CHAPTER ONE: The Degraded Dynasties of Kali-yuga

Shukadeva Gosvami said: The last king mentioned in our previous enumeration of 
the future rulers of the Magadha dynasty was Puranjaya, who will take birth as 
the descendant of Brhadratha. Puran jaya's minister Shunaka will assassinate the 
king and install his own son, Pradyota, on the throne. The son of Pradyota will 
be Palaka, his son will be Vishakhayupa, and his son will be Rajaka. 

The son of Rajaka will be Nandivardhana, and thus in the Pradyotana dynasty 
there will be five kings, who will enjoy the earth for 138 years.

Nandivardhana will have a son named Shishunaga, and his son will be known as 
Kakavarna. The son of Kakavarna will be Ksemadharma, and the son of Ksemadharma 
will be Ksetrajna.

The son of Ksetrajna will be Vidhisara, and his son will be Ajatashatru. 
Ajatashatru will have a son named Darbhaka, and his son will be Ajaya.

Ajaya will father a second Nandivardhana, whose son will be Mahanandi. O best of 
the Kurus, these ten kings of the Shishunaga dynasty will rule the earth for a 
total of 360 years during the age of Kali. My dear Pariksit, King Mahanandi will 
father a very powerful son in the womb of a shudra woman. He will be known as 
Nanda and will be the master of millions of soldiers and fabulous wealth. He 
will wreak havoc among the ksatriyas, and from that time onward virtually all 
kings will be irreligious shudras. 

That lord of Mahapadma, King Nanda, will rule over the entire earth just like a 
second Parashurama, and no one will challenge his authority. 

He will have eight sons, headed by Sumalya, who will control the earth as 
powerful kings for one hundred years.

A certain brahmana [Canakya] will betray the trust of King Nanda and his eight 
sons and will destroy their dynasty. In their absence the Mauryas will rule the 
world as the age of Kali continues. 

This brahmana will enthrone Candragupta, whose son will be named Varisara. The 
son of Varisara will be Ashokavardhana.

Ashokavardhana will be followed by Suyasha, whose son will be Sangata. His son 
will be Shalishuka, Shalishuka's son will be Somasharma, and Somasharma's son 
will be Shatadhanva. His son will be known as Brhadratha.

O best of the Kurus, these ten Maurya kings will rule the earth for 137 years of 
the Kali-yuga. 

My dear King Pariksit, Agnimitra will follow as king, and then Sujyestha. 
Sujyestha will be followed by Vasumitra, Bhadraka, and the son of Bhadraka, 
Pulinda. Then the son of Pulinda, named Ghosa, will rule, followed by 
Vajramitra, Bhagavata and Devabhuti. In this way, O most eminent of the Kuru 
heroes, ten Shunga kings will rule over the earth for more than one hundred 
years. Then the earth will come under the subjugation of the kings of the Kanva 
dynasty, who will manifest very few good qualities. 

Vasudeva, an intelligent minister coming from the Kanva family, will kill the 
last of the Shunga kings, a lusty debauchee named Devabhuti, and assume 
rulership himself. 

The son of Vasudeva will be Bhumitra, and his son will be Narayana. These kings 
of the Kanva dynasty will rule the earth for 345 more years of the Kali-yuga.

The last of the Kanvas, Susharma, will be murdered by his own servant, Bali a 
low-class shudra of the Andhra race. This most degraded Maharaja Bali will have 
control over the earth for some time. 

The brother of Bali, named Krsna, will become the next ruler of the earth. His 
son will be Shantakarna, and his son will be Paurnamasa. The son of Paurnamasa 
will be Lambodara, who will father Maharaja Cibilaka. From Cibilaka will come 
Meghasvati, whose son will be Atamana. The son of Atamana will be Anistakarma. 
His son will be Haleya, and his son will be Talaka. The son of Talaka will be 
Purisabhiru, and following him Sunandana will become king. Sunandana will be 
followed by Cakora and the eight Bahus, among whom Shivasvati will be a great 
subduer of enemies. The son of Shivasvati will be Gomati. His son will be 
Puriman, whose son will be Medashira. His son will be Shivaskanda, and his son 
will be Yajnashri. The son of Yajnashri will be Vijaya, who will have two sons, 
Candravijna and Lomadhi. These thirty kings will enjoy sovereignty over the 
earth for a total of 456 years, O favorite son of the Kurus.

Then will follow seven kings of the Abhira race from the ciq of Avabhrti, and 
then ten Gardabhis. After them, sixteen kings of the Kankas will rule and will 
be known for their excessive greed.

Eight Yavanas will then take power, followed by fourteen Turuskas, ten Gurundas 
and eleven kings of the Maula dynasty.

These Abhiras, Gardabhis and Kankas will enjoy the earth for 1,099 years, and 
the Maulas will rule for 300 years. When all of them have died off there will 
appear in the city of Kilakila a dynasty of kings consisting of Bhutananda, 
Vangiri, Shishunandi, Shishunandi's brother Yashonandi, and Praviraka. These 
kings of Kilakila will hold sway for a total of 106 years.

The Kilakilas will be followed by their thirteen sons, the Bahlikas, and after 
them King Puspamitra, his son Durmitra, seven Andhras, seven Kaushalas and also 
kings of the Vidura and Nisadha provinces will separately rule in different 
parts of the world.

There will then appear a king of the Magadhas named Vishvasphurji, who will be 
like another Puranjaya. He will turn all the civilized classes into low-class, 
uncivilized men in the same category as the Pulindas, Yadus and Madrakas.

Foolish King Vishvasphurji will maintain all the citizens in ungodliness and 
will use his power to completely disrupt the ksatriya order. From his capital of 
Padmavati he will rule that part of the earth extending from the source of the 
Ganga to Prayaga.

At that time the brahmanas of such provinces as Shaurastra, Avanti, Abhira, 
Shura, Arbuda and Malava will forget all their regulative principles, and the 
members of the royal order in these places will become no better than shudras.

The land along the Sindhu River, as well as the districts of Candrabhaga, Kaunti 
and Kashmira, will be ruled by shudras, fallen brahmanas and meat-eaters. Having 
given up the path of Vedic civilization, they will have lost all spiritual 

There will be many such uncivilized kings ruling at the same time, O King 
Pariksit, and they will all be uncharitable, possessed of fierce tempers, and 
great devotees of irreligion and falsity.

These barbarians in the guise of kings will devour the citizenry, murdering 
innocent women, children, cows and brahmanas and coveting the wives and property 
of other men. They will be erratic in their moods, have little strength of 
character and be very short-lived. Indeed, not purified by any Vedic rituals and 
lacking in the practice of regulative principles, they will be completely 
covered by the modes of passion and ignorance. 

The citizens governed by these low-class kings will imitate the character, 
behavior and speech of their rulers. Harassed by their leaders and by each 
other, they will all suffer ruination. 

CHAPTER TWO The Symptoms of Kali-yuga

Shukadeva Gosvami said: Then, O King, religion, truthfulness, cleanliness, 
tolerance, mercy, duration of life, physical strength and memory will all 
diminish day by day because of the powerful influence of the age of Kali. 

In Kali-yuga, wealth alone will be considered the sign of a man's good birth, 
proper behavior and fine qualities. And law and justice will be applied only on 
the basis of one's power. 

Men and women will live together merely because of superficial attraction, and 
success in business will depend on deceit. Womanliness and manliness will be 
judged according to one's expertise in sex, and a man will be known as a 
brahmana just by his wearing a thread. 

A person's spiritual position will be ascertained merely according to external 
symbols, and on that same basis people will change from one spiritual order to 
the next. A person's propriety will be seriously questioned if he does not earn 
a good living. And one who is very clever at juggling words will be considered a 
learned scholar. 

A person will be judged unholy if he does not have money, and hypocrisy will be 
accepted as virtue. Marriage will be arranged simply by verbal agreement, and a 
person will think he is fit to appear in public if he has merely taken a bath. 

A sacred place will be taken to consist of no more than a reservoir of water 
located at a distance, and beauty will be thought to depend on one's hairstyle. 
Filling the belly will become the goal of life, and one who is audacious will be 
accepted as truthful. He who can maintain a family will be regarded as an expert 
man, and the principles of religion will be observed only for the sake of 

As the earth thus becomes crowded with a corrupt population, whoever among any 
of the social classes shows himself to be the strongest will gain political 

Losing their wives and properties to such avaricious and merciless rulers, who 
will behave no better than ordinary thieves, the citizens will flee to the 
mountains and forests.

Harassed by famine and excessive taxes, people will resort to eating leaves, 
roots, flesh, wild honey, fruits, flowers and seeds. Struck by drought, they 
will become completely ruined. 

The citizens will suffer greatly from cold, wind, heat, rain and snow. They will 
be further tormented by quarrels, hunger, thirst, disease and severe anxiety.

The maximum duration of life for human beings in Kali-yuga will become fifty 

By the time the age of Kali ends, the bodies of all creatures will be greatly 
reduced in size, and the religious principles of followers of varnashrama will 
be ruined. The path of the Vedas will be completely forgotten in human society, 
and so-called religion will be mostly atheistic. The kings will mostly be 
thieves, the occupations of men will be stealing, lying and needless violence, 
and all the social classes will be reduced to the lowest level of shudras. Cows 
will be like goats, spiritual hermitages will be no different from mundane 
houses, and family ties will extend no further than the immediate bonds of 
marriage. Most plants and herbs will be tiny, and all trees will appear like 
dwarf shami trees. Clouds will be full of lightning, homes will be devoid of 
piety, and all human beings will have become like asses. At that time, the 
Supreme Personality of Godhead will appear on the earth. Acting with the power 
of pure spiritual goodness, He will rescue eternal religion. 

Lord Visnu - the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the spiritual master of all 
moving and nonmoving living beings, and the Supreme Soul of all - takes birth to 
protect the principles of religion and to relieve His saintly devotees from the 
reactions of material work.

Lord Kalki will appear in the home of the most eminent brahmana of Shambhala 
village, the great soul Visnuyasha.

Lord Kalki, the Lord of the universe, will mount His swift horse Devadatta and, 
sword in hand, travel over the earth exhibiting His eight mystic opulences and 
eight special qualities of Godhead. Displaying His unequaled effulgence and 
riding with great speed, He will kill by the millions those thieves who have 
dared dress as kings. 

After all the impostor kings have been killed, the residents of the cities and 
towns will feel the breezes carrying the most sacred fragrance of the sandalwood 
paste and other decorations of Lord Vasudeva, and their minds will thereby 
become transcendentally pure. 

When Lord Vasudeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, appears in their hearts 
in His transcendental form of goodness, the remaining citizens will abundantly 
repopulate the earth.

When the Supreme Lord has appeared on earth as Kalki, the maintainer of 
religion, Satya-yuga will begin, and human society will bring forth progeny in 
the mode of goodness.

When the moon, the sun and Brhaspati are together in the constellation Karkata, 
and all three enter simultaneously into the lunar mansion Pusya - at that exact 
moment the age of Satya, or Krta, will begin.

Thus I have described all the kings - past, present and future - who belong to 
the dynasties of the sun and the moon.

From your birth up to the coronation of King Nanda, 1,150 years will pass. 

Of the seven stars forming the constellation of the seven sages, Pulaha and 
Kratu are the first to rise in the night sky. If a line running north and south 
were drawn through their midpoint, whichever of the lunar mansions this line 
passes through is said to be the ruling asterism of the constellation for that 
time. The Seven Sages will remain connected with that particular lunar mansion 
for one hundred human years. Currently, during your lifetime, they are situated 
in the naksatra called Magha.

The Supreme Lord, Visnu, is brilliant like the sun and is known as Krsna. When 
He returned to the spiritual sky, Kali entered this world, and people then began 
to take pleasure in sinful activities.

As long us Lord Shri Krsna, the husband of the goddess of fortune, touched the 
earth with His lotus feet, Kali was powerless to subdue this planet. 

When the constellation of the seven sages is passing through the lunar mansion 
Magha, the age of Kali begins. It comprises twelve hundred years of the 

When the great sages of the Saptarsi constellation pass from Magha to 
Purvasadha, Kali will have his full strength, beginning from King Nanda and his 

Those who scientifically understand the past declare that on the very day that 
Lord Shri Krsna departed for the spiritual world, the influence of the age of 
Kali began. 

After the one thousand celestial years of Kali-yuga, the Satya-yuga will 
manifest again. At that time the minds of all men will become self-effulgent.

Thus I have described the royal dynasty of Manu, as it is known on this earth. 
One can similarly study the history of the vaishyas, shudras and brahmanas 
living in the various ages. 

These personalities, who were great souls, are now known only by their names. 
They exist only in accounts from the past, and only their fame remains on the 

Devapi, the brother of Maharaja Shantanu, and Maru, the descendant of Iksvaku, 
both possess great mystic strength and are living even now in the village of 

At the end of the age of Kali, these two kings, having received instruction 
directly from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva, will return to human 
society and reestablish the eternal religion of man, characterized by the 
divisions of varna and ashrama, just as it was before. 

The cycle of four ages - Satya, Treta, Dvapara and Kali - continues perpetually 
among living beings on this earth, repeating the same general sequence of 

My dear King Pariksit, all these kings I have described, as well as all other 
human beings, come to this earth and stake their claims, but ultimately they all 
must give up this world and meet their destruction.

