Śrīmad Bhāgavatam | Canto 1 Chapter 1
Questions by the Sages
oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya
janmādy asya yato ’nvayād itarataś cārtheṣv abhijñaḥ svarāṭ
tene brahma hṛdā ya ādi-kavaye muhyanti yat sūrayaḥ
tejo-vāri-mṛdāṁ yathā vinimayo yatra tri-sargo ’mṛṣā
dhāmnā svena sadā nirasta-kuhakaṁ satyaṁ paraṁ dhīmahi
om — O my Lord; namaḥ — offering my obeisances; bhagavate — unto the Personality of Godhead; vāsudevāya — unto Vāsudeva (the son of Vasudeva), or Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the primeval Lord; janma-ādi — creation, sustenance and destruction; asya — of the manifested universes; yataḥ — from whom; anvayāt — directly; itarataḥ — indirectly; ca — and; artheṣu — purposes; abhijñaḥ — fully cognizant; sva-rāṭ — fully independent; tene — imparted; brahma — the Vedic knowledge; hṛdā — consciousness of the heart; yaḥ — one who; ādi-kavaye — unto the original created being; muhyanti — are illusioned; yat — about whom; sūrayaḥ — great sages and demigods; tejaḥ — fire; vāri — water; mṛdām — earth; yathā — as much as; vinimayaḥ — action and reaction; yatra — whereupon; tri-sargaḥ — three modes of creation, creative faculties; amṛṣā — almost factual; dhāmnā — along with all transcendental paraphernalia; svena — self-sufficiently; sadā — always; nirasta — negation by absence; kuhakam — illusion; satyam — truth; param — absolute; dhīmahi — I do meditate upon.
O my Lord, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, son of Vasudeva, O all-pervading Personality of Godhead, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. I meditate upon Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa because He is the Absolute Truth and the primeval cause of all causes of the creation, sustenance and destruction of the manifested universes. He is directly and indirectly conscious of all manifestations, and He is independent because there is no other cause beyond Him. It is He only who first imparted the Vedic knowledge unto the heart of Brahmājī, the original living being. By Him even the great sages and demigods are placed into illusion, as one is bewildered by the illusory representations of water seen in fire, or land seen on water. Only because of Him do the material universes, temporarily manifested by the reactions of the three modes of nature, appear factual, although they are unreal. I therefore meditate upon Him, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is eternally existent in the transcendental abode, which is forever free from the illusory representations of the material world. I meditate upon Him, for He is the Absolute Truth.
dharmaḥ projjhita-kaitavo ’tra paramo nirmatsarāṇāṁ satāṁ
vedyaṁ vāstavam atra vastu śivadaṁ tāpa-trayonmūlanam
śrīmad-bhāgavate mahā-muni-kṛte kiṁ vā parair īśvaraḥ
sadyo hṛdy avarudhyate ’tra kṛtibhiḥ śuśrūṣubhis tat-kṣaṇāt
dharmaḥ — religiosity; projjhita — completely rejected; kaitavaḥ — covered by fruitive intention; atra — herein; paramaḥ — the highest; nirmatsarāṇām — of the one-hundred-percent pure in heart; satām — devotees; vedyam — understandable; vāstavam — factual; atra — herein; vastu — substance; śivadam — well-being; tāpa-traya — threefold miseries; unmūlanam — causing uprooting of; śrīmat — beautiful; bhāgavate — the Bhāgavata Purāṇa; mahā-muni — the great sage (Vyāsadeva); kṛte — having compiled; kim — what is; vā — the need; paraiḥ — others; īśvaraḥ — the Supreme Lord; sadyaḥ — at once; hṛdi — within the heart; avarudhyate — becomes compact; atra — herein; kṛtibhiḥ — by the pious men; śuśrūṣubhiḥ — by culture; tat-kṣaṇāt — without delay.
Completely rejecting all religious activities which are materially motivated, this Bhāgavata Purāṇa propounds the highest truth, which is understandable by those devotees who are fully pure in heart. The highest truth is reality distinguished from illusion for the welfare of all. Such truth uproots the threefold miseries. This beautiful Bhāgavatam, compiled by the great sage Vyāsadeva [in his maturity], is sufficient in itself for God realization. What is the need of any other scripture? As soon as one attentively and submissively hears the message of Bhāgavatam, by this culture of knowledge the Supreme Lord is established within his heart.
nigama-kalpa-taror galitaṁ phalaṁ
pibata bhāgavataṁ rasam ālayam
muhur aho rasikā bhuvi bhāvukāḥ
nigama — the Vedic literatures; kalpa-taroḥ — the desire tree; galitam — fully matured; phalam — fruit; śuka — Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the original speaker of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam; mukhāt — from the lips of; amṛta — nectar; drava — semisolid and soft and therefore easily swallowable; saṁyutam — perfect in all respects; pibata — do relish it; bhāgavatam — the book dealing in the science of the eternal relation with the Lord; rasam — juice (that which is relishable); ālayam — until liberation, or even in a liberated condition; muhuḥ — always; aho — O; rasikāḥ — those who are full in the knowledge of mellows; bhuvi — on the earth; bhāvukāḥ — expert and thoughtful.
