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Chapter 1
The Meeting of Bhakti and Narad

When Shukadevji who had become free from the reactions of all his karmas and whose even upanayan samskara had not yet been performed walked away giving up everything, then Vyasji, being bewildered by the separation, called him (by shouting), "O son!"  At that time, the trees had replied on behalf of Shukadevji (because Shukadevji did not even care reply. So, the trees might have replied thus:  "O Vyasaji, you are attached to your son, but your son is not attached to anything or anyone except Krishna.  Therefore, he will not come back with you.)  I (the speaker who tells us this) bow down to that Sri Shukadevji who knows the minds of all creatures.1

 Muni Shaunak who an was expert in relishing the taste of the katha-nectar bowed down to the highly intelligent Soota who was seated in the Naimisharanya and asked,2 "O Soota, you are as capable and brilliant as millions of suns in destroying the darkness of ignorance. Please tell me the katha which gives bliss to my ears. How does the discretion acquired by devotion, knowledge, and detachment increase; and how do Vishnu bhaktas get rid of illusion and passion?  People have acquired demoniac nature due to the arrival of this terrible Kali yuga. Then, what is the best way to purify people who are unhappy because of the worldly miseries?  Please tell me the way which is best of all the way of spiritual progress, which is the most pious of all the pious ways, and with which one always obtains Sri Krishna. Chintamani gives worldly pleasures when pleased; Indra gives the wealth of the heaven when pleased; and guru (spiritual master,) when pleased, gives Vaikuntha which is difficult to achieve even for the yogis."3-7

Soota said:  O Shaunak!  Your heart abounds in love. Therefore, I tell you, after pondering, the (spiritual) way which has been approved by all principles, which removes fear of the worldly entanglements, which increases the flow of devotion, and which is the root cause of pleasing Sri Krishna. Listen with attention.8-9

 Sri Shukadevji has recommended the 'Srimad Bhagavat' scripture (as a spiritual way) to destroy the fear of becoming the victim of the Kali yuga. This is the only way to purify the mind. One gets the benefit of the Bhagavat if he has acquired punya (righteous deeds) of (his) many previous births.  When Sri Shukadevji sat in the assembly to narrate the katha to Parixit, the demigods came there with a pot of nectar. The demigods, who were expert in their work, prayed with folded hands to Shukadevji, 'Give us the katha-nectar in exchange for this nectar.  After the exchange, let King Parixit drink this nectar, and we all will drink the katha-nectar of Srimad Bhagavat.'10-14

 Then Shukadevji thought, 'In this world, how can we compare the preciousness of the katha with that of the nectar?  The value of a diamond cannot be compared with the value of a piece of glass.'  Thinking thus, he ridiculed the demigods; and thinking them to be non-devotees, he did not give them katha-nectar. Thus, the Srimad Bhagavat katha listening is not readily available even for the demigods.15-16
 

 In ancient times, Lord Brahma was surprised when he saw that King Parixit had achieved salvation by just listening Srimad Bhagavat. And then, using a balance, he had weighed all the (different) means (of achieving salvation) in the Satyaloka.17  At that time, all the other means were found to be lighter than the means of the Srimad Bhagavat. Knowing this, all the rishis were extremely astonished.  They were convinced that Srimad Bhagavat is the manifestation of the Supreme Lord on the earth; and by reading or hearing it, one goes to Vaikuntha instantly.  It always bestows salvation by hearing it just for  seven days. In the past, kind Sanat Kumaras had narrated the Bhagavat to Narad Muni.  Although Devarshi Narad had heard it from Brahma, the procedure of saptaaha had been told to him by Sanat Kumaras.18-21

 Shaunak said:  How Narad, who is eager to cause fights among people and who is always wandering, got lovingly interested in listening the procedure of the saptaaha; and where he met the Sanat Kumaras?22

 Soota said:  In this matter, I will tell you a katha (story) full of devotion.  Shukadevji, knowing me to be his disciple, had told me this katha in a secluded place. Once the four holy Sanat Kumaras came for satsang (holy discourse) to Badrikashram and there they saw Narad.23-24