Even though a person's body may now have the designation 'king,' in the end its 
name will be 'worms,' 'stool' or 'ashes.' What can a person who injures other 
living beings for the sake of his body know about his own self-interest, since 
his activities are simply leading him to hell? 

[The materialistic king thinks:] 'This unbounded earth was held by my 
predecessors and is now under my sovereignty. How can I arrange for it to remain 
in the hands of my sons, grandsons and other descendants?' 

Although the foolish accept the body made of earth, water and fire as 'me' and 
this earth as 'mine,' in every case they have ultimately abandoned both their 
body and the earth and passed away into oblivion. 

My dear King Pariksit, all these kings who tried to enjoy the earth by their 
strength were reduced by the force of time to nothing more than historical 

CHAPTER THREE The Bhumi-gita

Shukadeva Gosvami said: Seeing the kings of this earth busy trying to conquer 
her, the earth herself laughed. She said: 'Just see how these kings, who are 
actually playthings in the hands of death, are desiring to conquer me.

'Great rulers of men, even those who are learned, meet frustration and failure 
because of material lust. Driven by lust, these kings place great hope and faith 
in the dead lump of flesh called the body, even though the material frame is as 
fleeting as bubbles of foam on water.

'Kings and politicians imagine: 'First I will conquer my senses and mind; then I 
will subdue my chief ministers and rid myself of the thorn-pricks of my 
advisors, citizens, friends and relatives, as well as the keepers of my 
elephants. In this way I will gradually conquer the entire earth.' Because the 
hearts of these leaders are bound by great expectations, they fail to see death 
waiting nearby. 

'After conquering all the land on my surface, these proud kings forcibly enter 
the ocean to conquer the sea itself. What is the use of their self-control, 
which is aimed at political exploitation? The actual goal of self-control is 
spiritual liberation.'

O best of the Kurus, the earth continued as follows: 'Although in the past great 
men and their descendants have left me, departing from this world in the same 
helpless way they came into it, even today foolish men are trying to conquer me.

'For the sake of conquering me, materialistic persons fight one another. Fathers 
oppose their sons, and brothers fight one another, because their hearts are 
bound to possessing political power.

'Political leaders challenge one another: 'All this land is mine! It's not 
yours, you fool!' Thus they attack one another and die. 

'Such kings as Prthu, Pururava, Gadhi, Nahusa, Bharata, Kartavirya Arjuna, 
Mandhata, Sagara, Rama, Khatvanga, Dhundhuha, Raghu, Trnabindu, Yayati, 
Sharyati, Shantanu, Gaya, Bhagiratha, Kuvalayashva, Kakutstha, Naisadha, Nrga, 
Hiranyakashipu, Vrtra, Ravana, who made the whole world lament, Namuci, 
Shambara, Bhauma, Hiranyaksa and Taraka, as well as many other demons and kings 
who possessed great powers of control over others, were all full of knowledge, 
heroic, all-conquering and unconquerable. Nevertheless, O almighty Lord, 
although they lived their lives intensely trying to possess me, these kings were 
subject to the passage of time, which reduced them all to mere historical 
accounts. None of them could permanently establish their rule.' 

Shukadeva Gosvami said: O mighty Pariksit, I have related to you the narrations 
of all these great kings, who spread their fame throughout the world and then 
departed. My real purpose was to teach transcendental knowledge and 
renunciation. Stories of kings lend power and opulence to these narrations but 
do not in themselves constitute the ultimate aspect of knowledge. 

The person who desires pure devotional service to Lord Krsna should hear the 
narrations of Lord Uttamashloka's glorious qualities, the constant chanting of 
which destroys everything inauspicious. The devotee should engage in such 
listening in regular daily assemblies and should also continue his hearing 
throughout the day. 

King Pariksit said: My lord, how can persons living in the age of Kali rid 
themselves of the cumulative contamination of this age? O great sages please 
explain this to me. 

Please explain the different ages of universal history, the special qualities of 
each age, the duration of cosmic maintenance and destruction, and the movement 
of time, which is the direct representation of the Supreme Soul, the Personality 
of Godhead, Lord Visnu.

Shukadeva Gosvami said: My dear King, in the beginning, during Satya-yuga, the 
age of truth, religion is present with all four of its legs intact and is 
carefully maintained by the people of that age. These four legs of powerful 
religion are truthfulness, mercy, austerity and charity. 

The people of Satya-yuga are for the most part self-satisfied, merciful, 
friendly to all, peaceful, sober and tolerant. They take their pleasure from 
within, see all things equally and always endeavor diligently for spiritual 

In Treta-yuga each leg of religion is gradually reduced by one quarter by the 
influence of the four pillars of irreligion - lying, violence, dissatisfaction 
and quarrel. 

In the Treta age people are devoted to ritual performances and severe 
austerities. They are not excessively violent or very lusty after sensual 
pleasure. Their interest lies primarily in religiosity, economic development and 
regulated sense gratification, and they achieve prosperity by following the 
prescriptions of the three Vedas. Although in this age society evolves into four 
separate classes, O King, most people are brahmanas.

In Dvapara-yuga the religious qualities of austerity, truth, mercy and charity 
are reduced to one half by their irreligious counterparts - dissatisfaction, 
untruth, violence and enmity.

In the Dvapara age people are interested in glory and are very noble. They 
devote themselves to the study of the Vedas, possess great opulence, support 
large families and enjoy life with vigor. Of the four classes, the ksatriyas and 
brahmanas are most numerous.

In the age of Kali only one fourth of the religious principles remains. That 
last remnant will continuously be decreased by the ever-increasing principles of 
irreligion and will finally be destroyed.

In the Kali age people tend to be greedy, ill-behaved and merciless, and they 
fight one another without good reason. Unfortunate and obsessed with material 
desires, the people of Kali-yuga are almost all shudras and barbarians. 

The material modes - goodness, passion and ignorance - whose permutations are 
observed within a person's mind, are set into motion by the power of time. 

When the mind, intelligence and senses are solidly fixed in the mode of 
goodness, that time should be understood as Satya-yuga, the age of truth. People 
then take pleasure in knowledge and austerity. 

O most intelligent one, when the conditioned souls are devoted to their duties 
but have ulterior motives and seek personal prestige, you should understand such 
a situation to be the age of Treta, in which the functions of passion are 

When greed, dissatisfaction, false pride, hypocrisy and envy become prominent, 
along with attraction for selfish activities, such a time is the age of Dvapara, 
dominated by the mixed modes of passion and ignorance.

When there is a predominance of cheating, lying, sloth, sleepiness, violence, 
depression, lamentation, bewilderment, fear and poverty, that age is Kali, the 
age of the mode of ignorance. 

Because of the bad qualities of the age of Kali, human beings will become 
shortsighted, unfortunate, gluttonous, lustful and poverty-stricken. The women, 
becoming unchaste, will freely wander from one man to the next. 

Cities will be dominated by thieves, the Vedas will be contaminated by 
speculative interpretations of atheists, political leaders will virtually 
consume the citizens, and the so-called priests and intellectuals will be 
devotees of their bellies and genitals. 

The brahmacaris will fail to execute their vows and become generally unclean, 
the householders will become beggars, the vanaprasthas will live in the 
villages, and the sannyasis will become greedy for wealth. 

Women will become much smaller in size, and they will eat too much, have more 
children than they can properly take care of, and lose all shyness. They will 
always speak harshly and will exhibit qualities of thievery, deceit and 
unrestrained audacity.

Businessmen will engage in petty commerce and earn their money by cheating. Even 
when there is no emergency, people will consider any degraded occupation quite 

Servants will abandon a master who has lost his wealth, even if that master is a 
saintly person of exemplary character. Masters will abandon an incapacitated 
servant, even if that servant has been in the family for generations. Cows will 
be abandoned or killed when they stop giving milk. 

In Kali-yuga men will be wretched and controlled by women. They will reject 
their fathers, brothers, other relatives and friends and will instead associate 
with the sisters and brothers of their wives. Thus their conception of 
friendship will be based exclusively on sexual ties.

Uncultured men will accept charity on behalf of the Lord and will earn their 
livelihood by making a show of austerity and wearing a mendicant's dress. Those 
who know nothing about religion will mount a high seat and presume to speak on 
religious principles. 

In the age of Kali, people's minds will always be agitated. They will become 
emaciated by famine and taxation, my dear King, and will always be disturbed by 
fear of drought. They will lack adequate clothing, food and drink, will be 
unable to properly rest, have sex or bathe themselves, and will have no 
ornaments to decorate their bodies. In fact, the people of Kali-yuga will 
gradually come to appear like ghostly, haunted creatures. 

In Kali-yuga men will develop hatred for each other even over a few coins. 
Giving up all friendly relations, they will be ready to lose their own lives and 
kill even their own relatives.

Men will no longer protect their elderly parents, their children or their 
respectable wives. Thoroughly degraded, they will care only to satisfy their own 
bellies and genitals. 

O King, in the age of Kali people's intelligence will be diverted by atheism, 
and they will almost never offer sacrifice to the Supreme Personality of 
Godhead, who is the supreme spiritual master of the universe. Although the great 
personalities who control the three worlds all bow down to the lotus feet of the 
Supreme Lord, the petty and miserable human beings of this age will not do so. 

Terrified, about to die, a man collapses on his bed. Although his voice is 
faltering and he is hardly conscious of what he is saying, if he utters the holy 
name of the Supreme Lord he can be freed from the reaction of his fruitive work 
and achieve the supreme destination. But still people in the age of Kali will 
not worship the Supreme Lord. 

In the Kali-yuga, objects, places and even individual personalities are all 
polluted. The almighty Personality of Godhead, however, can remove all such 
contamination from the life of one who fixes the Lord within his mind.

If a person hears about, glorifies, meditates upon, worships or simply offers 
great respect to the Supreme Lord, who is situated within the heart, the Lord 
will remove from his mind the contamination accumulated during many thousands of 

Just as fire applied to gold removes any discoloration caused by traces of other 
metals, Lord Visnu within the heart purifies the minds of the yogis. 

By one's engaging in the processes of demigod worship, austerities, breath 
control, compassion, bathing in holy places, strict vows, charity and chanting 
of various mantras, one's mind cannot attain the same absolute purification as 
that achieved when the unlimited Personality of Godhead appears within one's 

Therefore, O King, endeavor with all your might to fix the Supreme Lord Keshava 
within your heart. Maintain this concentration upon the Lord, and at the time of 
death you will certainly attain the supreme destination. 

My dear King, the Personality of Godhead is the ultimate controller. He is the 
Supreme Soul and the supreme shelter of all beings. When meditated upon by those 
about to die, He reveals to them their own eternal spiritual identity.

My dear King, although Kali-yuga is an ocean of faults, there is still one good 
quality about this age: Simply by chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, one can 
become free from material bondage and be promoted to the transcendental kingdom. 

Whatever result was obtained in Satya-yuga by meditating on Visnu, in Treta-yuga 
by performing sacrifices, and in Dvapara-yuga by serving the Lord's lotus feet 
can be obtained in Kali-yuga simply by chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra. 

CHAPTER FOUR The Four Categories of Universal Annihilation

Shukadeva Gosvami said: My dear King, I have already described to you the 
measurements of time, beginning from the smallest fraction measured by the 
movement of a single atom up to the total life span of Lord Brahma. I have also 
discussed the measurement of the different millennia of universal history. Now 
hear about the time of Brahma's day and the process of annihilation.

One thousand cycles of four ages constitute a single day of Brahma, known as a 
kalpa. In that period, O King, fourteen Manus come and go.

After one day of Brahma, annihilation occurs during his night, which is of the 
same duration. At that time all the three planetary systems are subject to 

This is called the naimittika, or occasional, annihilation, during which the 
original creator, Lord Narayana, lies down upon the bed of Ananta Shesa and 
absorbs the entire universe within Himself while Lord Brahma sleeps.

When the two halves of the lifetime of Lord Brahma, the most elevated created 
being, are complete, the seven basic elements of creation are annihilated.

O King, upon the annihilation of the material elements, the universal egg, 
comprising the elemental amalgamation of creation, is confronted with 

As annihilation approaches, O King, there will be no rain upon the earth for one 
hundred years. Drought will lead to famine, and the starving populace will 
literally consume one another. The inhabitants of the earth, bewildered by the 
force of time, will gradually be destroyed.

The sun in its annihilating form will drink up with its terrible rays all the 
water of the ocean, of living bodies and of the earth itself. But the 
devastating sun will not give any rain in return.

Next the great fire of annihilation will flare up from the mouth of Lord 
Sankarsana. Carried by the mighty force of the wind, this fire will burn 
throughout the universe, scorching the lifeless cosmic shell.

Burned from all sides - from above by the blazing sun and from below by the fire 
of Lord Sankarsana - the universal sphere will glow like a burning ball of cow 

A great and terrible wind of destruction will begin to blow for more than one 
hundred years, and the sky, covered with dust, will turn gray.

After that, O King, groups of multicolored clouds will gather, roaring terribly 
with thunder, and will pour down floods of rain for one hundred years.

At that time, the shell of the universe will fill up with water, forming a 
single cosmic ocean.

As the entire universe is flooded, the water will rob the earth of its unique 
quality of fragrance, and the element earth, deprived of its distinguishing 
quality, will be dissolved. 

