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Srimad Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana) :: Conto 2

Brief Description of the Past and Coming Avatâras

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Srimad Bhagavatam » Conto 2   

 Brief Description of the Past and Coming Avatâras

(1) The Creator said: 'When the Lord as the Unlimited One within the universe for His pastimes assumed the form of the sum total of all sacrifices  [as the boar avatâra Varâha], He was determined to lift the earth out of the great [Garbhodaka] ocean. In the ocean the first demon [called Hiranyâksha, the demon of gold] appeared who by Him, like a thunderbolt piercing a pack of clouds, was defeated with His tusk.

(2) From Âkûti ['good intention'] the wife of the Prajâpati Ruci, Suyajña ['appropriate sacrifice'] was born who with his wife Dakshinâ ['the reward'] gave birth to the godly headed by Suyama ['proper regulation']. With them He greatly diminished the distress in the three worlds and for that reason the father of mankind Svâyambhuva Manu renamed Him Hari [the Lord].

(3) Next He took birth in the house of the twice-born Kardama ['the shadow of the Creator'] from the womb of Devahûti ['the invocation of the Gods'] together with nine sisters. As Lord Kapila ['the analytic one'] He spoke to His mother about spiritual realization because of which she in that life was freed from the material modes that cover the soul and achieved liberation.

(4) Satisfied about the surrender of the sage Atri who prayed for offspring, the  Supreme Lord said to him: 'I will give Myself to you!' and for that reason He received the name of Datta [Dattâtreya, 'the given one']. The dust of His lotus feet purified the body of mysticism and brought the wealth of the spiritual and material worlds of Yadu [the founder of the dynasty], Haihaya [a descendant] and others.

(5) Because I formerly lived austere in penance for the sake of the creation of the different worlds, the Lord appeared as the four Sanas [ 'of old', the four celibate sons called Sanat-kumâra, Sanaka, Sanandana and Sanâtana]. In the epoch before, the spiritual truth was devastated in the inundation of the world, but with these sages who had a clear vision of the soul the knowledge was fully recreated.

(6) From Mûrti ['the idol'], the wife of Dharma ['righteousness'] and the daughter of Daksha ['the able one', a Prajâpati], He took  birth in the form of Nara-Nârâyana ['man, the progress of man']. The Supreme Lord thus [descending] never allowed, by the strength of [the beauties originating from] His personal penances, that His vows would break because of the celestial beauties that came to Him from Cupid [the god of love]. (7) Great stalwarts [like Lord S'iva] can overcome their being overwhelmed by lust by means of their wrathful vision, but they cannot overcome their own intolerance. But with [the both of] Him within, the lust is too afraid to enter. How can with Him in mind the lust ever demand attention?

(8) Incited by the sharp words of a co-wife who uttered them even in the presence of the king [Uttânapâda], his son Dhruva [the immovable], only a boy at the time, took to severe penances in a great forest. The Lord pleased with his prayers confirmed the goal of his realization [Dhruva loka, the pivot of the stars] for which the great sages and denizens of heaven directed up and downward pray ever since.

(9) When the twice-born, cursed King Vena ['the anxious one'] who strayed from the path of religion, it burnt him like a thunderbolt with him going to hell with all his great deeds and opulence. The Lord being prayed for delivered him coming to earth as his son [named Prithu, 'the great one'] and achieved with that as well that the earth could be exploited to yield all kinds of crops.

(10) As the son of King Nâbhi ['the pivot'] He was born as Rishabha ['the best one'] from Sudevî. Equipoised in the matter of yoga appearing foolish He performed at the highest level of achievement of the sages in which one in acceptance of the spiritual essence - one's independence - has subdued the activities of the senses and is perfectly liberated from material influences.

(11) The Supreme Lord, the soul of all the gods, the Personality of Sacrifice who is worshiped in all sacrifices, appeared in a sacrifice of mine with a horselike head and a golden hue [and is thus called Hayagrîva]. From His breathing through His nostrils the sounds of the Vedic hymns can be heard.

(12) He who became the Manu [called Satyavrata, 'the truth-abiding one'] at the end of the epoch saw Lord Matsya ['the fish'] who as the stay of the earth offered shelter to all living beings [in the form of a boat during the deluge]. The Vedas that because of the great fear for the waters came forth from my mouth then were taken up by Him who sported there.

