Śrīmad Bhāgavatam|Canto 12 Chapter 8
Mārkaṇḍeya’s Prayers to Nara-Nārāyaṇa Ṛṣi
sūta jīva ciraṁ sādho
vada no vadatāṁ vara
tamasy apāre bhramatāṁ
nṝṇāṁ tvaṁ pāra-darśanaḥ
śrī-śaunakaḥ uvāca — Śrī Śaunaka said; sūta — O Sūta Gosvāmī; jīva — may you live; ciram — for a long time; sādho — O saint; vada — please speak; naḥ — to us; vadatām — of speakers; vara — O you who are the best; tamasi — in darkness; apāre — unbounded; bhramatām — who are wandering; nṝṇām — for men; tvam — you; pāra-darśanaḥ — the seer of the opposite shore.
Śrī Śaunaka said: O Sūta, may you live a long life! O saintly one, best of speakers, please continue speaking to us. Indeed, only you can show men the path out of the ignorance in which they are wandering.
āhuś cirāyuṣam ṛṣiṁ
yaḥ kalpānte hy urvarito
yena grastam idaṁ jagat
sa vā asmat-kulotpannaḥ
kalpe ’smin bhārgavarṣabhaḥ
samplavaḥ ko ’pi jāyate
eka evārṇave bhrāmyan
dadarśa puruṣaṁ kila
śayānaṁ tv ekam adbhutam
eṣa naḥ saṁśayo bhūyān
sūta kautūhalaṁ yataḥ
taṁ naś chindhi mahā-yogin
purāṇeṣv api sammataḥ
āhuḥ — they say; cira-āyuṣam — having an extraordinarily long life span; ṛṣim — the sage; mṛkaṇḍu-tanayam — the son of Mṛkaṇḍu; janāḥ — people; yaḥ — who; kalpa-ante — at the end of the day of Lord Brahmā; hi — indeed; urvaritaḥ — remaining alone; yena — by which (annihilation); grastam — seized; idam — this; jagat — entire universe; saḥ — he, Mārkaṇḍeya; vai — indeed; asmat-kula — in my own family; utpannaḥ — born; kalpe — in the day of Brahmā; asmin — this; bhārgava-ṛṣabhaḥ — the most eminent descendant of Bhṛgu Muni; na — not; eva — certainly; adhunā — in our age; api — even; bhūtānām — of all creation; samplavaḥ — annihilation by flood; kaḥ — any; api — at all; jāyate — has arisen; ekaḥ — alone; eta — indeed; arṇave — in the great ocean; bhrāmyan — wandering; dadarśa — he saw; puruṣam — a personality; kila — it is said; vaṭa-patra — of a banyan leaf; puṭe — within the fold; tokam — an infant boy; śayānam — lying; tu — but; ekam — one; adbhutam — wonderful; eṣaḥ — this; naḥ — our; saṁśayaḥ — doubt; bhūyān — great; sūta — O Sūta Gosvāmī; kautūhalam — curiosity; yataḥ — due to which; tam — that; naḥ — for us; chindhi — please cut; mahā-yogin — O great yogī; purāneṣu — of the Purāṇas; api — indeed; sammataḥ — universally accepted (as the expert knower).
Authorities say that Mārkaṇḍeya Ṛṣi, the son of Mṛkaṇḍu, was an exceptionally long-lived sage who was the only survivor at the end of Brahmā’s day, when the entire universe was merged in the flood of annihilation. But this same Mārkaṇḍeya Ṛṣi, the foremost descendant of Bhṛgu, took birth in my own family during the current day of Brahmā, and we have not yet seen any total annihilation in this day of Brahmā. Also, it is well known that Mārkaṇḍeya, while wandering helplessly in the great ocean of annihilation, saw in those fearful waters a wonderful personality — an infant boy lying alone within the fold of a banyan leaf. O Sūta, I am most bewildered and curious about this great sage, Mārkaṇḍeya Ṛṣi. O great yogī, you are universally accepted as the authority on all the Purāṇas. Therefore kindly dispel my confusion.
praśnas tvayā maharṣe ’yaṁ
sūtaḥ uvāca — Sūta Gosvāmī said; praśnaḥ — question; tvayā — by you; mahā-ṛṣe — O great sage, Śaunaka; ayam — this; kṛtaḥ — made; loka — of the entire world; bhrama — the delusion; apahaḥ — which takes away; nārāyaṇa-kathā — discussion of the Supreme Lord, Nārāyaṇa; yatra — in which; gītā — is sung; kali-mala — the contamination of the present Age of Kali; apahā — removing.