The element fire then seizes the taste from the element water, which, deprived 
of its unique quality, taste, merges into fire. Air seizes the form inherent in 
fire, and then fire, deprived of form, merges into air. The element ether seizes 
the quality of air, namely touch, and that air enters into ether. Then, O King, 
false ego in ignorance seizes sound, the quality of ether, after which ether 
merges into false ego. False ego in the mode of passion takes hold of the 
senses, and false ego in the mode of goodness absorbs the demigods. Then the 
total mahat-tattva seizes false ego along with its various functions, and that 
mahat is seized by the three basic modes of nature - goodness, passion and 
ignorance. My dear King Pariksit, these modes are further overtaken by the 
original unmanifest form of nature, impelled by time. That unmanifest nature is 
not subject to the six kinds of transformation caused by the influence of time. 
Rather, it has no beginning and no end. It is the unmanifest, eternal and 
infallible cause of creation.

In the unmanifest stage of material nature, called pradhana, there is no 
expression of words, no mind and no manifestation of the subtle elements 
beginning from the mahat, nor are there the modes of goodness, passion and 
ignorance. There is no life air or intelligence, nor any senses or demigods. 
There is no definite arrangement of planetary systems, nor are there present the 
different stages of consciousness - sleep, wakefulness and deep sleep. There is 
no ether, water, earth, air, fire or sun. The situation is just like that of 
complete sleep, or of voidness. Indeed, it is indescribable. Authorities in 
spiritual science explain, however, that since pradhana is the original 
substance, it is the actual basis of material creation.

This is the annihilation called prakrtika, during which the energies belonging 
to the Supreme Person and His unmanifest material nature, disassembled by the 
force of time, are deprived of their potencies and merge together totally.

It is the Absolute Truth alone who manifests in the forms of intelligence, the 
senses and the objects of sense perception, and who is their ultimate basis. 
Whatever has a beginning and an end is insubstantial because of being an object 
perceived by limited senses and because of being nondifferent from its own 

A lamp, the eye that views by the light of that lamp, and the visible form that 
is viewed are all basically nondifferent from the element fire. In the same way, 
intelligence, the senses and sense perceptions have no existence separate from 
the supreme reality, although that Absolute Truth remains totally distinct from 

The three states of intelligence are called waking consciousness, sleep and deep 
sleep. But, my dear King, the variegated experiences created for the pure living 
entity by these different states are nothing more than illusion. 

Just as clouds in the sky come into being and are then dispersed by the 
amalgamation and dissolution of their constituent elements, this material 
universe is created and destroyed within the Absolute Truth by the amalgamation 
and dissolution of its elemental, constituent parts.

My dear King, it is stated [in the Vedanta-sutra] that the ingredient cause that 
constitutes any manifested product in this universe can be perceived as a 
separate reality, just as the threads that make up a cloth can be perceived 
separately from their product.

Anything experienced in terms of general cause and specific effect must be an 
illusion, because such causes and effects exist only relative to each other. 
Indeed, whatever has a beginning and an end is unreal. 

Although perceived, the transformation of even a single atom of material nature 
has no ultimate definition without reference to the Supreme Soul. To be accepted 
as factually existing, something must possess the same quality as pure spirit - 
eternal, unchanging existence. 

There is no material duality in the Absolute Truth. The duality perceived by an 
ignorant person is like the difference between the sky contained in an empty pot 
and the sky outside the pot, or the difference between the reflection of the sun 
in water and the sun itself in the sky, or the difference between the vital air 
within one living body and that within another body.

According to their different purposes, men utilize gold in various ways, and 
gold is therefore perceived in various forms. In the same way, the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead, who is inaccessible to material senses, is described in 
various terms, both ordinary and Vedic, by different types of men. 

Although a cloud is a product of the sun and is also made visible by the sun, it 
nevertheless creates darkness for the viewing eye, which is another partial 
expansion of the sun. Similarly, material false ego, a particular product of the 
Absolute Truth made visible by the Absolute Truth, obstructs the individual 
soul, another partial expansion of the Absolute Truth, from realizing the 
Absolute Truth.

When the cloud originally produced from the sun is torn apart, the eye can see 
the actual form of the sun. Similarly, when the spirit soul destroys his 
material covering of false ego by inquiring into the transcendental science, he 
regains his original spiritual awareness. 

My dear Pariksit, when the illusory false ego that binds the soul has been cut 
off with the sword of discriminating knowledge and one has developed realization 
of Lord Acyuta, the Supreme Soul, this is called the atyantika, or ultimate, 
annihilation of material existence.

Experts in the subtle workings of nature, O subduer of the enemy, have declared 
that there are continuous processes of creation and annihilation that all 
created beings, beginning with Brahma, constantly undergo.

All material entities undergo transformation and are constantly and swiftly 
eroded by the mighty currents of time. The various stages of existence that 
material things exhibit are the perpetual causes of their generation and 

These stages of existence created by beginningless and endless time, the 
impersonal representative of the Supreme Lord, are not visible, just as the 
infinitesimal momentary changes of position of the planets in the sky cannot be 
directly seen. 

In this way the progress of time is described in terms of the four kinds of 
annihilation - continuous, occasional, elemental and final.

O best of the Kurus, I have related to you these narrations of the pastimes of 
Lord Narayana, the creator of this world and the ultimate reservoir of all 
existence, presenting them to you only in brief summary. Even Lord Brahma 
himself would be incapable of describing them entirely.

For a person who is suffering in the fire of countless miseries and who desires 
to cross the insurmountable ocean of material existence, there is no suitable 
boat except that of cultivating devotion to the transcendental taste for the 
narrations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead's pastimes. 

Long ago this essential anthology of all the Puranas was spoken by the 
infallible Lord Nara-Narayana Risi to Narada, who then repeated it to Krsna 
Dvaipayana Vedavyasa.

My dear Maharaja Pariksit, that great personality Shrila Vyasadeva taught me 
this same scripture, Shrimad-Bhagavatam, which is equal in stature to the four 

O best of the Kurus, the same Suta Gosvami who is sitting before us will speak 
this Bhagavatam to the sages assembled in the great sacrifice at Naimisaranya. 
This he will do when questioned by the members of the assembly, headed by 

CHAPTER FIVE Shukadeva Gosvami's Final Instructions to Maharaja Pariksit

Shukadeva Gosvami said: This Shrimad-Bhagavatam has elaborately described in 
various narrations the Supreme Soul of all that be - the Personality of Godhead, 
Hari - from whose satisfaction Brahma is born and from whose anger Rudra takes 

O King, give up the animalistic mentality of thinking, 'I am going lo die.' 
Unlike the body, you have not taken birth. There was not a time in the past when 
you did not exist, and you are not about to be destroyed. 

You will not take birth again in the form of your sons and grandsons, like a 
sprout taking birth from a seed and then generating a new seed. Rather, you are 
entirely distinct from the material body and its paraphernalia, in the same way 
that fire is distinct from its fuel. 

In a dream one can see his own head being cut off and thus understand that his 
actual self is standing apart from the dream experience. Similarly, while awake 
one can see that his body is a product of the five material elements. Therefore 
it is to be understood that the actual self, the soul, is distinct from the body 
it observes and is unborn and immortal.

When a pot is broken, the portion of sky within the pot remains as the element 
sky, just as before. In the same way, when the gross and subtle bodies die, the 
living entity within resumes his spiritual identity.

The material bodies, qualities and activities of the spirit soul are created by 
the material mind. That mind is itself created by the illusory potency of the 
Supreme Lord, and thus the soul assumes material existence.

A lamp functions as such only by the combination of its fuel, vessel, wick and 
fire. Similarly, material life, based on the soul's identification with the 
body, is developed and destroyed by the workings of material goodness, passion 
and ignorance, which are the constituent elements of the body.

The soul within the body is self-luminous and is separate from the visible gross 
body and invisible subtle body. It remains as the fixed basis of changing bodily 
existence, just as the ethereal sky is the unchanging background of material 
transformation. Therefore the soul is endless and without material comparison.

My dear King, by constantly meditating upon the Supreme Lord, Vasudeva, and by 
applying clear and logical intelligence, you should carefully consider your true 
self and how it is situated within the material body.

The snake-bird Taksaka, sent by the curse of the brahmana, will not burn your 
true self. The agents of death will never burn such a master of the self as you, 
for you have already conquered all dangers on your path back to Godhead. 

You should consider, 'I am nondifferent from the Absolute Truth, the supreme 
abode, and that Absolute Truth, the supreme destination, is nondifferent from 
me.' Thus resigning yourself to the Supreme Soul, who is free from all material 
misidentifications, you will not even notice the snake-bird Taksaka when he 
approaches with his poison-filled fangs and bites your foot. Nor will you see 
your dying body or the material world around you, because you will have realized 
yourself to be separate from them.

Beloved King Pariksit, I have narrated to you the topics you originally inquired 
about - the pastimes of Lord Hari, the Supreme Soul of the universe. Now, what 
more do you wish to hear? 

CHAPTER SIX Maharaja Pariksit Passes Away 

Suta Gosvami said: After hearing all that was narrated to him by the self-
realized and equipoised Shukadeva, the son of Vyasadeva, Maharaja Pariksit 
humbly approached his lotus feet. Bowing his head down upon the sage's feet, the 
King, who had lived his entire life under the protection of Lord Visnu, folded 
his hands in supplication and spoke as follows. 

Maharaja Pariksit said: I have now achieved the purpose of my life, because a 
great and merciful soul like you has shown such kindness to me. You have 
personally spoken to me this narration of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, 
Hari, who is without beginning or end.

I do not consider it at all amazing that great souls such as yourself, whose 
minds are always absorbed in the infallible Personality of Godhead, show mercy 
to the foolish conditioned souls, tormented as we are by the problems of 
material life.

I have heard from you this Shrimad-Bhagavatam, which is the perfect summary of 
all the Puranas and which perfectly describes the Supreme Lord, Uttamashloka.

My lord, I now have no fear of Taksaka or any other living being, or even of 
repeated deaths, because I have absorbed myself in that purely spiritual 
Absolute Truth, which you have revealed and which destroys all fear.

O brahmana, please give me permission to resign my speech and the functions of 
all my senses unto Lord Adhoksaja. Allow me to absorb my mind, purified of lusty 
desires, within Him and to thus give up my life. 

You have revealed to me that which is most auspicious, the supreme personal 
feature of the Lord. I am now fixed in knowledge and self-realization, and my 
ignorance has been eradicated.

Suta Gosvami said: Thus requested, the saintly son of Shrila Vyasadeva gave his 
permission to King Pariksit. Then, after being worshiped by the King and all the 
sages present, Shukadeva departed from that place.

Maharaja Pariksit then sat down on the bank of the Ganges, upon a seat made of 
darbha grass with the tips of its stalks facing east, and turned himself toward 
the north. Having attained the perfection of yoga, he experienced full self-
realization and was free of material attachment and doubt. The saintly King 
settled his mind within his spiritual self by pure intelligence and proceeded to 
meditate upon the Supreme Absolute Truth. His life air ceased to move, and he 
became as stationary as a tree.

O learned brahmanas, the snake-bird Taksaka, who had been sent by the angry son 
of a brahmana, was going toward the King to kill him when he saw Kashyapa Muni 
on the path.

Taksaka flattered Kashyapa by presenting him with valuable offerings and thereby 
stopped the sage, who was expert in counteracting poison, from protecting 
Maharaja Pariksit. Then the snakebird, who could assume any form he wished, 
disguised himself as a brahmana, approached the King and bit him. 

While living beings all over the universe looked on, the body of the great self-
realized saint among kings was immediately burned to ashes by the fire of the 
snake's poison.

There arose a terrible cry of lamentation in all directions on the earth and in 
the heavens, and all the demigods, demons, human beings and other creatures were 

Kettledrums sounded in the regions of the demigods, and the celestial Gandharvas 
and Apsaras sang. The demigods showered flowers and spoke words of praise. 

Hearing that his father had been fatally bitten by the snakebird, Maharaja 
Janamejaya became extremely angry and had brahmanas perform a mighty sacrifice 
in which he offered all the snakes in the world into the sacrificial fire.

When Taksaka saw even the most powerful serpents being burned in the blazing 
fire of that snake sacrifice, he was overwhelmed with fear and approached Lord 
Indra for shelter.

When King Janamejaya did not see Taksaka entering his sacrificial fire, he said 
to the brahmanas: Why is not Taksaka, the lowest of all serpents, burning in 
this fire?

The brahmanas replied: O best of kings, the snake Taksaka has not fallen into 
the fire because he is being protected by Indra, whom he has approached for 
shelter. Indra is holding him back from the fire.

The intelligent King Janamejaya, hearing these words, replied to the priests: 
Then, my dear brahmanas, why not make Taksaka fall into the fire, along with his 
protector, Indra?

Hearing this, the priests then chanted this mantra for offering Taksaka together 
with Indra as an oblation into the sacrificial fire: O Taksaka, fall immediately 
into this fire, together with Indra and his entire host of demigods!

When Lord Indra, along with his airplane and Taksaka, was suddenly thrown from 
his position by these insulting words of the brahmanas, he became very 

Brhaspati, the son of Angira Muni, seeing Indra falling from the sky in his 
airplane along with Taksaka, approached King Janamejaya and spoke to him as 

O King among men, it is not fitting that this king of snakes meet death at your 
hands, for he has drunk the nectar of the immortal demigods. Consequently he is 
not subject to the ordinary symptoms of old age and death.