(13) When in the ocean of milk [or knowledge] the leaders of the immortals and their opponents where churning the mountain [called Mandara, the 'big one'] for gaining the nectar, the primeval Lord half asleep as a tortoise [called Kurma] supported him, so that it scratched and itched on His back.

(14) As Nrisimha ['the lion'] He appeared as the one who took away the fear of the God-conscious with the movements of His eyebrows and the terrifying teeth of His mouth, while He on His lap without delay with His nails pierced the fallen king of the demons [Hiranyakas'ipu] who had challenged Him with a club in his hands.

(15) The leader of the elephants [Gajendra] who within the river was seized by his leg by an exceptionally strong crocodile, holding a lotus in great distress addressed [Him] as follows: 'You are the Original Personality and Lord of the Universe. From You being as famous as a place of pilgrimage all good ensues by just hearing Your name, the name so worthy to be sung.' (16) The Lord who heard him in his distress, as the Unlimited Powerful One seated on the king of the birds [Garuda], cut the beak of the crocodile in two with His cakra weapon and in His causeless mercy freed him by pulling him up by his trunk.

(17) Despite of His transcendence, He [as Lord Vâmana] surpassed the qualities of the sons of Aditi by covering all the worlds in this universe. For that reason He was called the Lord of Sacrifice. Begging He had pretended that He needed only three steps of land but seized that way all the lands [of Bali Mahârâja] without ever offending the authorities under whose wings one may never lose one's property. (18) Oh Nârada, by virtue of the strength of the water that washed from the feet of the Lord, he [Bali Mahârâja], who kept it on his head and who had the supremacy over the kingdom of the godly, never, not even when it would cost him his body, tried for anything else but to keep to his promise because he had decided to be dedicated to the Lord.

(19) The Supreme Lord satisfied about the goodness you developed through your transcendental love oh Nârada, nicely explained to you in all detail the light of the knowledge of yoga and the science of relating to the soul, which all who have surrendered to Vâsudeva so perfectly know to appreciate.

(20) Undeterred in all circumstances of the ten directions He by the glories of His personal strength subdues the three systems [see loka] as He in the different ages of Manu [manvantaras] incarnates as a descendant of  the Manu dynasty. Ruling over the miscreants and kings of that type  with the help of His cakra weapon, He thus establishes His fame up to the world of truth [Satyaloka] *.

(21) As fame personified the Supreme Lord carrying the name of Dhanvantari ['moving in a curve'] descends in this universe in order to direct the knowledge that is necessary to obtain a long life. This He accomplishes by providing the nectar of the [Kurma churning] sacrifice that swiftly cures the diseases of all living entities.
(22) For the purpose of diminishing the increasing dominance of the ruling class the great soul [Lord Paras'urâma],  the Ultimate Spiritual Truth in person, will remove all those thorns from the world who  strayed from the path and opted for a hellish life. He awfully powerful for that purpose will wield His transcendental hatchet twenty-one times.

(23) Because of His causeless all-embracing mercy, the Lord of All Time will descend [as Lord Râma] in the dynasty of Ikshvâku [the dynasty of the solar order]. Together with His wife [Sîtâ] and brother [Lakshmana] He upon the command of his father [Das'aratha] will take to the forest under the opposition of the ten-headed one [the demoniac ruler Râvana] who caused great distress. (24) The fearful Indian ocean, seeing her aquatics [sharks, sea snakes and such] burnt, will quickly give way the moment He in His anger about His aggrieved intimate friend [the kidnapped Sîtâ], from a distance meditates the city of the enemy [on the island of Lankâ] with red-hot eyes like Hara did in his desire to burn down [the heavenly kingdom with his fiery looks]. (25) When the trunk of the elephant carrying Indra breaks on the chest of Râvana light will radiate in all directions. Râvana overtaken by joy will parade proud between the armies, but in no time the laughter and life breath of the one who had kidnapped Sîtâ will be put to an end by the twanging bow [of Râma].