O expert and thoughtful men, relish Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the mature fruit of the desire tree of Vedic literatures. It emanated from the lips of Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī. Therefore this fruit has become even more tasteful, although its nectarean juice was already relishable for all, including liberated souls.
satraṁ svargāya lokāya
naimiṣe — in the forest known as Naimiṣāraṇya; animiṣa-kṣetre — the spot which is especially a favorite of Viṣṇu (who does not close His eyelids); ṛṣayaḥ — sages; śaunaka-ādayaḥ — headed by the sage Śaunaka; satram — sacrifice; svargāya — the Lord who is glorified in heaven; lokāya — and for the devotees who are always in touch with the Lord; sahasra — one thousand; samam — years; āsata — performed.
Once, in a holy place in the forest of Naimiṣāraṇya, great sages headed by the sage Śaunaka assembled to perform a great thousand-year sacrifice for the satisfaction of the Lord and His devotees.
ta ekadā tu munayaḥ
sat-kṛtaṁ sūtam āsīnaṁ
papracchur idam ādarāt
te — the sages; ekadā — one day; tu — but; munayaḥ — sages; prātaḥ — morning; huta — burning; huta-agnayaḥ — the sacrificial fire; sat-kṛtam — due respects; sūtam — Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī; āsīnam — seated on; papracchuḥ — made inquiries; idam — on this (as follows); ādarāt — with due regards.
One day, after finishing their morning duties by burning a sacrificial fire and offering a seat of esteem to Śrīla Sūta Gosvāmī, the great sages made inquiries, with great respect, about the following matters.
tvayā khalu purāṇāni
ākhyātāny apy adhītāni
dharma-śāstrāṇi yāny uta
ṛṣayaḥ — the sages; ūcuḥ — said; tvayā — by you; khalu — undoubtedly; purāṇāni — the supplements to the Vedas with illustrative narrations; sa-itihāsāni — along with the histories; ca — and; anagha — freed from all vices; ākhyātāni — explained; api — although; adhītāni — well read; dharma-śāstrāṇi — scriptures giving right directions to progressive life; yāni — all these; uta — said.
The sages said: Respected Sūta Gosvāmī, you are completely free from all vice. You are well versed in all the scriptures famous for religious life, and in the Purāṇas and the histories as well, for you have gone through them under proper guidance and have also explained them.
yāni veda-vidāṁ śreṣṭho
anye ca munayaḥ sūta
yāni — all that; veda-vidām — scholars of the Vedas; śreṣṭhaḥ — seniormost; bhagavān — incarnation of Godhead; bādarāyaṇaḥ — Vyāsadeva; anye — others; ca — and; munayaḥ — the sages; sūta — O Sūta Gosvāmī; parāvara-vidaḥ — amongst the learned scholars, one who is conversant with physical and metaphysical knowledge; viduḥ — one who knows.
Being the eldest learned Vedāntist, O Sūta Gosvāmī, you are acquainted with the knowledge of Vyāsadeva, who is the incarnation of Godhead, and you also know other sages who are fully versed in all kinds of physical and metaphysical knowledge.
vettha tvaṁ saumya tat sarvaṁ
brūyuḥ snigdhasya śiṣyasya
guravo guhyam apy uta
vettha — you are well conversant; tvam — Your Honor; saumya — one who is pure and simple; tat — those; sarvam — all; tattvataḥ — in fact; tat — their; anugrahāt — by the favor of; brūyuḥ — will tell; snigdhasya — of the one who is submissive; śiṣyasya — of the disciple; guravaḥ — the spiritual masters; guhyam — secret; api uta — endowed with.
And because you are submissive, your spiritual masters have endowed you with all the favors bestowed upon a gentle disciple. Therefore you can tell us all that you have scientifically learned from them.
bhavatā yad viniścitam
puṁsām ekāntataḥ śreyas
tan naḥ śaṁsitum arhasi
tatra — thereof; tatra — thereof; añjasā — made easy; āyuṣman — blessed with a long duration of life; bhavatā — by your good self; yat — whatever; viniścitam — ascertained; puṁsām — for the people in general; ekāntataḥ — absolutely; śreyaḥ — ultimate good; tat — that; naḥ — to us; śaṁsitum — to explain; arhasi — deserve.
