Lord Brahma continued, “My son! I have explained to you in brief about Lord Srihari, the creator of this universe. This world which is the outcome of a cause-effect relationship does not have an existence different from its creator Lord Srihari. However Lord Srihari shines as a form of illumination distinctly different from this universe.
Idaṁ bhāgavataṁ nāma yan me bhagavatoditam
Saṅgraho ‘yaṁ vibhūtīnāṁ tvam etad vipulī kuru
Lord Srihari preached to me this scripture which has become popular as Bhagawatam. In this scripture, the glories of the Lord have been explained in a condensed manner. O Nārada! You expand this scripture yourself.
Yathā harau bhagavati nṛṇāṁ bhaktir bhaviṣyati
Sarvātman yakhilādhāre iti saṅkalpya varṇaya
Begin the task after making a firm determination that you will describe it in such a manner that it increases devotion in human beings towards the Supreme Lord, who is the support for everything and who is the Self that exists within everyone.
Māyāṁ varṇayato ‘muṣya īśvarasyānumodataḥ
Śṛṇvataḥ śraddhayā nityaṁ māyayātmā na muhyati
The intellect of the persons who narrate these divine stories daily with dedication and devotion as well as of those who listen to it with great interest will be devoid of delusion caused by spiritual ignorance (avidya).
With this the seventh chapter of the Second Canto of Srimad Bhagawatam comes to an end.
Second Canto Eighth Chapter
In this chapter, the questions asked by Parikshit are covered.
After listening to the specialities in the various incarnations of the Supreme Lord from Śuka Maharishi, Parikshit enquired as follows:
‘O Supreme Saint! Nārada Maharishi possesses that great knowledge through which he can ensure that the devotees of the Lord reach a level wherein they are blessed with His darshan. Further, Lord Brahma encouraged him to describe the attributes of that Supreme Lord, who inherently is devoid of attributes. How did Maharishi Nārada describe the qualities of this Lord? To whom did he preach? O great saint! You are the most supreme amongst those who have learnt the Vedas. I seek to know the form of that Supreme Lord. The stories of that transcendental Lord always bring auspiciousness to people.
O Mahatma! Please narrate the stories of Lord Srikrishna, in such a way that will enable me to detach completely from these material desires, place my intellect firmly upon Him who is the Universal Lord and give up my body.
Śṛṇvataḥ śraddhayā nityaṁ gṛṇataś ca sva-ceṣṭitam
Kālena nātidīrgheṇa bhagavān viśate hṛdi
In the heart of that person who eternally narrates or listens to the divine plays of the Supreme Lord with total dedication, God quickly enters and makes known His presence.
Srikrishna enters the lotus-like hearts of his devotees through their ear-hole. Just as the winter rains cleanse the water of all its impurities, He washes away the impurities/ sins from the hearts of his devotees.
Dhautātmā puruṣaḥ kṛṣṇa-pāda-mūlaṁ na muñcati
Mukta-sarva-parikleśaḥ pānthaḥ sva-śaraṇaṁ yathā
The spiritual aspirant called human being whose mind has been thus cleansed gives up all forms of mental defects and sins. Just as a weary traveler who after returning home from an exhaustive journey does not seek to leave his house, the devotee no longer seeks to leave the lotus feet of the Lord Krishna.
O Brahmarishi! In addition to these questions, another doubt troubles me. Only you know the exact answer to this. Please be kind enough to explain. The Self, that inherently has no connection with the five basic elements such as earth, water etc., connects with them and obtains a gross body. Does this connection develop accidently without any apparent reason? Or is there some cause?
You had explained that a giant lotus, which is in the form of the 14 different planes of existence, emerges from the navel of Lord Srihari. A human being has only certain limbs. Does the Supreme Lord also, similar to a human being, have only limited limbs? From what I have understood, I have this impression that the Lord has a form that consists of only a few specified limbs. Please be kind enough to clarify.
Based on the Lord’s command, Brahma creates all the various living beings. He is the form of all the beings and He regulates and controls them as well. Even though Lord Brahma emerged from the navel of Lord Srihari, it was only after obtaining Lord Srihari’s grace that Brahma could have His darshan.
Where does that Lord, who is the cause of all creation, sustenance and annihilation, who controls the power of illusion and who is the inner witness within every being, sleep after setting aside His power of illusion? What is His original form? You had previously mentioned that from the limbs of this Supreme Lord, the universes as well as the Lords who govern these universes emerge. You had also said that these various universes and their governing deities are the various limbs in the universal form of that Lord. Please explain this in greater detail.
Also, what is the measure of the period of time known as Kalpa, Maha-kalpa and their intermediate time periods between Kalpa? How can one understand about the past, present and future periods of time? What is the lifespan of a Devata? O Maharishi! In time measurements such as second or minute, time appears to have a fleeting existence whereas in the periods of year etc., time appears to have a long existence. Based on the results of their fruitive actions, what are the positions or planes that beings obtain? How many of such planes exist? What are they?
On the basis of these trigunas which undergo transformation, which virtuous being has obtained exalted bodies such as those of Devatas? What are the good auspicious deeds performed by that being so as to enable him to obtain the body of a Devata?
Please explain to me the process in which earth, hell (pātala), directions, sky, planets, stars, mountains, rivers, oceans, islands are created and also about the creation of the inhabitants of these planes,’ asked Parikshit.