The life and death of an embodied soul and his destination in the next life are 
all caused by himself through his own activity. Therefore, O King, no other 
agent is actually responsible for creating one's happiness and distress. 

When a conditioned soul is killed by snakes, thieves, fire, lightning, hunger, 
disease or anything else, he is experiencing the reaction to his own past work. 

Therefore, my dear King, please stop this sacrificial performance, which was 
initiated with the intent of doing harm to others. Many innocent snakes have 
already been burned to death. Indeed, all persons must suffer the unforeseen 
consequences of their past activities. 

Suta Gosvami continued: Advised in this manner, Maharaja Janamejaya replied, 'So 
be it.' Honoring the words of the great sage, he desisted from performing the 
snake sacrifice and worshiped Brhaspati, the most eloquent of sages.

This is indeed the Supreme Lord Visnu's illusory energy, which is unstoppable 
and difficult to perceive. Although the individual spirit souls are part and 
parcel of the Lord, through the influence of this illusory energy they are 
bewildered by their identification with various material bodies. 

But there exists a supreme reality, in which the illusory energy cannot 
fearlessly dominate, thinking, 'I can control this person because he is 
deceitful.' In that highest reality there are no illusory argumentative 
philosophies. Rather, there the true students of spiritual science constantly 
engage in authorized spiritual investigation. In that supreme reality there is 
no manifestation of the material mind, which functions in terms of alternating 
decision and doubt. Created material products, their subtle causes and the goals 
of enjoyment attained by their utilization do not exist there. Furthermore, in 
that supreme reality there is no conditioned spirit, covered by false ego and 
the three modes of nature. That reality excludes everything limited or limiting. 
One who is wise should therefore stop the waves of material life and enjoy 
within that Supreme Truth. 

Those who desire to give up all that is not essentially real move 
systematically, by negative discrimination of the extraneous, to the supreme 
position of Lord Visnu. Giving up petty materialism, they offer their love 
exclusively to the Absolute Truth within their hearts and embrace that highest 
truth in fixed meditation. 

Such devotees come to understand the supreme transcendental situation of the 
Personality of Godhead, Lord Visnu, because they are no longer polluted by the 
concepts of 'I' and 'my,' which are based on body and home.

One should tolerate all insults and never fail to show proper respect to any 
person. Avoiding identification with the material body, one should not create 
enmity with anyone.

I offer my obeisances to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the invincible Lord 
Shri Krsna. Simply by meditating upon His lotus feet I have been able to study 
and appreciate this great literature.

Shaunaka Risi said: O gentle Suta, please narrate to us how Paila and the other 
greatly intelligent disciples of Shrila Vyasadeva, who are known as the standard 
authorities of Vedic wisdom, spoke and edited the Vedas.

Suta Gosvami said: O brahmana, first the subtle vibration of transcendental 
sound appeared from the sky of the heart of the most elevated Lord Brahma, whose 
mind was perfectly fixed in spiritual realization. One can perceive this subtle 
vibration when one stops all external hearing. 

By worship of this subtle form of the Vedas, O brahmana, mystic sages cleanse 
their hearts of all contamination caused by impurity of substance, activity and 
doer, and thus they attain freedom from repeated birth and death.

From that transcendental subtle vibration arose the omkara composed of three 
sounds. The omkara has unseen potencies and manifests automatically within a 
purified heart. It is the representation of the Absolute Truth in all three of 
His phases - the Supreme Personality, the Supreme Soul and the supreme 
impersonal truth.

This omkara, ultimately nonmaterial and imperceptible, is heard by the Supersoul 
without His possessing material ears or any other material senses. The entire 
expanse of Vedic sound is elaborated from omkara, which appears from the soul, 
within the sky of the heart. It is the direct designation of the self-
originating Absolute Truth, the Supersoul, and is the secret essence and eternal 
seed of all Vedic hymns. 

Omkara exhibited the three original sounds of the alphabet - A, U and M. These 
three, O most eminent descendant of Bhrgu, sustain all the different threefold 
aspects of material existence, including the three modes of nature, the names of 
the Rig, Yajur and Sama Vedas, the goals known as the Bhur, Bhuvar and Svar 
planetary systems, and the three functional platforms called waking 
consciousness, sleep and deep sleep.

From that omkara Lord Brahma created all the sounds of the alphabet - the 
vowels, consonants, semivowels, sibilants and others - distinguished by such 
features as long and short measure.

All-powerful Brahma made use of this collection of sounds to produce from his 
four faces the four Vedas, which appeared together with the sacred omkara and 
the seven vyahrti invocations. His intention was to propagate the process of 
Vedic sacrifice according to the different functions performed by the priests of 
each of the four Vedas.

Brahma taught these Vedas to his sons, who were great sages among the brahmanas 
and experts in the art of Vedic recitation. They in turn took the role of 
acaryas and imparted the Vedas to their own sons.

In this way, throughout the cycles of four ages, generation aher generation of 
disciples - all firmly fixed in their spiritual vows - have received these Vedas 
by disciplic succession. At the end of each Dvapara-yuga the Vedas are edited 
into separate divisions by eminent sages.

Observing that people in general were diminished in their life span, strength 
and intelligence by the influence of time, great sages took inspiration from the 
Personality of Godhead sitting within their hearts and systematically divided 
the Vedas.

O brahmana, in the present age of Vaivasvata Manu, the leaders of the universe, 
led by Brahma and Shiva, requested the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the 
protector of all the worlds, to save the principles of religion. O most 
fortunate Shaunaka, the almighty Lord, exhibiting a divine spark of a portion of 
His plenary portion, then appeared in the womb of Satyavati as the son of 
Parashara. In this form, named Krsna Dvaipayana Vyasa, he divided the one Veda 
into four.

Shrila Vyasadeva separated the mantras of the Rig, Atharva, Yajur and Sama Vedas 
into four divisions, just as one sorts out a mixed collection of jewels into 
piles. Thus he composed four distinct Vedic literatures. 

The most powerful and intelligent Vyasadeva called four of his disciples, O 
brahmana, and entrusted to each of them one of these four samhitas.

Shrila Vyasadeva taught the first samhita, the Rig Veda, to Paila and gave this 
collection the name Bahvrca. To the sage Vaishampayana he spoke the collection 
of Yajur mantras named Nigada. He taught the Sama Veda mantras, designated as 
the Chandoga-samhita, to Jaimini, and he spoke the Atharva Veda to his dear 
disciple Sumantu.

After dividing his samhita into two parts, the wise Paila spoke it to 
Indrapramiti and Baskala. Baskala further divided his collection into four 
parts, O Bhargava, and instructed them to his disciples Bodhya, Yajnavalkya, 
Parashara and Agnimitra. Indrapramiti, the self-controlled sage, taught his 
samhita to the learned mystic Mandukeya, whose disciple Devamitra later passed 
down the divisions of the Rig Veda to Saubhari and others. 

The son of Mandukeya, named Shakalya, divided his own collection into five, 
entrusting one subdivision each to Vatsya, Mudgala, Shaliya, Gokhalya and 

The sage Jatukarnya was also a disciple of Shakalya, and after dividing the 
samhita he received from Shakalya into three parts, he added a fourth section, a 
Vedic glossary. He taught one of these parts to each of four disciples - Balaka, 
the second Paila, Jabala and Viraja.

Baskali assembled the Valakhilya-samhita, a collection from all the branches of 
the Rig Veda. This collection was received by Valayani, Bhajya and Kashara. 

Thus these various samhitas of the Rig Veda were maintained through disciplic 
succession by these saintly brahmanas. Simply by hearing of this distribution of 
the Vedic hymns, one will be freed from all sins.

The disciples of Vaishampayana became authorities in the Atharva Veda. They were 
known as the Carakas because they executed strict vows to free their guru from 
his sin of killing a brahmana.

Once Yajnavalkya, one of the disciples of Vaishampayana, said: O master, how 
much benefit will be derived from the feeble endeavors of these weak disciples 
of yours? I will personally perform some outstanding penance.

Addressed thus, the spiritual master Vaishampayana became angry and said: Go 
away from here! Enough of you, O disciple who insults brahmanas! Furthermore, 
you must immediately give back everything I have taught you. 

Yajnavalkya, the son of Devarata, then vomited the mantras of the Yajur Veda and 
went away from there. The assembled disciples, looking greedily upon these yajur 
hymns, assumed the form of partridges and picked them all up. These divisions of 
the Yajur Veda therefore became known as the most beautiful Taittiriya-samhita, 
the hymns collected by partridges [tittira]. 

My dear brahmana Shaunaka, Yajnavalkya then desired to find out new yajur-
mantras unknown to even his spiritual master. With this in mind he offered 
attentive worship to the powerful lord of the sun.

Shri Yajnavalkya said: I offer my respectful obeisances to the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead appearing as the sun. You are present as the controller 
of the four kinds of living entities, beginning from Brahma and extending down 
to the blades of grass. Just as the sky is present both inside and outside every 
living being, you exist both within the hearts of all as the Supersoul and 
externally in the form of time. Just as the sky cannot be covered by the clouds 
present within it, you are never covered by any false material designation. By 
the flow of years, which are made up of the tiny fragments of time called 
ksanas, lavas and nimesas, you alone maintain this world, drying up the waters 
and giving them back as rain. 

O glowing one, O powerful lord of the sun, you are the chief of all the 
demigods. I meditate with careful attention on your fiery globe, because for 
those who offer prayers to you three times daily according to the Vedic method 
passed down through authorized disciplic succession, you burn away all sinful 
activities, all consequent suffering and even the original seed of desire.

You are personally present as the indwelling lord in the hearts of all moving 
and nonmoving beings, who depend completely on your shelter. Indeed, you animate 
their material minds, senses and vital airs to act.

The world has been seized and swallowed by the python of darkness in its 
horrible mouth and has become unconscious, as if dead. But mercifully glancing 
upon the sleeping people of the world, you raise them up with the gift of sight. 
Thus you are most magnanimous. At the three sacred junctures of each day, you 
engage the pious in the path of ultimate good, inducing them to perform 
religious duties that situate them in their spiritual position. 

Just like an earthly king, you travel about everywhere spreading fear among the 
unholy as the powerful deities of the directions offer you in their folded palms 
lotus flowers and other respectful presentations.

Therefore, my lord, I am prayerfully approaching your lotus feet, which are 
honored by the spiritual masters of the three worlds, because I hope to receive 
from you mantras of the Yajur Veda unknown to anyone else.

Suta Gosvami said: Satisfied by such glorification, the powerful sun-god assumed 
the form of a horse and presented to the sage Yajnavalkya yajur-mantras 
previously unknown in human society.

From these countless hundreds of mantras of the Yajur Veda, the powerful sage 
compiled fifteen new branches of Vedic literature. These became known as the 
Vajasaneyi-samhita because they were produced from the hairs of the horse's 
mane, and they were accepted in disciplic succession by the followers of Kanva, 
Madhyandina and other rsis.

Jaimini Risi, the authority of the Sama Veda, had a son named Sumantu, and the 
son of Sumantu was Sutvan. The sage Jaimini spoke to each of them a different 
part of the Sama-veda-samhita.

Sukarma, another disciple of Jaimini, was a great scholar. He divided the mighty 
tree of the Sama Veda into one thousand samhitas. Then, O brahmana, three 
disciples of Sukarma - Hiranyanabha, the son of Kushala; Pausyanji; and Avantya, 
who was very advanced in spiritual realization - took charge of the sama-

The five hundred disciples of Pausyanji and Avantya became known as the northern 
singers of the Sama Veda, and in later times some of them also became known as 
eastern singers.

Five other disciples of Pausyanji, namely Laugaksi, Mangali, Kulya, Kushida and 
Kuksi, each received one hundred samhitas.

Krta, the disciple of Hiranyanabha, spoke twenty four samhitas to his own 
disciples, and the remaining collections were passed down by the self-realized 
sage Avantya. 

CHAPTER SEVEN The Puranic Literatures

Suta Gosvami said: Sumantu Risi, the authority on the Atharva Veda, taught his 
samhita to his disciple Kabandha, who in turn spoke it to Pathya and Vedadarsha. 

Shauklayani, Brahmabali, Modosa and Pippalayani were disciples of Vedadarsha. 
Hear from me also the names of the disciples of Pathya. My dear brahmana, they 
are Kumuda, Shunaka and Jajali, all of whom knew the Atharva Veda very well. 

Babhru and Saindhavayana, disciples of Shunaka, studied the two divisions of 
their spiritual master's compilation of the Atharva Veda. Saindhavayana's 
disciple Savarna and disciples of other great sages also studied this edition of 
the Atharva Veda.

Naksatrakalpa, Shantikalpa, Kashyapa, Angirasa and others were also among the 
acaryas of the Atharva Veda. Now, O sage, listen as I name the authorities on 
Puranic literature.

Trayyaruni, Kashyapa, Savarni, Akrtavrana, Vaishampayana and Harita are the six 
masters of the Puranas.

