Śrīmad Bhāgavatam | Canto 1 Chapter 4
The Appearance of Śrī Nārada
iti bruvāṇaṁ saṁstūya
vṛddhaḥ kula-patiḥ sūtaṁ
bahvṛcaḥ śaunako ’bravīt
vyāsaḥ — Vyāsadeva; uvāca — said; iti — thus; bruvāṇam — speaking; saṁstūya — congratulating; munīnām — of the great sages; dīrgha — prolonged; satriṇām — of those engaged in the performance of sacrifice; vṛddhaḥ — elderly; kula-patiḥ — head of the assembly; sūtam — unto Sūta Gosvāmī; bahu-ṛcaḥ — learned; śaunakaḥ — of the name Śaunaka; abravīt — addressed.
Vyāsadeva said: On hearing Sūta Gosvāmī speak thus, Śaunaka Muni, who was the elderly, learned leader of all the ṛṣis engaged in that prolonged sacrificial ceremony, congratulated Sūta Gosvāmī by addressing him as follows.
sūta sūta mahā-bhāga
vada no vadatāṁ vara
kathāṁ bhāgavatīṁ puṇyāṁ
yad āha bhagavāñ chukaḥ
śaunakaḥ — Śaunaka; uvāca — said; sūta sūta — O Sūta Gosvāmī; mahā-bhāga — the most fortunate; vada — please speak; naḥ — unto us; vadatām — of those who can speak; vara — respected; kathām — message; bhāgavatīm — of the Bhāgavatam; puṇyām — pious; yat — which; āha — said; bhagavān — greatly powerful; śukaḥ — Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī.
Śaunaka said: O Sūta Gosvāmī, you are the most fortunate and respected of all those who can speak and recite. Please relate the pious message of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, which was spoken by the great and powerful sage Śukadeva Gosvāmī.
kasmin yuge pravṛtteyaṁ
sthāne vā kena hetunā
kutaḥ sañcoditaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ
kṛtavān saṁhitāṁ muniḥ
kasmin — in which; yuge — period; pravṛttā — was begun; iyam — this; sthāne — in the place; vā — or; kena — on what; hetunā — ground; kutaḥ — wherefrom; sañcoditaḥ — inspired by; kṛṣṇaḥ — Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana Vyāsa; kṛtavān — compiled; saṁhitām — Vedic literature; muniḥ — the learned.
In what period and at what place was this first begun, and why was this taken up? From where did Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana Vyāsa, the great sage, get the inspiration to compile this literature?
tasya putro mahā-yogī
gūḍho mūḍha iveyate
tasya — his; putraḥ — son; mahā-yogī — a great devotee; sama-dṛk — equibalanced; nirvikalpakaḥ — absolute monist; ekānta-matiḥ — fixed in monism or oneness of mind; unnidraḥ — surpassed nescience; gūḍhaḥ — not exposed; mūḍhaḥ — stunted; iva — like; īyate — appears like.
His [Vyāsadeva’s] son was a great devotee, an equibalanced monist, whose mind was always concentrated in monism. He was transcendental to mundane activities, but being unexposed, he appeared like an ignorant person.
dṛṣṭvānuyāntam ṛṣim ātmajam apy anagnaṁ
devyo hriyā paridadhur na sutasya citram
tad vīkṣya pṛcchati munau jagadus tavāsti
strī-pum-bhidā na tu sutasya vivikta-dṛṣṭeḥ
dṛṣṭvā — by seeing; anuyāntam — following; ṛṣim — the sage; ātmajam — his son; api — in spite of; anagnam — not naked; devyaḥ — beautiful damsels; hriyā — out of shyness; paridadhuḥ — covered the body; na — not; sutasya — of the son; citram — astonishing; tat vīkṣya — by seeing that; pṛcchati — asking; munau — unto the muni (Vyāsa); jagaduḥ — replied; tava — your; asti — there are; strī-pum — male and female; bhidā — differences; na — not; tu — but; sutasya — of the son; vivikta — purified; dṛṣṭeḥ — of one who looks.
While Śrī Vyāsadeva was following his son, beautiful young damsels who were bathing naked covered their bodies with cloth, although Śrī Vyāsadeva himself was not naked. But they had not done so when his son had passed. The sage inquired about this, and the young ladies replied that his son was purified and when looking at them made no distinction between male and female. But the sage made such distinctions.
katham ālakṣitaḥ pauraiḥ
katham — how; ālakṣitaḥ — recognized; pauraiḥ — by the citizens; samprāptaḥ — reaching; kuru-jāṅgalān — the Kuru-jāṅgala provinces; unmatta — mad; mūka — dumb; jaḍavat — stunted; vicaran — wandering; gaja-sāhvaye — Hastināpura.
