Vidura continued, “O revered Maharishi Maitreya! I have previously heard from Maharishi Vyasa about the duties which should be adhered to by people belonging to different classes and statuses and I am satisfied with what I have learnt. However in hearing the transcendental nectarous glories of Lord Srikrishna I still have not obtained contentment. The stories of Lord Srikrishna, which enter into the person through his ear hole, have the ability to cut material bondages in him. How then can a person, who is listening to these transcendental glories from the mouth of supremely learned saints of your cadre, ever get satisfied? They will crave to hear more of such nectarous stories.
O Maharishi Maitreya! Desiring to describe the transcendental glories of that Lord, your dear friend Maharishi Vyāsa composed the Mahābhārata. In this, through describing material life-styles and worldly topics he has tried to attract the human minds towards Lord Srikrishna.
The one who develops absolute dedication towards the stories of Lord Srikrishna will also develop taste towards these stories. As he begins to enjoy the nectarous taste contained in these stories, his inclination towards material objects weakens and he develops detachment. In this manner through constant remembrance of the lotus feet of Lord Srikrishna and through the bliss he derives from them, his grief is dispelled in totality.
In this world there are people who are truly pitiable. Among them those, who due to their earlier sinful actions are absolutely disinclined to hear the stories of that transcendental Lord, are the most pitiable. This is because apart from the stories of Lord Krishna, every other action performed with total involvement of mind, body and action is a sheer waste of effort! The Lord of time, who manifests in the form of Lord Sun, is destroying the longevity in such persons who waste their time.
O Maharishi Maitreya! You are the friend of the downtrodden. Lord Srikrishna who is of infallible reputation always showers happiness upon devotees. Therefore, just as bees suck the nectar from the flowers, from among all these worldly stories please pick only the stories pertaining to Lord Srikrishna and narrate them to us. Please elevate us.
Accepting the power of illusion, the Supreme Lord creates, sustains and annihilates this universe. What were the transcendental deeds performed by such Lord when He incarnated upon this earth? Please narrate them”.
In this way Vidura, with the desire to show the path of liberation to the ordinary humans, beseeched Maharishi Maitreya.
Appreciating the questions raised by Vidura, Maharishi Maitreya said, “O saintly Vidura! Your mind is eternally fixed upon Lord Srihari. With a desire to uplift human beings and seeking their welfare, you have asked extremely pertinent and valuable questions. Due to this conversation between us, your fame will spread in all directions.
O Vidura! I am not astonished that you, who were born from Maharishi Vyāsa, ask such pertinent doubts. This is because you have served the Supreme Lord Srikrishna with ultimate devotion and have obtained Self-realization.
Due to the curse of Maharishi Māndavya, Yama (the Lord of death) was born, through the medium of Satyavati’s son Maharishi Vyasa, to the maid of his brother Vichitraveerya’s wife. You are none other than Yama. You are very dear to Srikrishna as well as to his devotees. Hence at the time when Srikrishna was about the leave His physical body, He specifically instructed me to initiate you into Supreme Knowledge.
I will now describe sequentially the manner in which the Supreme Lord, with the help of His power of illusion, creates, sustains and annihilates this universe.
Prior to creation of this universe, only the Supreme Lord existed. All these manifested beings along with their natures had, at that time, completely merged into him. During creation this Lord pervades throughout the creation and through the medium of different names and forms, appears to manifest as many.
At the end of creation, when the power of illusion (māya śakti) once again merges into Him, only He, who is the embodiment of pure consciousness, remains! When the power of illusion merges completely into Him, who is without a second and who shines as a form of illumination, what is left for Him to see? There is nothing.
At that point when there is nothing to be seen, He considers himself to be imperfect (asat) and without any existence (uniki). In reality, knowledge can never deplete in that Lord who is an embodiment of knowledge. However, as His power of illusion completely merges and sleeps in him, He feels imperfect.
This power of illusion (māya) is the Lord’s inseparable energy. It is the primary cause (kāraṇa). It is also the created universe (kārya, effect). It is absolutely impossible to describe this illusion.
Using this power of illusion, the Supreme Lord creates this universe and pervades through it. Gradually, influenced by time, a small vibration emerges in this power of illusion which consists of three attributes (trigunas).
The Supreme Lord, who is beyond all proofs and who is an embodiment of knowledge, impregnates His illusionary power (māya śakti) with His original form (swaroopa) in the form of a seed called conditioned soul. Influenced by the eternal time (kāla), cosmic intelligence (Mahat-tattva, sum total of material creation) takes birth from this illusionary power which consists of name and form. This illusory energy is now ready to expand the creation which it retained within in a seed-form”.
Please listen attentively.
Narrating Bhagawatam is different from apprising you of each and every word contained in Bhagawatam. Both are not the same. Each and every word of Bhagawatam contains immense knowledge. Do not think, ‘After all even I can read directly from the book. Why should I listen?’ Listening to the supreme mantra pertaining to illusionary power (māya-shakti) which is contained within Bhagawatam is very important. Only then it is an upadesha. You are being made to listen to this upadesha.
Since Swamiji is giving you upadesha of Bhagawatam, you must listen to each and every word with full attention. As books are available on Bhagawatam, do not think that you can read up the books all by yourself and understand. The contents which are there in the book are re-explained time and again in way such that you understand.
The subject is the same. At most arrangement may be different slightly at times. Do not confuse- ‘in that book it is mentioned slightly differently. Why is this so?’ After you listen to complete Bhagawatam you will be able to fit all the puzzles.
The activities of creation, sustenance and destruction are taken up by the Lord who exists within and outside of the creation. He exists within, outside, before, after and during the creation. Illusiony (maya) is His energy. It is He who experiences everything. ‘I am separate; he is separate; this is my feeling; I am happy; I am grieving’- all such different experiences of different people are brought together in Bhagawatam and joined. This is the secret of Bhagawatam. Hence every word should be heard attentively. Only then it can be called upadesha.