Sūta Gosvāmī said: O great sage Śaunaka, your very question will help remove everyone’s illusion, for it leads to the topics of Lord Nārāyaṇa, which cleanse away the contamination of this Kali age.
mārkaṇḍeyaḥ pituḥ kramāt
chandāṁsy adhītya dharmeṇa
bibhrat kamaṇḍaluṁ daṇḍam
kuśāṁś ca niyamarddhaye
arcayan sandhyayor harim
sāyaṁ prātaḥ sa gurave
bhaikṣyam āhṛtya vāg-yataḥ
sakṛn no ced upoṣitaḥ
jigye mṛtyuṁ su-durjayam
prāpta — having received; dvi-jāti — of second birth; saṁskāraḥ — the purificatory rituals; mārkaṇḍeyaḥ — Mārkaṇḍeya; pituḥ — from his father; kramāt — by proper sequence; chandāṁsi — the Vedic hymns; adhītya — studying; dharmeṇa — along with regulative principles; tapaḥ — in austerities; svādhyāya — and study; saṁyutaḥ — full; bṛhat-vrata — the great vow of lifelong celibacy; dharaḥ — maintaining; śāntaḥ — peaceful; jaṭilaḥ — with matted hair; valkala-ambaraḥ — wearing bark as his clothing; bibhrat — carrying; kamaṇḍalum — a waterpot; daṇḍam — a mendicant’s staff; upavītam — the sacred thread; sa-mekhalam — along with the ritual belt of a brahmacārī; kṛṣṇa-ajinam — the skin of a black deer; sa-akṣa-sūtram — and prayer beads made of lotus seeds; kuśān — kuśa grass; ca — also; niyama-ṛddhaye — to facilitate his spiritual progress; agni — in the form of fire; arka — the sun; guru — the spiritual master; vipra — the brāhmaṇas; ātmasu — and the Supersoul; arcayan — worshiping; sandhyayoḥ — at the beginning and the end of the day; harim — the Supreme Personality of Godhead; sāyam — in the evening; prātaḥ — in the early morning; saḥ — he; gurave — unto his spiritual master; bhaikṣyam — alms obtained by begging; āhṛtya — bringing; vāk-yataḥ — with controlled speech; bubhuje — he partook; guru-anujñātaḥ — invited by his spiritual master; sakṛt — once; na — not (invited); u — indeed; cet — if; upoṣitaḥ — fasting; evam — in this way; tapaḥ-svādhyāya-paraḥ — dedicated to austerities and studies of the Vedic literature; varṣāṇām — years; ayuta-ayutam — ten thousand times ten thousand; ārādhayan — worshiping; hṛṣīka-īśam — the supreme master of the senses, Lord Viṣṇu; jigye — he conquered; mṛtyum — death; su-durjayam — impossible to conquer.
After being purified by his father’s performance of the prescribed rituals leading to Mārkaṇḍeya’s brahminical initiation, Mārkaṇḍeya studied the Vedic hymns and strictly observed the regulative principles. He became advanced in austerity and Vedic knowledge and remained a lifelong celibate. Appearing most peaceful with his matted hair and his clothing made of bark, he furthered his spiritual progress by carrying the mendicant’s waterpot, staff, sacred thread, brahmacārī belt, black deerskin, lotus-seed prayer beads and bundles of kuśa grass. At the sacred junctures of the day he regularly worshiped the Supreme Personality of Godhead in five forms — the sacrificial fire, the sun, his spiritual master, the brāhmaṇas and the Supersoul within his heart. Morning and evening he would go out begging, and upon returning he would present all the food he had collected to his spiritual master. Only when his spiritual master invited him would he silently take his one meal of the day; otherwise he would fast. Thus devoted to austerity and Vedic study, Mārkaṇḍeya Ṛṣi worshiped the supreme master of the senses, the Personality of Godhead, for countless millions of years, and in this way he conquered unconquerable death.
brahmā bhṛgur bhavo dakṣo
brahma-putrāś ca ye ’pare
brahmā — Lord Brahmā; bhṛguḥ — Bhṛgu Muni; bhavaḥ — Lord Śiva; dakṣaḥ — Prajāpati Dakṣa; brahma-putrāḥ — the great sons of Brahmā; ca — and; ye — who; apare — others; nṛ — human beings; deva — demigods; pitṛ — forefathers; bhūtāni — and ghostly spirits; tena — with that (conquest of death); āsan — they all became; ati-vismitāḥ — extremely amazed.
Lord Brahmā, Bhṛgu Muni, Lord Śiva, Prajāpati Dakṣa, the great sons of Brahmā, and many others among the human beings, demigods, forefathers and ghostly spirits — all were astonished by the achievement of Mārkaṇḍeya Ṛṣi.
dadhyāv adhokṣajaṁ yogī
ittham — in this manner; bṛhat-vrata-dharaḥ — maintaining the vow of celibacy, brahmacarya; tapaḥ-svādhyāya-saṁyamaiḥ — by his austerities, study of the Vedas and regulative principles; dadhyau — he meditated; adhokṣajam — upon the transcendental Lord; yogī — the yogī; dhvasta — destroyed; kleśa — all troubles; antaḥ-ātmanā — with his introspective mind.