How was he [Śrīla Śukadeva, the son of Vyāsa] recognized by the citizens when he entered the city of Hastināpura [now Delhi], after wandering in the provinces of Kuru and Jāṅgala, appearing like a madman, dumb and retarded?
kathaṁ vā pāṇḍaveyasya
rājarṣer muninā saha
saṁvādaḥ samabhūt tāta
yatraiṣā sātvatī śrutiḥ
katham — how is it; vā — also; pāṇḍaveyasya — of the descendant of Pāṇḍu (Parīkṣit); rājarṣeḥ — of the king who was a sage; muninā — with the muni; saha — with; saṁvādaḥ — discussion; samabhūt — took place; tāta — O darling; yatra — whereupon; eṣā — like this; sātvatī — transcendental; śrutiḥ — essence of the Vedas.
How did it so happen that King Parīkṣit met this great sage, making it possible for this great transcendental essence of the Vedas [Bhāgavatam] to be sung to him?
sa go-dohana-mātraṁ hi
tīrthī-kurvaṁs tad āśramam
saḥ — he (Śukadeva Gosvāmī); go-dohana-mātram — only for the time of milking the cow; hi — certainly; gṛheṣu — in the house; gṛha-medhinām — of the householders; avekṣate — waits; mahā-bhāgaḥ — the most fortunate; tīrthī — pilgrimage; kurvan — transforming; tat āśramam — the residence.
He [Śukadeva Gosvāmī] was accustomed to stay at the door of a householder only long enough for a cow to be milked. And he did this just to sanctify the residence.
tasya janma mahāścaryaṁ
karmāṇi ca gṛṇīhi naḥ
abhimanyu-sutam — the son of Abhimanyu; sūta — O Sūta; prāhuḥ — is said to be; bhāgavata-uttamam — the first-class devotee of the Lord; tasya — his; janma — birth; mahā-āścaryam — very wonderful; karmāṇi — activities; ca — and; gṛṇīhi — please speak to; naḥ — us.
It is said that Mahārāja Parīkṣit is a great first-class devotee of the Lord and that his birth and activities are all wonderful. Please tell us about him.
sa samrāṭ kasya vā hetoḥ
saḥ — he; samrāṭ — the Emperor; kasya — for what; vā — or; hetoḥ — reason; pāṇḍūnām — of the sons of Pāṇḍu; māna-vardhanaḥ — one who enriches the family; prāya-upaviṣṭaḥ — sitting and fasting; gaṅgāyām — on the bank of the Ganges; anādṛtya — neglecting; adhirāṭ — acquired kingdom; śriyam — opulences.
He was a great emperor and possessed all the opulences of his acquired kingdom. He was so exalted that he was increasing the prestige of the Pāṇḍu dynasty. Why did he give up everything to sit down on the bank of the Ganges and fast until death?
namanti yat-pāda-niketam ātmanaḥ
śivāya hānīya dhanāni śatravaḥ
kathaṁ sa vīraḥ śriyam aṅga dustyajāṁ
yuvaiṣatotsraṣṭum aho sahāsubhiḥ
namanti — bow down; yat-pāda — whose feet; niketam — under; ātmanaḥ — own; śivāya — welfare; hānīya — used to bring about; dhanāni — wealth; śatravaḥ — enemies; katham — for what reason; saḥ — he; vīraḥ — the chivalrous; śriyam — opulences; aṅga — O Sūta Gosvāmī; dustyajām — insuperable; yuvā — in full youth; aiṣata — desired; utsraṣṭum — to give up; aho — exclamation; saha — with; asubhiḥ — life.
He was such a great emperor that all his enemies would come and bow down at his feet and surrender all their wealth for their own benefit. He was full of youth and strength, and he possessed kingly opulences that were difficult to give up. Why did he want to give up everything, including his life?
śivāya lokasya bhavāya bhūtaye
ya uttama-śloka-parāyaṇā janāḥ
jīvanti nātmārtham asau parāśrayaṁ
mumoca nirvidya kutaḥ kalevaram
śivāya — welfare; lokasya — of all living beings; bhavāya — for flourishing; bhūtaye — for economic development; ye — one who is; uttama-śloka-parāyaṇāḥ — devoted to the cause of the Personality of Godhead; janāḥ — men; jīvanti — do live; na — but not; ātma-artham — selfish interest; asau — that; para-āśrayam — shelter for others; mumoca — gave up; nirvidya — being freed from all attachment; kutaḥ — for what reason; kalevaram — mortal body.