 Sanat Kumaras said:  O Narad, why is your face so sad?  Why are you full of anxiety?  Where are you going in such a hurry, and from where have you come?  You look like an empty minded person whose wealth is gone.  This does not befit you who are free from all associations.  Please explain the reason for this. 25-26

 Narad said:  I had gone to earth knowing it was as the best planet, and I went to many pilgrim places like Pushkara, Prayaga, Kashi, Godavari, Harikshetra, Kurukshetra, Shriranga, and Setubandha; but I did not see any happiness satisfying the mind. Nowadays Kali yuga, the friend of irreligious, has made the earth unhappy.  There is no truth, austerity, piousness, mercy, or charity there.  The people are observed to be selfish, poor, liars, lazy, stupid, unlucky, and unhappy.  Even "saintly" people are engaged in irreligious cheating business.  "Recluses" have become householders.  Women are rulers in every house. Brother-in-laws have become the family consultants.  Daughters are being greedily sld. Husbands and wives fight with each other.27-32  Aashramas, pilgrim places, temples and rivers have been occupied by wicked yavans, and many temples have been destroyed by them.33  There is no yogi, siddha, gyani, or a doer of religious activities.  All the religious infra-structure and means to salvation have been destroyed by Kali yuga.34  In Kali yuga, cooked food is being sold, brahmins sell the Vedas, and women engage in sex with any man for money.35  This way, seeing the bad effects of Kali yuga and roaming the earth, I went to the banks of the Yamuna river where Krishna had performed divine acts in His human form.36

 O Worthy Munis, there I saw a wonder. Listen to it.37  A young lady with dejected mind was seated there. Two old men were lying unconsciously in front of her and were breathing with difficulty, and that lady was crying. She was serving them and was trying to awaken them.38  She was looking in all the ten directions for a protector of her body. Hundreds of ladies were fanning her and were trying to comfort her.39  Seeing her from a distance, I went to her out of curiosity. Seeing me, she stood up and spoke the following words in the state of bewilderment.40  The lady said:  O Pious man, stay here for a moment and remove my anxiety. Your super darshan always destroys sins of people. My unhappiness will probably end with your words. If one has great luck, he gets your darshan.41-42  Narad said:  O goddess, who are you?  Who are these two men; and O lotus-eyed, who are these ladies?  What is the cause of your distress?  Tell me in detail.43

The Lady said:  I am known by the name 'Bhakti.' These are my two sons. Their names are 'Gyan' and 'Vairagya,'  and they have become old due to time.44  These ladies are the rivers Ganga, Yamuna, etc. and have come to serve Mme. The demigods serve me, but still I am not happy.  O man whose wealth is his austerity, now listen about my anxiety. It is a long story, but please listen and give me happiness.45-46  I was born in Dravid country, and grew in some places in Karnatak and Maharashtra; but in Gujarat, I became old.  There, because of the terrible Kali yuga, irreligion broke my limbs. Therefore, my two sons and I have been weak for a long time. But now just having gone to Vrindavan, I have become extremely beautiful as if rejuvenated.47-49  But my two sons are sleeping here and are experiencing pain due to fatigue, but I want to go to another place.50  I am unhappy because my sons have become old. By what cause did I become old and by what cause did they became old?51  The three of us travel together, yet this oddity has still occurred. A mother should be old and her sons should be young.52  O master of yoga, because of this, I am confused and worried. So, O intelligent man, please tell me what must be the reason for this?  Narad said:  O innocent Bhakti, I have been thinking in my heart, with a torch of knowledge, about the cause of all your unhappiness. Do not worry now. Sri Hari will do what is best for you.53-54

 Soota said:  The great muni Narad, knowing the cause in an instant, spoke these words. Narad said:  O young lady, listen with attention. This Kali yuga is terrible.55  It has destroyed dharma, yoga practice, and austerity. People have become like the demon Aghasur, and therefore they cheat and do demoniac deeds.56  In this yuga religious people suffer and scoundrels enjoy.  Only those intelligent people who have patience are considered learned.57  This earth is gradually becoming unfit to even see or touch, and is becoming simply a burden to Shesha Naga. No place is seen as auspicious.58  Nowadays, no one even looks at you with your sons.  You have become old, rejected by people blinded by lust.59  But you have become rejuvenated by the association of Vridavan. Truly, this Vrindavan is fortunate because you dance there.60  But here, since there is no one interested in you, your two sons do not give up their old age. But still, your sons are experiencing a little bliss here since it appears as though they are sleeping.61