(26) When the entire world is miserable because of the burden of soldiers of the disbelievers, He [Krishna] together with His plenary expansion [Balarâma], His beauty and His black hair, He whose glorious path of activities is so hard to recognize for the people in general, is bound to appear for the sake of the decimation of those atheists. (27) Who else but Him would for God's sake as a child kill a living being that has assumed the form of a giant demoness [Pûtanâ] or being only three months old with His leg will turn over a cart as also uproot two high rising Arjuna trees? (28) At Vrindâvana [where Krishna will grow up] He with His merciful glance will bring back to life the cowherd boys and their animals who drank from the poisoned water [of the Yamunâ]. In order to purify [the water] from the excess of the highly potent poison He in the river will take pleasure in severely punishing the snake that is lurking there with its venomous tongue. (29) He with His superhuman deeds that very night will save all the inhabitants of Vraja [the cowherd-village] who free from worries are sleeping, from being burned by the fire ablaze in the dry forest. He thus will prove to them who are sure to be seeing the last of their days, together with Balarâma, His unfathomable prowess by simply having them close their eyes [and thus deliver them the same way He later on will free the gopas from another forest fire]. (30) Whatever rope His [foster] mother [Yas'odâ] will try to bind her son with, will time and again prove to be too short. And that what she will see when He opens His mouth to the doubting cowherd woman [who looks for dirt He would have eaten] are all the worlds, which is something that will convince her another way. (31) Nanda Mahârâja His [foster] father whom He as well will save from the fear for Varuna [the demigod of the waters] and the cowherd men who were held captive in the caves by the son of Maya [a demon] as also the ones [living in Vrindâvana] who because of their hard labor worked during the day and slept during the night, He will all award the highest world of the spiritual sky [Brahmaloka or Vaikunthha]. (32) When the cowherd men are being stopped [by Krishna] in their sacrifices for the king of heaven, Indra will cause a heavy downpour of rain. He [Krishna], only seven years of age, wishing to protect the animals, in His causeless mercy playfully with one hand only for seven days in a row then will hold up Govardhana hill like [an umbrella], without getting tired. (33) When He in His nightly pastimes in the forest desires to dance in the silver light of the moon with sweet songs and melodious music He will awaken the amorous desires of the wives of Vrajabhûmi [the region of Vrindâvana] and decapitate their kidnapper [S'ankhacûda] who was after the riches of Kuvera [the heavenly treasurer]. (34-35) All [demons] like Pralamba, Dhenuka, Baka, Kes'î, Arishtha, Cânûra and Mushthika [wrestling for Kamsa], Kuvalayâpîda [the elephant], Kamsa [the demoniac uncle]; many foreign kings [like those of Persia], the ape Dvivida, Paundraka and others, as well as kings like S'âlva, Narakâsura, Balvala, Dantavakra, Saptoksha, S'ambara, Vidûratha and Rukmî and all powerful and well equipped warriors like Kâmboja, Matsya, Kuru [the sons of Dhritarâshthra], Sriñjaya, and Kekaya, will thanks to Him disappear from the scene and attain His heavenly abode or else because of the actions of one of the other names belonging to Him, like Baladeva [Krishna's brother], Arjuna or Bhîma.

(36) Born from Satyavatî He [as Vyâsadeva] will in due course of time understand the difficulties of the less intelligent and short-lived people with the all too complex and specialized Vedic literatures. According to the circumstances of the age He then will divide the entire collection of the desire tree of the Vedas into different branches.

(37) For those who became well informed on the path of education but envious with the divine roam the worlds and the ether with inventions of Maya [or with modern technology], He will dress up most attractively and [as the Buddha and His representatives] with the use of many terms deviating from the tradition extensively discourse on their destructive bewilderment.