Each of them studied one of the six anthologies of the Puranas from my father, 
Romaharsana, who was a disciple of Shrila Vyasadeva. I became the disciple of 
these six authorities and thoroughly learned all their presentations of Puranic 

Romaharsana, a disciple of Vedavyasa, divided the Puranas into four basic 
compilations. The sage Kashyapa and I, along with Savarni and Akrtavrana, a 
disciple of Rama, learned these four divisions.

O Shaunaka, please hear with attention the characteristics of a Purana, which 
have been defined by the most eminent learned brahmanas in accordance with Vedic 

O brahmana, authorities on the matter understand a Purana to contain ten 
characteristic topics: the creation of this universe, the subsequent creation of 
worlds and beings, the maintenance of all living beings, their sustenance, the 
rule of various Manus, the dynasties of great kings, the activities of such 
kings, annihilation, motivation and the supreme shelter. Other scholars state 
that the great Puranas deal with these ten topics, while lesser Puranas may deal 
with five. 

From the agitation of the original modes within the unmanifest material nature, 
the mahat-tattva arises. From the mahat-tattva comes the element false ego, 
which divides into three aspects. This threefold false ego further manifests as 
the subtle forms of perception, as the senses and as the gross sense objects. 
The generation of all these is called creation.

The secondary creation, which exists by the mercy of the Lord, is the manifest 
amalgamation of the desires of the living entities. Just as a seed produces 
additional seeds, activities that promote material desires in the performer 
produce moving and nonmoving life forms. 

Vrtti means the process of sustenance, by which the moving beings live upon the 
nonmoving. For a human, vrtti specifically means acting for one's livelihood in 
a manner suited to his personal nature. Such action may be carried out either in 
pursuit of selfish desire or in accordance with the law of God.

In each age, the infallible Lord appears in this world among the animals, human 
beings, sages and demigods. By His activities in these incarnations He protects 
the universe and kills the enemies of Vedic culture. 

In each reign of Manu, six types of personalities appear as manifestations of 
Lord Hari: the ruling Manu, the chief demigods, the sons of Manu, Indra, the 
great sages and the partial incarnations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Dynasties are lines of kings originating with Lord Brahma and extending 
continuously through past, present and future. The accounts of such dynasties, 
especially of their most prominent members, constitute the subject of dynastic 

There are four types of cosmic annihilation - occasional, elemental, continuous 
and ultimate - all of which are effected by the inherent poteney of the Supreme 
Lord. Learned scholars have designated this topic dissolution.

Out of ignorance the living being performs material activities and thereby 
becomes in one sense the cause of the creation, maintenance and destruction of 
the universe. Some authorities call the living being the personality underlying 
the material creation, while others say he is the unmanifest self. 

The Supreme Absolute Truth is present throughout all the stages of awareness - 
waking consciousness, sleep and deep sleep - throughout all the phenomena 
manifested by the illusory energy, and within the functions of all living 
entities, and He also exists separate from all these. Thus situated in His own 
transcendence, He is the ultimate and unique shelter.

Although a material object may assume various forms and names, its essential 
ingredient is always present as the basis of its existence. Similarly, both 
conjointly and separately, the Supreme Absolute Truth is always present with the 
created material body throughout its phases of existence, beginning with 
conception and ending with death. 

Either automatically or because of one's regulated spiritual practice, one's 
mind may stop functioning on the material platform of waking consciousness, 
sleep and deep sleep. Then one understands the Supreme Soul and withdraws from 
material endeavor. 

Sages expert in ancient histories have declared that the Puranas, according to 
their various characteristics, can be divided into eighteen major Puranas and 
eighteen secondary Puranas.

The eighteen major Puranas are the Brahma, Padma, Visnu, Shiva, Linga, Garuda, 
Narada, Bhagavata, Agni, Skanda, Bhavisya, Brahma-vaivarta, Markandeya, Vamana, 
Varaha, Matsya, Kurma and Brahmanda Puranas. 

I have thoroughly described to you, O brahmana, the expansion of the branches of 
the Vedas by the great sage Vyasadeva, his disciples and the disciples of his 
disciples. One who listens to this narration will increase in spiritual 

CHAPTER EIGHT Markandeya's Prayers to Nara-Narayana Risi

Shri Shaunaka said: O Suta, 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. 

Authorities say that Markandeya Risi, the son of Mrkandu. was an exceptionally 
long-lived sage who was the only survivor at the end of Brahma's day, when the 
entire universe was merged in the flood of annihilation. But this same 
Markandeya Risi, the foremost descendant of Bhrgu, took birth in my own family 
during the current day of Brahma, and we have not yet seen any total 
annihilation in this day of Brahma. Also, it is well known that Markandeya 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 Suta, I am most bewildered and curious about this great sage, 
Markandeya Risi. O great yogi, you are universally accepted as the authority on 
all the Puranas. Therefore kindly dispel my confusion. 

Suta Gosvami said: O great sage Shaunaka, your very question will help remove 
everyone's illusion, for it leads to the topics of Lord Narayana, which cleanse 
away the contamination of this Kali age.

After being purified by his father's performance of the prescribed rituals 
leading to Markandeya's brahminical initiation, Markandeya 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, 
brahmacari belt, black deerskin, lotus-seed prayer beads and bundles of kusha 
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 brahmanas 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, Markandeya Risi worshiped the 
supreme master of the senses, the Personality of Godhead, for countless millions 
of years, and in this way he conquered unconquerable death.

Lord Brahma, Bhrgu Muni, Lord Shiva, Prajapati Daksa, the great sons of Brahma, 
and many others among the human beings, demigods, forefathers and ghostly 
spirits - all were astonished by the achievement of Markandeya Risi.

In this way the devotional mystic Markandeya 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.

While the mystic sage thus concentrated his mind by powerful yoga practice, the 
tremendous period of six lifetimes of Manu passed by.

O brahmana, during the seventh reign of Manu, the current age, Lord Indra came 
to know of Markandeya's austerities and became fearful of his growing mystic 
potency. Thus he tried to impede the sage's penance.

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 

O most powerful Shaunaka, they went to Markandeya's hermitage, on the northern 
side of the Himalaya Mountains where the Puspabhadra River passes by the famous 
peak Citra.

Groves of pious trees decorated the holy ashrama of Markandeya Risi, and many 
saintly brahmanas lived there, enjoying the abundant pure, sacred ponds. The 
ashrama 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.

Springtime then appeared in Markandeya's ashrama. 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 

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 

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.

The women danced before the sage, and the celestial singers sang to the charming 
accompaniment of drums, cymbals and vinas.

While the son of passion [greed personified], spring and the other servants of 
Indra all tried to agitate Markandeya's mind, Cupid drew his five-headed arrow 
and fixed it upon his bow.

The Apsara Punjikasthali 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.

Cupid, thinking he had conquered the sage, then shot his arrow. But all these 
attempts to seduce Markandeya proved futile, just like the useless endeavors of 
an atheist.

O learned Shaunaka, 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.

O brahmana, the followers of Lord Indra had impudently attacked the saintly 
Markandeya, yet he did not succumb to any influence of false ego. For great 
souls such tolerance is not at all surprising.

The mighty King Indra was most astonished when he heard of the mystic prowess of 
the exalted sage Markandeya and saw how Cupid and his associates had become 
powerless in his presence.

Desiring to bestow His mercy upon the saintly Markandeya, 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 Narayana.

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.

These two sages, Nara and Narayana, were the direct personal forms of the 
Supreme Lord. When Markandeya Risi saw Them, he immediately stood up and then 
with great respect offered Them obeisances by falling down flat on the ground 
like a stick.

The ecstasy of seeing Them completely satisfied Markandeya's body, mind and 
senses and caused the hairs on his body to stand on end and his eyes to fill 
with tears. Overwhelmed, Markandeya found it difficult to look at Them.

Standing with his hands folded in supplication and his head bowed in humility, 
Markandeya 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 

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 

Markandeya Risi 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 when addressed Them as follows.

Shri Markandeya 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 Brahma and Shiva. So it is certainly true for me. Nevertheless, You become 
the intimate friend of those who worship You.

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.

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.

My dear Lord, even Lord Brahma, who enjoys his exalted position for the entire 
duration of the universe, fears the passage of time. Then what to speak of those 
whom Brahma 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.

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. 

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. 

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. 

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 Narayana, 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.

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.

My dear Lord, the Vedic literatures alone reveal confidential knowledge of Your 
supreme personality, and thus even such great scholars as Lord Brahma 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. 

CHAPTER NINE Markandeya Risi Sees the Illusory Potency of the Lord

Suta Gosvami said: The Supreme Lord Narayana, the friend of Nara, was satisfied 
by the proper glorification offered by the intelligent sage Markandeya. Thus the 
Lord addressed that excellent descendant of Bhrgu.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Markandeya, you are indeed the 
best of all learned brahmanas. You have perfected your life by practicing fixed 
meditation upon the Supreme Soul, as well as by focusing upon Me your 
undeviating devotional service, your austerities, your study of the Vedas and 
your strict adherence to regulative principles.

We are perfectly satisfied with your practice of lifelong celibacy. Please 
choose whatever benediction you desire, since I can grant your wish. May you 
enjoy all good fortune. 

The sage said: O Lord of lords, all glories to You! O Lord Acyuta, You remove 
all distress for the devotees who surrender unto You. That you have allowed me 
to see You is all the benediction I want.

Such demigods as Lord Brahma achieved their exalted positions simply by seeing 
Your beautiful lotus feet after their minds had become mature in yoga practice. 
And now, my Lord, You have personally appeared before me. 

O lotus-eyed Lord, O crest jewel of renowned personalities, although I am 
satisfied simply by seeing You, I do wish to see Your illusory potency, by whose 
influence the entire world, together with its ruling demigods, considers reality 
to be materially variegated. 

Suta Gosvami said: O wise Shaunaka, thus satisfied by Markandeya's praise and 
worship, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, smiling, replied, 'So be it,' and 
then departed for His hermitage at Badarikashrama. 

Thinking always of his desire to see the Lord's illusory energy, the sage 
remained in his ashrama, meditating constantly upon the Lord within fire, the 
sun, the moon, water, the earth, air, lightning and his own heart and worshiping 
Him with paraphernalia conceived in his mind. But sometimes, overwhelmed by 
waves of love for the Lord, Markandeya would forget to perform his regular 

O brahmana Shaunaka, best of the Bhrgus, one day while Markandeya was performing 
his evening worship on the bank of the Puspabhadra, a great wind suddenly arose.

That wind created a terrible sound and brought in its wake fearsome clouds that 
were accompanied by lightning and roaring thunder and that poured down on all 
sides torrents of rain as heavy as wagon wheels.

Then the four great oceans appeared on all sides, swallowing up the surface of 
the earth with their wind-tossed waves. In these oceans were terrible sea 
monsters, fearful whirlpools and ominous rumblings.

The sage saw all the inhabitants of the universe, including himself, tormented 
within and without by the harsh winds, the bolts of lightning, and the great 
waves rising beyond the sky. As the whole earth flooded, he grew perplexed and 

Even as Markandeya looked on, the rain pouring down from the clouds filled the 
ocean more and more until that great sea, its waters violently whipped into 
terrifying waves by hurricanes, covered up all the earth's islands, mountains 
and continents.

The water inundated the earth, outer space, heaven and the celestial region. 
Indeed, the entire expanse of the universe was flooded in all directions, and 
out of all its inhabitants only Markandeya remained. His matted hair scattered, 
the great sage wandered about alone in the water as if dumb and blind.

Tormented by hunger and thirst, attacked by monstrous makaras and timingila fish 
and battered by the wind and waves, he moved aimlessly through the infinite 
darkness into which he had fallen. As he grew increasingly exhausted, he lost 
all sense of direction and could not tell the sky from the earth.

At times he was engulfed by the great whirlpools, sometimes he was beaten by the 
mighty waves, and at other times the aquatic monsters threatened to devour him 
as they attacked one another. Sometimes he felt lamentation, bewilderment, 
misery, happiness or fear, and at other times he experienced such terrible 
illness and pain that he felt himself dying.

Countless millions of years passed as Markandeya wandered about in that deluge, 
his mind bewildered by the illusory energy of Lord Visnu, the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead.

Once, while wandering in the water, the brahmana Markandeya discovered a small 
island, upon which stood a young banyan tree bearing blossoms and fruits.

Upon a branch of the northeast portion of that tree he saw an infant boy lying 
within a leaf. The child's effulgence was swallowing up the darkness.

The infant's dark-blue complexion was the color of a flawless emerald, His lotus 
face shone with a wealth of beauty, and His throat bore marks like the lines on 
a conchshell. He had a broad chest, a finely shaped nose, beautiful eyebrows, 
and lovely ears that resembled pomegranate flowers and that had inner folds like 
a conchshell's spirals. The corners of His eyes were reddish like the whorl of a 
lotus, and the effulgence of His corallike lips slightly reddened the nectarean, 
enchanting smile on His face. As He breathed, His splendid hair trembled and His 
deep navel became distorted by the moving folds of skin on His abdomen, which 
resembled a banyan leaf. The exalted brahmana watched with amazement as the 
infant took hold of one of His lotus feet with His graceful fingers, placed a 
toe within His mouth and began to suck. 

As Markandeya beheld the child, all his weariness vanished. Indeed, so great was 
his pleasure that the lotus of his heart, along with his lotus eyes, fully 
blossomed and the hairs on his body stood on end. Confused as to the identity of 
the wonderful infant, the sage approached Him. 