In this way the devotional mystic Mārkaṇḍeya maintained rigid celibacy through penance, study of the Vedas and self-discipline. With his mind thus free of all disturbances, he turned it inward and meditated on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who lies beyond the material senses.
tasyaivaṁ yuñjataś cittaṁ
vyatīyāya mahān kālo
tasya — he; evam — thus; yuñjataḥ — while fixing; cittam — his mind; mahā-yogena — by powerful practice of yoga; yoginaḥ — the mystic sage; vyatīyāya — passed by; mahān — a great; kālaḥ — period of time; manu-antara — lifetimes of Manu; ṣaṭ — six; ātmakaḥ — consisting of.
While the mystic sage thus concentrated his mind by powerful yoga practice, the tremendous period of six lifetimes of Manu passed by.
etat purandaro jñātvā
saptame ’smin kilāntare
etat — this; purandaraḥ — Lord Indra; jñātvā — learning; saptame — in the seventh; asmin — this; kila — indeed; antare — reign of Manu; tapaḥ — of the austerities; viśaṅkitaḥ — becoming fearful; brahman — O brāhmaṇa Śaunaka; ārebhe — he set into motion; tat — of that austerity; vighātanam — obstruction.
O brāhmaṇa, during the seventh reign of Manu, the current age, Lord Indra came to know of Mārkaṇḍeya’s austerities and became fearful of his growing mystic potency. Thus he tried to impede the sage’s penance.
munaye preṣayām āsa
gandharva-apsarasaḥ — the celestial singers and dancing girls; kāmam — Cupid; vasanta — the spring season; malaya-anilau — and the refreshing breeze from the Malaya Hills; munaye — to the sage; preṣayām āsa — he sent; rajaḥ-toka — the child of passion, greed; madau — and intoxication; tathā — also.
To ruin the sage’s spiritual practice, Lord Indra sent Cupid, beautiful celestial singers, dancing girls, the season of spring and the sandalwood-scented breeze from the Malaya Hills, along with greed and intoxication personified.
te vai tad-āśramaṁ jagmur
himādreḥ pārśva uttare
puṣpabhadrā nadī yatra
citrākhyā ca śilā vibho
te — they; vai — indeed; tat — of Mārkaṇḍeya Ṛṣi; āśramam — to the hermitage; jagmuḥ — went; hima-adreḥ — of the Himālaya Mountains; pārśve — to the side; uttare — on the north; puṣpabhadrā nadī — the Puṣpabhadrā River; yatra — where; citrā-ākhyā — named Citrā; ca — and; śilā — the peak; vibho — O powerful Śaunaka.
O most powerful Śaunaka, they went to Mārkaṇḍeya’s hermitage, on the northern side of the Himālaya Mountains where the Puṣpabhadrā River passes by the famous peak Citrā.
vāyuḥ praviṣṭa ādāya
vavāv uttambhayan smaram
tat — his; āśrama-padam — place of hermitage; puṇyam — pious; puṇya — pious; druma — with trees; latā — and creepers; añcitam — specially marked; puṇya — pious; dvija — of brāhmaṇa sages; kula — with the groups; ākīrṇam — brimming; puṇya — pious; amala — spotless; jala-āśayam — having reservoirs of water; matta — maddened; bhramara — of bees; saṅgītam — with singing; matta — maddened; kokila — of cuckoos; kūjitam — with cooing; matta — maddened; barhi — of peacocks; naṭa-āṭopam — with the frenzy of dancing; matta — maddened; dvija — of birds; kula — with the families; ākulam — filled; vāyuḥ — the wind of the Malaya Hills; praviṣṭaḥ — entering; ādāya — taking up; hima — chilling; nirjhara — of the waterfalls; śīkarān — the drops of mist; sumanobhiḥ — by the flowers; pariṣvaktaḥ — being embraced; vavau — blew; uttambhayan — evoking; smaram — Cupid.
Groves of pious trees decorated the holy āśrama of Mārkaṇḍeya Ṛṣi, and many saintly brāhmaṇas lived there, enjoying the abundant pure, sacred ponds. The āśrama resounded with the buzzing of intoxicated bees and the cooing of excited cuckoos, while jubilant peacocks danced about. Indeed, many families of maddened birds crowded that hermitage. The springtime breeze sent by Lord Indra entered there, carrying cooling drops of spray from nearby waterfalls. Fragrant from the embrace of forest flowers, that breeze entered the hermitage and began evoking the lusty spirit of Cupid.
udyat — rising; candra — with the moon; niśā — nighttime; vaktraḥ — whose face; pravāla — of new sprouts; stabaka — and blossoms; ālibhiḥ — with rows; gopa — being hidden; druma — of the trees; latā — and creepers; jālaiḥ — along with the multitude; tatra — there; āsīt — appeared; kusuma-ākaraḥ — the spring season.
