Now, this purāṇāni setihāsāni . . .these Purāṇas . . . you know, first of all there is the Veda. Originally the Veda, Atharva Veda, that is divided now into four: Sāma, Yajur, Atharva, Ṛg. Then all the Vedic instructions are, what is called, creamed, concentrated in the Vedānta-sūtra, in one. The Upaniṣads, there are 108 Upaniṣads, and many others.
All the knowledge is concentrated in the Vedānta-sūtra, or Vedānta philosophy. Then again, it is explained for common man by purāṇāni, by Purāṇas. Just like this Purāṇa, this is Bhāgavata Purāṇa. Bhāgavata is also Purāṇa. Purāṇa means "old," old history, purāṇa; and itihāsa means history. But Vedic civilizations were concerned the historical evidences which were very, very important.
At the present moment, present days, they write history chronologically. One period may be important, one period may not be important, but they write all the history. The Vedic way of writing history was not like that. If you go on writing history, suppose for millions' years of history you write, then where you will keep the record? Hmm? It is not possible.
Every day so many things are happening, or every year. So that was not the process. Just like autobiography or life. Nobody used to write autobiography. But the life of great kings, sages, saintly person, they are recorded in the Itihāsa. So Sūta Gosvāmī, he is addressed, "Sir."
- tvayā khalu purāṇāni
- setihāsāni cānagha
- ākhyātāny apy adhītāni
- dharma-śāstrāṇi yāny uta
- (SB 1.1.6)
Dharma-śāstra. In the Vedic civilization, there are twenty big, big books, dharma-śāstra, for regulating life. Many difficult subject matter, dharma-śāstra. So Sūta Gosvāmī was offered the seat of vyāsāsana because he was aware of these things, Itihāsa, history; Purāṇas, still older history; dharma-śāstra, the scriptures; everything. Therefore he is first of all addressing that "You have read. Not only have read, but you have described."
Description means you read something, unless you fully assimilate, understand, you cannot describe it. The two things. Simply reading will not help us. When we shall be able to preach the reading matter, doesn't matter whether in the same language or in my own language; it doesn't matter. That is wanted. Ākhyātāny adhītāni. Adhītāni means, "You have read and you have explained."
In this way the Śaunaka Ṛṣi . . . there are thousands of ṛṣis in Naimiṣāraṇya. When you go to India, you must see this place, Naimiṣāraṇya. It is very, very old place, at least from historical point of view. Modern history, it is five thousand years old, because the first Bhāgavata discussion took place there, after instruction of Vyāsadeva.
So in India there are many places very suitable for spiritual advancement. Still they are existing from the very, very old times, historical time. So the Itihāsa, Itihāsa means history, and purāṇāni, purāṇāni means old Itihāsa. All the statements or narration described in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, they are all historical evidences. They are not imagination. Sometimes the so-called scholars and ṛṣaya students they say it is fancy or something imagination. No. They are all history. It is said here, Itihāsa. Itihāsa means history.