 Sri Bhakti said:  Why did King Parixit keep the impious Kali yuga alive?  Who knows why the importance of all good things vanished as soon as Kali came?62  Why does merciful Sri Hari tolerate Kali?  Please remove my doubts about this. I have become happy with your words.62

 Narad said:  O young girl, listen with love. I shall tell you everything. O spiritual booster, your distress will be gone.63-64  Kali yuga which destroys all spiritual paths has come after Lord Sri Krishna left this earth and went to His abode.65  When King Parixit went on to conquer the world and saw Kali, he surrendered (to Parixit) humbly. So, Parixit thought, 'It is not proper for me to kill this Kali just as a bee takes honey from flower (without destroying it.)'66  By devotion to Krishna in Kali yuga,  people achieve salvation. They cannot not achieve salvation by austerity, yoga, or trance (which are very difficult in Kali yuga.)67  Thus, seeing some worth in Kali which is worthless mostly, Parixit has kept him alive for the happiness of living beings.68  Nowadays, everything has lost importance due to the performance of irreligious acts; and the things on earth have become worthless like a shell without a seed.69  Brahmanas recite Bhagavat katha to everyone at every house due to greed for food. Therefore, the importance of the katha has vanished.70  Even those who do many harsh deeds and are horrible atheists, live in the pilgrim places. Therefore, the importance of pilgrim places has vanished.71  The people whose minds are disturbed by lust, anger, a lot of greed, and desires are performing self-mortification. Therefore, the importance of penance has vanished.72  No one achieves the result of meditation and yoga because of inability to control the mind, greed, hypocrisy, practice of irreligion, and neglecting scriptural study. Even the learned are behaving like bulls with their wives and have become experts in producing sons rather than remaining experts in the attainment of salvation.73-74  Also, institutionalized Vaishnavism in disciplic succession is seen nowhere. In these ways, the importance has gone from everything and everyplace. This is how things happens in Kali yuga. What else can be at fault?  Because of this reason only, the Lord, even though He is very near, tolerates the bad characteristics of Kali.75-76

 Soota said:  O Shaunak, listening to Narada's words, Bhakti again spoke.77  Sri Bhakti said:  O Devarshi, how fortunate you are!  You have come because of my luck. In this world, merely the darshan of a pious person culminates in the attainment of all accomplishments. I bow down to you, O son of Brahma. I bow down to you, the one who recited spiritual discourse to Prahalad only once because of it he conquered maya. I bow down to you, the one by whose mercy Dhruva also acquired his permanent place in the heaven.78-79

Chapter 2
The Dialogue of Sanat Kumaras and Narad

 Narad said:  O young girl, you are worrying in vain. Oh, why you have to be so anxious?  Just think about the lotus feet of Sri Krishna. Doing so, your unhappiness will go away.1  Sri Krishna, who had protected Draupadi from Kauravas and who had nourished the gopis, has not gone away anywhere.2  O Bhakti, you are more dear to Bhagavan than He is to Himself. Upon your call, Bhagavan even visits the house of the lowest among men. (Transcendental) Knowledge and detachment results in liberation (Mukti) in the first three yugas, but only you give liberation in this Kali yuga.  Only after determining this, Sri Bhagavan, who is consciousness in the form of knowledge, truth, and bliss, has produced you out of his real form.3  You are the supremely beautiful lady whom Lord Krishna himself loves. Once you had asked Krishna, 'What do I do?'  Then Sri Krishna had ordered you:  'Nourish my devotees.'4-6  Sri Krishna was pleased with you when you had accepted this; and He has given you the maid servant Mukti and these two sons, Gyan and Vairagya.7  You nourish devotees in Vaikuntha by your form, and your reflection increases Krishna devotion on earth.8  You came to earth with Mukti, Gyan, and Vairagya and lived very happily in the first three yugas.9  Then, in Kali yuga, Mukti became weak due to the disease (influence) of irreligion.  So, she immediately went to Vaikuntha upon your order.10  But when you remember her, Mukti briefly comes. You have created these Gyan and Vairagya as your sons, and you have kept them only with you.11  Your two sons have become weak and old due to carelessness and indifference of men. Even then, give up your anxiety. I am thinking of a solution for it.12  O beautiful faced lady, no yuga is like Kali yuga. In this yuga, I will establish you in every house and person. If I do not defeat other religions and spread in the world your activity with great festivity, then I am not a servant of Sri Hari.13-14  In this Kali yuga, even if those who become devotees were sinners, they can still go fearlessly to the abode of Krishna. Those whose hearts are filled with loving Krishna devotion do not see Yama (the Death God) even in dream due to their purification.15-16  The ghosts, goblins, demons, or even the demigods dare not to harm those whose minds are full of Krishna devotion.17  Sri Hari (Krishna) cannot be attained by penance, Vedas, Gyan, or Karma;  but only by devotion. The Gopis are the evidence of this.18  Men get attracted to devotion due to the punya of their thousands of past births. In Kali yuga, devotion, only devotion is important. Sri Krishna stays just within reach due to devotion. Those who go against devotion become unhappy in the three worlds. In the past, sage Durvasa suffered unhappiness because he slandered devotion. There is no need at all for doing vratas, going on pilgrimages, practicing yoga or performing sacrifices, or singing lyrics of Gyan katha; only devotion alone gives salvation.19-21