Springtime then appeared in Mārkaṇḍeya’s āśrama. Indeed, the evening sky, glowing with the light of the rising moon, became the very face of spring, and sprouts and fresh blossoms virtually covered the multitude of trees and creepers.
anvīyamānaḥ — being followed; gandharvaiḥ — by Gandharvas; gīta — of singers; vāditra — and players of musical instruments; yūthakaiḥ — by companies; adṛśyata — was seen; ātta — holding up; cāpa-iṣuḥ — his bow and arrows; svaḥ-strī-yūtha — of hoardes of heavenly women; patiḥ — the master; smaraḥ — Cupid.
Cupid, the master of many heavenly women, then came there holding his bow and arrows. He was followed by groups of Gandharvas playing musical instruments and singing.
hutvā — having offered oblations; agnim — to the sacrificial fire; samupāsīnam — sitting in yogic meditation; dadṛśuḥ — they saw; śakra — of Indra; kiṅkarāḥ — the servants; mīlita — closed; akṣam — his eyes; durādharṣam — invincible; mūrti-mantam — personified; iva — as if; analam — fire.
These servants of Indra found the sage sitting in meditation, having just offered his prescribed oblations into the sacrificial fire. His eyes closed in trance, he seemed invincible, like fire personified.
nanṛtus tasya purataḥ
striyo ’tho gāyakā jaguḥ
vādyaṁ cakrur mano-ramam
nanṛtuḥ — danced; tasya — of him; purataḥ — in front; striyaḥ — women; atha u — and furthermore; gāyakāḥ — singers; jaguḥ — sang; mṛdaṅga — with drums; vīṇā — stringed instruments; paṇavaiḥ — and cymbals; vādyam — instrumental music; cakruḥ — they made; manaḥ-ramam — charming.
The women danced before the sage, and the celestial singers sang to the charming accompaniment of drums, cymbals and vīṇās.
sandadhe ’straṁ sva-dhanuṣi
kāmaḥ pañca-mukhaṁ tadā
madhur mano rajas-toka
sandadhe — he fixed; astram — the weapon; sva-dhanuṣi — upon his bow; kāmaḥ — Cupid; pañca-mukham — having five heads (sight, sound, smell, touch and taste); tadā — then; madhuḥ — spring; manaḥ — the mind of the sage; rajaḥ-tokaḥ — the child of passion, greed; indra-bhṛtyāḥ — the servants of Indra; vyakampayan — attempted to agitate.
While the son of passion [greed personified], spring and the other servants of Indra all tried to agitate Mārkaṇḍeya’s mind, Cupid drew his five-headed arrow and fixed it upon his bow.
itas tato bhramad-dṛṣṭeś
calantyā anu kandukam
vāyur jahāra tad-vāsaḥ
krīḍantyāḥ — who was playing; puñjikasthalyāḥ — of the Apsarā named Puñjikasthalī; kandukaiḥ — with a number of balls; stana — of her breasts; gauravāt — because of the great weight; bhṛśam — very much; udvigna — overburdened; madhyāyāḥ — whose waist; keśa — from her hair; visraṁsita — falling; srajaḥ — the flower garland; itaḥ tataḥ — here and there; bhramat — wandering; dṛṣṭeḥ — whose eyes; calantyāḥ — who was running about; anu kandukam — after her ball; vāyuḥ — the wind; jahāra — stole away; tat-vāsaḥ — her garment; sūkṣmam — fine; truṭita — loosened; mekhalam — the belt.
The Apsarā Puñjikasthalī made a show of playing with a number of toy balls. Her waist seemed weighed down by her heavy breasts, and the wreath of flowers in her hair became disheveled. As she ran about after the balls, glancing here and there, the belt of her thin garment loosened, and suddenly the wind blew her clothes away.
visasarja tadā bāṇaṁ
matvā taṁ sva-jitaṁ smaraḥ
sarvaṁ tatrābhavan mogham
visasarja — shot; tadā — then; bāṇam — the arrow; matvā — thinking; tam — him; sva — by himself; jitam — conquered; smaraḥ — Cupid; sarvam — all this; tatra — directed at the sage; abhavat — became; mogham — futile; anīśasya — of an atheist disbeliever; yathā — just as; udyamaḥ — the endeavors.
Cupid, thinking he had conquered the sage, then shot his arrow. But all these attempts to seduce Mārkaṇḍeya proved futile, just like the useless endeavors of an atheist.
ta ittham apakurvanto
munes tat-tejasā mune
te — they; ittham — in this way; apakurvantaḥ — trying to do harm; muneḥ — to the sage; tat — his; tejasā — by the potency; mune — O sage (Śaunaka); dahyamānāḥ — feeling burned; nivavṛtuḥ — they desisted; prabodhya — having awakened; ahim — a snake; iva — as if; arbhakāḥ — children.
O learned Śaunaka, while Cupid and his followers tried to harm the sage, they felt themselves being burned alive by his potency. Thus they stopped their mischief, just like children who have aroused a sleeping snake.
dharṣito ’pi mahā-muniḥ
yan nāgād ahamo bhāvaṁ
na tac citraṁ mahatsu hi
iti — thus; indra-anucaraiḥ — by the followers of Indra; brahman — O brāhmaṇa; dharṣitaḥ — impudently attacked; api — although; mahā-muniḥ — the elevated sage; yat — that; na agāt — he did not succumb; ahamaḥ — of false ego; bhāvam — to the transformation; na — not; tat — that; citram — surprising; mahatsu — for great souls; hi — indeed.
