(1) Nârada said [to the Creator]: 'My obeisances to you oh god of the demigods, for you are the one firstborn from whom all living beings generated. Please explain which knowledge specifically leads to the transcendental. (2) What is the form, the basis and the source of this created world? Oh master, how is it conserved, by what is it controlled and please, what is it factually? (3) All this is known by your good self, since you know all that has become, will become and is becoming. Master, you hold this universe in the grip of your scientific knowledge, like one holds a walnut. (4) What is the source of your wisdom, who protects you and who is above you? In what capacity do you, with the help of the potency of the soul, on your own create the lives of all beings with the elements of matter? (5) Like a spider creating its web, you without any help manifest from your own soul power all these lives by whom you are never controlled. (6) Oh almighty one, in this world I do not know a single entity having a name and form that is superior, inferior or equal, of a temporary nature or lasting forever, which owes its existence to another source [than you]. (7) We're weary of the fact that you with your perfect discipline underwent severe penances. We thus had the chance to doubt whether your good self would be the ultimate truth [and thus thought of an entity higher than you]. (8) Oh all-knowing ruler over all, please explain to me all that I have asked you, so that I will be of an understanding in accord with your instructions.'
(9) The Creator replied: 'Oh gentle one so dear to me, you are so very kind in your perfect inquiries. That inspires me to further see into the heroism of the Supreme Lord. (10) My son, you are not mistaken in what you just said in your describing me, because without knowing the Supreme beyond me, it certainly will turn out to be as you said [viz. that one has to do penance when one takes me for the Supreme]. (11) All of the world that I created was created by the effulgence [the brahmajyoti] of His existence, just as the fire, the sun, the moon, the planets and the stars [radiate after His effulgence]. (12) I bring Him my obeisances, the Supreme Lord Vâsudeva upon whom I meditate, by dint of whose invincible potencies one calls me the teacher [guru] of the world. (13) Unashamed about keeping a prominent position with the bewildering material energy, those who are deluded make a wrong use of words in speaking of 'I' and 'mine'. By that use of words I am poorly understood. (14) The five elements in their interaction with Eternal Time as also the natural disposition of the living being, are certainly part of Vâsudeva oh brahmin, but the truth is that each of them separately has no value. (15) Nârâyana [Krishna as the four-armed original Personality of God and primordial Lord of man] is the cause of the knowledge, the demigods are His helping hands, for His sake the worlds exist and all sacrifices are just there to please Him, the Supreme Lord. (16) Concentration of mind is just there to know Nârâyana, austerity is only there to achieve Nârâyana, the culture of transcendence is just there to become aware of Nârâyana and progress on the path of salvation is there only to enter the kingdom of Nârâyana. (17) Inspired by what was created by Him, the Seer, the Soul of All, the Controller of All Intelligence who created me, I also create.