Please, therefore, being blessed with many years, explain to us, in an easily understandable way, what you have ascertained to be the absolute and ultimate good for the people in general.
kalāv asmin yuge janāḥ
manda-bhāgyā hy upadrutāḥ
prāyeṇa — almost always; alpa — meager; āyuṣaḥ — duration of life; sabhya — member of a learned society; kalau — in this Age of Kali (quarrel); asmin — herein; yuge — age; janāḥ — the public; mandāḥ — lazy; sumanda-matayaḥ — misguided; manda-bhāgyāḥ — unlucky; hi — and above all; upadrutāḥ — disturbed.
O learned one, in this iron Age of Kali men almost always have but short lives. They are quarrelsome, lazy, misguided, unlucky and, above all, always disturbed.
ataḥ sādho ’tra yat sāraṁ
brūhi bhadrāya bhūtānām
bhūrīṇi — multifarious; bhūri — many; karmāṇi — duties; śrotavyāni — to be learned; vibhāgaśaḥ — by divisions of subject matter; ataḥ — therefore; sādho — O sage; atra — herein; yat — whatever; sāram — essence; samuddhṛtya — by selection; manīṣayā — to the best of your knowledge; brūhi — please tell us; bhadrāya — for the good of; bhūtānām — the living beings; yena — by which; ātmā — the self; suprasīdati — becomes fully satisfied.
There are many varieties of scriptures, and in all of them there are many prescribed duties, which can be learned only after many years of study in their various divisions. Therefore, O sage, please select the essence of all these scriptures and explain it for the good of all living beings, that by such instruction their hearts may be fully satisfied.
sūta jānāsi bhadraṁ te
bhagavān sātvatāṁ patiḥ
jāto yasya cikīrṣayā
sūta — O Sūta Gosvāmī; jānāsi — you know; bhadram te — all blessings upon you; bhagavān — the Personality of Godhead; sātvatām — of the pure devotees; patiḥ — the protector; devakyām — in the womb of Devakī; vasudevasya — by Vasudeva; jātaḥ — born of; yasya — for the purpose of; cikīrṣayā — executing.
All blessings upon you, O Sūta Gosvāmī. You know for what purpose the Personality of Godhead appeared in the womb of Devakī as the son of Vasudeva.
tan naḥ śuśrūṣamāṇānām
kṣemāya ca bhavāya ca
tat — those; naḥ — unto us; śuśrūṣamāṇānām — those who are endeavoring for; arhasi — ought to do it; aṅga — O Sūta Gosvāmī; anuvarṇitum — to explain by following in the footsteps of previous ācāryas; yasya — whose; avatāraḥ — incarnation; bhūtānām — of the living beings; kṣemāya — for good; ca — and; bhavāya — upliftment; ca — and.
O Sūta Gosvāmī, we are eager to learn about the Personality of Godhead and His incarnations. Please explain to us those teachings imparted by previous masters [ācāryas], for one is uplifted both by speaking them and by hearing them.
āpannaḥ saṁsṛtiṁ ghorāṁ
yan-nāma vivaśo gṛṇan
tataḥ sadyo vimucyeta
yad bibheti svayaṁ bhayam
āpannaḥ — being entangled; saṁsṛtim — in the hurdle of birth and death; ghorām — too complicated; yat — what; nāma — the absolute name; vivaśaḥ — unconsciously; gṛṇan — chanting; tataḥ — from that; sadyaḥ — at once; vimucyeta — gets freedom; yat — that which; bibheti — fears; svayam — personally; bhayam — fear itself.
Living beings who are entangled in the complicated meshes of birth and death can be freed immediately by even unconsciously chanting the holy name of Kṛṣṇa, which is feared by fear personified.
sadyaḥ punanty upaspṛṣṭāḥ
yat — whose; pāda — lotus feet; saṁśrayāḥ — those who have taken shelter of; sūta — O Sūta Gosvāmī; munayaḥ — great sages; praśamāyanāḥ — absorbed in devotion to the Supreme; sadyaḥ — at once; punanti — sanctify; upaspṛṣṭāḥ — simply by association; svardhunī — of the sacred Ganges; āpaḥ — water; anusevayā — bringing into use.
O Sūta, those great sages who have completely taken shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord can at once sanctify those who come in touch with them, whereas the waters of the Ganges can sanctify only after prolonged use.
ko vā bhagavatas tasya
śuddhi-kāmo na śṛṇuyād
kaḥ — who; vā — rather; bhagavataḥ — of the Lord; tasya — His; puṇya — virtuous; śloka-īḍya — worshipable by prayers; karmaṇaḥ — deeds; śuddhi-kāmaḥ — desiring deliverance from all sins; na — not; śṛṇuyāt — does hear; yaśaḥ — glories; kali — of the age of quarrel; mala-apaham — the agent for sanctification.