O brāhmaṇa, the followers of Lord Indra had impudently attacked the saintly Mārkaṇḍeya, yet he did not succumb to any influence of false ego. For great souls such tolerance is not at all surprising.
dṛṣṭvā nistejasaṁ kāmaṁ
sa-gaṇaṁ bhagavān svarāṭ
vismayaṁ samagāt param
dṛṣṭvā — seeing; nistejasam — deprived of his power; kāmam — Cupid; sa-gaṇam — along with his associates; bhagavān — the powerful lord; sva-rāṭ — King Indra; śrutvā — and hearing; anubhāvam — the influence; brahma-ṛṣeḥ — of the sage among the brāhmaṇas; vismayam — astonishment; samagāt — he attained; param — great.
The mighty King Indra was most astonished when he heard of the mystic prowess of the exalted sage Mārkaṇḍeya and saw how Cupid and his associates had become powerless in his presence.
tasyaivaṁ yuñjataś cittaṁ
tasya — while he, Mārkaṇḍeya; evam — in this way; yuñjataḥ — was fixing; cittam — his mind; tapaḥ — by austerity; svādhyāya — study of the Vedas; saṁyamaiḥ — and regulative principles; anugrahāya — for showing mercy; āvirāsīt — made Himself manifest; nara-nārāyaṇaḥ — exhibiting the forms of Nara and Nārāyaṇa; hariḥ — the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Desiring to bestow His mercy upon the saintly Mārkaṇḍeya, who had perfectly fixed his mind in self-realization through penance, Vedic study and observance of regulative principles, the Supreme Personality of Godhead personally appeared before the sage in the forms of Nara and Nārāyaṇa.
tau śukla-kṛṣṇau nava-kañja-locanau
pavitra-pāṇī upavītakaṁ tri-vṛt
kamaṇḍaluṁ daṇḍam ṛjuṁ ca vaiṇavam
padmākṣa-mālām uta jantu-mārjanaṁ
vedaṁ ca sākṣāt tapa eva rūpiṇau
prāṁśū dadhānau vibudharṣabhārcitau
tau — the two of Them; śukla-kṛṣṇau — one white and the other black; nava-kañja — like blooming lotus flowers; locanau — Their eyes; catuḥ-bhujau — having four arms; raurava — black deerskin; valkala — and bark; ambarau — as Their clothing; pavitra — most purifying; pāṇī — Their hands; upavītakam — sacred thread; tri-vṛt — threefold; kamaṇḍalum — waterpot; daṇḍam — staff; ṛjum — straight; ca — and; vaiṇavam — made of bamboo; padma-akṣa — of lotus seeds; mālām — prayer beads; uta — and; jantu-mārjanam — which purifies all living beings; vedam — the Vedas (represented by bundles of darbha grass); ca — and; sākṣāt — directly; tapaḥ — austerity; eva — indeed; rūpiṇau — personified; tapat — blazing; taḍit — lightning; varṇa — the color; piśaṅga — yellowish; rociṣā — with Their effulgence; prāṁśū — very tall; dadhānau — bearing; vibudha-ṛṣabha — by the chief of the demigods; arcitau — worshiped.
One of Them was of a whitish complexion, the other blackish, and They both had four arms. Their eyes resembled the petals of blooming lotuses, and They wore garments of black deerskin and bark, along with the three-stranded sacred thread. In Their hands, which were most purifying, They carried the mendicant’s waterpot, straight bamboo staff and lotus-seed prayer beads, as well as the all-purifying Vedas in the symbolic form of bundles of darbha grass. Their bearing was tall and Their yellow effulgence the color of radiant lightning. Appearing as austerity personified, They were being worshiped by the foremost demigods.
te vai bhagavato rūpe
te — They; vai — indeed; bhagavataḥ — of the Personality of Godhead; rūpe — the personal manifestations; nara-nārāyaṇau — Nara and Nārāyaṇa; ṛṣī — the two sages; dṛṣṭvā — seeing; utthāya — standing up; ādareṇa — with respect; uccaiḥ — great; nanāma — bowed down; aṅgena — with his entire body; daṇḍa-vat — just like a stick.
These two sages, Nara and Nārāyaṇa, were the direct personal forms of the Supreme Lord. When Mārkaṇḍeya Ṛṣi saw Them, he immediately stood up and then with great respect offered Them obeisances by falling down flat on the ground like a stick.
na sehe tāv udīkṣitum
saḥ — he, Mārkaṇḍeya; tat — of Them; sandarśana — because of seeing; ānanda — by the ecstasy; nirvṛta — pleased; ātma — whose body; indriya — senses; āśayaḥ — and mind; hṛṣṭa — standing on end; romā — his bodily hairs; aśru — with tears; pūrṇa — filled; akṣaḥ — his eyes; na sehe — he was unable; tau — upon them; udīkṣitum — to glance.
