Episode 20: Maharishi Narada asks Maharishi Vyasa to compose Bhagawatam

Nārada Maharishi continued, “Because of the initiation into the most confidential text Bhāgawatam, I could understand clearly about the influence of the Lord’s power of illusion (māya shakti). Those who understand this, reach the ultimate abode of the Lord.

O Maharishi Vyasa! Recollecting divine names destroys all forms of worldly afflictions. The desire to offer all deeds to Parabrahma is a supreme medicine to cure the disease called bhava (cycle of repeated re-births). 

I am explicitly indicating this to you. Actions performed solely to please the Supreme Lord become the cause for attaining supreme knowledge (jnana) through the medium of bhakti-yoga. These persons, while unfailingly engaging in performing the meritorious deeds as dictated by the Vedas, which are forms of the Supreme, eternally chant or recollect the Lord’s names, forms or qualities.

Namo bhagavate tubhyaṁ vāsudevāya dhīmahi

Pradyumnā-yāniruddhāya namaḥ sakaraāya ca

Salutations to Lord Vāsudeva! Salutations to the Lords Pradyumna, Aniruddha and Sankarshana! I contemplate upon the Supreme God who manifests in all these 4 forms (chatur-vyuha).

The Supreme Lord who inherently is devoid of form takes on mantra as His form. He also exists in the form of Yagna (sacrificial rituals). The person, who worships such Lord with mantras that represent Him, attains total knowledge of Brahma (Brahma jnana).

O saint, I also tried to worship the Supreme Lord in the similar manner. Lord Srihari himself bestowed upon me the knowledge pertaining the Supreme and also unflinching devotion towards Him.

O Maharishi Vyasa! You are an embodiment of complete knowledge. You should now describe the wonderful glories of that Supreme Lord. Through that, quench the thirst of those who are exponents in the field of knowledge. The miseries of the ordinary men will be washed away when they glorify the deeds of the Supreme Lord Srihari.” concluded Maharishi Nārada.

With this the fifth chapter of the first canto comes to an end.

First Canto Sixth Chapter

In this chapter the following are covered: the remaining story of Maharishi Narada’s previous birth and his subsequent birth as the mind-born son of Brahma as a result of his austerities (tapas).

Upon hearing the story of Maharishi Narada’s previous birth and his deeds therein, Maharishi Vyasa enquired thus,

“O Maharishi Nārada! What did you do, after the sages, having completed their Chaturmasya austerities and after having initiated you into knowledge, departed from that place? O Son of Brahma! How did you spend your time thereafter? At the time of death, how did you give up your old body? Time swallows everything. In your case I am presuming that this time has not swallowed your memories of your earlier birth. Please be merciful and narrate to me the entire story of your previous birth.”

Maharishi Nārada replied, “I will now narrate to you my activities, after my initiation and after the departure of the great sages from that place. I was the only son of my mother. She was an uneducated, helpless poor lady who worked as a maid to earn a living. She tied me down with her love and affection. At all times she sought my well-being.

Man is a puppet in the hands of the Supreme, isn’t it? The Supreme Lord has tied us down with puppet strings and is playing a game with us. In the same manner she also was like a bonded being with absolutely no freedom. She was helpless. I, who had no knowledge of other lands, directions or times and who was tied down completely with the love and affection showered by my mother, served these great saints per her directions. At that time I was just 5 years old.

One morning, when my mother was going to milk the cow, she accidently stepped on a snake. Inspired by the God of death, the snake bit my mother.

Considering this also to be a special grace of that Lord, I now began travelling in the northern direction. On the way I crossed many rich kingdoms, villages and towns that were flourishing with prosperity. I also crossed many hamlets, agricultural fields, gardens, natural forests and artificial forests. I also came across many mountains that were filled with minerals and also many ponds.

Having crossed all these I entered into a forest.

Om Namo Narayana.

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