(1) S'rî Sûta said: "The Supreme Lord Nârâyana, Nara's Friend, this way by Mârkandeya, the intelligent sage, properly respected, spoke satisfied to the eminent descendant of Bhrigu. (2) The Supreme Lord said: 'O My pleasure, you, perfect in your fixation upon the soul, are the best of all brahmin seers; not deviating in your devotional service, austerities, recitations and concentration you are directed towards Me. (3) We have become perfectly satisfied with you in your keeping to a vow of lifelong celibacy; please choose a benediction to your desire, for I am the Giver of All Benedictions wishing you the best'.
(4) The honorable rishi said: 'You o Lord of Lords, o Infallible One, are victorious as the Remover of the Distress of the One Surrendered and with as much as the benediction of us having seen Your good Self we are satisfied. (5) Brahmâ and others with a mind matured in yoga all acquired the sight of Your omnipotent lotus feet and now You in person are visible before my eyes. (6) Nonetheless o Lotus-eyed Crest Jewel of Fame, I would like to witness the illusory potency because of which the entire world along with its rulers is of respect for the material differentiation of the absolute.' [compare B.G. 11: 3-4]
(7) Sûta said: 'By the rishi glorified with these words He, the Supreme Lord, to His satisfaction being worshiped said smiling, 'So be it'. Thereupon the Lord departed for Badarikâs'rama. (8-9) The rishi keeping only that [desire to witness the energy of the Lord] in mind thus remained at his hermitage to meditate under all circumstances upon the Lord with all that he had: the fire, the sun, the moon, the water, the earth, the wind, the lightning as well as his own heart. Thus being of worship he sometimes forgot to prove his respect at the moments he drowned in the flood of pure love of Godhead [prema]. (10) One day, o best of Bhrigu, when the sage was performing his evening worship on the bank of the Pushpabhadrâ o brahmin, a great wind arose. (11) It created a terrible sound followed by the appearance of threatening clouds as solid as wagon wheels that resounding loudly with lightning showered torrents of rain everywhere. (12) Then from all sides the four oceans appeared swallowing up the surface of the earth with wind-tossed waves in which, along with ominous sounds, there were terrible sea monsters and fearful whirlpools. (13) Perplexed the sage got afraid seeing how the earth flooded and all the four types of inhabitants of the universe [as born from moist, seed, embryos and eggs] including himself innerly and materially were plagued by the water rising higher than the sky, the fierce winds, the bolts of lightning, and the great waves towering higher than heaven. (14) As he was looking on the waters of the great ocean were by hurricanes swirled around in frightening waves as they swelled with the rain from the clouds that covered the entirety of the earth with its continents, islands and mountains. (15) With the three worlds, the earth, outer space, the celestial bodies and heavenly places flooded in all directions the great sage, as the only one remaining, wandered about like a dumb and blind person, with his matted locks scattered. (16) In the grip of hunger and thirst, attacked by monsterous crocodiles and whale-eaters and plagued by the winds he, tormented by the waves, moved overcome by fatigue and not knowing which direction of the sky or the earth he went, through the infinite darkness he had fallen into. (17-18) Sometimes drowning in a great whirlpool and then beaten by the waves he was at times threatened by monsters who wanted to eat him and at other times were attacking each other. He in distress sometimes felt sick and suffered pains with occasional depressions and bewilderment, misery, incidental happiness and fear of death at other times. (19) Countless and countless, hundreds and thousands of years passed while he with a clouded mind wandered around in that mâyâ, that deluding material energy of Vishnu. (20) Once, as he roamed out there, the twice-born one saw upon a raised mound of earth a beautiful young banyan tree with fruits and blossoms. (21) Upon a branch of that tree toward the northeast he in addition saw an infant boy lying within the fold of a leaf swallowing the darkness with His effulgence [see also 3.33: 4]. (22-25) Amazed the king among the scholars drank with his eyes from the sight of His complexion that was as dark blue as a great emerald, His beautiful lotus face, His conchshell striped throat, His broad chest, fine nose and beautiful eyebrows. He relished His splendid hair which trembled to His breath, His beautiful shell-shaped ears resembling pomegranate flowers, His coral lips that by their effulgence slightly reddened His nectarean smile, His countenance with a charming smile and with the corners of His eyes like the reddish whorl of a lotus, the by His breath moved lines of His abdomen contorted by His deep leaf like navel, and also... how the infant with the graceful fingers of His two hands grabbed one of His lotus feet and placed it in His mouth [*]. (26) The moment he saw the baby his weariness was dispelled and out of pleasure the lotus of his heart and his lotus eyes spread wide open. Confused about the identity of that wonderful appearance he, with his hair standing on end, approached the child from the front to find an answer. (27) That very moment the man of Bhrigu with a breath of the infant was drawn into His body like a mosquito whereupon he utterly surprised stood perplexed to see from that position the entire universe the way it was before. (28-29) He saw the entire expanse of all the stars, the mountains and oceans, and the directions of the great islands and continents, the ones enlightened and unenlightened, the forests, countries, rivers, cities and mines, the peasant villages, the cow pastures and the various engagements of the varnâs'rama society. He saw the basic elements of nature and all their gross manifestations, as also the Time itself of the different yugas and kalpas and whatever other object of material use in the universe that was manifested as if it was real. (30) Seeing the Himâlayas, the Pushpabhadrâ River and his hermitage where he had seen the rishis [Nara and Nârâyana], he, thus observing the universe, was by the breath of the infant again thrown outside to fall back into the ocean of dissolution. (31-32) On the raised stretch of land in the water where the banyan grew, there, lying in the fold of its leaf, was the child again, glancing at him with a nectarean smile of love from the corner of His eyes. Placing the infant by that vison within his heart he ran greatly excited to embrace the Lord of the Beyond. (33) That moment He, the Supreme Lord, the Original One of Yoga who is hidden in the heart of all living beings in person, suddenly became invisible for the rishi, the same way as that what by an incompetent person is made suddenly may fail to serve. (34) O brahmin, after Him next the banyan disappeared as well as the waters of the annihilation of the world, and the next moment he found himself as before in front of his own âs'rama."