Just then the child inhaled, drawing Markandeya within His body like a mosquito. 
There the sage found the entire universe arrayed as it had been before its 
dissolution. Seeing this, Markandeya was most astonished and perplexed.

The sage saw the entire universe: the sky, heavens and earth, the stars, 
mountains, oceans, great islands and continents, the expanses in every 
direction, the saintly and demoniac living beings, the forests, countries, 
rivers, cities and mines, the agricultural villages and cow pastures, and the 
occupational and spiritual activities of the various social divisions. He also 
saw the basic elements of creation along with all their by-products, as well as 
time itself, which regulates the progression of countless ages within the days 
of Brahma. In addition, he saw everything else created for use in material life. 
All this he saw manifested before him as if it were real.

He saw before him the Himalaya Mountains, the Puspabhadra River, and his own 
hermitage, where he had had the audience of the sages Nara-Narayana. Then, as 
Markandeya beheld the entire universe, the infant exhaled, expelling the sage 
from His body and casting him back into the ocean of dissolution.

In that vast sea he again saw the banyan tree growing on the tiny island and the 
infant boy lying within the leaf. The child glanced at him from the corner of 
His eyes with a smile imbued with the nectar of love, and Markandeya took Him 
into his heart through his eyes. Greatly agitated, the sage ran to embrace the 
transcendental Personality of Godhead.

At that moment the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the original master of 
all mysticism and who is hidden within everyone's heart, became invisible to the 
sage, just as the achievements of an incompetent person can suddenly vanish.

After the Lord disappeared, O brahmana, the banyan tree, the great water and the 
dissolution of the universe all vanished as well, and in an instant Markandeya 
found himself back in his own hermitage, just as before. 

CHAPTER TEN Lord Shiva and Uma Glorify Markandeya Risi

Suta Gosvami said: The Supreme Lord Narayana had arranged this opulent display 
of His bewildering potency. Markandeya Risi, having experienced it, took shelter 
of the Lord.

Shri Markandeya said: O Lord Hari, I take shelter of the soles of Your lotus 
feet, which bestow fearlessness upon all who surrender to them. Even the great 
demigods are bewildered by Your illusory energy, which appears to them in the 
guise of knowledge. 

Suta Gosvami said: Lord Rudra, traveling in the sky on his bull and accompanied 
by his consort, Rudrani, as well as his personal associates, observed Markandeya 
in trance.

Goddess Uma, seeing the sage, addressed Lord Girisha: My lord, just see this 
learned brahmana, his body, mind and senses motionless in trance.

He is as calm as the waters of the ocean when the wind has ceased and the fish 
remain still. Therefore, my lord, since you bestow perfection on the performers 
of austerity, please award this sage the perfection that is obviously due him.

Lord Shiva replied: Surely this saintly brahmana does not desire any 
benediction, not even liberation itself, for he has attained pure devotional 
service unto the inexhaustible Personality of Godhead. 

Still, my dear Bhavani, let us talk with this saintly personality. After all, 
association with saintly devotees is man's highest achievement.

Suta Gosvami said: Having spoken thus, Lord Shankara - the shelter of pure 
souls, master of all spiritual sciences and controller of all embodied living 
beings - approached the sage.

Because Markandeya's material mind had stopped functioning, the sage failed to 
notice that Lord Shiva and his wife, the controllers of the universe, had 
personally come to see him. Markandeya was so absorbed in meditation that he was 
unaware of either himself or the external world.

Understanding the situation very well, the powerful Lord Shiva employed his 
mystic power to enter within the sky of Markandeya's heart, just as the wind 
passes through an opening.

Shri Markandeya saw Lord Shiva suddenly appear within his heart. Lord Shiva's 
golden hair resembled lightning, and he had three eyes, ten arms and a tall body 
that shone like the rising sun. He wore a tiger skin, and he carried a trident, 
a bow, arrows, a sword and a shield, along with prayer beads, a damaru drum, a 
skull and an ax. Astonished, the sage came out of his trance and thought, 'Who 
is this, and where has he come from?'

Opening his eyes, the sage saw Lord Rudra, the spiritual master of the three 
worlds, together with Uma and Rudra's followers. Markandeya then offered his 
respectful obeisances by bowing his head. 

Markandeya worshiped Lord Shiva, along with Uma and Shiva's associates, by 
offering them words of welcome, sitting places, water for washing their feet, 
scented drinking water, fragrant oils, flower garlands and arati lamps.

Markandeya said: O mighty lord, what can I possibly do for you, who are fully 
satisfied by your own ecstasy? Indeed, by your mercy you satisfy this entire 

Again and again I offer my obeisances unto you, O all-auspicious transcendental 
personality. As the lord of goodness you give pleasure, in contact with the mode 
of passion you appear most fearful, and you also associate with the mode of 

Suta Gosvami said: Lord Shiva, the foremost demigod and the shelter of the 
saintly devotees, was satisfied by Markandeya's praise. Pleased, he smiled and 
addressed the sage.

Lord Shiva said: Please ask me for some benediction, since among all givers of 
benedictions, we three - Brahma, Visnu and I - are the best. Seeing us never 
goes in vain, because simply by seeing us a mortal achieves immortality.

The inhabitants and ruling demigods of all planets, along with Lord Brahma, the 
Supreme Lord Hari and I, glorify, worship and assist those brahmanas who are 
saintly, always peaceful, free of material attachment, compassionate to all 
living beings, purely devoted to us, devoid of hatred and endowed with equal 

These devotees do not differentiate between Lord Visnu, Lord Brahma and me, nor 
do they differentiate between themselves and other living beings. Therefore, 
because you are this kind of saintly devotee, we worship you. 

Mere bodies of water do not constitute holy places, nor are lifeless statues of 
the demigods actual worshipable deities. Because external vision fails to 
appreciate the higher essence of the holy rivers and the demigods, these purify 
only after a considerable time. But devotees like you purify immediately, just 
by being seen.

By meditating upon the Supreme Soul, performing austerities, engaging in Vedic 
study and following regulative principles, the brahmanas sustain within 
themselves the three Vedas, which are nondifferent from Lord Visnu, Lord Brahma 
and me. Therefore I offer my obeisances unto the brahmanas. 

Even the worst sinners and social outcastes are purified just by hearing about 
or seeing personalities like you. Imagine, then, how purified they become by 
directly speaking with you.

Suta Gosvami said: Drinking with his ears Lord Shiva's nectarean words, full of 
the confidential essence of religion, Markandeya Risi could not be satiated. 

Markandeya, having been forced by Lord Visnu's illusory energy to wander about 
for a long time in the water of dissolution, had become extremely exhausted. But 
Lord Shiva's words of nectar vanquished his accumulated suffering. Thus he 
addressed Lord Shiva. 

Shri Markandeya said: It is indeed most difficult for embodied souls to 
understand the pastimes of the universal controllers, for such lords bow down to 
and offer praise to the very living beings they rule. 

Generally it is to induce embodied souls to accept religious principles that the 
authorized teachers of religion exhibit ideal behavior while encouraging and 
praising the proper behavior of others.

This apparent humility is simply a show of mercy. Such behavior of the Supreme 
Lord and His personal associates, which the Lord effects by His own bewildering 
potency, does not spoil His power any more than a magician's powers are 
diminished by his exhibition of tricks.

I offer my obeisances to that Supreme Personality of Godhead, who has created 
this entire universe simply by His desire and then entered into it as the 
Supersoul. By making the modes of nature act, He seems to be the direct creator 
of this world, just as a dreamer seems to be acting within his dream. He is the 
owner and ultimate controller of the three modes of nature, yet He remains alone 
and pure, without any equal. He is the supreme spiritual master of all, the 
original personal form of the Absolute Truth. 

O all-pervading lord, since I have received the benediction of seeing you, what 
other benediction can I ask for? Simply by seeing you, a person fulfills all his 
desires and can achieve anything imaginable.

But I do request one benediction from you, who are full of all perfection and 
able to shower down the fulfillment of all desires. I ask to have unfailing 
devotion for the Supreme Personality of Godhead and for His dedicated devotees, 
especially you. 

Suta Gosvami said: Thus worshiped and glorified by the eloquent statements of 
the sage Markandeya, Lord Sharva [Shiva], encouraged by his consort, replied to 
him as follows.

O great sage, because you are devoted to Lord Adhoksaja, all your desires will 
be fulfilled. Until the very end of this creation cycle, you will enjoy pious 
fame and freedom from old age and death.

O brahmana, may you have perfect knowledge of past, present and future, along 
with transcendental realization of the Supreme, enriched by renunciation. You 
have the brilliance of an ideal brahmana, and thus may you achieve the post of 
spiritual master of the Puranas.

Suta Gosvami said: Having thus granted Markandeya Risi benedictions, Lord Shiva 
went on his way, continuing to describe to goddess Devi the accomplishments of 
the sage and the direct exhibition of the Lord's illusory power that he had 

Markandeya Risi, the best of the descendants of Bhrgu, is glorious because of 
his achievement of perfection in mystic yoga. Even today he travels about this 
world, fully absorbed in unalloyed devotion for the Supreme Personality of 

I have thus narrated to you the activities of the highly intelligent sage 
Markandeya, especially how he experienced the amazing power of the Supreme 
Lord's illusory energy.

Although this event was unique and unprecedented, some unintelligent persons 
compare it to the cycle of illusory material existence the Supreme Lord has 
created for the conditioned souls - an endless cycle that has been continuing 
since time immemorial. 

O best of the Bhrgus, this account concerning Markandeya Risi conveys the 
transcendental potency of the Supreme Lord. Anyone who properly narrates or 
hears it will never again undergo material existence, which is based on the 
desire to perform fruitive activities. 

CHAPTER ELEVEN Summary Description of the Mahapurusa

Shri Shaunaka said: O Suta, you are the best of learned men and a great devotee 
of the Supreme Lord. Therefore we now inquire from you about the definitive 
conclusion of all tantra scriptures.

All good fortune to you! Please explain to us, who are very eager to learn, the 
process of kriya-yoga practiced through regulated worship of the transcendental 
Lord, the husband of the goddess of fortune. Please also explain how the Lord's 
devotees conceive of His limbs, associates, weapons and ornaments in terms of 
particular material representations. By expertly worshiping the Supreme Lord, a 
mortal can attain immortality.

Suta Gosvami said: Offering obeisances to my spiritual masters, I shall repeat 
to you the description of the opulences of Lord Visnu given in the Vedas and 
tantras by great authorities, beginning from lotus-born Brahma.

The universal form [virat] of the Personality of Godhead includes the nine basic 
elements of creation, starting with the unmanifest nature, and their subsequent 
transformations. Once this universal form is instilled with consciousness, the 
three planetary systems become visible within it. 

This is the representation of the Supreme Lord as the universal person, in which 
the earth is His feet, the sky His navel, the sun His eyes, the wind His 
nostrils, the demigod of procreation His genitals, death His anus and the moon 
His mind. The heavenly planets are His head, the directions His ears, and the 
demigods protecting the various planets His many arms. The god of death is His 
eyebrows, shame His lower lip, greed His upper lip, delusion His smile, and 
moonshine His teeth, while the trees are the almighty Purusa's bodily hairs, and 
the clouds the hair on His head. 

Just as one can determine the dimensions of an ordinary person of this world by 
measuring his various limbs, one can determine the dimensions of the Mahapurusa 
by measuring the arrangement of the planetary systems within His universal form.

Upon His chest the almighty, unborn Personality of Godhead bears the Kaustubha 
gem, which represents the pure spirit soul, along with the Shrivatsa mark, which 
is the direct manifestation of this gem's expansive effulgence.

His flower garland is His material energy, comprising various combinations of 
the modes of nature. His yellow garment is the Vedic meters, and His sacred 
thread the syllable om composed of three sounds. In the form of His two shark-
shaped earrings, the Lord carries the processes of Sankhya and yoga, and His 
crown, bestowing fearlessness on the inhabitants of all the worlds, is the 
supreme position of Brahmaloka.

Ananta, the Lord's sitting place, is the unmanifest phase of material nature, 
and the Lord's lotus throne is the mode of goodness, endowed with religion and 

The club the Lord carries is the chief element, prana, incorporating the 
potencies of sensory, mental and physical strength. His excellent conchshell is 
the element water, His Sudarshana disc the element fire, and His sword, pure as 
the sky, the element ether. His shield embodies the mode of ignorance, His bow, 
named Sharnga, time, and His arrow-filled quiver the working sensory organs.

His arrows are said to be the senses, and His chariot is the active, forceful 
mind. His external appearance is the subtle objects of perception, and the 
gestures of His hands are the essence of all purposeful activity. 

The sun globe is the place where the Supreme Lord is worshiped, spiritual 
initiation is the means of purification for the spirit soul, and rendering 
devotional service to the Personality of Godhead is the process for eradicating 
all one's sinful reactions. 

Playfully carrying a lotus, which represents the various opulences designated by 
the word bhaga, the Supreme Lord accepts service from a pair of camara fans, 
which are religion and fame.

