Bhagawatam 075: Parikshit’s enquiry; Maharishi Śuka’s hymn upon the Lord

Second Canto Chapter Four

In this chapter, Maharishi Suta’s reply, Parikshit’s question about process of creation and Maharishi Śuka making the auspicious beginning to the story are covered.

Maharishi Suta began, “Parikshit, the son of Uttara, who had thoroughly understood that which had been taught by Maharishi Śuka until now, fixed his pure intellect with total concentration upon Lord Srikrishna. Maharishi Śuka, the son of Maharishi Vyasa, began explaining the decisive subjects pertaining to the form of the Self.

The broadminded Emperor Parikshit has extreme dedication in listening to the glories of Lord Srikrishna. He has absolute devotion towards the Supreme Lord. Knowing that death is approaching him, he has given up in totality, all actions that pertain to comforts of this world and the next. Just as you had questioned me now, he questioned Maharishi Śuka as follows,

‘O Maharishi Śuka! You are the supremely pure. You are all-knowing. Your words are nectarous. My spiritual ignorance (ajnana) will be washed away when I listen to the stories of Lord Srikrishna being narrated by you. I want to know in extreme detail all subjects pertaining to the Supreme Lord.

How did the all-pervading Supreme Lord, using His power of illusion (māya shakti), create this vast universe which is beyond the conception of even the guardian-deities of the world? How does He nourish and protect it? How does He absorb it back into Himself? Please explain in greater detail.

The primordial Lord (ādi puruśa), who possesses limitless energies, manifests in the form of Lord Brahma and others.  Playfully He engages them in various actions and gets them to perform various deeds. What are the energies through which He engages in these playful activities? Please explain this.

It is my firm conviction that even learned scholars cannot fathom the extraordinary and astonishing deeds of Srihari, who is of limitless fame. Either accepting at one go the three attributes (trigunas) of the indivisible power of illusion (māya shakti) or through gradual acceptance, He has manifested as Brahma and other Devatas or has manifested in the many varied incarnations. Through these incarnations He is performing innumerable actions.

Please explain to me how Paramātma, the Supreme Puruśa, accepts a body that is constituted of Nature (Prakriti) together with its 3 components i.e. the trigunas? I have many doubts in this subject. You are an exponent in the knowledge of the Vedas. You are well-versed in Supreme Knowledge.  Please be compassionate and clarify all my doubts’.

When Parikshit pleaded in this manner, Maharishi Śuka, in reply, praised the Supreme Lord as follows:

Namaḥ parasmai puruṣāya bhūyase


Gṛhīta-śakti-tritayāya dehinām


I offer my obeisance to that Supreme Puruśa, Paramatma, who possesses infinite greatness, who has playfully accepted the 3 energies (tri-shakti) which are the cause for the creation, sustenance and absorption, who resides in every heart and who is impossible to understand.

I offer my obeisance to Srihari, who dispels the distress of noble beings (satpuruśa), who restrains the wicked, kills them and bestows them with liberation, who exists in the form of all beings, who bestows God-realization upon Yatis who have given up action in totality (sarva karma sanyāsa) and who have stabilized completely in the knowledge of the Self.

I offer my obeisance to Lord Srikrishna, who was the most supreme among the Yadavas. Those who are devoid of devotion (bhakti) cannot get even a glimpse of His shadow.

There is nothing superior to Him. There is none equal to Him. There is nothing more radiant than Him. Such is His radiance. I offer my obeisance to Srihari, who dwells in His original form.

Yat-kīrtanaṁ yat-smaraṇaṁ yad-īkṣaṇaṁ

Yad-vandanaṁ yac-chravaa yad-arhaam

Lokasya sadyo vidhunoti kalmaṣa

tasmai subhadra-śravase namo namaḥ

I respectfully offer many salutations to that Supreme Lord Srihari who is of limitless fame and who is the bestower of all forms of supreme auspiciousness.  Merely by singing His glories, by having His darshan, by thinking about Him, by offering obeisance to Him, by listening to His tales and by worshipping Him, the sins of a human being are instantaneously destroyed!

Wise men always serve the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord. Through this, their mind gives up its attachment/ inclination towards the comforts of this world and the next. Easily they merge into absolute meditation.  I offer obeisance to such Lord who is of such limitless fame.

I offer my obeisance to that Supreme Lord Srihari, the embodiment of auspiciousness, to whom all those who are engaged in acts of charities, who perform great deeds, who are of great renown, who are engaged in deep penance, who have restrained the mind, who possess the knowledge of the mantras as well as those who tread the path of right conduct, offer all their sadhana (spiritual pursuits) and who through this obtain the most supreme fruits for their actions.

Not just those belonging to the KirātaHūṇa, Āndhra, Pulinda, Pulkaśa, Abhīra, Kanka, Yavana, Khasa races, but also other sinners take refuge under the devotees of Lord Srihari and thereby become pure. To such a powerful Lord Srihari I offer my obeisance.

The exponents in Self-knowledge worship Him as the Self. Exponents of Vedas worship Him as the form of Veda. Those who abide by the path of righteousness worship Him as a personification of dharma. The ascetics worship Him as a form of penance.

Brahma, Shiva and other Gods, who possess a very pure inner mind, with great reverence and astonishment, observe the pure form of Jagannatha, Lord of the universe. May such Lord Srihari be pleased with me!


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