Śrīmad Bhāgavatam | Canto 2 Chapter 8
Questions by King Parīkṣit
brahmaṇā codito brahman
guṇākhyāne ’guṇasya ca
yasmai yasmai yathā prāha
rājā — the King; uvāca — inquired; brahmaṇā — by Lord Brahmā; coditaḥ — being instructed; brahman — O learned brāhmaṇa (Śukadeva Gosvāmī); guṇa-ākhyāne — in narrating the transcendental qualities; aguṇasya — of the Lord, who is without material qualities; ca — and; yasmai yasmai — and whom; yathā — as much as; prāha — explained; nāradaḥ — Nārada Muni; deva-darśanaḥ — one whose audience is as good as that of any demigod.
King Parīkṣit inquired from Śukadeva Gosvāmī: How did Nārada Muni, whose hearers are as fortunate as those instructed by Lord Brahmā, explain the transcendental qualities of the Lord, who is without material qualities, and before whom did he speak?
etad veditum icchāmi
tattvaṁ tattva-vidāṁ vara
etat — this; veditum — to understand; icchāmi — I wish; tattvam — truth; tattva-vidām — of those who are well versed in the Absolute Truth; vara — O best; hareḥ — of the Lord; adbhuta-vīryasya — of the one who possesses wonderful potencies; kathāḥ — narrations; loka — for all planets; su-maṅgalāḥ — auspicious.
The King said: I wish to know. Narrations concerning the Lord, who possesses wonderful potencies, are certainly auspicious for living beings in all planets.
kṛṣṇe niveśya niḥsaṅgaṁ
manas tyakṣye kalevaram
kathayasva — please continue speaking; mahābhāga — O greatly fortunate one; yathā — as much as; aham — I; akhila-ātmani — unto the Supreme Soul; kṛṣṇe — unto Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa; niveśya — having placed; niḥsaṅgam — being freed from material qualities; manaḥ — mind; tyakṣye — may relinquish; kalevaram — body.
O greatly fortunate Śukadeva Gosvāmī, please continue narrating Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam so that I can place my mind upon the Supreme Soul, Lord Kṛṣṇa, and, being completely freed from material qualities, thus relinquish this body.
śṛṇvataḥ śraddhayā nityaṁ
gṛṇataś ca sva-ceṣṭitam
bhagavān viśate hṛdi
śṛṇvataḥ — of those who hear; śraddhayā — in earnestness; nityam — regularly, always; gṛṇataḥ — taking the matter; ca — also; sva-ceṣṭitam — seriously by one’s own endeavor; kālena — duration; na — not; ati-dīrgheṇa — very prolonged time; bhagavān — the Personality of Godhead Śrī Kṛṣṇa; viśate — becomes manifest; hṛdi — within one’s heart.
Persons who hear Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam regularly and are always taking the matter very seriously will have the Personality of Godhead Śrī Kṛṣṇa manifested in their hearts within a short time.
dhunoti śamalaṁ kṛṣṇaḥ
salilasya yathā śarat
praviṣṭaḥ — thus being entered; karṇa-randhreṇa — through the holes of the ears; svānām — according to one’s liberated position; bhāva — constitutional relationship; saraḥ-ruham — the lotus flower; dhunoti — cleanses; śamalam — material qualities like lust, anger, avarice and hankering; kṛṣṇaḥ — Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; salilasya — of the reservoir of waters; yathā — as it were; śarat — the autumn season.
The sound incarnation of Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Soul [i.e., Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam], enters into the heart of a self-realized devotee, sits on the lotus flower of his loving relationship, and thus cleanses the dust of material association, such as lust, anger and hankering. Thus it acts like autumnal rains upon pools of muddy water.
dhautātmā puruṣaḥ kṛṣṇa-
pāda-mūlaṁ na muñcati
pānthaḥ sva-śaraṇaṁ yathā
dhauta-ātmā — whose heart has been cleansed; puruṣaḥ — the living being; kṛṣṇa — the Supreme Personality of Godhead; pāda-mūlam — the shelter of the lotus feet; na — never; muñcati — gives up; mukta — liberated; sarva — all; parikleśaḥ — of all miseries of life; pānthaḥ — the traveler; sva-śaraṇam — in his own abode; yathā — as it were.