Those who are devoted to the cause of the Personality of Godhead live only for the welfare, development and happiness of others. They do not live for any selfish interest. So even though the Emperor [Parīkṣit] was free from all attachment to worldly possessions, how could he give up his mortal body, which was the shelter for others?
tat sarvaṁ naḥ samācakṣva
pṛṣṭo yad iha kiñcana
manye tvāṁ viṣaye vācāṁ
snātam anyatra chāndasāt
tat — that; sarvam — all; naḥ — unto us; samācakṣva — clearly explain; pṛṣṭaḥ — questioned; yat iha — herein; kiñcana — all that; manye — we think; tvām — you; viṣaye — in all subjects; vācām — meanings of words; snātam — fully acquainted; anyatra — except; chāndasāt — portion of the Vedas.
We know that you are expert in the meaning of all subjects, except some portions of the Vedas, and thus you can clearly explain the answers to all the questions we have just put to you.
jātaḥ parāśarād yogī
vāsavyāṁ kalayā hareḥ
sūtaḥ — Sūta Gosvāmī; uvāca — said; dvāpare — in the second millennium; samanuprāpte — on the advent of; tṛtīye — third; yuga — millennium; paryaye — in the place of; jātaḥ — was begotten; parāśarāt — by Parāśara; yogī — the great sage; vāsavyām — in the womb of the daughter of Vasu; kalayā — in the plenary portion; hareḥ — of the Personality of Godhead.
Sūta Gosvāmī said: When the second millennium overlapped the third, the great sage [Vyāsadeva] was born to Parāśara in the womb of Satyavatī, the daughter of Vasu.
sa kadācit sarasvatyā
upaspṛśya jalaṁ śuciḥ
vivikta eka āsīna
saḥ — he; kadācit — once; sarasvatyāḥ — on the bank of the Sarasvatī; upaspṛśya — after finishing morning ablutions; jalam — water; śuciḥ — being purified; vivikte — concentration; ekaḥ — alone; āsīnaḥ — being thus seated; udite — on the rise; ravi-maṇḍale — of the sun disc.
Once upon a time he [Vyāsadeva], as the sun rose, took his morning ablution in the waters of the Sarasvatī and sat alone to concentrate.
parāvara-jñaḥ sa ṛṣiḥ
prāptaṁ bhuvi yuge yuge
para-avara — past and future; jñaḥ — one who knows; saḥ — he; ṛṣiḥ — Vyāsadeva; kālena — by time; avyakta — unmanifested; raṁhasā — by great force; yuga-dharma — acts in terms of the millennium; vyatikaram — anomalies; prāptam — having accrued; bhuvi — on the earth; yuge yuge — different ages.
The great sage Vyāsadeva saw anomalies in the duties of the millennium. This happens on the earth in different ages, due to the unseen force of time.
bhautikānāṁ ca bhāvānāṁ
śakti-hrāsaṁ ca tat-kṛtam
durbhagāṁś ca janān vīkṣya
munir divyena cakṣuṣā
dadhyau hitam amogha-dṛk
bhautikānām ca — also of everything that is made of matter; bhāvānām — actions; śakti-hrāsam ca — and deterioration of natural power; tat-kṛtam — rendered by that; aśraddadhānān — of the faithless; niḥsattvān — impatient due to want of the mode of goodness; durmedhān — dull-witted; hrasita — reduced; āyuṣaḥ — of duration of life; durbhagān ca — also the unlucky; janān — people in general; vīkṣya — by seeing; muniḥ — the muni; divyena — by transcendental; cakṣuṣā — vision; sarva — all; varṇa-āśramāṇām — of all the statuses and orders of life; yat — what; dadhyau — contemplated; hitam — welfare; amogha-dṛk — one who is fully equipped in knowledge.
The great sage, who was fully equipped in knowledge, could see through his transcendental vision the deterioration of everything material due to the influence of the age. He could also see that the faithless people in general would be reduced in duration of life and would be impatient due to lack of goodness. Thus he contemplated for the welfare of men in all statuses and orders of life.
cātur-hotraṁ karma śuddhaṁ
prajānāṁ vīkṣya vaidikam
vedam ekaṁ catur-vidham
cātuḥ — four; hotram — sacrificial fires; karma śuddham — purification of work; prajānām — of the people in general; vīkṣya — after seeing; vaidikam — according to Vedic rites; vyadadhāt — made into; yajña — sacrifice; santatyai — to expand; vedam ekam — only one Veda; catuḥ-vidham — in four divisions.
