(1) Sûta said: "Thus hearing from the great sage among the gods about his birth and exploits, sage Vyâsadeva, the son of Satyavatî, asked him: (2) 'What did you, before your present life began, do after the great devotees had departed who instructed you in transcendental wisdom? (3) How were the conditions of the life you spent after this initiation and how have you, in the long run, attained to this body? (4) How could you, oh great sage, remember all of this from a previous era in any detail, isn't it so that time in due course annihilates all?'
(5) S'rî Nârada said: 'The great sages in my previous life gave me the transcendental knowledge I have at present and after they had departed the following took place. (6) I was the only son of my mother who was a simple woman working as a maidservant. I, as her offspring, was completely determined by the emotional bond I had with her and had no one else to protect me. (7) Although she wanted to take care of me properly, she, being dependent like a puppet on a string, couldn't do so. (8) I, being only five years old, attended the school of the brahmins and lived, depending on her, without having a clue about the time, the direction and country in which we were living. (9) When she once went out at night to milk a cow, she was bitten in the leg by a snake on the path and thus fell victim of the supreme time. (10) I took it as a benediction of the Lord who always wishes the best for His devotees, and with that in mind I headed for the north. (11) There I found many flourishing big and small towns and villages with farms, mineral and agricultural fields in valleys with flower and vegetable gardens and forests. (12) I saw hills and mountains full of gold, silver and copper and elephants pulling branches from the trees nearby delightful lakes and ponds full of the lotus flowers aspired by the denizens of heaven - and my heart was pleased with the birds and the amount of bees hovering about. (13) I passed through thickets of bamboo, sharp grass and weeds and through caves which were difficult to pass alone, and I reached deep and dangerous forests that were the playground of snakes, owls and jackals. (14) Being physically and mentally tired, I, hungry and thirsty, took a bath and drank from the water of a lake from a river in which I found relief from my fatigue. (15) In that uninhabited forest I sat down under a banyan tree to meditate, intelligently taking shelter of the Supersoul situated within the way I had learned it from the liberated souls. (16) Thus meditating on the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality, all of my thinking, feeling and willing transformed into transcendental love. I was that eager that tears rolled from my eyes when I saw the Lord appear in my heart without delay. (17) Fully overwhelmed by an excess of love and transfixed in feelings of happiness all over my body, I oh sage, being absorbed in an ocean of ecstasy, could not distinguish Him from myself any longer. (18) No longer seeing the form of the Lord who removes all disparity from the mind, I all of a sudden got up being perturbed like someone who has lost something desirable. (19) Desiring to experience that again I could, having focussed my mind on the heart, despite of my waiting, not see Him, and got very depressed being frustrated that way. (20) Trying and trying in that lonely place I heard from the beyond pleasing words of gravity being spoken to me that mitigated my grief: (21) 'Listen, for the duration of your life you will not acquire the vision of Me here, because it is difficult to acquire the vision when one, immature with impurities, is guilty in one's being united. (22) That form was only shown once to raise your desire oh virtuous one, because by the increase of the desire of the devotee all lusts will be driven away from the heart. (23) When one for a few days only being of service to the Absolute has attained a steady intelligence unto Me someone, having given up on the deplorable of this world, will head for and be of My associates. (24) The intelligence engaged this way in devotion can at no time be separated from Me because, whether beings are becoming or fading away, by My mercy their remembrance will continue.'
(25) After thus having spoken, that great and wonderful sound of the Supreme authority stopped and I, grateful for the grace, bowed my head in obeisance to the great and glorified. (26) Free from formalities exercising the holy name of the Unlimited One and being of the constant remembrance of His mysterious and benedictory activities, I traveled the earth liberated and contented in all modesty, without any resentment awaiting my time. (27) Thus free from attachment to the material world being absorbed in Krishna oh Vyâsadeva, in due course of time death came to get me as natural as lightning coinciding with a flash. (28) Having been awarded with a transcendental body worthy of an associate of the Lord, I, seeing that my acquired karma had ended, quitted the body that is composed of the five material elements. (29) At the end of the era the Lord, having laid Himself down in the waters of devastation, took me, with the creator and all, in within His breath. (30) A thousand ages later, when the creator again was expired I reappeared together with rishis like Marîci. (31) Faithful to the vow traveling within the three worlds as well as in the beyond, I, because of the mercy of Mahâ-Vishnu, am free to go wherever and whenever I want. (32) This way I move around constantly singing the message of the Lord while I vibrate the transcendentally charged vînâ with which the Godhead has decorated me. (33) Singing thus soon the sight of the Lord of the lotus feet about whose actions one gladly hears, as if called for appears in the seat of my heart. (34) I arrived at the insight that for those who in their desire for the objects of the senses are full of worries, there is a boat to cross over the ocean of material nescience: the repeated singing of the glories of the Lord. (35) Desire and lust being curbed every time by the discipline of yoga certainly will not be as satisfying to the soul as the devotional service to the Personality of Godhead. (36) I, upon your request, described to you who are free from sin all this about my birth and activities, so that the satisfaction of your as well as of my soul is served.' "
(37) Sûta said: "After thus having addressed the powerful sage, Nârada Muni took leave of the son of Satyavatî and, vibrating his enchanting vînâ, left for wherever. (38) All glory and success to the sage of the gods who takes pleasure in singing the glories of the Personality of Godhead and thus, with the help of his instrument, enlivens the distressed universe."