A pure devotee of the Lord whose heart has once been cleansed by the process of devotional service never relinquishes the lotus feet of Lord Kṛṣṇa, for they fully satisfy him, as a traveler is satisfied at home after a troubled journey.
yad adhātu-mato brahman
dehārambho ’sya dhātubhiḥ
yadṛcchayā hetunā vā
bhavanto jānate yathā
yat — as it is; adhātu-mataḥ — without being materially constituted; brahman — O learned brāhmaṇa; deha — the material body; ārambhaḥ — the beginning of; asya — of the living being; dhātubhiḥ — by matter; yadṛcchayā — without cause, accidental; hetunā — due to some cause; vā — either; bhavantaḥ — your good self; jānate — as you may know it; yathā — so you inform me.
O learned brāhmaṇa, the transcendental spirit soul is different from the material body. Does he acquire the body accidentally or by some cause? Will you kindly explain this, for it is known to you.
āsīd yad-udarāt padmaṁ
yāvān ayaṁ vai puruṣa
tāvān asāv iti proktaḥ
āsīt — as it grew; yat-udarāt — from whose abdomen; padmam — lotus flower; loka — world; saṁsthāna — situation; lakṣaṇam — possessed of; yāvān — as it were; ayam — this; vai — certainly; puruṣaḥ — the Supreme Personality of Godhead; iyattā — measurement; avayavaiḥ — by embodiments; pṛthak — different; tāvān — so; asau — that; iti proktaḥ — it is so said; saṁsthā — situation; avayavavān — embodiment; iva — like.
If the Supreme Personality of Godhead, from whose abdomen the lotus stem sprouted, is possessed of a gigantic body according to His own caliber and measurement, then what is the specific difference between the body of the Lord and those of common living entities?
ajaḥ sṛjati bhūtāni
dadṛśe yena tad-rūpaṁ
ajaḥ — one who is born without a material source; sṛjati — creates; bhūtāni — all those materially born; bhūta-ātmā — having a body of matter; yat — whose; anugrahāt — by the mercy of; dadṛśe — could see; yena — by whom; tat-rūpam — His form of body; nābhi — navel; padma — lotus flower; samudbhavaḥ — being born of.
Brahmā, who was not born of a material source but of the lotus flower coming out of the navel abdomen of the Lord, is the creator of all those who are materially born. Of course, by the grace of the Lord, Brahmā was able to see the form of the Lord.
sa cāpi yatra puruṣo
saḥ — He; ca — also; api — as He is; yatra — where; puruṣaḥ — the Personality of Godhead; viśva — the material worlds; sthiti — maintenance; udbhava — creation; apyayaḥ — annihilation; muktvā — without being touched; ātma-māyām — own energy; māyā-īśaḥ — the Lord of all energies; śete — does lie on; sarva-guhā-śayaḥ — one who lies in everyone’s heart.
Please also explain the Personality of Godhead, who lies in every heart as the Supersoul, and as the Lord of all energies, but is untouched by His external energy.
sa-pālair iti śuśruma
puruṣa — the universal form of the Lord (virāṭ-puruṣaḥ); avayavaiḥ — by different parts of the body; lokāḥ — the planetary system; sa-pālāḥ — with respective governors; pūrva — formerly; kalpitāḥ — discussed; lokaiḥ — by the different planetary systems; amuṣya — His; avayavāḥ — different parts of the body; sa-pālaiḥ — with the governors; iti — thus; śuśruma — I heard.
