Life is perplexing and difficult to comprehend. There are many many questions to which we have no answer: at least not yet. The wisdom of the great enlightened souls help in opening out to us a new perspective to life: one that makes it less perplexing and more meaningful.
The sages that had congregated in the Naimisha forest were graced by the visit of the wise Suta, Ugrashravas. He gave answers to the questions posed by the sages.
The sages asked: O Great one! Please tell us about the incarnation of the Lord as Sri Krishna.
The Suta replied: O Great sages! I am indeed honoured to be in your company. The life of Sri Krishna has been compiled by the great teacher Vyasa. He then taught the Bhagavatam, as it is known, to his son Shuka. Shuka later taught it to King Parikshit. It was then that I heard it.
The eldest of the sages, by name Shaunaka said: It is wonderful that you have heard it from the mouth of the great Shuka himself. He was born with full knowledge and is as free as a bird unattached, as he is, to worldly life. I have heard that once, he walked by a pool in which some nymphs were playing, but they paid no heed to his presence. But as his father, the aged Vyasa came by, they hid themselves in water. Seeing this, the sage asked them why they, who were unashamed in the presence of a scantily clad young man, were so full of shame in the presence of a fully clothed old man. They replied that it was because Shuka was so pure that he was unaware of the difference in the sexes while Vyasa was not yet so. Pray, O great Suta, please tell us the story of how the Srimad Bhagavatam came to be written.
Ugrashravas said: The great sage Vyasa compiled the four Vedas and taught it to his disciples. For the sake of the common man, he taught the Vedas in the form of the great epic, Mahabharata. However, he saw that it was not sufficient and that the world was moving towards an epoch beyond which virtue would be on the wane. He was thus troubled when the heavenly sage Narada came upon him and asked why he was in that state.
To this, Vyasa said: O great one! I have this vision of the world in front of me and I am disturbed thinking of the fate of man.
Narada said: O great teacher! You have the perspicacity that is unparalleled. And yet you stand stranded! Can’t you see that there is one and only one way out for man’s salvation: devotion and love for the Lord? My mother was a servant that worked for sages. By association with the pious and learned ones I learnt of devotion and the path to salvation. Teach then, of the greatness of the greatest incarnation of all: sing the praises of Lord Krishna.
Continued in next part…