Suta Gosvami (SB cantos 7 - 12)
SB Canto 8
Sūta Gosvāmī declared to the great assembly of sages at Naimiṣāraṇya:
- ataḥ pumbhir dvija-śreṣṭhā
- svanuṣṭhitasya dharmasya
- saṁsiddhir hari-toṣaṇam
"O best among the twice-born, it is concluded that the highest perfection one can achieve, by discharging his prescribed duties (dharma) according to caste divisions and order of life, is to please the Lord Hari." (SB 1.2.13) According to Vedic principles, everyone must act according to his classification as brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra, brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha or sannyāsī. Everyone should progress toward perfection by acting in such a way that Kṛṣṇa will be pleased (saṁsiddhir hari-toṣaṇam).
Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī said: O brāhmaṇas, when Parīkṣit Mahārāja, who was awaiting impending death, thus requested Śukadeva Gosvāmī to speak, Śukadeva Gosvāmī, encouraged by the King's words, offered respect to the King and spoke with great pleasure in the assembly of sages, who desired to hear him.
Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī said: O learned brāhmaṇas assembled here at Naimiṣāraṇya, when Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the son of Dvaipāyana, was thus questioned by the King, he congratulated the King and then endeavored to describe further the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The divisions of society—brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra, brahmacarya, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyāsa—are all meant to satisfy the Supreme Lord, Viṣṇu. To act according to this principle of the varṇāśrama institution is called varṇāśramācaraṇa. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.2.13), Sūta Gosvāmī says:
- ataḥ pumbhir dvija-śreṣṭhā
- svanuṣṭhitasya dharmasya
- saṁsiddhir hari-toṣaṇam
"O best among the twice-born, it is therefore concluded that the highest perfection one can achieve by discharging his prescribed duties according to caste divisions and orders of life is to please the Personality of Godhead." Everything is meant to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Sūta Gosvāmī said: When Parīkṣit Mahārāja thus inquired from Śukadeva Gosvāmī, that most powerful saintly person began describing the pastimes of the Lord's incarnation as a fish.
SB Canto 9
Sūta Gosvāmī said: When Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the greatest knower of religious principles, was thus requested by Mahārāja Parīkṣit in the assembly of all the scholars learned in Vedic knowledge, he then proceeded to speak.
SB Canto 10.1 to 10.13
Sūta Gosvāmī said: O son of Bhṛgu (Śaunaka Ṛṣi), after Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the most respectable devotee, the son of Vyāsadeva, heard the pious questions of Mahārāja Parīkṣit, he thanked the King with great respect. Then he began to discourse on topics concerning Kṛṣṇa, which are the remedy for all sufferings in this age of Kali.
Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī said: O learned saints, the childhood pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa are very wonderful. Mahārāja Parīkṣit, after hearing about those pastimes of Kṛṣṇa, who had saved him in the womb of his mother, became steady in his mind and again inquired from Śukadeva Gosvāmī to hear about those pious activities.
Sūta Gosvāmī said: O Śaunaka, greatest of saints and devotees, when Mahārāja Parīkṣit inquired from Śukadeva Gosvāmī in this way, Śukadeva Gosvāmī, immediately remembering subject matters about Kṛṣṇa within the core of his heart, externally lost contact with the actions of his senses. Thereafter, with great difficulty, he revived his external sensory perception and began to speak to Mahārāja Parīkṣit about kṛṣṇa-kathā.
SB Cantos 10.14 to 12 (Translations Only)
Sūta Gosvāmī said: Thus questioned by King Viṣṇurāta, the powerful sage Bādarāyaṇi replied, his heart fully absorbed in meditation on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vāsudeva.
Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī said: This pastime enacted by Lord Murāri, whose fame is eternal, totally destroys the sins of the universe and serves as the transcendental ornament for His devotees' ears. Anyone who carefully hears or narrates this pastime, as recounted by the venerable son of Vyāsa, will be able to fix his mind in meditation on the Supreme Lord and attain to the all-auspicious kingdom of God.
Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī said: Thus did this fragrant nectar flow from the lotus mouth of Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the son of the sage Vyāsadeva. This wonderful glorification of the Supreme Person destroys all fear of material existence. A traveler who constantly drinks this nectar through his ear-holes will forget the fatigue brought on by wandering along the paths of worldly life.
O best of the Kurus, the same Sūta Gosvāmī who is sitting before us will speak this Bhāgavatam to the sages assembled in the great sacrifice at Naimiṣāraṇya. This he will do when questioned by the members of the assembly, headed by Śaunaka.
Sūta Gosvāmī said: After hearing all that was narrated to him by the self-realized and equipoised Śukadeva, the son of Vyāsadeva, Mahārāja Parīkṣit 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 Viṣṇu, folded his hands in supplication and spoke as follows.
Sūta Gosvāmī said: Thus requested, the saintly son of Śrīla Vyāsadeva gave his permission to King Parīkṣit. Then, after being worshiped by the King and all the sages present, Śukadeva departed from that place.
Sūta Gosvāmī continued: Advised in this manner, Mahārāja Janamejaya replied, "So be it." Honoring the words of the great sage, he desisted from performing the snake sacrifice and worshiped Bṛhaspati, the most eloquent of sages.