He saw that the sacrifices mentioned in the Vedas were means by which the people’s occupations could be purified. And to simplify the process he divided the one Veda into four, in order to expand them among men.
vedāś catvāra uddhṛtāḥ
pañcamo veda ucyate
ṛg-yajuḥ-sāma-atharva-ākhyāḥ — the names of the four Vedas; vedāḥ — the Vedas; catvāraḥ — four; uddhṛtāḥ — made into separate parts; itihāsa — historical records (Mahābhārata); purāṇam ca — and the Purāṇas; pañcamaḥ — the fifth; vedaḥ — the original source of knowledge; ucyate — is said to be.
The four divisions of the original sources of knowledge [the Vedas] were made separately. But the historical facts and authentic stories mentioned in the Purāṇas are called the fifth Veda.
sāmago jaiminiḥ kaviḥ
niṣṇāto yajuṣām uta
tatra — thereupon; ṛg-veda-dharaḥ — the professor of the Ṛg Veda; pailaḥ — the ṛṣi named Paila; sāma-gaḥ — that of the Sāma Veda; jaiminiḥ — the ṛṣi named Jaimini; kaviḥ — highly qualified; vaiśampāyanaḥ — the ṛṣi named Vaiśampāyana; eva — only; ekaḥ — alone; niṣṇātaḥ — well versed; yajuṣām — of the Yajur Veda; uta — glorified.
After the Vedas were divided into four divisions, Paila Ṛṣi became the professor of the Ṛg Veda, Jaimini the professor of the Sāma Veda, and Vaiśampāyana alone became glorified by the Yajur Veda.
sumantur dāruṇo muniḥ
pitā me romaharṣaṇaḥ
atharva — the Atharva Veda; aṅgirasām — unto the ṛṣi Aṅgirā; āsīt — was entrusted; sumantuḥ — also known as Sumantu Muni; dāruṇaḥ — seriously devoted to the Atharva Veda; muniḥ — the sage; itihāsa-purāṇānām — of the historical records and the Purāṇas; pitā — father; me — mine; romaharṣaṇaḥ — the ṛṣi Romaharṣaṇa.
The Sumantu Muni Aṅgirā, who was very devotedly engaged, was entrusted with the Atharva Veda. And my father, Romaharṣaṇa, was entrusted with the Purāṇas and historical records.
ta eta ṛṣayo vedaṁ
svaṁ svaṁ vyasyann anekadhā
śiṣyaiḥ praśiṣyais tac-chiṣyair
vedās te śākhino ’bhavan
te — they; ete — all these; ṛṣayaḥ — learned scholars; vedam — the respective Vedas; svam svam — in their own entrusted matters; vyasyan — rendered; anekadhā — many; śiṣyaiḥ — disciples; praśiṣyaiḥ — granddisciples; tat-śiṣyaiḥ — great-granddisciples; vedāḥ te — followers of the respective Vedas; śākhinaḥ — different branches; abhavan — thus became.
All these learned scholars, in their turn, rendered their entrusted Vedas unto their many disciples, granddisciples and great-granddisciples, and thus the respective branches of the followers of the Vedas came into being.
ta eva vedā durmedhair
dhāryante puruṣair yathā
evaṁ cakāra bhagavān
te — that; eva — certainly; vedāḥ — the book of knowledge; durmedhaiḥ — by the less intellectual; dhāryante — can assimilate; puruṣaiḥ — by the man; yathā — as much as; evam — thus; cakāra — edited; bhagavān — the powerful; vyāsaḥ — the great sage Vyāsa; kṛpaṇa-vatsalaḥ — very kind to the ignorant mass.
Thus the great sage Vyāsadeva, who is very kind to the ignorant masses, edited the Vedas so they might be assimilated by less intellectual men.
trayī na śruti-gocarā
śreya evaṁ bhaved iha
iti bhāratam ākhyānaṁ
kṛpayā muninā kṛtam
strī — the woman class; śūdra — the laboring class; dvija-bandhūnām — of the friends of the twice-born; trayī — the three sacrificial Vedas; na śruti-gocarā — not allowed to be heard; karma-śreyasi — in the successful execution of ritual duties; mūḍhānām — of the less intelligent; śreyaḥ — supreme benefit; evam — thus; bhavet — achieved; iha — by this; iti — thus thinking; bhāratam — the great Mahābhārata; ākhyānam — historical facts; kṛpayā — out of great mercy; muninā — by the muni; kṛtam — is completed.
