(1) Sûta said: "Then comfortably seated next to him, the rishi of God of great renown who has a vînâ in his hands outwardly with a smile addressed the learned wise. (2) He said: 'Oh greatly fortunate son of Parâs'ara, can you in the self-realization of your soul find the satisfaction of the body and the mind? (3) You have done your full enquiries and being well versed, you have prepared the great and wonderful Mahâbhârata to which you've added your extensive explanations. (4) In spite of the full of your deliberations about the Absolute and Eternal you are, dear master, lamenting that you wouldn't have done enough for the purpose of the soul.'
(5) Vyâsa said: 'All you've said is certainly true, but my soul has found no peace with it. What is the root I've missed, I ask you who originated from the soul as a man of unlimited knowledge. (6) You have the all-inclusive knowledge as a confidential devotee of the Supreme Personality, who is the Original Controller of the material and spiritual worlds and in whose mind only, from the transcendence above the modes of material nature, the universe is created and destroyed. (7) In your goodness you travel the three worlds as the selfrealized witness penetrating the heart of everyone like the all-pervading ether. Please point out what my deficiency is in my being absorbed in the Absolute with discipline and vow concerning matters of cause and effect.'
(8) S'rî Nârada said: 'You hardly praised the glories of the Fortunate One who is spotless and who, I gather, is not really pleased by that lesser vision. (9) Although you, great sage, repeatedly were writing for the sake of the four principles of religion [dharma, artha, kâma, moksha or righteousness, economy, sense gratification and liberation], you have not been doing so for the sake of Vâsudeva. (10) Only sparsely using the words describing the glories of the Lord who sanctifies the universe, is something the saintly think of as pilgrimaging to a place for crows; not as something where the perfect ones of the transcendental take pleasure in. (11) That creation of words revolutionizing the sins of the people in which, although imperfectly composed, each verse depicts the names and glories of the unlimited Lord, is heard, sung and accepted by the purified and honest ones. (12) In spite of self-realization free from material motives, the transcendental knowledge of the infallible does not look good when one gives up on personal names. What good will it bring to work time and again troublesome for a result when one misses the Lord with it? That leads nowhere! (13) Therefore you as a highly fortunate, spotless and famous perfect seer dedicated to the truth and fixed in the qualities, for the sake of liberation from universal bondage from your trance should think about and describe Him whose actions are supernatural.
(14) Whatever you want to describe that is of a vision separate from Him, will only lead to names and forms that agitate the mind like a boat that is taken by the wind from its place. (15) For the matter of religion you have instructed the people according to their natural inclinations [to kill animals for their food e.g.], which is in truth something reprehensible and quite unreasonable. The people fixed on such instructions for good conduct will not think of the prohibitions. (16) For understanding the unlimited Lord they qualify who are expert in withdrawing from material enjoyment, and therefore you must from your goodness show the ways and activities of the Lord to those who bound to the modes are missing the spiritual knowledge.
(17) Inexperienced in devotional service at the lotus feet one may fall down in that position when one forsakes one's own, true nature. But what inauspiciousness wouldn't befall the non-devotee who, engaged in his occupational duties, doesn't reach to that what is His interest? (18) The philosophically inclined should for that reason endeavor only for that which is not so much found wandering from high to low. In the course of time, the time that is so impetuous and subtle, one will automatically everywhere find the enjoyment - as good as the miseries - as a result of one's work. (19) Failing for some or another reason the devotee has a different experience as others have: once he in his material life has the taste he, remembering the feet of the Lord of Liberation he embraced, will never want to give it up. (20) From the goodness of your self you know that all of this cosmos is the Lord Himself, even though He differs from it. He constitutes the beginning and the end of creation; I am only summarizing it for you. (21) Please give a true-to-life description of the pastimes of the Supreme Lord. For you from the perfect vision of your own soul are able to discover what the transcendence of the Personality of the Supersoul would be, of which you are a full aspect because you took birth for the sake of the well-being of the entire world. (22) The acknowledged scholars all agree that the unmistakable purpose of each and everyone's austerities, study, sacrifice, attending lectures, fostering intelligence and charity consists of attaining to the descriptions of the transcendental qualities of the Lord glorified in the verses.
(23) Oh sage, in the previous millennium I took birth from a maidservant of certain followers of this conclusion [the Vedânta]. I, only a boy, was engaged in their service when I lived together with them during the months of the rainy season. (24) These followers of wisdom were unto me, an obedient, well-mannered, self-controlled and silent boy without much interest in games and sport, specially merciful, despite of their impartiality towards believers. (25) When the twice-born, during that period, once allowed me to enjoy the remnants of their food, I, by that action, was freed from all my sins and thus the attraction to that dharma manifested itself in me being engaged with purity.(26) Thereafter I heard every day the descriptions of the life of Krishna. Because of their respect for me, dear Vyâsa, I managed to pay close attention and thus develop my taste with every step I took. (27) Oh great sage, as I acquired the taste, I found continuity with the Lord and thus I realized that one accepts all the gross and subtle of life because of one's ignorance concerning the Supreme of transcendence. (28) Thus for the time of two seasons, autumn and the rainy season, constantly hearing nothing but the glories that were chanted by the sages, my devotional service because of those great souls began to flow while the [influence of] the modes of passion and ignorance receded. (29) As an obedient boy free from sins I, because of those believers being attached to that what is His, thus in my strictly following managed to subjugate [my senses]. (30) When these devotees so full of care for the meek left, they were as merciful to instruct me in this most confidential knowledge which is directly propounded by the Lord Himself. (31) Thus I could easily grasp what the influence is of the deluding material energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vâsudeva, the supreme creator, and how one can reach the refuge He is.
(32) Oh learned one, it is said that to dedicate one's actions to the Supreme Lord is the remedy for the threefold misery of life. (33) Oh good soul, isn't it so that the cure for a disease is found in [counteracting] that what caused it? (34) The same way also all dealings of man directed at a material[istic] existence will put an end to that self[hood] when one succeeds in dedicating them to the Transcendent. (35) Whatever one does in this world to please the Lord and what thereto is done in one's dependence on knowledge is bhakti yoga [yoga of devotion]. (36) When one mindful of the will of the Fortunate One performs one's duties, the mind constantly takes to the names and qualities of S'rî Krishna. (37) So, let us meditate upon the name and glory of Vâsudeva and His full expansions Pradyumna, Aniruddha and Sankarshana. (38) That person who this way worships the Lord who has no material form with the help of the sound-form [of these names] representing Him, is, in his worship of [Lord Vishnu] the Original Person of Sacrifice, of a perfect vision. (39) With me this way being engaged, oh learned one, and knowing well the confidential part of the Vedic knowledge, the knowledge of His transcendental opulences was bestowed upon me and also was an intimate personal love for Lord Krishna [Kes'ava] installed. (40) You, dear good soul with your vast Vedic knowledge, also dilate on the Almighty One of whom the wise always have found satisfaction in learning about the transcendental cause. Please describe His activities for the mitigation of the suffering of the masses of common people for whom there is no other way of relief.' "