Śaunaka Ṛṣi said: O gentle Sūta, please narrate to us how Paila and the other greatly intelligent disciples of Śrīla Vyāsadeva, who are known as the standard authorities of Vedic wisdom, spoke and edited the Vedas.
Sūta Gosvāmī said: O brāhmaṇa, first the subtle vibration of transcendental sound appeared from the sky of the heart of the most elevated Lord Brahmā, whose mind was perfectly fixed in spiritual realization. One can perceive this subtle vibration when one stops all external hearing.
Sūta Gosvāmī said: Satisfied by such glorification, the powerful sun-god assumed the form of a horse and presented to the sage Yājñavalkya yajur-mantras previously unknown in human society.
Sūta Gosvāmī said: Sumantu Ṛṣi, the authority on the Atharva Veda, taught his saṁhitā to his disciple Kabandha, who in turn spoke it to Pathya and Vedadarśa.
Śrī Śaunaka said: O Sūta, may you live a long life! O saintly one, best of speakers, please continue speaking to us. Indeed, only you can show men the path out of the ignorance in which they are wandering.
Authorities say that Mārkaṇḍeya Ṛṣi, the son of Mṛkaṇḍu. was an exceptionally long-lived sage who was the only survivor at the end of Brahmā's day, when the entire universe was merged in the flood of annihilation. But this same Mārkaṇḍeya Ṛṣi, the foremost descendant of Bhṛgu, took birth in my own family during the current day of Brahmā, and we have not yet seen any total annihilation in this day of Brahmā. Also, it is well known that Mārkaṇḍeya while wandering helplessly in the great ocean of annihilation, saw in those fearful waters a wonderful personality—an infant boy lying alone within the fold of a banyan leaf. O Sūta, I am most bewildered and curious about this great sage, Mārkaṇḍeya Ṛṣi. O great yogī, you are universally accepted as the authority on all the Purāṇas. Therefore kindly dispel my confusion.
Sūta Gosvāmī said: O great sage Śaunaka, your very question will help remove everyone's illusion, for it leads to the topics of Lord Nārāyaṇa, which cleanse away the contamination of this Kali age.
Sūta Gosvāmī said: The Supreme Lord Nārāyaṇa, the friend of Nara, was satisfied by the proper glorification offered by the intelligent sage Mārkaṇḍeya. Thus the Lord addressed that excellent descendant of Bhṛgu.
Sūta Gosvāmī said: O wise Śaunaka, thus satisfied by Mārkaṇḍeya's praise and worship, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, smiling, replied, "So be it," and then departed for His hermitage at Badarikāśrama.
Sūta Gosvāmī said: The Supreme Lord Nārāyaṇa had arranged this opulent display of His bewildering potency. Mārkaṇḍeya Ṛṣi, having experienced it, took shelter of the Lord.
Sūta Gosvāmī said: Lord Rudra, traveling in the sky on his bull and accompanied by his consort, Rudrāṇī, as well as his personal associates, observed Mārkaṇḍeya in trance.
Sūta Gosvāmī said: Having spoken thus, Lord Śaṅkara—the shelter of pure souls, master of all spiritual sciences and controller of all embodied living beings—approached the sage.
Sūta Gosvāmī said: Lord Śiva, the foremost demigod and the shelter of the saintly devotees, was satisfied by Mārkaṇḍeya's praise. Pleased, he smiled and addressed the sage.
Sūta Gosvāmī said: Drinking with his ears Lord Śiva's nectarean words, full of the confidential essence of religion, Mārkaṇḍeya Ṛṣi could not be satiated.
Sūta Gosvāmī said: Thus worshiped and glorified by the eloquent statements of the sage Mārkaṇḍeya, Lord Śarva (Śiva), encouraged by his consort, replied to him as follows.
Sūta Gosvāmī said: Having thus granted Mārkaṇḍeya Ṛṣi benedictions, Lord Śiva went on his way, continuing to describe to goddess Devī the accomplishments of the sage and the direct exhibition of the Lord's illusory power that he had experienced.
Śrī Śaunaka said: O Sūta, 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.
Sūta Gosvāmī said: Offering obeisances to my spiritual masters, I shall repeat to you the description of the opulences of Lord Viṣṇu given in the Vedas and tantras by great authorities, beginning from lotus-born Brahmā.
Sūta Gosvāmī said: The sun travels among all the planets and thus regulates their movements. It has been created by Lord Viṣṇu, the Supreme Soul of all embodied beings, through His beginningless material energy.
Sūta Gosvāmī said: Offering my obeisances to the supreme religious principle, devotional service; to Lord Kṛṣṇa, the supreme creator; and to all the brāhmaṇas, I shall now describe the eternal principles of religion.
Sūta Gosvāmī said: Unto that personality whom Brahmā, Varuṇa, Indra, Rudra and the Maruts praise by chanting transcendental hymns and reciting the Vedas with all their corollaries, pada-kramas and Upaniṣads, to whom the chanters of the Sāma Veda always sing, whom the perfected yogīs 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.