Who is there, desiring deliverance from the vices of the age of quarrel, who is not willing to hear the virtuous glories of the Lord?
tasya karmāṇy udārāṇi
brūhi naḥ śraddadhānānāṁ
līlayā dadhataḥ kalāḥ
tasya — His; karmāṇi — transcendental acts; udārāṇi — magnanimous; parigītāni — broadcast; sūribhiḥ — by the great souls; brūhi — please speak; naḥ — unto us; śraddadhānānām — ready to receive with respect; līlayā — pastimes; dadhataḥ — advented; kalāḥ — incarnations.
His transcendental acts are magnificent and gracious, and great learned sages like Nārada sing of them. Please, therefore, speak to us, who are eager to hear, about the adventures He performs in His various incarnations.
athākhyāhi harer dhīmann
līlā vidadhataḥ svairam
atha — therefore; ākhyāhi — describe; hareḥ — of the Lord; dhīman — O sagacious one; avatāra — incarnations; kathāḥ — narratives; śubhāḥ — auspicious; līlā — adventures; vidadhataḥ — performed; svairam — pastimes; īśvarasya — of the supreme controller; ātma — personal; māyayā — energies.
O wise Sūta, please narrate to us the transcendental pastimes of the Supreme Godhead’s multi-incarnations. Such auspicious adventures and pastimes of the Lord, the supreme controller, are performed by His internal powers.
vayaṁ tu na vitṛpyāma
svādu svādu pade pade
vayam — we; tu — but; na — not; vitṛpyāmaḥ — shall be at rest; uttama-śloka — the Personality of Godhead, who is glorified by transcendental prayers; vikrame — adventures; yat — which; śṛṇvatām — by continuous hearing; rasa — humor; jñānām — those who are conversant with; svādu — relishing; svādu — palatable; pade pade — at every step.
We never tire of hearing the transcendental pastimes of the Personality of Godhead, who is glorified by hymns and prayers. Those who have developed a taste for transcendental relationships with Him relish hearing of His pastimes at every moment.
kṛtavān kila karmāṇi
saha rāmeṇa keśavaḥ
kṛtavān — done by; kila — what; karmāṇi — acts; saha — along with; rāmeṇa — Balarāma; keśavaḥ — Śrī Kṛṣṇa; atimartyāni — superhuman; bhagavān — the Personality of Godhead; gūḍhaḥ — masked as; kapaṭa — apparently; mānuṣaḥ — human being.
Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Personality of Godhead, along with Balarāma, played like a human being, and so masked He performed many superhuman acts.
kalim āgatam ājñāya
kṣetre ’smin vaiṣṇave vayam
kathāyāṁ sakṣaṇā hareḥ
kalim — the Age of Kali (iron age of quarrel); āgatam — having arrived; ājñāya — knowing this; kṣetre — in this tract of land; asmin — in this; vaiṣṇave — specially meant for the devotee of the Lord; vayam — we; āsīnāḥ — seated; dīrgha — prolonged; satreṇa — for performance of sacrifices; kathāyām — in the words of; sa-kṣaṇāḥ — with time at our disposal; hareḥ — of the Personality of Godhead.
Knowing well that the Age of Kali has already begun, we are assembled here in this holy place to hear at great length the transcendental message of Godhead and in this way perform sacrifice.
tvaṁ naḥ sandarśito dhātrā
kaliṁ sattva-haraṁ puṁsāṁ
tvam — Your Goodness; naḥ — unto us; sandarśitaḥ — meeting; dhātrā — by providence; dustaram — insurmountable; nistitīrṣatām — for those desiring to cross over; kalim — the Age of Kali; sattva-haram — that which deteriorates the good qualities; puṁsām — of a man; karṇa-dhāraḥ — captain; iva — as; arṇavam — the ocean.
We think that we have met Your Goodness by the will of providence, just so that we may accept you as captain of the ship for those who desire to cross the difficult ocean of Kali, which deteriorates all the good qualities of a human being.
brūhi yogeśvare kṛṣṇe
svāṁ kāṣṭhām adhunopete
dharmaḥ kaṁ śaraṇaṁ gataḥ
brūhi — please tell; yoga-īśvare — the Lord of all mystic powers; kṛṣṇe — Lord Kṛṣṇa; brahmaṇye — the Absolute Truth; dharma — religion; varmaṇi — protector; svām — own; kāṣṭhām — abode; adhunā — nowadays; upete — having gone away; dharmaḥ — religion; kam — unto whom; śaraṇam — shelter; gataḥ — gone.
Since Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Absolute Truth, the master of all mystic powers, has departed for His own abode, please tell us to whom the religious principles have now gone for shelter.