The ecstasy of seeing Them completely satisfied Mārkaṇḍeya’s body, mind and senses and caused the hairs on his body to stand on end and his eyes to fill with tears. Overwhelmed, Mārkaṇḍeya found it difficult to look at Them.
utthāya prāñjaliḥ prahva
autsukyād āśliṣann iva
namo nama itīśānau
utthāya — standing up; prāñjaliḥ — with folded hands; prahvaḥ — humble; autsukyāt — out of eagerness; āśliṣan — embracing; iva — as if; namaḥ — obeisances; namaḥ — obeisances; iti — thus; īśānau — to the two Lords; babhāṣe — he spoke; gadgada — choking with ecstasy; akṣaram — the syllables.
Standing with his hands folded in supplication and his head bowed in humility, Mārkaṇḍeya felt such eagerness that he imagined he was embracing the two Lords. In a voice choked with ecstasy, he repeatedly said, “I offer You my humble obeisances.”
tayor āsanam ādāya
pādayor avanijya ca
tayoḥ — to Them; āsanam — sitting places; ādāya — offering; pādayoḥ — Their feet; avanijya — bathing; ca — and; arhaṇena — with suitable respectful offerings; anulepena — by anointing Them with sandalwood pulp and other fragrant substances; dhūpa — with incense; mālyaiḥ — and flower garlands; apūjayat — he worshiped.
He gave Them sitting places and washed Their feet, and then he worshiped Them with presentations of arghya, sandalwood pulp, fragrant oils, incense and flower garlands.
sukham āsanam āsīnau
punar ānamya pādābhyāṁ
gariṣṭhāv idam abravīt
sukham — comfortably; āsanam — on sitting places; āsīnau — seated; prasāda — mercy; abhimukhau — ready to give; munī — to the Lord’s incarnation as the two sages; punaḥ — again; ānamya — bowing down; pādābhyām — at Their feet; gariṣṭhau — to the supremely worshipable; idam — this; abravīt — he spoke.
Mārkaṇḍeya Ṛṣi once again bowed down at the lotus feet of those two most worshipable sages, who were sitting at ease, ready to bestow all mercy upon him. He then addressed Them as follows.
kiṁ varṇaye tava vibho yad-udīrito ’suḥ
saṁspandate tam anu vāṅ-mana-indriyāṇi
spandanti vai tanu-bhṛtām aja-śarvayoś ca
svasyāpy athāpi bhajatām asi bhāva-bandhuḥ
śrī-mārkaṇḍeyaḥ uvāca — Śrī Mārkaṇḍeya said; kim — what; varṇaye — shall I describe; tava — about You; vibho — O Almighty Lord; yat — by whom; udīritaḥ — moved; asuḥ — the vital air; saṁspandate — comes to life; tam anu — following it; vāk — the power of speech; manaḥ — the mind; indriyāṇi — and the senses; spandanti — begin to act; vai — indeed; tanu-bhṛtām — of all embodied living beings; aja-śarvayoḥ — of Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva; ca — as well; svasya — of myself; api — also; atha api — nevertheless; bhajatām — for those who are worshiping; asi — You become; bhāva-bandhuḥ — the intimate loving friend.
Śrī Mārkaṇḍeya said: O Almighty Lord, how can I possibly describe You? You awaken the vital air, which then impels the mind, senses and power of speech to act. This is true for all ordinary conditioned souls and even for great demigods like Brahmā and Śiva. So it is certainly true for me. Nevertheless, You become the intimate friend of those who worship You.
mūrtī ime bhagavato bhagavaṁs tri-lokyāḥ
kṣemāya tāpa-viramāya ca mṛtyu-jityai
nānā bibharṣy avitum anya-tanūr yathedaṁ
sṛṣṭvā punar grasasi sarvam ivorṇanābhiḥ
mūrtī — the two personal forms; ime — these; bhagavataḥ — of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; bhagavan — O Lord; tri-lokyāḥ — of all the three worlds; kṣemāya — for the ultimate benefit; tāpa — of material misery; viramāya — for the cessation; ca — and; mṛtyu — of death; jityai — for the conquest; nānā — various; bibharṣi — You manifest; avitum — for the purpose of protecting; anya — other; tanūḥ — transcendental bodies; yathā — just as; idam — this universe; sṛṣṭvā — having created; punaḥ — once again; grasasi — You swallow up; sarvam — entirely; iva — just like; ūrṇa-nābhiḥ — a spider.
