(1) The honorable king (Parîkchit) said: 'O brahmin, we'd like to know how she who is my grandmother, the sister of Krishna and Râma [Subhadrâ, see 9.24: 53-55], got married to Arjuna.'
(2-3) S'rî S'uka said: 'Arjuna, the great lord, gone on a pilgrimage to Prabhâsa, heard as he wandered the earth that Râma intended to give his maternal cousin away to Duryodhana and to no one else, and so went he, desirous of her, to Dvârakâ disguised as a renunciate with a tridanda [*]. (4) Determined to fulfill his purpose, resided he there during the months of the rainy season and was he [according the custom] honored by the citizens and by Râma without them being aware who he was. (5) One day invited as a guest was he brought to Balarâma's house where He faithfully presented him a meal. (6) When he there, with eyes blossoming of happiness, saw the wonderful girl who enchanted heroes, put he, smitten, his mind on her. (7) She also seeing him who stole each woman's heart, fixed her heart and eyes upon him as she with desire gave him a bashful smile and look. (8) Thinking of nothing but her awaiting the right opportunity could Arjuna, with his heart trembling of the strongest desire, find no peace. (9) When during an important religious festival she rode out of the fortress in a chariot, seized the mighty warrior the girl who had stolen his heart. That took place with the consent of her parents [see 1o.1: 56] and Krishna. (10) Standing on the chariot raising his bow drove he, like the king of the animals claiming his share, back the heroes and guards who, while her relatives were shouting in anger, tried to stop him. (11) Hearing this was Râma as disturbed as the ocean is during a badly aspected moon [astrological conjunction or opposition]. Lord Krishna and His family had to grasp Him respectfully by His feet in order to pacify Him. (12) He thereupon was pleased to sent presents of great value, elephants and horses and male and female servants as a wedding gift for the groom and bride.'
(13) S'rî S'uka continued: 'Of Lord Krishna there was S'rutadeva, one of the best among the twice-born, known for his fullness of realization - his serenity, learning and freedom from sense gratification - in exclusive devotion to Krishna. (14) He, as a householder dwelling in Mithilâ in the kingdom of Videha, carried out his obligations unconcerned about what came to him for his sustenance. (15) Day by day doing his duties as required was he happy with just that - and nothing more - what he by providence acquired as his share for his sober maintenance. (16) The ruler of that kingdom from the line of King Mithilâ [Janaka] was known by the name of Bahulâs'va and was likewise selfless minded, my dearest. They were both equally dear to Acyuta. (17) Pleased with the two of them mounted the Supreme Lord His chariot that was brought by Dâruka, and mounting together with a group of sages went the Master to Videha. (18) Along came Nârada, Vâmadeva, Atri, Krishna Dvaipâyana Vyâsa, Paras'urâma, Asita, Aruni, I [S'uka], Brihaspati, Kanva, Maitreya and Cyavana and others. (19) Everywhere He came approached the citizens and villagers carrying arghya [offerings of water] to greet Him who was as the risen sun surrounded by the planets. (20) In Ânarta [where Dvârakâ is], Dhanva [the desert region], Kuru-jângala [Thaneswar and Kurukshetra], Kanka, Matsya [Jaipur and Aloyar], Pañcâla [the Ganges region], Kunti, Madhu, Kekaya [northeast Punjab], Kos'ala [from Kâs'î to the Himalayas], Arna [east of Mithilâ] and in many other kingdoms, drank the men and women with their eyes in the lotus face that was so generous with His smiles and affectionate glances, o King. (21) The Spiritual Master of the Three Worlds put an end to the blindness of their eyes by bestowing upon them the fearlessness of the spiritual vision. As He thus by and by reached Videha, heard He how by the God-conscious and the commoners His glories were sung, the glories that eradicate all misfortune and purify every corner of the universe. (22) The moment the villagers and citizens heard that Acyuta had arrived, o King, came they joyfully forward to greet Him with offerings in their hands. (23) Seeing Him Who is Praised in the Verses, bowed they with their faces and hearts blossoming of love down with their joined palms held to their heads, as they also did before the sages they only knew from hearsay. (24) Each of the kings of Mithilâ and S'rutadeva prostrated at the feet supposing that the Spiritual Master of the Universe had arrived to be of mercy for especially him. (25) Bahulâs'va and S'rutadeva simultaneously joining their palms, invited the Descendant of Das'ârha along with the twice-born to be their guest. (26) The Supreme Lord eager to please the two of them accepted their offer by entering each his house without them knowing that of each other [He did so at the same time in vaibhava-prakâs'a]. (27-29) The descendent of Janaka [Bahulas'va] who later that day saw them, fatigued, coming from a distance to his house, mindfully brought out fine seats for them so that they could comfortably sit. Overjoyed at heart with intense devotion and eyes clouded with tears bowed he down to wash those feet of which the water is able to purify the entire world. Together with his family taking it on his head, honored he the Lords [and sages] with sandalwood paste, garlands, clothing, jewelry, incense, lamps, arghya, cows and bulls. (30) When they had eaten their fill, said he while happily massaging the feet of Vishnu on his lap, in order to please them in a gentle voice slowly the following.