Out of compassion, the great sage thought it wise that this would enable men to achieve the ultimate goal of life. Thus he compiled the great historical narration called the Mahābhārata for women, laborers and friends of the twice-born.
evaṁ pravṛttasya sadā
bhūtānāṁ śreyasi dvijāḥ
nātuṣyad dhṛdayaṁ tataḥ
evam — thus; pravṛttasya — one who is engaged in; sadā — always; bhūtānām — of the living beings; śreyasi — in the ultimate good; dvijāḥ — O twice-born; sarvātmakena api — by all means; yadā — when; na — not; atuṣyat — become satisfied; hṛdayam — mind; tataḥ — at that time.
O twice-born brāhmaṇas, still his mind was not satisfied, although he engaged himself in working for the total welfare of all people.
sarasvatyās taṭe śucau
idaṁ covāca dharma-vit
na — not; atiprasīdat — very much satisfied; hṛdayaḥ — at heart; sarasvatyāḥ — of the river Sarasvatī; taṭe — on the bank of; śucau — being purified; vitarkayan — having considered; vivikta-sthaḥ — situated in a lonely place; idam ca — also this; uvāca — said; dharma-vit — one who knows what religion is.
Thus the sage, being dissatisfied at heart, at once began to reflect, because he knew the essence of religion, and he said within himself:
dhṛta-vratena hi mayā
chandāṁsi guravo ’gnayaḥ
hy āmnāyārthaś ca pradarśitaḥ
dṛśyate yatra dharmādi
strī-śūdrādibhir apy uta
dhṛta-vratena — under a strict disciplinary vow; hi — certainly; mayā — by me; chandāṁsi — the Vedic hymns; guravaḥ — the spiritual masters; agnayaḥ — the sacrificial fire; mānitāḥ — properly worshiped; nirvyalīkena — without pretense; gṛhītam ca — also accepted; anuśāsanam — traditional discipline; bhārata — the Mahābhārata; vyapadeśena — by compilation of; hi — certainly; āmnāya-arthaḥ — import of disciplic succession; ca — and; pradarśitaḥ — properly explained; dṛśyate — by what is necessary; yatra — where; dharma-ādiḥ — the path of religion; strī-śūdra-ādibhiḥ api — even by women, śūdras, etc; uta — spoken.
I have, under strict disciplinary vows, unpretentiously worshiped the Vedas, the spiritual masters and the altar of sacrifice. I have also abided by the rulings and have shown the import of disciplic succession through the explanation of the Mahābhārata, by which even women, śūdras and others [friends of the twice-born] can see the path of religion.
tathāpi bata me daihyo
hy ātmā caivātmanā vibhuḥ
tathāpi — although; bata — defect; me — mine; daihyaḥ — situated in the body; hi — certainly; ātmā — living being; ca — and; eva — even; ātmanā — myself; vibhuḥ — sufficient; asampannaḥ — wanting in; iva ābhāti — it appears to be; brahma-varcasya — of the Vedāntists; sattamaḥ — the supreme.
I am feeling incomplete, though I myself am fully equipped with everything required by the Vedas.
kiṁ vā bhāgavatā dharmā
na prāyeṇa nirūpitāḥ
ta eva hy acyuta-priyāḥ
kim vā — or; bhāgavatāḥ dharmāḥ — devotional activities of the living beings; na — not; prāyeṇa — almost; nirūpitāḥ — directed; priyāḥ — dear; paramahaṁsānām — of the perfect beings; te eva — that also; hi — certainly; acyuta — the infallible; priyāḥ — attractive.
This may be because I did not specifically point out the devotional service of the Lord, which is dear both to perfect beings and to the infallible Lord.
tasyaivaṁ khilam ātmānaṁ
kṛṣṇasya nārado ’bhyāgād
āśramaṁ prāg udāhṛtam
tasya — his; evam — thus; khilam — inferior; ātmānam — soul; manyamānasya — thinking within the mind; khidyataḥ — regretting; kṛṣṇasya — of Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana Vyāsa; nāradaḥ abhyāgāt — Nārada came there; āśramam — the cottage; prāk — before; udāhṛtam — said.
As mentioned before, Nārada reached the cottage of Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana Vyāsa on the banks of the Sarasvatī just as Vyāsadeva was regretting his defects.
tam abhijñāya sahasā
pūjayām āsa vidhivan
tam abhijñāya — seeing the good fortune of his (Nārada’s) arrival; sahasā — all of a sudden; pratyutthāya — getting up; āgatam — arrived at; muniḥ — Vyāsadeva; pūjayām āsa — worship; vidhi-vat — with the same respect as offered to Vidhi (Brahmā); nāradam — to Nārada; sura-pūjitam — worshiped by the demigods.
At the auspicious arrival of Śrī Nārada, Śrī Vyāsadeva got up respectfully and worshiped him, giving him veneration equal to that given to Brahmājī, the creator.