjana’s wife.

1521 He forgot about his own atman.

1522 Puranjana.

1523 Old age.

1524 The gandharvas stand for days. The gandharva women stand for nights, the fair ones from shukla paksha and the dark ones from krishna paksha.

1525 Puranjana.

1526 The daughter of Kala (Time) is meant to signify old age.

1527 The unfortunate one.

1528 Puru’s father was Yayati. Though Yayati had turned old, his desires had not been extinguished. He asked his sons to take over his old age and temporarily grant him their youth, until his desires were satisfied. The son who agreed to do this was Puru.

1529 Of brahmacharya. Hence, Narada refused.

1530 Bhaya means fear.

1531 Durbhaga is telling Bhaya this.

1532 A kind of fever.

1533 Physical and mental ailments.

1534 The serpent.

1535 Avijnata.

1536 At the time of his death, he had been thinking of Puranjani.

1537 In the king of Vidarbha’s house. Alternatively, Rajasimha can be taken as an adjective, meaning a lion among kings.

1538 Out of the seven kulachalas, this is likely to have been Malaya.

1539 Of Puranjana.

1540 Six families for the five senses and the mind.

1541 As a metaphor for pure consciousness.

1542 The being chooses his own body.

1543 Rasavit is the same as Rasajna.

1544 The queen’s, that is, Buddhi’s.

1545 Rasa (plasma), rakta (blood), mamsa (flesh), meda (fat), asthi (bones), majja (nerve or marrow) and shukra (semen, reproductive tissue).

1546 The organs of action.

1547 Adding the mind to the five sense of perception and the five of action.

1548 The wicked pursuit of the five objects of the senses.

1549 The two types of fever are those that result from high temperatures and those that result from low temperatures.

1550 Respectively associated with sattva, tamas and rajas.

1551 Like heaven.

1552 Sufferings related to adhidaivika (destiny), adhibhoutika (nature) and adhyatmika (one’s own nature).

1553 Brahma.

1554 Therefore, since it has no direct manifestation, how is it carried forward to the next life?

1555 Senses of perception and senses of action.

1556 The dark one is Rahu. Rahu can only be seen at the time of an eclipse, on the lunar (or solar) disc.

1557 Including the mind.

1558 The five flows of prana, the mind and the ten senses.

1559 The linga sharira.

1560 This is interpreted as the way a caterpillar moves, clinging to a new blade before it lets go off the old blade. Though not impossible, it would be far-fetched to interpret this as metamorphosis into a butterfly.

1561 Koustubha.

1562 Sudarshana chakra, club, lotus, bow, arrow, sword, shield, conch shell. The conch shell and the lotus are weapons by extension.

1563 Both dawn and dusk.

1564 Kandu was a sage and Pramlocha was an apsara. After delivering her daughter, Pramlocha returned to heaven.

1565 Moksha.

1566 As in the small measure of time.

1567 The fire of universal destruction.

1568 This means Daksha, who had shown disrespect to Shiva. Earlier, Daksha had been born through Brahma’s mental powers. But he was now born as Marisha’s biological son.

1569 Daksha means skilled and accomplished.

1570 Brahma.

1571 The Prachetas.

1572 Daksha.

1573 A sage.

1574 Associated with the three Vedas.

1575 During the summer, the sun sucks up water into the clouds. During the monsoon, this is showered down as rain.


The corpus of the Puranas is immense, in scope, as well as in length. Taken together, the eighteen Puranas are four times the size of the Mahabharata. If the prospect of translating the Mahabharata seemed challenging, the task of translating the Puranas was/is downright disconcerting and intimidating. After the Mahabharata, the Harivamsha and the Valmiki Ramayana, it was a natural transition, the obvious thing to do. However, it seemed to be an impossible task. Did one dare to start? If so, where? Since there was no ‘Critical Edition’ of the Puranas, what text should one use? I have now come to believe what should be obvious. Everything one does is determined by destiny. One is merely an instrument, implementing someone else’s will. Thus, destiny intervened. It first intervened in the form of my dear friend, Professor Ramesh Kumar Pandey, vice chancellor, Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha. He suggested, in the absence of Critical Editions, one should use the Nirnaya Sagar texts. They have much greater acceptance than other versions. In addition, urging me along the road, he gifted me the Nirnaya Sagar texts of eleven of the eighteen Mahapuranas.

That still left a question unanswered. Which Purana should one start with? Destiny intervened yet again, in the form of another friend, Shri Yudhistir Govinda Das of ISKCON. For some time, Yudhistir had been urging us to visit Mayapur. That visit, pending for quite some time, materialized so that it synchronized with the annual Gaura Purnima festival. What better time to visit Mayapur? Yudhistir also gifted us a set of Prabhupada’s translation of the Bhagavata Purana. This determined the answer to the question. The Bhagavata Purana it would have to be. One does indeed deplore the general ignorance about the treasure trove the Puranas are. The dumbed down versions one usually sees or reads are pale shadows of what these texts actually contain. Having said this, the Purana that most people are familiar with is probably the Bhagavata Purana. Therefore, the Bhagavata Purana was a good choice. As a token of appreciation, these three volumes are dedicated to Yudhistir Govinda Das. As Yudhistir well knows, this is nothing more than a token. Dedications are meant for the one who is beyond either of us.

All these translations, ever since the Bhagavad Gita in 2006, have been published by Penguin India. I am indebted to Penguin for believing in the utility of not just the Bhagavata Purana translation, but the entire Purana Project, which still seems to stretch into the interminable horizon of the future. But one step at a time. For the record, with the Bhagavata Purana published, I am now translating Markandeya Purana, the next one in the series. In particular, Meru Gokhale and Ambar Sahil Chatterjee at Penguin India have been exceptionally patient, persevering and encouraging. But for them, the Purana Project might not have taken off. Paloma Dutta has been the editor since the days of the Mahabharata translation. That makes life a whole lot easier. She knows my style and I know hers. There is a Paloma hand in the product, even though it won’t be detected and isn’t meant to be.

The Bhagavata Purana 1
(10.60.15) Ever since this translation journey started in 2006, my wife, Suparna Banerjee (Debroy) has been a constant source of support, ensuring the conducive and propitious environment required for the work to continue unimpeded. She has been much more than that. (She was with me in Mayapur too.) In a rich language like Sanskrit, I can think of close to twenty words—all capturing the different nuances of ‘wife’. Suparna has been all these and more.
The Bhagavata Purana 1
This too is destiny.

The Bhagavata Purana 1

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The Bhagavata Purana 1

This collection published 2018

Copyright © Bibek Debroy 2018

The moral right of the author has been asserted

Jacket images © Meena Rajasekaran

ISBN 978-0-143-42801-5

This digital edition published in 2018.

e-ISBN: 978-9-353-05378-9

This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

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