O Supreme Personality of Godhead, these two personal forms of Yours have appeared to bestow the ultimate benefit for the three worlds — the cessation of material misery and the conquest of death. My Lord, although You create this universe and then assume many transcendental forms to protect it, You also swallow it up, just like a spider who spins and later withdraws its web.
tasyāvituḥ sthira-careśitur aṅghri-mūlaṁ
yat-sthaṁ na karma-guṇa-kāla-rajaḥ spṛśanti
yad vai stuvanti ninamanti yajanty abhīkṣṇaṁ
dhyāyanti veda-hṛdayā munayas tad-āptyai
tasya — of Him; avituḥ — the protector; sthira-cara — of the stationary and moving living beings; īśituḥ — the supreme controller; aṅghri-mūlam — the soles of His lotus feet; yat-stham — one who is situated at which; na — do not; karma-guṇa-kāla — of material work, material qualities and time; rajaḥ — the contamination; spṛśanti — touch; yat — whom; vai — indeed; stuvanti — praise; ninamanti — bow down to; yajanti — worship; abhīkṣṇam — at every moment; dhyāyanti — meditate upon; veda-hṛdayāḥ — who have assimilated the essence of the Vedas; munayaḥ — sages; tat-āptyai — for the purpose of achieving Him.
Because You are the protector and the supreme controller of all moving and nonmoving beings, anyone who takes shelter of Your lotus feet can never be touched by the contamination of material work, material qualities or time. Great sages who have assimilated the essential meaning of the Vedas offer their prayers to You. To gain Your association, they bow down to You at every opportunity and constantly worship You and meditate upon You.
nānyaṁ tavāṅghry-upanayād apavarga-mūrteḥ
kṣemaṁ janasya parito-bhiya īśa vidmaḥ
brahmā bibhety alam ato dvi-parārdha-dhiṣṇyaḥ
kālasya te kim uta tat-kṛta-bhautikānām
na anyam — no other; tava — Your; aṅghri — of the lotus feet; upanayāt — than the attainment; apavarga-mūrteḥ — who are liberation personified; kṣemam — benefit; janasya — for the person; paritaḥ — on all sides; bhiyaḥ — who is fearful; īśa — O Lord; vidmaḥ — do we know; brahmā — Lord Brahmā; bibheti — is afraid; alam — very much; ataḥ — on account of this; dvi-parārdha — the entire duration of the universe; dhiṣṇyaḥ — the period of whose reign; kālasya — because of time; te — Your feature; kim uta — then what to speak; tat-kṛta — created by him, Brahmā; bhautikānām — of the mundane creatures.
My dear Lord, even Lord Brahmā, who enjoys his exalted position for the entire duration of the universe, fears the passage of time. Then what to speak of those whom Brahmā creates, the conditioned souls. They encounter fearful dangers at every step of their lives. I do not know of any relief from this fear except shelter at Your lotus feet, which are the very form of liberation.
tad vai bhajāmy ṛta-dhiyas tava pāda-mūlaṁ
hitvedam ātma-cchadi cātma-guroḥ parasya
dehādy apārtham asad antyam abhijña-mātraṁ
vindeta te tarhi sarva-manīṣitārtham
tat — therefore; vai — indeed; bhajāmi — I worship; ṛta-dhiyaḥ — of Him whose intelligence always perceives the truth; tava — of You; pāda-mūlam — the soles of the lotus feet; hitvā — giving up; idam — this; ātma-chadi — covering of the self; ca — and; ātma-guroḥ — of the master of the soul; parasya — who is the Supreme Truth; deha-ādi — the material body and other false designations; apārtham — useless; asat — insubstantial; antyam — temporary; abhijña-mātram — only imagined to have a separate existence; vindeta — one obtains; te — from You; tarhi — then; sarva — all; manīṣita — desired; artham — objects.
Therefore I worship Your lotus feet, having renounced my identification with the material body and everything else that covers my true self. These useless, insubstantial and temporary coverings are merely presumed to be separate from You, whose intelligence encompasses all truth. By attaining You — the Supreme Godhead and the master of the soul — one attains everything desirable.
sattvaṁ rajas tama itīśa tavātma-bandho
māyā-mayāḥ sthiti-layodaya-hetavo ’sya
līlā dhṛtā yad api sattva-mayī praśāntyai
nānye nṛṇāṁ vyasana-moha-bhiyaś ca yābhyām
sattvam — goodness; rajaḥ — passion; tamaḥ — ignorance; iti — the modes of nature thus termed; īśa — O Lord; tava — Your; ātma-bandho — O supreme friend of the soul; māyā-mayāḥ — produced from Your personal energy; sthiti-laya-udaya — of maintenance, destruction and creation; hetavaḥ — the causes; asya — of this universe; līlāḥ — as pastimes; dhṛtāḥ — assumed; yat api — although; sattva-mayī — that which is in the mode of goodness; praśāntyai — for liberation; na — not; anye — the other two; nṛṇām — for persons; vyasana — danger; moha — bewilderment; bhiyaḥ — and fear; ca — also; yābhyām — from which.
