1. Sukadeva Gosvami said: This Srimad-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 birth.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11-12. 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.
13. 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
1. Suta Gosvami said: After hearing all that was narrated to him by the self-realized and equipoised Sukadeva, 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. I have heard from you this Srimad-Bhagavatam, which is the perfect summary of all the Puranas and which perfectly describes the Supreme Lord, Uttamahsloka.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. Suta Gosvami said: Thus requested, the saintly son of Srila Vyasadeva gave his permission to King Pariksit. Then, after being worshiped by the King and all the sages present, Sukadeva departed from that place.
9-10. 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.
11. 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 Kasyapa Muni on the path.
12. Taksaka flattered Kasyapa 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.
13. 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.
14. 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 astonished.
15. Kettledrums sounded in the regions of the demigods, and the celestial Gandharvas and Apsaras sang. The demigods showered flowers and spoke words of praise.
16. 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.
17. 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.
18. 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?
19. 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.
20. 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?
21. 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!
22. 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 disturbed.
23. 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 follows.
24. 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.
25. 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.
26. 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.
27. 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.
28. 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.
29. 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.
30-31. 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.
32. 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.
33. 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.
34. 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.
35. I offer my obeisances to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the invincible Lord Sri Krsna. Simply by meditating upon His lotus feet I have been able to study and appreciate this great literature.
36. Saunaka Rsi said: O gentle Suta, please narrate to us how Paila and the other greatly intelligent disciples of Srila Vyasadeva, who are known as the standard authorities of Vedic wisdom, spoke and edited the Vedas.
37. 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.
38. 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.
39. 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.
40-41. 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.
42. 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 Rg, 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.
43. 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.
44. 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.
45. 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.
46. In this way, throughout the cycles of four ages, generation after 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.
47. 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.
48-49. O brahmana, in the present age of Vaivasvata Manu, the leaders of the universe, led by Brahma and Siva, requested the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the protector of all the worlds, to save the principles of religion. O most fortunate Saunaka, 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 Parasara. In this form, named Krsna Dvaipayana Vyasa, he divided the one Veda into four.
50. Srila Vyasadeva separated the mantras of the Rg, 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.
51. The most powerful and intelligent Vyasadeva called four of his disciples, O brahmana, and entrusted to each of them one of these four samhitas.
52-53. Srila Vyasadeva taught the first samhita, the Rg Veda, to Paila and gave this collection the name Bahvrca. To the sage Vaisampayana 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.
54-56. 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, Parasara 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 Rg Veda to Saubhari and others.
57. The son of Mandukeya, named Sakalya, divided his own collection into five, entrusting one subdivision each to Vatsya, Mudgala, Saliya, Gokhalya and Sisira.
58. The sage Jatukarnya was also a disciple of Sakalya, and after dividing the samhita he received from Sakalya 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.
59. Baskali assembled the Valakhilya-samhita, a collection from all the branches of the Rg Veda. This collection was received by Valayani, Bhajya and Kasara.
60. Thus these various samhitas of the Rg 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.
61. The disciples of Vaisampayana 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.
62. Once Yajnavalkya, one of the disciples of Vaisampayana, 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.
63. Addressed thus, the spiritual master Vaisampayana 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.
64-65. 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 [tittirah].
66. My dear brahmana Saunaka, 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.
67. Sri 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.
68. 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.
69. 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.
70. 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.
71. 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.
72. 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.
73. 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.
74. 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.
75. Jaimini Rsi, 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.
76-77. 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 Kusala; Pausyanji; and Avantya, who was very advanced in spiritual realization-took charge of the sama-mantras.
78. 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.
79. Five other disciples of Pausyanji, namely Laugaksi, Mangali, Kulya, Kusida and Kuksi, each received one hundred samhitas.
80. 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.