O learned brāhmaṇa, it was formerly explained that all the planets of the universe with their respective governors are situated in the different parts of the gigantic body of the virāṭ-puruṣa. I have also heard that the different planetary systems are supposed to be in the gigantic body of the virāṭ-puruṣa. But what is their actual position? Will you please explain that?
yāvān kalpo vikalpo vā
yathā kālo ’numīyate
āyur-mānaṁ ca yat sataḥ
yāvān — as it is; kalpaḥ — the duration of time between creation and annihilation; vikalpaḥ — subsidiary creation and annihilation; vā — either; yathā — as also; kālaḥ — the time; anumīyate — is measured; bhūta — past; bhavya — future; bhavat — present; śabdaḥ — sound; āyuḥ — duration of life; mānam — measurement; ca — also; yat — which; sataḥ — of all living beings in all planets.
Also please explain the duration of time between creation and annihilation, and that of other subsidiary creations, as well as the nature of time, indicated by the sound of past, present and future. Also, please explain the duration and measurement of life of the different living beings known as the demigods, the human beings, etc., in different planets of the universe.
kālasyānugatir yā tu
lakṣyate ’ṇvī bṛhaty api
kālasya — of eternal time; anugatiḥ — beginning; yā tu — as they are; lakṣyate — experienced; aṇvī — small; bṛhatī — great; api — even; yāvatyaḥ — as long as; karma-gatayaḥ — in terms of the work performed; yādṛśīḥ — as it may; dvija-sattama — O purest of all brāhmaṇas.
O purest of the brāhmaṇas, please also explain the cause of the different durations of time, both short and long, as well as the beginning of time, following the course of action.
guṇānāṁ guṇināṁ caiva
yasmin — in which; karma — actions; samāvāyaḥ — accumulation; yathā — as far as; yena — by which; upagṛhyate — takes over; guṇānām — of the different modes of material nature; guṇinām — of the living beings; ca — also; eva — certainly; pariṇāmam — resultant; abhīpsatām — of the desires.
Then again, kindly describe how the proportionate accumulation of the reactions resulting from the different modes of material nature act upon the desiring living being, promoting or degrading him among the different species of life, beginning from the demigods down to the most insignificant creatures.
bhū-pātāla — underneath the land; kakup — the four sides of the heavens; vyoma — the sky; graha — the planets; nakṣatra — the stars; bhūbhṛtām — of the hills; sarit — the river; samudra — the sea; dvīpānām — of the islands; sambhavaḥ — appearance; ca — also; etat — their; okasām — of the inhabitants.
O best of the brāhmaṇas, please also describe how the creation of the globes throughout the universe, the four directions of the heavens, the sky, the planets, the stars, the mountains, the rivers, the seas and the islands, as well as their different kinds of inhabitants, takes place.
pramāṇam — extent and measurement; aṇḍa-kośasya — of the universe; bāhya — outer space; abhyantara — inner space; bhedataḥ — by division of; mahatām — of the great souls; ca — also; anucaritam — character and activities; varṇa — castes; āśrama — orders of life; viniścayaḥ — specifically describe.
Also, please describe the inner and outer space of the universe by specific divisions, as well as the character and activities of the great souls, and also the characteristics of the different classifications of the castes and orders of social life.
yugāni yuga-mānaṁ ca
dharmo yaś ca yuge yuge
yad āścaryatamaṁ hareḥ
yugāni — the different ages; yuga-mānam — the duration of each age; ca — as well as; dharmaḥ — the particular occupational duty; yaḥ ca — and which; yuge yuge — in each and every yuga, or particular age; avatāra — the incarnation; anucaritam — and the activities of the incarnation; yat — which; āścaryatamam — the most wonderful activities; hareḥ — of the Supreme Lord.
Please explain all the different ages in the duration of the creation, and also the duration of such ages. Also tell me about the different activities of the different incarnations of the Lord in different ages.
nṛṇāṁ sādhāraṇo dharmaḥ
saviśeṣaś ca yādṛśaḥ
śreṇīnāṁ rājarṣīṇāṁ ca
dharmaḥ kṛcchreṣu jīvatām
nṛṇām — of human society; sādhāraṇaḥ — general; dharmaḥ — religious affiliation; sa-viśeṣaḥ — specific; ca — also; yādṛśaḥ — as they are; śreṇīnām — of the particular three classes; rājarṣīṇām — of the saintly royal order; ca — also; dharmaḥ — occupational duty; kṛcchreṣu — in the matter of distressed conditions; jīvatām — of the living beings.
