“Please describe the lineage of Manus (head of a time period), the history of the kings belonging to this lineage and the worlds which exist above and below the earth. O Maitreya Maharishi! Please explain the size and movements of these various worlds.
Please describe animals, humans, Devatas, worms and insects that are born from the womb; those living beings that are born from sweat; birds, snakes, reptiles and living beings that emerge from eggs and about plants that emerge directly from earth.
The primordial cause, Srinivasa, using three attributes of Nature (trigunas) as his carrier, incarnated as Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva to systematically create, sustain and annihilate the universe. Please explain to me in minute detail His transcendental activities.
Please explain the varna-ashrama (caste-stage of life) divisions within the society in accordance with appearance, way of life and characteristics. Please describe the birth of great sages and their activities. Kindly elaborate the divisions within Vedas.
In addition, please explain in minute detail the Yagna-karmas (sacrificial actions as specified in Vedas), the path of Yogic action (path of karma yoga) and the special knowledge that is attained due to giving up action in totality (sarva karma sanyasa).
Please explain the path that enlightens about Prakriti-Puruśa (Nature- Self), about Nārada pancarātra tantra and other tantras created by the Supreme Lord.
Please explain the havoc created in the society by those who traverse the paths that have been rejected by the Vedas.
Please explain the connections between different species of living beings and the way they undergo transformations.
The resultant fruits obtained by living beings vary based on their natures and actions. Please explain in detail the four goals of life of a human being i.e. adherence to righteousness (dharma), material earnings (artha), fulfillment of desires (kāma) and obtaining liberation (moksha). Please explain the different types of occupation prescribed and the rules pertaining to law and order in the society.
Please teach the method of studying the scriptures. Please explain the procedure for conducting the annual death ceremony for fore-fathers. Please explain how the abode of fore-fathers was created. Please explain the division of the planets and stars in the wheel of time along with their other particulars.
Please explain the frutitive results that are obtained from performing meritorious charitable deeds, from digging wells or ponds for public use as well as from conducting penance and Yagnas.
What are the rules to be adhered by a person when travelling to other lands? What are his duties at times of emergencies? How should he behave in such situations?
O sinless saint! Please teach that path by walking on which the Supreme Lord, who punishes the wicked, can be pleased. How can a person obtain His grace? Spiritual Gurus, who are compassionate towards the downtrodden, impart Spiritual Knowledge to disciples who serve them with utmost devotion and to other worthy devotees, even without the devotees asking for it. Please be kind to me.
How do Mahat and other principles disappear at the time of annihilation? At the time of dissolution what principles should be adhered to offer devotional service to the Lord? What principles exist in the Lord when He is in Yoga-nidra (yogic sleep)? What is the principle of human being? What is the true form of the Supreme Lord? Please explain these to me.
Kindly describe in minute detail the knowledge obtained from the Upanishads and the benefits of offering services to Guru. What are the tools specified by learned scholars to obtain Spiritual Knowledge? This is because without required spiritual efforts (sadhana) the human being cannot acquire devotion (bhakti), spiritual knowledge (jnana) and dispassion (vairagya).
O Mahatma! Due to the power of this unending illusion, my divine eye has closed. Nevertheless I seek to know about Srihari. Treating me as your friend, kindly answer my questions.
Sarve vedāś ca yajñāś ca tapo dānāni cānagha
Jīvābhaya-pradānasya na kurvīran kalām api
O Mahatma! The meritorious act of preaching dharma to the living being and thus offering protection to him is far superior than all activities pertaining to Vedas, Yagnas, deeds of charity and penance.”
When Vidura humbly pleaded in this manner, Maharishi Maitreya, who was thus inspired to narrate the stories of the Supreme Lord, was totally filled with happiness. With a charming smile he addressed Vidura.
With this the seventh chapter of the third canto comes to an end.
Third Canto Chapter Eight
In this chapter the birth of Lord Brahma from the lotus-navel of Sri Mahavishnu; Brahma searching for the Lord in the waters and he thereafter pleasing the Lord through his intense austerities are covered.
Maharishi Maitreya addressing Vidura said, “How astonishing! Vidura, you are the foremost amongst all the devotees of that Supreme Lord! After all, you are born out of the fractional aspect of Yama, the Lord of death. Due to your birth in the Puru lineage it has become worthy of worship for even holy beings. In each and every word you are describing the glories of that Supreme Lord in newer and newer ways.
Human beings at all times strive to obtain worthless material comforts. In this process they suffer limitlessly. To dispel their sufferings, the Supreme Lord has inspired you to ask such pertinent questions. The Supreme Lord has directly imparted this knowledge to great saints. I will now teach you that supreme knowledge called Bhāgawata Purāṇā.
The Supreme Lord known as Bhagawān is totally replete with the six primary qualities of prosperity, fame, strength, knowledge, dispassion and beauty. He is the cause of all causes. He is the form of unending knowledge. He is indivisible. As Lord Sankarśaṇa He resides in the lower planetary system called Pātala located at the bottom of the universe.
Seeking to learn the essence of the Absolute Truth, Sanatkumara and other supreme sages approached Him who was seated in Pātala. At that moment Lord Sankarśana was meditating upon Lord Srihari, who was his support. Maharishis describe the Supreme Lord as Pure Consciousness. The eyes of Sankarśana which were closed due to meditation appeared like blossoming lotus buds. Desrious of blessing these saints, Lord Sankarśana stopped meditation and opened his eyes.
Sanat-kumara and other saints bathed in the pure waters of Ganga. With wet hair they approached Lord Sankarśana and bowed before His lotus feet. Desirous of obtaining suitable husbands the girls belonging to the serpent clan were worshipping these lotus feet and offering many gifts to them. The gems glittering from his heads that were adorned with golden crowns were illumining his thousand heads.
Sanat-kumara and other saints were aware of the transcendental glory of this Supreme Lord. Upon seeing Lord Sankarśana, their hearts overflowed with devotion so much so that they could not even speak. Singing His glories profusely again and again they prayed to Him.