(1) The elderly and learned S'aunaka, the head of the long-standing ceremony the sages were gathered for, congratulated Sûta Gosvâmî thanking him thus: (2) "O most fortunate one of those who are respected to speak, please tell us about the message of the Bhâgavatam the way it was discussed by S'ukadeva Gosvâmî. (3) When, where, on what ground and wherefrom inspired could this literature be compiled by Vyâsadeva? (4) His son, who being equipoised and unwavering always had his mind fixed on the One, was a great devotee and an awakened soul, but unexposed he appeared ignorant. (5) Naked bathing beauties covered their bodies out of shyness when they once saw sage Vyâsa following his son, whereas they astonishingly by him being asked about his son replied that they didn't feel ashamed before him because he looked at them purely without any sexual discrimination. (6) How was he [S'uka], appearing like a retarded dumb madman as he wandered through the Kuru-jângala provinces, recognized by the inhabitants of Hastinâpura [now: Delhi] the moment he reached the city? (7) How could the discussion, oh dear soul, between the saint and the descendant of Pându, the wise king, take place covering this Vedic truth about Krishna? (8) He, as a pilgrim sanctifying the places he visits, stayed at the door of the householders only for as long as it takes to milk a cow. (9) Please tell us about Parîkchit, the son of Abhimanyu, who is said to be a first-class devotee whose birth and activities are all wonderful. (10) What was the reason that the emperor, who enriched the name of Pându, neglected the opulences of his kingdom and sat down to do penance at the Ganges until his death? (11) Oh why did he, at whose feet all enemies surrendered their wealth for their own sake, in the full of his youth give up his so difficult to relinquish life of royal riches? (12) Men of devotion for the One Hailed in the Verses, live for the welfare, the affluence and prosperity of all living beings and not for any selfish purpose; for what reason gave he, freed from all attachment, up his mortal body that was the shelter for others? (13) Clearly explain to us all we by this have asked you, for we consider you fully acquainted with all the meanings of the words in the scriptures, except for those of the Vedic hymns."
(14) Sûta Gosvâmî said: "When the second era ran into the third and thus ended, the sage [Vyâsa] was born as the son of Parâs'ara from the womb of the daughter of Vasu. He was a partial expansion of the Lord. (15) One morning when the sun globe rose above the horizon he, after being cleansed by the water of his morning duties, sat down at the bank of the river Sarasvatî to focus his mind. (16) The rishi knowing the past and the future, saw that gradually irregularities were developing in the dharma of his time. It was something that can be observed more often in the different eras on earth as a consequence of unseen, irresistible forces. (17-18) The sage contemplating with his transcendental vision the welfare of all vocations and stages in life, saw from his elevated position how with the dullness and impatience of the faithless the people lacked in goodness, that the natural capacity of all types of men as well as of other creatures was declining and that the common man was unlucky and short-lived. (19) According to the insight that there were four sacrificial fires for purifying the work effort of the people, he divided the one original Veda into four divisions of sacrificial activities. (20) Rig, Yajuh, Sâma and Atharva were the names of these four Vedas while the Itihâsas [the single histories] and the Purânas [the collections of histories] were called the fifth Veda. (21) Thereafter the Rig Veda was propagated by the rishi Paila, the Sâma Veda by the learned Jaimini, while Vais'ampâyana was the only one versed enough to qualify for the defense of the Yajur Veda. (22) The serious respect for the Atharva Veda was heartened by Angirâ - also called Sumantu Muni - while the Itihâsas and the Purânas were defended by my father Romaharshana. (23) All these scholars on their turn distributed the knowledge entrusted to them to their disciples who did the same with their following who did so with their pupils, and thus the different branches of followers of the Vedas came about. (24) In order to assure that the Veda would be assimilated as much by the less intellectual people, the great sage Vyâsa, the Lord in these matters, took care to edit it for the ignorant ones. (25) Motivated this way to serve the welfare of women [see 6.9: 6 & 9], the more foolish working class, and the friends of the twice-born who themselves do not work for understanding, the sage was as merciful to their benefit to take down the story of the Mahâbhârata.
(26) Oh dear twice-born ones, by no means he, who was always working for the welfare of all living beings, could then be content with that. (27) Being purified in seclusion at the bank of the Sarasvatî he, knowing what religion means, thus said from the dissatisfaction of his heart to himself: (28-29) 'With strict discipline I sincerely was of proper worship in my according to the tradition of the Vedic hymns doing the sacrifices in respect of the masters. Even for women, the working class and others I, by compiling the Mahâbhârata, have properly explained what according to the disciplic succession should be stated about the path of religion. (30) Despite of answering, so it appears, sufficiently to the demands of the vedantists in my discussing the Supreme Soul as situated in the body and even my own self, I feel something is missing. (31) I might not have given sufficient directions about the devotional service that is so dear to the perfect as well as to the Infallible One.'
(32) While Krishna Dvaipâyana Vyâsa thus regretfully thought about his shortcomings, Nârada, as I stated before, reached his cottage. (33) Seeing what fortune that was, he quickly got up to honor him with a respect equal to the respect the godly pay to Brahmâjî, the creator."