(38) When even with the civilized gentlemen there is no mention of the Lord, and when the twice-born [the higher classes] and the government consisting of members of the laborer class itself never under any circumstances take to His hymns, paraphernalia, altars and words, then, at the end of the Age of Dissent, the Supreme Lord [Kalki], the chastiser will appear.
(39) In the beginning there was penance with me and the seven wise who brought about everything, in the middle there is the activity of dharma with Vishnu, Manu, the demigods and the kings in their worlds and in the end there is the godless with S'iva and the angry atheists and such. They are all powerful representatives of the deluding energy of the One of Supreme Power. (40) Who can fully describe the prowess of Lord Vishnu? Not even the scientist who might have counted the atoms. All were greatly moved by Him who by His own leg could cover the universe [as Trivikrama] up to the topmost world beyond the operating modes. (41) Neither I, nor all the sages who prior to you were born are capable of determining the reach of the Almighty Supreme Person. What then would one expect from others who were born after us? Not even Ananta S'esha [the 'snake bed' of Vishnu] the first incarnation of  the primordial God with the thousand faces is to the present day singing the qualities not able to reach His limit. (42) Only they to whom the Lord extends His grace are able to cross over the  infinite ocean of matter. It concerns those protected souls whose seeking shelter meant that they without reservation, without duplicity surrendered at His lotus feet, or that they consciously refused to consider His diverse energies to be their own including that of them [their bodies] which is meant to serve as food for the dogs and jackals. (43-45) Oh Nârada, know that we both belong to the bewildering game of illusion of the Supreme One, as do also the great Lord S'iva, Prahlâda Mahârâja from the atheist family, S'atarûpâ, the wife of Manu and Svâyambhuva Manu himself with his children, Prâcînabarhi, Ribhu, Anga [the father of Vena], as also Dhruva, Ikshvâku, Aila, Mucukunda, Janaka, Gâdhi, Raghu, Ambarîsha, Sagara, Gaya, Nâhusha, and others like Mândhâtâ, Alarka, S'atadhanu, Anu, Rantideva, Bhîshma, Bali, Amûrttaraya, Dilîpa, Saubhari, Utanka, S'ibi, Devala, Pippalâda, Sârasvata, Uddhava, Parâs'ara, Bhûrishena and champions like Vibhîshana, Hanumân, S'ukadeva Gosvâmî, Arjuna, Ârshthishena, Vidura and S'rutadeva. (46) Undoubtedly do also those persons who are women, laborers, barbarians and outcasts - provided they follow the instructions of the admirable devotees - manage to surpass the illusion of the divine energy and to arrive at knowledge, even if they led sinful lives. And when even animals that were trained by humans succeed in it, how much more wouldn't that be true for those people who have heard about Him? (47) The Absolute of the Spirit [Brahman] is known as unlimited happiness free from grief. It is the ultimate position of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in front of whom illusion flies away in shame. That pure uncontaminated state free from distinctions is beyond the words belonging to the material motive of fruitive actions, it is the original principle of the Supersoul, the cause of all cause and effect, it is consciousness free from fear and the undisturbed counterpart of the totality of matter [see also B.G. 2: 52]. (48) In that state of full independence the diverse practices of the mystics who in the process of their spiritual culture strive for perfection, are then given up, just as Indra [the god of rain] doesn't have to dig a well. (49) The Supreme Lord is the one master of all goodness because He brings the success of [spiritual realization to] all the good work that by the living entity was performed according  to its natural disposition. After the work is done the body dissolves in its constituent elements but just like the ether never is vanquished, the unborn spirit soul of the person is never lost either [see also B.G. 2: 24].

(50) My dear, I thus explained in brief to you how the Supreme Lord created the universe. Whatever that may exist in the phenomenal [material] or noumenal [spiritual] world cannot be of any other cause than Hari, the Lord. (51) This story of the Fortunate One called the S'rîmad Bhâgavatam, was handed down to me by Him, the Supreme Lord and constitutes the summary of His diverse potencies. Now you from your good self must expound on this science of Godhead yourself. (52) Therefore describe with determination, for the cause of enlightening mankind, this science of devotion [bhakti] for the Supreme Personality, the summum bonum and Absolute of all Souls. (53) With the description of the Lord His external affairs the living being who is of regular attention and devoted appreciation for it will never be deluded by the external energy.'

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SOURCE: Translation: Anand Aadhar Prabhu, http://bhagavata.org/

Production: the Filognostic Association of The Order of Time, with special thanks to Sakhya Devi Dasi for proofreading and correcting the manuscript. http://theorderoftime.com/info/guests-friends.html

The sourcetexts, illustrations and music to this translation one can find following the links from: http://bhagavata.org/