(1-2) The king said: 'You briefly explained to me the generation of the gods, the demons and the human beings, the serpents, the beasts and the birds during the rule of Svâyambhuva Manu [see canto 3]. But I'd like to hear from you a more detailed account of this matter my lord, as also an account of the potency of the transcendental Supreme Lord by which that what followed [as a secondary creation] found its existence.'
(3) S'rî Sûta said: "O best of the sages [assembled at Naimishâranya see canto 1.1], the son of Vyâsa, the great yogi thus hearing about the king his request, praised him and gave an answer. (4) S'rî S'uka said: 'When the Pracetâs, the ten sons of King Prâcînabarhi returned from [their prolonged meditation] near the ocean, they saw that the entire planet was overgrown by trees [see 4.24, 4.30, 4.31]. (5) Aggravated because of their austerities they got angry about the trees [and the agriculture that was neglected in their absence] and kindled with the air from their mouths a fire to burn down the forests. (6) Seeing how all the trees were burned by the blazing fire o son of Kuru, the king of the forest, the great [moon god] Soma, spoke as follows in order to pacify their anger.
(7) 'Do not burn the poor trees to ashes o fortunate souls! Since you are known as the protectors of the living beings it is your duty to strive for their growth. (8) Don't you forget that the Supreme Personality, the Lord, the original, unchanging father and almighty protector, created all the trees, plants and herbs to serve as food. (9) The ones that do not move about serve [with their fruits and flowers] as food for the winged ones and those without limbs [like the grasses] serve as food for the ones with legs without hands or paws. The four-legged on their turn are there for the animals with claws and the bipeds [to serve with respectively their flesh and milk]. (10) Your father and the God of Gods o sinless ones, ordered you to generate population. How then [for the love of God,] can you burn the trees to ashes? (11) Like your father, grandfather and great-grandfather did, just follow the path of the saints and subdue the anger that has risen in you! (12) [Be like] parents who are friends to their children, [like] eyelids that protect the eyes, [like] a husband who protects his wife, [like] a householder who cares for those who depend on charity and [like] sages who are the well-wishers of the ignorant. (13) The Supersoul residing within the bodies of all living entities is the Lord and Controller of all. Try to see them as His residence [His temple] and may He thus be pleased with you. (14) Anyone who by inquiry into the nature of the self manages to subdue the powerful anger that suddenly can awake [like thunder] from [a clear] sky, transcends the modes of nature. (15) Enough of burning the poor trees, let there be with you the well-being of the remaining trees and please, accept as your wife the daughter [called Mârishâ, a girl born from the Apsara Pramlocâ] who was raised by them.'
(16) O King, after thus addressing the sons who had come back, King Soma gave them the Apsara girl who had very beautiful hips. They married with her according to the dharma. (17) They begot in her Daksha, the son of the Pracetâs, by whose procreative activity the three worlds thereafter were filled with offspring. (18) Please listen attentively to my story how Daksha, who was so fond of his daughters, by means of his semen and certainly also his mind, generated all that life. (19) In his mind the prajâpati first projected the lives of those godly and godless living beings, including all the beings resorting under them that fly, roam the earth or swim. (20) But realizing that this creation of beings didn't increase in number, Daksha went to the foot of the Vindhya mountains where he performed the most difficult austerities. (21) There at the most suitable place to put an end to all sin, the holy place called Aghamarshana, he satisfied the Lord by austere and regularly performing rituals. (22) I shall now explain to you how he with the Hamsa-guhya ['the secret of the swan'] prayers satisfied the Lord, how he pleased Him as the Supreme Personality of Godhead beyond the senses. (23) Daksha said: 'My obeisances unto Him from whom we learn the proper way to transcend the modes and the material energy to which all living beings are bound, unto Him, the self-born Controller beyond measure and calculation who in His abode cannot be perceived by a materially directed intelligence. (24) My reverential respect for the friend with whom one lives in this body and of whose friendship a person has no knowledge, even as the sense objects have no knowledge of the sense organ that perceives them. (25) The living being has knowledge of this body with its types of breath, its internal and external senses, its elements and sense objects that [material as they are] do not now themselves, each other or anything outside of them. But the living being knowing about the modes of nature and all these qualities [on its turn] has n0 knowledge of Him who knows each and all. I praise Him, this unlimited Lord. (26) When the mind has come to a stop [in the absorption of yoga] and thus all names and projections of a material vision and remembrance have ceased, one will perceive Him in His unique spiritual completeness. Him, that swanlike [*] personality who is realized in the purest state, I offer my respects. (27-28) The same way as they who are experts in sacrificing extract the fire dormant in firewood with singing the fifteen hymns [the Sâmidhenî mantras], the devotees discover Him who with His spiritual powers hides in their hearts that are covered by the three modes of nature and the nine aspects of matter [of material nature and her sixteen elements - prakriti, the individual soul - the purusha, the cosmic intelligence - the mahat-tattva, the false ego - ahankâra, and the five sense objects - the tanmâtras, see e.g. 3.26: 11]. He who is realized by the bliss, by the negation [of the material world] of freeing oneself from the complete of the illusory diversity, He of all names, He the gigantic form of the universe, may He, that inconceivable reservoir of all qualities be merciful unto me. (29) Whatever one expresses in words, ascertains by contemplation, perceives with the senses or has in mind, everything that exists as an expression of the three modes, cannot be His essential nature. One knows Him in truth [only] as the cause of the creation and destruction of that what is characterized by the modes. (30) [Everything is situated] in Him, [everything originated] from Him and [everything is moved] by Him. [Everything belongs] to Him and [everything is there] for Him. Whether He acts or incites to act, He is the Supreme Cause of our material and spiritual existence known to all. He is Brahman, the Cause of All Causes, the incomparable One beyond whom no other cause can be found. (31) My obeisances unto that unlimited, all-pervading Lord of all transcendental attributes about whose many energies the speakers of the different philosophies, in dispute and agreement concerning causes, in their creativity are continuously off the track of the true self, the Supersoul. (32) The subject matter discussed by the philosophies of sânkhya [analysis, numbers] and yoga [unification, devotion] is concerned with a different, opposing nature. But when they speak about what would be [the absolute has form: sâkâra] and would not be [the absolute is formless, nirâkâra], they deal with one and the same beneficent, transcendental cause [compare 5.26: 39]. (33) In order to bestow His mercy upon the devotees at His lotus feet He, the eternal, Supreme Personality who is not bound to any name or form, manifests with the forms and holy names He takes birth with and engages in action. May He, the One of Transcendence, be merciful with me. (34) He who by the lower grade paths of worship manifests from within the core of the heart according to the desires of each living being, gains in color and odor, just like the wind blowing over the earth [and thus assumes the forms of the demigods, see B.G. 7: 20-23]. May He, my Lord, fulfill my wish [to be allowed in His service].'
(35-39) S'rî S'uka said: 'Thus being praised with the prayers offered, the Supreme Lord, the caretaker of the devotees, appeared there in Aghamarshana o best of the Kurus. With His feet on Garuda's shoulders He with His long and mighty eight arms, held up the disc, the conch shell, the sword, the shield, the arrow, the bow, the rope and the club. His intense blackish blue form was clad in yellow garments, His face and glance were very cheerful and His body was adorned with a flower garland reaching to His feet. Decorated with the shining Kaustubha jewel, the S'rîvatsa mark, a large full circle helmet, glittering shark earrings, a belt, finger rings, bracelets around His wrists and upper arms and with His ankle bells, His appearance captivated the three worlds. The Lord, the brilliance in person of the three worlds, was surrounded by eternal associates like Nârada, Nanda and the leaders of the demigods and was glorified with hymns by the perfected ones and the inhabitants and singers of heaven. (40) Seeing that greatly wonderful form he was at first frightened, but then with the hairs of his body standing on end the prajâpati [joyously] threw himself flat on the ground to prove his respects. (41) Because of the great happiness that filled his senses like rivers flooded by mountain streams, he was unable to utter a word. (42) Seeing a great devotee like him, desirous of more life in the world, prostrated before Him, Janârdana, He who appeases all and knows each his heart, spoke as follows. (43) The Supreme Lord said: 'O son of the Pracetâs, you so greatly fortunate perfected by your austerities in great faith your good self and attained, with Me as your object of desire, the highest state of love. (45) I am very pleased with you o ruler of man, because of your penance [that is of fundamental importance] to the flourishing of the living beings in this world. It is My wish that they abound. (45) Brahmâ, S'iva, the founding fathers, the Manus and the ruling gods [like the divinities of the sun and the moon], are all expansions of My energy and the cause of the welfare of all living beings. (46) Religious penance is My heart o brahmin, Vedic knowledge is My body, the spiritual activities are the form I assume, the rituals conducted by the book are My limbs and the God-fearing ones [promoting the unseen good fortune of devotional activities] are My mind, soul and life breath. (47) In the beginning, before the creation, I was the only one existing, nothing else could be found besides Me. The external world had not manifested, only perception was there, like it is with being immersed in sleep. (48) When from My unlimited potency, the infinity of the qualities in the form of the universe with its gunas originated, the first living being found therein his existence: Lord Brahmâ, the one unborn. (49-50) The moment he, the Lord of all the demigods, invested with My potency tried to bring about the creation, he thought himself incapable of doing so. I then inspired the god to perform the severest austerity. Thus from him in the beginning the nine great personalities [the sages] of creation found their existence from whom all of you have originated [see 3.24: 21 and also 3.8]. (51) O Prajâpati My dear son, please accept the daughter of Prajâpati Pañcajana named Asiknî as your wife. (52) Married to her you will sexually united as man and woman according to the rules of the religion again [see 4.2] bring forth all the progeny [you desired. See also B.G. 7: 11]. (53) All your descendants will under your rule because of My illusory energy engage in sexual intercourse and also make offerings to Me.'
(54) S'rî S'uka said: 'Thus having spoken the Supreme Lord, the creator of all the universe, vanished before his eyes as if He, the Supreme Personality, had been a dream image.'