Maharishi Śuka continued, “Srihari is none other than the Supreme Self (Paramātma)! He has been endlessly creating various Lords of people such as Prajapatis, Lord of certain periods such as Manus, the Gods known as Devatas, various groups of fore-fathers, Maharishis, Rishis, celestial beings such as accomplished Siddhas, Cāraṇas, Gandharvās, Vidyadharas, Yakshas, Kinnaras, Apsarasas, various types of serpents and nāgās, kimpuruṣas, mātrukās, demons, ghosts and spirits of varied types, vināyakas, kuṣmāndās, unmādās, bhetālas, nivritti-gaṇās, planets, birds, domestic animals, wild animals and varied other types of insects, trees, mountains and reptiles.
Two types of entities exist in this creation viz., moving and non-moving. Among living beings, some are born from a mother’s womb; some break open the egg to emerge; some emerge out of sweat, dung and other wastes while some emerge from the earth. Thus, in accordance to their individual destiny, the living beings take birth.
Due to the strength of their previous meritorious deeds some living entities obtain birth in high exalted positions while some, due to the ripening of their sins, obtain very lowly births. The mixture of the merits and sins (punya-pāpa) gives rise to a human birth.
O Emperor! When traits of purity (sattva guṇa) are pre-dominant, the living entity obtains the body of a celestial or Devata. Dominance of the traits of action/passion (rajo guṇa) leads to a human birth. When the traits of inertia or darkness (tamo guṇa) dominate, the living entity obtains a body that will drag him towards hell. In these three types of bodies, although one trait dominates the other two traits, due to the mixture of the other two traits, within each trait three divisions occur.
The Lord who has created this universe Himself manifested in the form of Vishnu, the deity of righteousness, and accepted the various incarnations of animals, birds, humans and celestials. He protects and nourishes this entire universe.
At the time of annihilation, the same Supreme Lord manifests as Rudra, the fiery destroyer, and just as the winds disperse the clouds He absorbs into Himself this entire universe that had been created by Him.
For the understanding of one and all, it is said that the Lord creates, sustains and annihilates this universe created by Him. Nevertheless, all-knowing persons do not limit the form of the Lord to merely these three activities because, when seen from the philosophical point of view, the Supreme Lord is beyond this universe.
When the Vedas describe the Lord as responsible for the creation, sustenance and annihilation of the universe, the intent is not to entrust Him with the doership of these activities. Technically, the Lord has absolutely no involvement in any action. We impose all these actions upon Him. This reflects our spiritual ignorance, that’s all.
I have explained about the Maha-kalpa of Lord Brahma together with its intermediate periods of time known as Kalpa. Creation remains the same in every Maha-kalpa. In every Maha-kalpa, all the principles right from the Mahat-tattva (principle of material creation) and up to the earth emerge out of Nature (Prakriti). In the intermediate periods known as Kalpa, these principles continue to exist as-is. Therefore only the animate and inanimate objects get created during this period.
In the future chapters to be covered, I will explain to you in detail the transformations that take place due to time, kalpa-vrikśa and the break-up of the period known as Kalpa. Now I will explain to you the details that pertain to the Padma-kalpa. Please be attentive” said Maharishi Śuka.
Maharishi Śounaka who was listening to this narration through Maharishi Suta, enquired as follows, “O Maharishi Suta! Vidura, the noble being, was able to detach himself from even those relationships, which are otherwise impossible to give up. You mentioned that he wandered through various holy pilgrim centres while serving the Lord at all these places.
Where and when did he meet Maharishi Maitreya? During their discussion, what was the manner in which the venerable Maitreya preached to Vidura the Absolute Truth? Please explain this to us in detail. Please explain to us the story of Vidura; the reason for him to leave his home and relatives and set off on a pilgrimage and the reason which brought him back home”.
In response to this question raised by Śounaka, Maharishi Suta replied as follows, “O Saints! In response to the questions put forth by Parikshit, Maharishi Śuka replied in a sequential order. I am now going to explain the same to you all. Please be attentive.”
With this the Second Canto of Srimad Bhagawatam comes to an end.
Śri Krishna Parabrahmane Namah
Canto three Chapter one
The second canto of Bhagawatam concluded with questions. Now this third Canto begins with Maharishi Śuka’s replies to Parikshit’s questions.
Maharishi Śuka replied, “O Emperor Parikshit! In the earlier period of time, the virtuous Vidura left his prosperous home and went to the forests. Just as you have asked he put forth his doubts to Maharishi Maitreya. Vidura was no ordinary being. He was an ardent devotee of the Lord.
When Krishna had gone to the court of Kauravas, as a messenger of the Pandavas, in order to bring about reconciliation between the cousins, instead of staying at the house of Duryodhana He opted to stay at Vidura’s home considering it to be suitable for his hospitality”.
Upon hearing this Emperor Parikshit questioned, “O Maharishi Śuka! Where did the venerable Vidura meet Maharishi Maitreya? At which place did this conversation take place? When did it happen? Please explain all this in detail.
Vidura was very pure at heart and was a supremely noble person. What was the subject he questioned Maharishi Maitreyi about? His questions will not be about some ordinary subjects. It definitely will pertain to some supreme subject that has supreme usefulness. Questions put forth by Mahatmas always pertain to important subjects, isn’t it? Even Maitreya Maharishi praised the questions raised by Vidura. Please explain to me in detail this conversation between them”.
Om Mādhavāya namah.