O brahmanas, the Lord's umbrella is His spiritual abode, Vaikuntha, where there 
is no fear, and Garuda, who carries the Lord of sacrifice, is the threefold 

The goddess of fortune, Shri, who never leaves the Lord's side, appears with Him 
in this world as the representation of His internal potency. Visvaksena, the 
chief among His personal associates, is known to be the personification of the 
Pancaratra and other tantras. And the Lord's eight doorkeepers, headed by Nanda, 
are His mystic perfections, beginning with anima. 

Vasudeva, Sankarsana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha are the names of the direct 
personal expansions of the Supreme Godhead, O brahmana Shaunaka.

One can conceive of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in terms of awakened 
consciousness, sleep and deep sleep - which function respectively through 
external objects, the mind and material intelligence - and also in terms of the 
fourth, transcendental level of consciousness, which is characterized by pure 

The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Hari, thus appears in four personal 
expansions, each exhibiting major limbs, minor limbs, weapons and ornaments. 
Through these distinct features, the Lord maintains the four phases of 

O best of brahmanas, He alone is the self-luminous, original source of the 
Vedas, perfect and complete in His own glory. By His material energy He creates, 
destroys and maintains this entire universe. Because He is the performer of 
various material functions, He is sometimes described as materially divided, yet 
He always remains transcendentally situated in pure knowledge. Those who are 
dedicated to Him in devotion can realize Him to be their true Soul. 

O Krsna, O friend of Arjuna, O chief among the descendants of Vrsni, You are the 
destroyer of those political parties that are disturbing elements on this earth. 
Your prowess never deteriorates. You are the proprietor of the transcendental 
abode, and Your most sacred glories, which are sung by Vrndavana's cowherd men 
and women and their servants, bestow all auspiciousness just by being heard. O 
Lord, please protect Your devotees.

Anyone who rises early in the morning and, with a purified mind fixed upon the 
Mahapurusa, quietly chants this description of His characteristics will realize 
Him as the Supreme Absolute Truth residing within the heart.

Shri Shaunaka said: Please describe to us, who have great faith in your words, 
the different sets of seven personal features and associates the sun-god 
exhibits during each month, along with their names and activities. The 
associates of the sun-god, who serve their lord, are personal expansions of the 
Supreme Personality of Godhead Hari in His feature as the presiding deity of the 

Suta Gosvami said: The sun travels among all the planets and thus regulates 
their movements. It has been created by Lord Visnu, the Supreme Soul of all 
embodied beings, through His beginningless material energy.

The sun-god, being nondifferent from Lord Hari, is the one soul of all the 
worlds and their original creator. He is the source of all the ritualistic 
activities prescribed in the Vedas and has been given many names by the Vedic 

Being the source of the material energy, the Personality of Godhead Lord Hari in 
His expansion as the sun-god is described in nine aspects, O Shaunaka: the time, 
the place, the endeavor, the performer, the instrument, the specific ritual, the 
scripture, the paraphernalia of worship and the result to be achieved.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead, manifesting His potency of time as the sun-
god, travels about in each of the twelve months, beginning with Madhu, to 
regulate planetary motion within the universe. Traveling with the sun-god in 
each of the twelve months is a different set of six associates.

My dear sage, Dhata as the sun-god, Krtasthali as the Apsara, Heti as the 
Raksasa, Vasuki as the Naga, Rathakrt as the Yaksa, Pulastya as the sage and 
Tumburu as the Gandharva rule the month of Madhu.

Aryama as the sun-god, Pulaha as the sage, Athauja as the Yaksa, Praheti as the 
Raksasa, Punjikasthali as the Apsara, Narada as the Gandharva and Kacchanira as 
the Naga rule the month of Madhava.

Mitra as the sun-god, Atri as the sage, Pauruseya as the Raksasa, Taksaka as the 
Naga, Menaka as the Apsara, Haha as the Gandharva and Rathasvana as the Yaksa 
rule the month of Shukra.

Vasistha as the sage, Varuna as the sun-god, Rambha as the Apsara, Sahajanya as 
the Raksasa, Huhu as the Gandharva, Shukra as the Naga and Citrasvana as the 
Yaksa rule the month of Shuci.

Indra as the sun-god, Vishvavasu as the Gandharva, Shrota as the Yaksa, Elapatra 
as the Naga, Angira as the sage, Pramloca as the Apsara and Varya as the Raksasa 
rule the month of Nabhas.

Vivasvan as the sun-god, Ugrasena as the Gandharva, Vyaghra as the Raksasa, 
Asarana as the Yaksa, Bhrgu as the sage, Anumloca as the Apsara and Shankhapala 
as the Naga rule the month of Nabhasya.

Pusa as the sun-god, Dhananjaya as the Naga, Vata as the Raksasa, Susena as the 
Gandharva, Suruci as the Yaksa, Ghrtaci as the Apsara and Gautama as the sage 
rule the month of Tapas.

Ritu as the Yaksa, Varca as the Raksasa, Bharadvaja as the sage, Parjanya as the 
sun-god, Senajit as the Apsara, Vishva as the Gandharva and Airavata as the Naga 
rule the month known as Tapasya.

Amshu as the sun-god, Kashyapa as the sage, Tarksya as the Yaksa, Ritasena as 
the Gandharva, Urvashi as the Apsara, Vidyucchatru as the Raksasa and 
Mahashankha as the Naga rule the month of Sahas.

Bhaga as the sun-god, Sphurja as the Raksasa, Aristanemi as the Gandharva, Urna 
as the Yaksa, Ayur as the sage, Karkotaka as the Naga and Purvacitti as the 
Apsara rule the month of Pusya.

Tvasta as the sun-god; Jamadagni, the son of Ricika, as the sage; Kambalashva as 
the Naga; Tilottama as the Apsara; Brahmapeta as the Raksasa; Shatajit as the 
Yaksa; and Dhrtarastra as the Gandharva maintain the month of Isa.

Visnu as the sun-god, Ashvatara as the Naga, Rambha as the Apsara, Suryavarca as 
the Gandharva, Satyajit as the Yaksa, Vishvamitra as the sage and Makhapeta as 
the Raksasa rule the month of Urja. 

All these personalities are the opulent expansions of the Supreme Personality of 
Godhead, Visnu, in the form of the sun-god. These deities take away all the 
sinful reactions of those who remember them each day at dawn and sunset.

Thus, throughout the twelve months, the lord of the sun travels in all 
directions with his six types of associates, disseminating among the inhabitants 
of this universe purity of consciousness for both this life and the next.

While the sages glorify the sun-god with the hymns of the Sama, Rig and Yajur 
Vedas, which reveal his identity, the Gandharvas also sing his praises and the 
Apsaras dance before his chariot. The Nagas arrange the chariot ropes and the 
Yaksas harness the horses to the chariot, while the powerful Raksasas push from 

Facing the chariot, the sixty thousand brahmana sages known as Valakhilyas 
travel in front and offer prayers to the almighty sun-god with Vedic mantras.

For the protection of all the worlds, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Hari, 
who is unborn and without beginning or end, thus expands Himself during each day 
of Brahma into these specific categories of His personal representations. 

CHAPTER TWELVE The Topics of Shrimad-Bhagavatam Summarized

Suta Gosvami said: Offering my obeisances to the supreme religious principle, 
devotional service; to Lord Krsna, the supreme creator; and to all the 
brahmanas, I shall now describe the eternal principles of religion. 

O great sages, I have narrated to you the wonderful pastimes of Lord Visnu, as 
you inquired about them from me. Hearing such narrations is the suitable 
engagement for a person who is actually a human being. 

This literature fully glorifies the Supreme Personality of Godhead Hari, who 
removes all His devotees' sinful reactions. The Lord is glorified as Narayana, 
Hrsikesha and the Lord of the Satvatas. 

This literature describes the mystery of the Supreme Absolute Truth, the source 
of the creation and annihilation of this universe. Also presented are divine 
knowledge of Him together with the process of its cultivation, and the 
transcendental realization one achieves.

The following topics are also narrated: the process of devotional service 
together with its subsidiary feature of renunciation, and the histories of 
Maharaja Pariksit and the sage Narada.

Also described are saintly King Pariksit's sitting down to fast until death in 
response to the curse of a brahmana's son, and the conversations between 
Pariksit and Shukadeva Gosvami, who is the best of all brahmanas.

The Bhagavatam explains how one can attain liberation at the time of death by 
practicing fixed meditation in yoga. It also contains a discussion between 
Narada and Brahma, an enumeration of the incarnations of the Supreme Personality 
of Godhead, and a description of how the universe was created in progressive 
sequence, beginning from the unmanifest stage of material nature. 

This scripture also relates the discussions Vidura had with Uddhava and with 
Maitreya, inquiries about the subject matter of this Purana, and the winding up 
of creation within the body of the Supreme Lord at the time of annihilation.

The creation effected by the agitation of the modes of material nature, the 
seven stages of evolution by elemental transformation, and the construction of 
the universal egg, from which arises the universal form of the Supreme Lord - 
all these are thoroughly described.

Other topics include the subtle and gross movements of time, the generation of 
the lotus from the navel of Garbhodakashayi Visnu, and the killing of the demon 
Hiranyaksa when the earth was delivered from the Garbhodaka Ocean.

The Bhagavatam also describes the creation of demigods, animals and demoniac 
species of life; the birth of Lord Rudra; and the appearance of Svayambhuva Manu 
from the half-man, half-woman Ishvara.

Also related are the appearance of the first woman, Shatarupa, who was the 
excellent consort of Manu, and the offspring of the pious wives of Prajapati 

The Bhagavatam describes the incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead 
as the exalted sage Kapila and records the conversation between that greatly 
learned soul and His mother, Devahuti.

Also described are the progeny of the nine great brahmanas, the destruction of 
Daksa's sacrifice, and the history of Dhruva Maharaja, followed by the histories 
of King Prthu and King Pracinabarhi, the discussion between Pracinabarhi and 
Narada, and the life of Maharaja Priyavrata. Then, O brahmanas, the Bhagavatam 
tells of the character and activities of King Nabhi, Lord Risabha and King 

The Bhagavatam gives an elaborate description of the earth's continents, 
regions, oceans, mountains and rivers. Also described are the arrangement of the 
celestial sphere and the conditions found in the subterranean regions and in 

The rebirth of Prajapati Daksa as the son of the Pracetas, and the progeny of 
Daksa's daughters, who initiated the races of demigods, demons, human beings, 
animals, serpents, birds and so on - all this is described.

O brahmanas, also recounted are the births and deaths of Vrtrasura and of Diti's 
sons Hiranyaksa and Hiranyakashipu, as well as the history of the greatest of 
Diti's descendants, the exalted soul Prahlada.

The reign of each Manu, the liberation of Gajendra, and the special incarnations 
of Lord Visnu in each manv-antara, such as Lord Hayashirsa, are described as 

The Bhagavatam also tells of the appearances of the Lord of the universe as 
Kurma, Matsya, Narasimha and Vamana, and of the demigods' churning of the milk 
ocean to obtain nectar.

An account of the great battle fought between the demigods and the demons, a 
systematic description of the dynasties of various kings, and narrations 
concerning Iksvaku's birth, his dynasty and the dynasty of the pious Sudyumna - 
all are presented within this literature.

Also related are the histories of Ila and Tara, and the description of the 
descendants of the sun-god, including such kings as Shashada and Nrga.

The histories of Sukanya, Sharyati, the intelligent Kakutstha, Khatvanga, 
Mandhata, Saubhari and Sagara are narrated.

The Bhagavatam narrates the sanctifying pastimes of Lord Ramacandra, the King of 
Kosala, and also explains how King Nimi abandoned his material body. The 
appearance of the descendants of King Janaka is also mentioned.

The Shrimad-Bhagavatam describes how Lord Parashurama, the greatest descendant 
of Bhrgu, annihilated all the ksatriyas on the face of the earth. It further 
recounts the lives of glorious kings who appeared in the dynasty of the moon-god 
- kings such as Aila, Yayati, Nahusa, Dusmanta's son Bharata, Shantanu and 
Shantanu's son Bhisma. Also described is the great dynasty founded by King Yadu, 
the eldest son of Yayati.

How Shri Krsna, the Supreme personality of Godhead and Lord of the universe, 
descended into this Yadu dynasty, how He took birth in the home of Vasudeva, and 
how He then grew up in Gokula - all this is described in detail.

Also glorified are the innumerable pastimes of Shri Krsna, the enemy of the 
demons, including His childhood pastimes of sucking out Putana's life air along 
with her breast-milk, breaking the cart, trampling down Trnavarta, killing 
Bakasura, Vatsasura and Aghasura, and the pastimes He enacted when Lord Brahma 
hid His calves and cowherd boyfriends in a cave.

The Shrimad-Bhagavatam tells how Lord Krsna and Lord Balarama killed the demon 
Dhenukasura and his companions, how Lord Balarama destroyed Pralambasura, and 
also how Krsna saved the cowherd boys from a raging forest fire that had 
encircled them.

The chastisement of the serpent Kaliya; the rescue of Nanda Maharaja from a 
great snake; the severe vows performed by the young gopis, who thus satisfied 
Lord Krsna; the mercy He showed the wives of the Vedic brahmanas, who felt 
remorse; the lifting of Govardhana Hill followed by the worship and bathing 
ceremony performed by Indra and the Surabhi cow; Lord Krsna's nocturnal pastimes 
with the cowherd girls; and the killing of the foolish demons Shankhacuda, 
Arista and Keshi - all these pastimes are elaborately recounted.