Soota said:  Having become strong in all her limbs by listening to her own glory thus concluded by Narad, Bhakti began saying such as this:22  Sri Bhakti said:  O Narad, how fortunate you are!  You have unflinching love for me. I will never leave you and will always live in your mind. O Pious Man, merciful as you are, you have destroyed my pain in just a moment; but there is no consciousness in my these two sons. Now please make them conscious, wake them up.23-24

 Soota said:  Naradji became merciful listening to these words of Bhakti and began waking Gyan and Vairagya by pressing them with his hand. Bringing his mouth close to their ears, he began loudly saying, "O Gyan wake up quickly!  O Vairagya, wake up quickly!"25-26  Narad also began reciting Vedanta and Gita in loud roaring. Then they woke up unwillingly and with difficulty.27  They were not even able to open their eyes and were yawning and stretching.  Their hair had become white like a stork and their limbs had become hard, dry, and dull like wood.28  Seeing them weak due to hunger and going to sleep again, the rishi began worrying:  'What should I do now?  How do I get rid of their sleepiness and old age?  O Shaunak, worrying thus, Narad remembered Sri Bhagavan.30  At that time, a voice from the sky said, 'O rishi, do not worry. Your effort will succeed. There is no doubt about it.31  O Devarshi, do some righteous deed for this. The great souls beautiful with virtuous conduct will tell you which righteous deed to do.32  Doing it, the sleep and the old age of these two will go away in a moment and Bhakti will spread everywhere.' Everyone heard the heavenly voice. Naradji said, 'I do not understand what I am supposed to do.' feeling amazement.33-34

 Narad said:  This heavenly voice extended help, yet said nothing specific. What righteous deed would help these two?35  Where could I find those great souls?  How would they give the solution?  I know what the heavenly voice said, but I do not know what to do?36

 Soota said:  Narad muni departed leaving the two there, and while going to every place of pilgrimage, he kept asking about this to the great Munis who met him on his way.37  All listened to what he said, but none said anything authentically. Some said that it was impossible. Some said that it was difficult to properly understand the meaning of this (heavenly voice.)38  Some became silent after listening, and some ran away. At that time, there arose a great commotion in the three worlds.39  When Bhakti, Gyan and Vairagya awoke by the roars of Veda-Vedanta and Gita recitals but did not stand up, people started gossiping and saying:  'Now there is no other solution left. Since even Narad did not have a solution, how then could any other man in the world have a solution?  All the rishis who were asked said after pondering, that it is difficult to know a solution.40-42  Thus worried, Narad came to Badrikashram and decided to do penance there for righteous deed.43  O Best Muni Shaunak, at that time, he saw the Sanat Kumaras who were bright like millions of suns in front of him. So, he began talking to them.44