O my Lord, O supreme friend of the conditioned soul, although for the creation, maintenance and annihilation of this world You accept the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance, which constitute Your illusory potency, You specifically employ the mode of goodness to liberate the conditioned souls. The other two modes simply bring them suffering, illusion and fear.
tasmāt taveha bhagavann atha tāvakānāṁ
śuklāṁ tanuṁ sva-dayitāṁ kuśalā bhajanti
yat sātvatāḥ puruṣa-rūpam uśanti sattvaṁ
loko yato ’bhayam utātma-sukhaṁ na cānyat
tasmāt — therefore; tava — Your; iha — in this world; bhagavan — O Supreme Lord; atha — and; tāvakānām — of Your devotees; śuklām — transcendental; tanum — the personal form; sva-dayitām — most dear to them; kuśalāḥ — those who are expert in spiritual knowledge; bhajanti — worship; yat — because; sātvatāḥ — the great devotees; puruṣa — of the original Personality of Godhead; rūpam — the form; uśanti — consider; sattvam — the mode of goodness; lokaḥ — the spiritual world; yataḥ — from which; abhayam — fearlessness; uta — and; ātma-sukham — the happiness of the soul; na — not; ca — and; anyat — any other.
O Lord, because fearlessness, spiritual happiness and the kingdom of God are all achieved through the mode of pure goodness, Your devotees consider this mode, but never passion and ignorance, to be a direct manifestation of You, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Intelligent persons thus worship Your beloved transcendental form, composed of pure goodness, along with the spiritual forms of Your pure devotees.
tasmai namo bhagavate puruṣāya bhūmne
viśvāya viśva-gurave para-daivatāya
nārāyaṇāya ṛṣaye ca narottamāya
haṁsāya saṁyata-gire nigameśvarāya
tasmai — to Him; namaḥ — my obeisances; bhagavate — to the Godhead; puruṣāya — the Supreme Person; bhūmne — the all-pervading one; viśvāya — the all-inclusive manifestation of the universe; viśva-gurave — the spiritual master of the universe; para-daivatāya — the supremely worshipable Deity; nārāyaṇāya — to Lord Nārāyaṇa; ṛṣaye — the sage; ca — and; nara-uttamāya — to the best of human beings; haṁsāya — situated in perfect purity; saṁyata-gire — who has controlled his speech; nigama-īśvarāya — the master of the Vedic scriptures.
I offer my humble obeisances to Him, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is the all-pervading and all-inclusive form of the universe, as well as its spiritual master. I bow down to Lord Nārāyaṇa, the supremely worshipable Deity appearing as a sage, and also to the saintly Nara, the best of human beings, who is fixed in perfect goodness, fully in control of his speech, and the propagator of the Vedic literatures.
yaṁ vai na veda vitathākṣa-pathair bhramad-dhīḥ
santaṁ svakeṣv asuṣu hṛdy api dṛk-patheṣu
tan-māyayāvṛta-matiḥ sa u eva sākṣād
ādyas tavākhila-guror upasādya vedam
yam — whom; vai — indeed; na veda — does not recognize; vitatha — deceptive; akṣa-pathaiḥ — by methods of empirical perception; bhramat — becoming diverted; dhīḥ — whose intelligence; santam — present; svakeṣu — within one’s own; asuṣu — senses; hṛdi — within the heart; api — even; dṛk-patheṣu — among perceived objects of the external world; tat-māyayā — by His illusory potency; āvṛta — covered over; matiḥ — his understanding; saḥ — he; u — even; eva — indeed; sākṣāt — directly; ādyaḥ — originally (in ignorance); tava — of You; akhila-guroḥ — the spiritual master of all living beings; upasādya — obtaining; vedam — the knowledge of the Vedas.
A materialist, his intelligence perverted by the action of his deceptive senses, cannot recognize You at all, although You are always present within his own senses and heart and also among the objects of his perception. Yet even though one’s understanding has been covered by Your illusory potency, if one obtains Vedic knowledge from You, the supreme spiritual master of all, he can directly understand You.
yad-darśanaṁ nigama ātma-rahaḥ-prakāśaṁ
muhyanti yatra kavayo ’ja-parā yatantaḥ
vande mahā-puruṣam ātma-nigūḍha-bodham
yat — of whom; darśanam — the vision; nigame — in the Vedas; ātma — of the Supreme Soul; rahaḥ — the mystery; prakāśam — which reveals; muhyanti — become bewildered; yatra — about which; kavayaḥ — great learned authorities; aja-parāḥ — headed by Brahmā; yatantaḥ — endeavoring; tam — to Him; sarva-vāda — of all different philosophies; viṣaya — the subject matter; pratirūpa — adjusting itself as suitable; śīlam — whose personal nature; vande — I offer my homage; mahā-puruṣam — to the Supreme Personality of Godhead; ātma — from the spirit soul; nigūḍha — hidden; bodham — understanding.
My dear Lord, the Vedic literatures alone reveal confidential knowledge of Your supreme personality, and thus even such great scholars as Lord Brahmā himself are bewildered in their attempt to understand You through empirical methods. Each philosopher understands You according to his particular speculative conclusions. I worship that Supreme Person, knowledge of whom is hidden by the bodily designations covering the conditioned soul’s spiritual identity.