Please also explain what may generally be the common religious affiliations of human society, as well as their specific occupational duties in religion, the classification of the social orders as well as the administrative royal orders, and the religious principles for one who may be in distress.
tattvānām — of the elements that constitute the creation; parisaṅkhyānam — of the number of such elements; lakṣaṇam — symptoms; hetu-lakṣaṇam — the symptoms of the causes; puruṣa — of the Lord; ārādhana — of devotional service; vidhiḥ — rules and regulations; yogasya — of cultivation of the yoga system; adhyātmikasya — spiritual methods leading to devotional service; ca — also.
Kindly explain all about the elementary principles of creation, the number of such elementary principles, their causes, and their development, and also the process of devotional service and the method of mystic powers.
liṅga-bhaṅgas tu yoginām
yoga-īśvara — of the master of the mystic powers; aiśvarya — opulence; gatiḥ — advancement; liṅga — astral body; bhaṅgaḥ — detachment; tu — but; yoginām — of the mystics; veda — transcendental knowledge; upaveda — knowledge in pursuance of the Veda indirectly; dharmāṇām — of the religiosities; itihāsa — history; purāṇayoḥ — of the Purāṇas.
What are the opulences of the great mystics, and what is their ultimate realization? How does the perfect mystic become detached from the subtle astral body? What is the basic knowledge of the Vedic literatures, including the branches of history and the supplementary Purāṇas?
tri-vargasya ca yo vidhiḥ
samplavaḥ — the perfect means or complete devastation; sarva-bhūtānām — of all living beings; vikramaḥ — specific power or situation; pratisaṅkramaḥ — ultimate destruction; iṣṭā — performance of Vedic rituals; pūrtasya — pious acts in terms of religion; kāmyānām — rituals for economic development; tri-vargasya — three means of religion, economic development and sense satisfaction; ca — also; yaḥ — whatsoever; vidhiḥ — procedures.
Please explain unto me how the living beings are generated, how they are maintained, and how they are annihilated. Tell me also of the advantages and disadvantages of discharging devotional service unto the Lord. What are the Vedic rituals and injunctions of the supplementary Vedic rites, and what are the procedures of religion, economic development and sense satisfaction?
yo vānuśāyināṁ sargaḥ
pāṣaṇḍasya ca sambhavaḥ
ātmano bandha-mokṣau ca
yaḥ — all those; vā — either; anuśāyinām — merged into the body of the Lord; sargaḥ — creation; pāṣaṇḍasya — of the infidels; ca — and; sambhavaḥ — appearance; ātmanaḥ — of the living beings; bandha — conditioned; mokṣau — being liberated; ca — also; vyavasthānam — being situated; sva-rūpataḥ — in an unconditioned state.
Please also explain how, merged in the body of the Lord, living beings are created, and how the infidels appear in the world. Also please explain how the unconditioned living entities exist.
visṛjya vā yathā māyām
udāste sākṣivad vibhuḥ
yathā — as; ātma-tantraḥ — independent; bhagavān — the Personality of Godhead; vikrīḍati — enjoys His pastimes; ātma-māyayā — by His internal potency; visṛjya — giving up; vā — as also; yathā — as He desires; māyām — the external potency; udāste — remains; sākṣivat — just as the witness; vibhuḥ — the almighty.
