(1) Sûta said: "The Godhead who by Brahmâ, Indra, Rudra and the children of heaven [the Maruts] is praised with transcendental prayers and about whom the Sâma Veda chanters with arrangements of mantras from the Vedas, their limbs [the angas] and the Upanishads are singing; the Godhead upon whom the yogis, seeing Him in their minds, concentrate in the meditative position; He whose end is not known to anyone among the enlightened or unenlightened - unto Him I offer my obeisances. (2) By the scratching edges of the stones of Mandara mountain that most heavily rotated upon His back the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the form of a tortoise [Kûrma] became sleepy. May all of you be protected by the winds that are the traces left behind by the flow of His breathing and the ceaseless tides of the eb and flow of the water which up to the present day follows that example of breathing in and out. (3) Please listen to a summation of the number [of verses] of this [Purâna], the purpose of its subject matter, how the book should be given away as a gift, what the glory is of that gift-giving and what the blessing is of the reading, reciting and so on of this text.
(4-9) The Brahmâ Purâna has ten thousand verses, the Padma Purâna fifty-five thousand, the S'rî Vishnu Purâna twenty-three thousand and the S'iva Purâna twenty-four thousand. The S'rîmad Bhâgavatam counts eighteen thousand, the Nârada Purâna twenty-five thousand, the Mârkandeya Purâna nine thousand and the Agni Purâna fifteen thousand four hundred verses. The Bhavishya Purâna has fourteen thousand five hundred verses, the Brahma-vaivarta Purâna eighteen thousand and the Linga Purâna eleven thousand. The Varâha Purâna offers twenty-four thousand of them, the Skanda Purâna eighty-one thousand one hundred and the Vâmana Purâna is described in ten thousand verses. The Kûrma Purâna is said to have seventeen thousand verses, the Matsya Purâna has fourteen thousand of them, the Garuda Purâna next has nineteen thousand and the Brahmânda Purâna counts twelve thousand. In sum in the Purânas are this way described some four hundred thousand of them [*]. Eighteen thousand, as said, is the number of verses in the Bhâgavatam [see further under Purâna].
(10) This [tale of wisdom] was by the Supreme Personality of God [Narâyâna, see 3.8-10] out of mercy first in full revealed to Brahmâ who fearful of a material existence sat upon the lotus that grew from His navel [see also 1.1: 1]. (11-12) From the beginning to the end filled with accounts on detachment it is delighting the saintly and godly with the nectar of its many narrations about the Lord His pastimes. In accord with the essence of all vedânta philosophy it has the One Reality Without a Second, that is characterized as the Absolute Truth [brahma, the impersonal] that is non-different from the One Soul [âtma, the personal], as its prime subject and the beatitude [of emancipation in devotional service or kaivalya] as the one ultimate goal [**]. (13) He who gives the Bhâgavatam as a gift in his full glory ['on a golden throne'] on the day of the full moon in the month Bhâdra [August/September] reaches the supreme destination. (14) Other classical collections of stories [other bibles, other Purânas or holy scriptures] are prominent in the assembly of the saintly only for as long as one does not listen to the great ocean of nectar which is the Bhâgavatam. (15) The S'rîmad Bhâgavatam indeed is said to be the essence of all Vedânta philosophy; someone satisfied by its nectarean taste is never attracted to any other influence. (16) Of all Purânas this one is just like what the Ganges is in relation to all rivers flowing towards the sea, what Acyuta is in relation to all deities and what S'ambhu [S'iva] is in relation to all devotees. (17) Just like Kâs'î [Benares] is unsurpassed among all holy places, S'rîmad Bhâgavatam is matchless among all the Purânas, o twice-born ones. (18) S'rîmad Bhâgavatam is the spotless Purâna most dear to the Vaishnavas in which the perfectly pure and supreme spiritual knowledge is celebrated of no one less but the best of devotees; in it is revealed, together with the knowledge, the detachment and the devotion, the freedom from all fruitive labor which will deliver that person who serious in his conviction with devotion listens, studies and does the mantras as should.
(19) I meditate upon the incomparable torch light of the Immortal Truth that is Free from Sorrow and long ago was revealed to the deity ['Ka' or Brahmâ], by whom this transcendental knowledge pure and uncontaminated was spoken to Nârada the great sage who delivered it by means of his personal form to Krishna Dvaipâyana Vyâsa who next expounded it to the king of the yogis [S'ukadeva] who out of his mercy on his turn revealed it to [Parîkchit] the grace of the Fortunate One. (20) Obeisances to Him, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Vâsudeva, the Supreme Witness who mercifully explained this to the deity who desired liberation. (21) Obeisances to him, the king of the yogis, S'ukadeva Gosvâmî, the personal manifestation of the Absolute Truth who freed [Parîkchit] the grace of Vishnu who was bitten by the snake of material existence. (22) O Lord, You are our Master, the Lord of the Divinity, therefore please make it so that we life after life at Your feet may find bhakti. (23) I offer my obeisances to Him, the Supreme Lord, whose congregational chanting of the holy name destroys all sins and to whom bowing down the misery is extinguished."