(18) Of the [modes of] goodness, passion and ignorance [see 4.23], that because of the Almighty [Lord of Time] by the external energy were assumed, there are the three qualities of transcendence: maintenance, creation and destruction. (19) The eternally liberated, living entity subjected to conditions of cause and effect is affected [though] by the modes of material energy that [in his life then] manifest with the symptoms of [respectively] knowledge, activities and material inertia. (20) He, the Supreme Lord, the witness of the witness who [by the living entity who is led] by the symptoms of the three modes cannot be recognized in His movements oh brahmin, is the controller of everyone as well as of myself. (21) [The Lord of] Eternal Time, the controller of the deluding potency of matter [mâyâ] thus took upon Himself, from His own potency spontaneously appearing in different obtained [guna] forms, the workload [karma] and specific nature [or svabhâva, of the living entity]. (22) Because of the superintendence of the original person the creation of the mahat-tattva [the 'greater reality'] took place, from eternal time there was the transformation of the modes and from these specific natures the different activities found their existence. (23) But because of the transformation of the greater complete passion and goodness strongly dominated [in the beginning]. Thereupon [countering in reaction] the mode of darkness became more prominent that is characterized by matter, material knowledge and a predominance of material activities. (24) That transformed material ego, as said, manifested itself according to the three characteristics of goodness, passion and ignorance, and thus prabhu, the powers of a guiding intelligence, knowledge of creation and material evolution divided. (25) From the form of darkness that underwent transformation, of all the elements [first] the ether evolved with its subtle form and quality of sound which is indicative of the seen as well as the seer. (26-29) By transformation of the ether the air found its existence which is characterized by the quality of touch. Along with it sound also appeared as a characteristic that was remembered from the ether. Thus air acquired a life of diversity as well with energy and force. Air on its turn again transformed under the influence of time and generated from its nature the element of fire in response to what preceded. With its form there was likewise touch and sound [as the hereditary burden or the karma of the previous elements]. Fire transformed [or condensated from oxygen and hydrogen] into water. Thus the element of taste came about which consequently was accompanied by touch, sound and form. But because of the variegatedness of that transformation of water next followed the smell of the juice which assumed form [as the earth element] together with the qualities of touch and sound. (30) From the mode of goodness the [cosmic] mind of the gods generated who act in goodness, counting the ten of them [according to the five senses of perception and action] as the controllers of the directions [the Digdevatâs], the air [Vâyu], the sun [Sûrya], the waters [Varuna], longevity [the As'vinî-Kumâras], fire [Agni], the heavens [Indra], the deity of transcendence [Vishnu in the form of Upendra], the deity of friendship [Mitra] and the guardian of creation [Brahmâ]. (31) From the passion of ego the according tenfold transformation took place that gave the living energy the intelligence of all the senses of action - the mouth, the hands, the feet, the genitals, and the anus - and perception - sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell. (32) As long as all these categories of the elements, the senses, the mind and the modes of nature remained separate, the body [of man and mankind] could not be formed, oh best one of knowledge [Nârada]. (33) When all these [elements] by means of the [compelling] force of the Supreme Lord were assembled and found their application, this universe with both its true and illusory, its spiritual and material realities [sat/asat] found its existence.
(34) The universe after countless millenia having been submerged in the [causal] waters, was by the individual soul [the jîva or the Lord] who animates the inanimate awakened to its own time of living. (35) He Himself as the original person [the Purusha] appeared from within the universal egg to divide Himself in thousands of divisions of legs, arms, eyes, mouths and heads. (36) The great philosophers conceive of all the worlds of the universe as the limbs of a body [the virâth rûpa] which has seven systems below the waist and seven systems in the upper portion. (37) The brahmins represent the mouth of the Original Person, the ruling class constitutes His arms, the traders form the thighs of the Supreme Lord and the laborer class His legs. (38) The earthly [lower] worlds [Bhûrlokas] belong to His legs so one says, the ethereal worlds [Bhuvarlokas] belong to His belly, the heavenly worlds from the heart [Svarlokas] are situated in His chest while the highest worlds of the saints and sages [Maharlokas] are of the Great Soul. (39) Above the chest up to the neck one finds the world of the godly [the sons of Brahmâ, Janaloka] and higher up in the neck one finds the world of renunciation [Tapoloka, of the ascetics]. The world of truth [Satyaloka of the self-realized, the enlightened ones] is found in the head. [These worlds are all temporal] but the spiritual world [Brahmaloka, the world of the one Soul, the Supreme Lord] is eternal. (40-41) With on His waist the first of the lower worlds, further down the second on the hips, the third down to the knees, the fourth on the shanks, the fifth on His ankles, the sixth on His feet and the seventh on the soles of His feet [compare 2-1: 26-39], the body of the Lord [virâth-rûpa or Universal Form] is filled with all the [fourteen types of] worlds. (42) One imagines the worlds alternatively [simply divided in three] with the earthly, lower worlds situated on the legs, the ethereal, middle worlds in the region of the navel and the heavenly, higher worlds found from the chest upwards.'