The Bhagavatam describes the arrival of Akrura, the subsequent departure of 
Krsna and Balarama, the lamentation of the gopis and the touring of Mathura.

Also narrated are how Krsna and Balarama killed the elephant Kuvalayapida, the 
wrestlers Mustika and Canura, and Kamsa and other demons, as well as how Krsna 
brought back the dead son of His spiritual master, Sandipani Muni.

Then, O brahmanas, this scripture recounts how Lord Hari, while residing in 
Mathura in the company of Uddhava and Balarama, performed pastimes for the 
satisfaction of the Yadu dynasty.

Also described are the annihilation of each of the many armies brought by 
Jarasandha, the killing of the barbarian king Kalayavana and the establishment 
of Dvaraka City.

This work also describes how Lord Krsna brought from heaven the parijata tree 
and the Sudharma assembly hall, and how He kidnapped Rukmini by defeating all 
His rivals in battle.

Also narrated are how Lord Krsna, in the battle with Banasura, defeated Lord 
Shiva by making him yawn, how the Lord cut off Banasura's arms, and how He 
killed the master of Pragjyotisapura and then rescued the young princesses held 
captive in that city.

There are descriptions of the powers and the deaths of the King of Cedi, 
Paundraka, Shalva, the foolish Dantavakra, Shambara, Dvivida, Pitha, Mura, 
Pancajana and other demons, along with a description of how Varanasi was burned 
to the ground. The Bhagavatam also recounts how Lord Krsna relieved the earth's 
burden by engaging the Pandavas in the Battle of Kuruksetra.

How the Lord withdrew His own dynasty on the pretext of the brahmanas' curse; 
Vasudeva's conversation with Narada; the extraordinary conversation between 
Uddhava and Krsna, which reveals the science of the self in complete detail and 
elucidates the religious principles of human society; and then how Lord Krsna 
gave up this mortal world by His own mystic power - the Bhagavatam narrates all 
these events.

This work also describes people's characteristics and behavior in the different 
ages, the chaos men experience in the age of Kali, the four kinds of 
annihilation and the three kinds of creation.

There are also an account of the passing away of the wise and saintly King 
Visnurata [Pariksit], an explanation of how Shrila Vyasadeva disseminated the 
branches of the Vedas, a pious narration concerning Markandeya Risi, and a 
description of the detailed arrangement of the Lord's universal form and His 
form as the sun, the soul of the universe.

Thus, O best of the brahmanas, I have explained herein what you have inquired 
from me. This literature has glorified in full detail the activities of the 
Lord's pastime incarnations.

If when falling, slipping, feeling pain or sneezing one involuntarily cries out 
in a loud voice, 'Obeisances to Lord Hari!' one will be automatically freed from 
all his sinful reactions. 

When people properly glorify the Supreme Personality of Godhead or simply hear 
about His power, the Lord personally enters their hearts and cleanses away every 
trace of misfortune, just as the sun removes the darkness or as a powerful wind 
drives away the clouds. 

Words that do not describe the transcendental Personality of Godhead but instead 
deal with temporary matters are simply false and useless. Only those words that 
manifest the transcendental qualities of the Supreme Lord are actually truthful, 
auspicious and pious. 

Those words describing the glories of the all-famous Personality of Godhead are 
attractive, relishable and ever fresh. Indeed, such words are a perpetual 
festival for the mind, and they dry up the ocean of misery.

Those words that do not describe the glories of the Lord, who alone can sanctify 
the atmosphere of the whole universe, are considered to be like unto a place of 
pilgrimage for crows, and are never resorted to by those situated in 
transcendental knowledge. The pure and saintly devotees take interest only in 
topics glorifying the infallible Supreme Lord.

On the other hand, that literature which is full of descriptions of the 
transcendental glories of the name, fame, forms, pastimes and so on of the 
unlimited Supreme Lord is a different creation, full of transcendental words 
directed toward bringing about a revolution in the impious lives of this world's 
misdirected civilization. Such transcendental literatures, even though 
imperfectly composed, are heard, sung and accepted by purified men who are 
thoroughly honest.

Knowledge of self-realization, even though free from all material affinity, does 
not look well if devoid of a conception of the Infallible [God]. What, then, is 
the use of even the most properly performed fruitive activities, which are 
naturally painful from the very beginning and transient by nature, if they are 
not utilized for the devotional service of the Lord? 

The great endeavor one undergoes in executing the ordinary social and religious 
duties of the varnashrama system, in performing austerities, and in hearing from 
the Vedas culminates only in the achievement of mundane fame and opulence. But 
by respecting and attentively hearing the recitation of the transcendental 
qualities of the Supreme Lord, the husband of the goddess of fortune, one can 
remember His lotus feet.

Remembrance of Lord Krsna's lotus feet destroys everything inauspicious and 
awards the greatest good fortune. It purifies the heart and bestows devotion for 
the Supreme Soul, along with knowledge enriched with realization and 

O most eminent of brahmanas, you are all indeed extremely fortunate, since you 
have already placed within your hearts Lord Shri Narayana - the Personality of 
Godhead, the supreme controller and the ultimate Soul of all existence - beyond 
whom there is no other god. You have undeviating love for Him, and thus I 
request you to worship Him.

I also have now been fully reminded of the science of God, which I previously 
heard from the mouth of the great sage Shukadeva Gosvami. I was present in the 
assembly of great sages who heard him speak to King Pariksit as the monarch sat 
fasting until death.

O brahmanas, I have thus described to you the glories of the Supreme Lord 
Vasudeva, whose extraordinary activities are most worthy of glorification. This 
narration destroys all that is inauspicious.

One who with undeviating attention constantly recites this literature at every 
moment of every hour, as well as one who faithfully hears even one verse or half 
a verse or a single line or even half a line, certainly purifies his very self.

One who hears this Bhagavatam on the Ekadashi or Dvadashi day is assured of long 
life, and one who recites it with careful attention while fasting is purified of 
all sinful reactions.

One who controls his mind, fasts at the holy places Puskara, Mathura or Dvaraka, 
and studies this scripture will be freed from all fear.

Upon the person who glorifies this Purana by chanting or hearing it, the 
demigods, sages, Siddhas, Pitas, Manus and kings of the earth bestow all 
desirable things.

By studying this Bhagavatam, a brahmana can enjoy the same rivers of honey, ghee 
and milk he enjoys by studying the hymns of the Rig, Yajur and Sama Vedas.

A brahmana who diligently reads this essential compilation of all the Puranas 
will go to the supreme destination, which the Supreme Lord Himself has herein 

A brahmana who studies the Shrimad-Bhagavatam achieves firm intelligence in 
devotional service, a king who studies it gains sovereignty over the earth, a 
vaishya acquires great treasure and a shudra is freed from sinful reactions.

Lord Hari, the supreme controller of all beings, annihilates the accumulated 
sins of the Kali age, yet other literatures do not constantly glorify Him. But 
that Supreme Personality of Godhead, appearing in His innumerable personal 
expansions, is abundantly and constantly described throughout the various 
narrations of this Shrimad-Bhagavatam.

I bow down to that unborn and infinite Supreme Soul, whose personal energies 
effect the creation, maintenance and destruction of the material universe. Even 
Brahma, Indra, Shankara and the other lords of the heavenly planets cannot 
fathom the glories of that infallible Personality of Godhead.

I offer my obeisances to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the eternal 
Lord and the leader of all other deities, who by evolving His nine material 
energies has arranged within Himself the abode of all moving and nonmoving 
creatures, and who is always situated in pure, transcendental consciousness.

Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto my spiritual master, the son of 
Vyasadeva, Shukadeva Gosvami. It is he who defeats all inauspicious things 
within this universe. Although in the beginning he was absorbed in the happiness 
of Brahman realization and was living in a secluded place, giving up all other 
types of consciousness, he became attracted by the pleasing, most melodious 
pastimes of Lord Shri Krsna. He therefore mercifully spoke this supreme Purana, 
Shrimad-Bhagavatam, which is the bright light of the Absolute Truth and which 
describes the activities of the Lord. 

CHAPTER THIRTEEN The Glories of Shrimad-Bhagavatam

Suta Gosvami said: Unto that personality whom Brahma, Varuna, Indra, Rudra and 
the Maruts praise by chanting transcendental hymns and reciting the Vedas with 
all their corollaries, pada-kramas and Upanisads, to whom the chanters of the 
Sama Veda always sing, whom the perfected yogis see within their minds after 
fixing themselves in trance and absorbing themselves within Him, and whose limit 
can never be found by any demigod or demon - unto that Supreme Personality of 
Godhead I offer my humble obeisances.

When the Supreme Personality of Godhead appeared as Lord Kurma, a tortoise, His 
back was scratched by the sharp-edged stones lying on massive, whirling Mount 
Mandara, and this scratching made the Lord sleepy. May you all be protected by 
the winds caused by the Lord's breathing in this sleepy condition. Ever since 
that time, even up to the present day, the ocean tides have imitated the Lord's 
inhalation and exhalation by piously coming in and going out. 

Now please hear a summation of the verse length of each of the Puranas. Then 
hear of the prime subject and purpose of this Bhagavata Purana, the proper 
method of giving it as a gift, the glories of such gift-giving, and finally the 
glories of hearing and chanting this literature. 

The Brahma Purana consists of ten thousand verses, the Padma Purana of fifty-
five thousand, Shri Visnu Purana of twenty-three thousand, the Shiva Purana of 
twenty-four thousand and Shrimad-Bhagavatam of eighteen thousand. The Narada 
Purana has twenty-five thousand verses, the Markandeya Purana nine thousand, the 
Agni Purana fifteen thousand four hundred, the Bhavisya Purana fourteen thousand 
five hundred, the Brahma-vaivarta Purana eighteen thousand and the Linga Purana 
eleven thousand. The Varaha Purana contains twenty-four thousand verses, the 
Skanda Purana eighty-one thousand one hundred, the Vamana Purana ten thousand, 
the Kurma Purana seventeen thousand, the Matsya Purana fourteen thousand, the 
Garuda Purana nineteen thousand and the Brahmanda Purana twelve thousand. Thus 
the total number of verses in all the Puranas is four hundred thousand. Eighteen 
thousand of these, once again, belong to the beautiful Bhagavatam. 

It was to Lord Brahma that the Supreme Personality of Godhead first revealed the 
Shrimad-Bhagavatam in full. At the time, Brahma, frightened by material 
existence, was sitting on the lotus flower that had grown from the Lord's navel. 

From beginning to end, the Shrimad-Bhagavatam is full of narrations that 
encourage renunciation of material life, as well as nectarean accounts of Lord 
Hari's transcendental pastimes, which give ecstasy to the saintly devotees and 
demigods. This Bhagavatam is the essence of all Vedanta philosophy because its 
subject matter is the Absolute Truth, which, while nondifferent from the spirit 
soul, is the ultimate reality, one without a second. The goal of this literature 
is exclusive devotional service unto that Supreme Truth. 

If on the full moon day of the month of Bhadra one places Shrimad-Bhagavatam on 
a golden throne and gives it as a gift, he will attain the supreme 
transcendental destination. 

All other Puranic scriptures shine forth in the assembly of saintly devotees 
only as long as that great ocean of nectar, Shrimad-Bhagavatam, is not heard. 

Shrimad-Bhagavatam is declared to be the essence of all Vedanta philosophy. One 
who has felt satisfaction from its nectarean mellow will never be attracted to 
any other literature.

Just as the Ganga is the greatest of all rivers, Lord Acyuta the supreme among 
deities and Lord Shambhu [Shiva] the greatest of Vaisnavas, so Shrimad-
Bhagavatam is the greatest of all Puranas.

O brahmanas, in the same way that the city of Kashi is unexcelled among holy 
places, Shrimad-Bhagavatam is supreme among all the Puranas.

Shrimad-Bhagavatam is the spotless Purana. It is most dear to the Vaisnavas 
because it describes the pure and supreme knowledge of the paramahamsas. This 
Bhagavatam reveals the means for becoming free from all material work, together 
with the processes of transcendental knowledge, renunciation and devotion. 
Anyone who seriously tries to understand Shrimad-Bhagavatam, who properly hears 
and chants it with devotion, becomes completely liberated. 

I meditate upon that pure and spotless Supreme Absolute Truth, who is free from 
suffering and death and who in the beginning personally revealed this 
incomparable torchlight of knowledge to Brahma. Brahma then spoke it to the sage 
Narada, who narrated it to Krsna-dvaipayana Vyasa. Shrila Vyasa revealed this 
Bhagavatam to the greatest of sages, Shukadeva Gosvami, and Shukadeva mercifully 
spoke it to Maharaja Pariksit. 

We offer our obeisances to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Vasudeva, 
the all-pervading witness, who mercifully explained this science to Brahma when 
he anxiously desired salvation.

I offer my humble obeisances to Shri Shukadeva Gosvami, the best of mystic sages 
and a personal manifestation of the Absolute Truth. He saved Maharaja Pariksit, 
who was bitten by the snake of material existence. 

O Lord of lords, O master, please grant us pure devotional service at Your lotus 
feet, life after life.

I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Lord, Hari, the congregational 
chanting of whose holy names destroys all sinful reactions, and the offering of 
obeisances unto whom relieves all material suffering. 

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