 Narad said:  O Kumaras, it is my great luck that you have met me at this time. You all are yogis, intelligent, greatly learned; are five years old, yet older than the oldest; are always living in Vaikuntha, and ready for doing Hari kirtan; and you remain ecstatic by drinking Hari-lila nectar.  Only Hari katha is your life.45-47  You always chant 'Sri Harihi sharanam'. Therefore, the old age which comes due to time does not make you unhappy.48  In the past, the (two) gate guards of Sri Hari had fallen to earth by just a little of your anger, and they again had gained salvation only by your favor.49  Oh!  I am lucky to see you here. So, you who are merciful should favor a poor soul like myself.50  Please tell me in detail the solution which the heavenly voice indicated, and how to do it.51  How could Bhakti, Gyan, and Vairagya become happy, and how could they get deliberately established with love in all (the four) divisions of the society?52  Please telling me soon.
 Sanat Kumaras said:  O Devarshi, do not worry. Be joyful. In this matter, there already is a solution that can be successfully used with pleasure.53  O Narad, how fortunate you are!  You are great among the vairagis. You are always a guide to the servants of Sri Krishna and you propagate Bhakti yoga just as the sun propagates light.54  So, no wonder that you are making this effort for Bhakti.  Without a doubt, it is always proper for a devotee to establish /propagate Bhakti. The rishis have shown many means (for salvation) in the world, but all those means are difficult and give (just) heaven at the most.55-56  The means to achieve Bhagavan is still a secret, and it is very difficult to find a person who could tell the spiritual matter about it.57  We are telling you now the pious deed that the heavenly voice indicated earlier.  Listen with a steady mind and a pleased intelligence.58  Material-sacrifice, penance-sacrifice, yoga-sacrifice, Veda-study-sacrifice, and knowledge-sacrifice - all these are indicators of a deed, but the learned say that only a knowledge-sacrifice is the one that indicates the righteous deed.  Shuka and other Munis have sung the knowledge-sacrifice in the form of Srimad Bhagavat katha.59-60  By the katha of Srimad Bhagavat, Bhakti, Gyan, and Vairagya will get great strength; the pain of Gyan and Vairagya will go away, and they will become happy.61  Just as the roar of a lion scares away the wolves, the sounds of the Srimad Bhagavat will remove all the faults of Kali yuga; and then Bhakti, with Gyan and Vairagya, permeating the atmosphere with divine love, will play in every house and every person.62-63

 Narad said:  How will Bhakti, Gyan, and Vairagya who did not awake by the roaring recitals of the Vedas and the Gita, will awake by Srimad Bhagavat katha?  Because, there is simply the essence of the Vedas in every verse and step of the katha.64-65  O Kumaras whose contact gives one success, please remove my doubt. O Kumaras who are kind to the surrendered, please do not delay in this subject.66

 Sanat Kumaras said:  Srimad Bhagavat katha is evolved out of the essence of the Vedas and the Upanishadas. So, the katha, being separate from them (like their fruit) seems to be the very best.67  Just as there is juice within a tree from top to bottom but it cannot be tasted until it separates as a fruit and then it becomes attractive to the minds of the world;68  just as ghee within milk is not able to give its taste until it separate from milk and then becomes taste enhancer even to demigods;69  also, just as the sugar is within sugar-cane from its root to its middle but it tastes sweeter when separated; so is Srimad Bhagavat katha, the essence of the Vedas separated from the Vedas.70  This Srimad Bhagavat Purana is equivalent to the Vedas and is published for the establishment of Bhakti, Gyan, and Vairagya.71  At a time in past when Sri Vyasa, the most versatile in the Vedas and the Vedantas and the creator of the Gita, was bewildered and suffocating in the ocean of ignorance, you had told him the 4-Verse Bhagavat. Listening it, Vyasa immediately had become free from unhappiness.72-73  So, why you wonder or question about that matter?  You should listen only the Srimad Bhagavat which destroyed his unhappiness.74
 Narad said:  O Kumaras who only listen to the katha sung by all the mouths of Shesha Naga, your darshan destroys the ills of people (who have suffered by the painful inferno of sansara) and brings them closer to Krishna.  I surrender to you with the intent of spreading the Bhakti whose predominant characteristics is love for Krishna.75  When a man is associated with pious men due to his luck from his many past lives, then vivek rises in him, destroying the darkness in the form of passions and pride that come about due to ignorance.76

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