(31) S'rî Bahulâs'va said: 'You indeed the Self-illumined Witness and Soul of All Created Beings, o Almighty One, have now become visible to us who are remembering Your lotusfeet. (32) To be true to the statement You made that 'No one, not even Ananta, S'rî or the Unborn Brahmâ is as dear to Me as the unalloyed devotee', have You appeared before our eyes [see also 7.7: 51-52, 10.9: 20-21, 10.47: 58-63]. (33) What person knowing this would abandon Your lotusfeet with You giving Yourself to sages who are peaceful from not striving for possessions? (34) Descending in the Yadu dynasty for the sake of those who are caught in worldly love [samsâra] have You, to put a stop to it, disseminated Your fame which removes the sins of the three worlds. (35) All glories to You Krishna, the Supreme Lord ever fresh in His intelligence, to Nara-Nârâyana, the One perfect of peace in undergoing the austerities. (36) Please o Omnipresent One, dwell, joined by the twice-born, for a few days in our home and sanctify with the dust of Your feet this dynasty of Nimi.'
(37) S'rî S'uka said: 'Thus invited by the king stayed the Supreme Lord and Maintainer of the Entire World there and thus brought good fortune to the men and women of Mithilâ. (38) S'rutadeva, just as Bahulas'va receiving Krishna in his house, bowing down to the sages to the occasion of which he in delight danced with waving clothes. (39) He made them sit on mats of darbha grass which were brought, greeted them with words of welcome and washed next pleased together with his wife their feet. (40) With the water sprinkled he, overjoyed of having all his desires fulfilled, most piously himself, his house and his family. (41) With offerings of fruits, aromatic root [us'îra], pure nectarean sweet water, fragrant clay, tulsî leaves, kus'a grass and lotus flowers honored he them with all items of worship available and with food conducive to the mood of goodness [see B.G. 17: 8]. (42) He wondered: 'How could it happen that I who fell down in the blind well of family life, may enjoy this association with Krishna and these godly people in whom He resides; it is indeed the dust of their feet that constitutes the dignity of all holy places.' (43) With them comfortably seated and having proven the hospitality, spoke S'rutadeva, as his wife, relatives and children were sitting close, while he massaged His feet.
(44) S'rutadeva said: 'It is not for the first time that we see the Supreme Personality present before us; in fact is that happening ever since He, creating this universe with His energies, entered it in His own state of [transcendental] being [as an avatâra]. (45) He enters this world the way a sleeping person appears in his own dream: alone with his mind creates he by his own imagination a separate world. (46) You appear within the hearts of those people who with a pure mind again and again hear about You, speak of You, glorify You, worship You and converse about You. (47) Even though You're situated in the heart are You far removed from minds agitated by material affairs, and even though one can't get hold of You by one's own powers, are You near to those who appreciate Your qualities [see also B.G. 7: 25]. (48) Let there be my obeisances unto You, the Supersoul from whom we know the Absolute of the Truth, the One who [as the Time] calls for the death of the conditioned soul; the One who assumes forms that have a cause [the universe] and do not have a cause [the transcendental], and thus [respectively] obstructs matters and [then again descending for Your devotees] broadens the outlook by Your own deluding potency. (49) You as that Supersoul, please command us Your servants. What o God should we do? Oh, having this of You, Your good Self, visible before our eyes is what puts an end to the troubles of humanity!'
(50) S'rî S'uka said: 'Having heard what he thus said to Him, spoke the Supreme Lord, the Destroyer of the Distress of the Surrendered, to him with a broad smile taking his hand into His. (51) The Supreme Lord said: 'O brahmin, you should know that these sages came along for the purpose of blessing you; wandering with Me, they purify all the worlds with the dust of their feet. (52) The deities, pilgrimage sites and sacred rivers being visited, being touched and being worshiped purify gradually, but by the glance of the one who is the most worshipable is that all attained at the same time [see also 4.30: 37, 7.9: 44, 10.9: 21, 10.84: 11]. (53) A brahmin is by birth the best of all living beings, and what more wouldn't he mean to Me when he by his austerity, his learning and his contentment is endowed with a grip on the time [of this age of Kali, see also ** and kâla]! (54) This four-armed form is not as dear to Me as a brahmin is; a man of [brahminical] learning comprises all the Vedas indeed the way I comprise all the gods [see also 10.84: 12]. (55) Those who corrupted in their intelligence fail to understand it this way, behave in neglect enviously towards the man of [brahminical] learning, their guru, Me factually, their very self, while they do regard the visible form of an idol worthy of worship. (56) The moving and nonmoving of this universe as well as the elementary categories basic to it are by man of learning of respect for Me kept in mind as being My forms [see also B.G. 5: 18]. (57) Therefore o brahmin just worship, with the same faith you have in Me, these brahmin seers, and thus will you directly be of worship for Me, not by any other way as [e.g. offering] vast riches [and such].'
(58) S'rî S'ûka said: 'He as also the king of Mithilâ who were thus instructed by the Lord, attained by the single-minded devotion for Krishna and His company of the most exalted twice-born ones, the transcendental destination. (59) The Supreme Lord of Devotion for His Own Devotees, thus staying and teaching the two devotees the path of the truthful [***], o King, then returned to Dvârakâ.'