The independent Personality of Godhead enjoys His pastimes by His internal potency and at the time of annihilation gives them up to the external potency, and He remains a witness to it all.
sarvam etac ca bhagavan
pṛcchato me ’nupūrvaśaḥ
tattvato ’rhasy udāhartuṁ
sarvam — all these; etat — inquiries; ca — also that I have not been able to ask; bhagavan — O great sage; pṛcchataḥ — of the inquisitive; me — myself; anupūrvaśaḥ — from the beginning; tattvataḥ — just in accordance with the truth; arhasi — may kindly be explained; udāhartum — as you will let know; prapannāya — one who is surrendered; mahā-mune — O great sage.
O great sage, representative of the Lord, kindly satisfy my inquisitiveness in all that I have inquired from you and all that I may not have inquired from you from the very beginning of my questionings. Since I am a soul surrendered unto you, please impart full knowledge in this connection.
atra pramāṇaṁ hi bhavān
pūrveṣāṁ pūrva-jaiḥ kṛtam
atra — in this matter; pramāṇam — evidential facts; hi — certainly; bhavān — yourself; parameṣṭhī — Brahmā, the creator of the universe; yathā — as; ātma-bhūḥ — born directly from the Lord; apare — others; ca — only; anutiṣṭhanti — just to follow; pūrveṣām — as a matter of custom; pūrva-jaiḥ — knowledge suggested by a previous philosopher; kṛtam — having been done.
O great sage, you are as good as Brahmā, the original living being. Others follow custom only, as followed by the previous philosophical speculators.
na me ’savaḥ parāyanti
brahmann anaśanād amī
na — never; me — mine; asavaḥ — life; parāyanti — becomes exhausted; brahman — O learned brāhmaṇa; anaśanāt amī — because of fasting; pibataḥ — because of my drinking; acyuta — of the infallible; pīyūṣam — nectar; tat — your; vākya-abdhi — ocean of speech; viniḥsṛtam — flowing down from.
O learned brāhmaṇa, because of my drinking the nectar of the message of the infallible Personality of Godhead, which is flowing down from the ocean of your speeches, I do not feel any sort of exhaustion due to my fasting.
sa upāmantrito rājñā
kathāyām iti sat-pateḥ
brahmarāto bhṛśaṁ prīto
sūtaḥ uvāca — Śrīla Sūta Gosvāmī said; saḥ — he (Śukadeva Gosvāmī); upāmantritaḥ — thus being inquired; rājñā — by the King; kathāyām — in the topics; iti — thus; sat-pateḥ — of the highest truth; brahma-rātaḥ — Śukadeva Gosvāmī; bhṛśam — very much; prītaḥ — pleased; viṣṇu-rātena — by Mahārāja Parīkṣit; saṁsadi — in the meeting.
Sūta Gosvāmī said: Thus Śukadeva Gosvāmī, being invited by Mahārāja Parīkṣit to speak on topics of the Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa with the devotees, was very much pleased.
prāha bhāgavataṁ nāma
prāha — he said; bhāgavatam — the science of the Personality of Godhead; nāma — of the name; purāṇam — the supplement of the Vedas; brahma-sammitam — just in pursuance of the Vedas; brahmaṇe — unto Lord Brahmā; bhagavat-proktam — was spoken by the Personality of Godhead; brahma-kalpe — the millennium in which Brahmā was first generated; upāgate — just in the beginning.
He began to reply to the inquiries of Mahārāja Parīkṣit by saying that the science of the Personality of Godhead was spoken first by the Lord Himself to Brahmā when he was first born. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the supplementary Vedic literature, and it is just in pursuance of the Vedas.
yad yat parīkṣid ṛṣabhaḥ
ānupūrvyeṇa tat sarvam
yat yat — whatsoever; parīkṣit — the King; ṛṣabhaḥ — the best; pāṇḍūnām — in the dynasty of Pāṇḍu; anupṛcchati — goes on inquiring; ānupūrvyeṇa — the beginning to the end; tat — all those; sarvam — fully; ākhyātum — to describe; upacakrame — he just prepared himself.
He also prepared himself to reply to all that King Parīkṣit had inquired from him. Mahārāja Parīkṣit was the best in the dynasty of the Pāṇḍus, and thus he was able to ask the right questions from the right person.