“When Krishna gave up his human body and returned to his abode in Vaikunta, together with his dharma and jnana, people became dull headed. They lost the divine eye of knowledge. In order to open the eyes of these dull headed beings this Sun called Bhagawatam Purana has arisen” said Maharishi Suta.
With this the 3rd chapter of the first Canto comes to an end.
First Canto Chapter Four
In this chapter the greatness of Maharishi Śuka, the dissatisfaction of Maharishi Vedavyasa and the arrival of Maharishi Nārada to the ashrama of Maharishi Vedavyasa are covered.
All the saints led by Śounaka Maharishi were keenly listening to this detailed narration of the specialities in the incarnations of the Supreme Lord. Amongst the saints who had assembled to perform the ‘deergha satra yāga’ ritual Maharishi Śounaka was the most supreme. He had more than 10,000 disciples and was an exponent in Rig Veda. This great Maharishi Śounaka extolled Maharishi Suta in various ways and said,
“Sūta sūta mahā-bhāga vada no vadatāṁ vara
Kathāṁ bhāgavatīṁ puṇyāṁ yad āha bhagavāñ śukaḥ
O Maharishi Suta! You are the most supreme amongst the orators! Please narrate to us the eternally pious stories of the Supreme Lord, the divine Bhāgawatam, which you had heard from Maharishi Śuka.
When did this sacred text originate? What were the reasons behind its origin? Which eon (yuga) does it belong to? What is it that inspired Maharishi Vedavyasa to compose this sacred text? Please explain all these in detail.
Maharishi Śuka, the son of Maharishi Vedavyasa, is an eminent learned scholar and an exponent in Self-knowledge. He is able to visualize the Self everywhere. He does not have feelings of differentiation (bheda buddhi). The mind of this great saint, which has awakened from the deep slumber called egoism (ahamkara), is eternally focussed upon the Lord. His greatness is not visible to this external eye. Therefore ordinary beings consider Him to be a fool.
When Maharishi Śuka left home and began to move about alone, his father Maharishi Vedavyasa followed him. As Maharishi Śuka was crossing a pond, divine damsels who were swimming naked in those waters were not even slightly perturbed upon seeing him. Happily, without any hesitation, they continued to play in those waters. A little time later, Maharishi Vedavyasa, an aged saint who was fully clothed arrived at same pond. Seeing Vyasa these damsels were deeply perturbed and bashfully hurried to cover their bodies with clothes.
Maharishi Vyasa was astonished with this behavior and asked the damsels, “Why was it that you were unperturbed with the presence of Śuka who is in the prime of his youth and who was naked? I am an old man and fully clothed. Why then are you disturbed with my presence?”
To this the damsels politely replied, “O Maharishi! You have not yet got over the male-female differentiation. Your son Maharishi Śuka, who is eternally pure and who possesses a divine eye, does not have any form of differentiation”.
How did the citizens of Hastinapura recognize Maharishi Śuka, who had arrived there after wandering through the Kuru and Jangāla kingdoms, and who roamed about like a mad, dumb and mentally retarded person?
O Suta Maharishi! How could Emperor Parikshit, who belonged to the lineage of the Pandavas, get this good association with Maharishi Śuka? How did the conversation between them progress? During that conversation how and in which manner did Śuka Yogi explain Bhāgawatam?
The house wherein this Śuka yogi places his foot, the place where he arrives and the pond where he enters are instantly rendered pure! Such a great saint Śuka stays in people’s houses only for that much time as is needed to milk a cow. He instantly thereafter leaves that place. How could such a great saint stay in the home of Parikshit, who was a householder, for a period of a week? Isn’t this surprising?
Śuka yogindra is an Avadhoota. We do not know whom he will bless with his vision. He does not stay for long at any place. We do not know with whom he will talk. He appears like a dumb mad man. He will run in any direction as it pleases him. Such a person cannot stay in any house for 7 continuous days. How could he stay for such a long period of time in the house of Parikshit?” in this way Maharishi Śounaka and others questioned Maharishi Suta.
Om Namo Narayana.