(1) The king said: 'How could the Supreme Lord beloved as an equal friend towards all living beings, o brahmin, in support of Indra kill the demons as if He were partial Himself [see also B.G. 9: 29]? (2) Being of the highest bliss there is certainly no need for Him to side personally with the enlightened community and not being of any material mode, is it for certain not in His nature to fear or compete with the ones of darkness. (3) Thus, o glorious one, is in consideration of the qualities of Nârâyana, the magnitude of the doubt that rose with us; could you please dispel it?'
(4-5) The honorable rishi said: 'What an excellent question to ask o great King! From the wonderful activities of the Lord, sung by the foremost of piety, the sages headed by Nârada, are there more and more the glories and the devotion of His devotees. I will discuss all the relating topics of the Lord with you, but let me first pay homage to the great sage of Krishna [Vyâsa]. (6) Although above the modes, surely unborn and unmanifest, does the Supreme Lord transcendental to the material world by His own potency enter the material qualities accepting obligations and responsibilities [compare B.G. 9: 11]. (7) The sattva, rajas and tamas to that belong to the material of nature and not to the quality of the spirit soul, o King, to the spiritual self there is not the on and off [one normally has with material things]. (8) According their particular time does one when sattva [goodness] dominates find the devas and the rishis [the gods and sages], with the prominence of rajas [passion] has one the Asuras [the unenlightened] and with tamas [inertia] finds one the Yakshas and Râkshasas [the ghosts and the demons, see also B.G. 14: 11-13]. (9) To the elements of light and such that appear with the differently embodied can the ones who know from the Supersoul within distinguish who of them are of discrimination and who not [see B.G. 10: 10]. (10) When desiring to create material bodies for the living entities manifests the Supreme, He dominating in His own creation, the mode of passion; desiring to act in different forms is He in the mode of goodness and when the Controller is about to round it all up gives He as such rise to the mode of ignorance [see: B.G. 9: 10]. (11) O ruler of man, the true Creator, Controller in Person of the matter and Shelter for the beings is the Time that by its movements conditions [see also B.G 11: 32]. (12) It is but with this Time that the Supreme Lord His glories are widespread, o King, by which to sattva the certainty of the numbers of gods is furthered and hence with those who are covered by rajas and tamas the inimical is found whereto He, as the friend of the enlightened, destroys the unenlightened. (13) To this was earlier with great joy at the great sacrifice of Yudhishthhira upon his request by the Rishi of Enlightenment [Nârada] recounted the following story. (14-15) The king, the son of Pându, after having seen how at the great offering called Râjasûya the King of Cedi [S'is'upâla] so wondrously had merged with the Supreme Personality of Vâsudeva, had as the ruler being struck with wonder at the sacrifice asked the following from Nârada who sat there with the sages listening. (16) Yudhishthhira had said: 'Oh how wonderful and for sure difficult to attain for even the transcendentalists is the attainment of the impudent S'is'upâla to Vâsudeva, the Supreme Absolute Truth. (17) We all long to know how this could happen, o sage, how from insulting the Lord [he could merge while] Vena [for his offense] was thrown in hell by the brahmins. (18) That sinful son of Damaghosha fostered from his earliest prattle to his last days anger towards Govinda, just as did the evil-minded Dantavakra [his brother]. (19) Of both their repeated offenses against Lord Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Brahman [compare B.G. 10: 12], didn't any white leprosy appear on their tongues nor landed they in the darkness of hell. (20) How could they for everyone to see, so easily find absorption [sâyujya-mukti] in the Supreme Lord whose nature is so hard to attain? (21) In this matter is my intelligence as fickle as a candle flickering in the wind, please o man of all knowledge, tell us here now about the particular cause of this great wonder.'
(22) The son of Vyâsa said: 'After hearing the words of the king questioning him on the tale in the midst of the assembly, did Nârada the greatest of sages, being satisfied, address him. (23) S'rî Nârada said: 'In order to experience insults, praise, honor and dishonor without discrimination has the Supreme of the Primary Nature [pradhâna] created this vehicle of time, o King [see also B.G. 2: 14, 12: 18-19]. (24) Suffering from the false notion of being this body is there thus the 'I' and 'mine' to which there is the rod of punishment, o earthly ruler. (25) Bound in this false conception appears the annihilation of bodies to be the same as the annihilation of living beings; not being of Him as the one without a second is one of the false notion, but how can there any harm be done by Him, the Soul of all, the Supreme One and Highest Control? (26) Therefore, whether one is of constant enmity, of devotion, of fear, of affection or of lusty desires, should one, being of whatever way, concentrate oneself [on the Lord] and not look for something else. (27) A person will in [a single-minded] constant enmity not attain the like of being absorbed one finds in being unified in devotion, that is my definite opinion. (28-29) A larva checked by a bee in a niche may be filled with anxiety and resentment, but of that bee it attains the same form; the same way may one with Krishna, who as the Supreme Lord out of His own appeared as a man, be filled with obstinacy towards the Supreme, but when one has found purification of one's sins, attains one by the constant thought of Him. (30) Of in lust, hatred, fear, affection and devotion having a mind absorbed in the Supreme have many given up the sin and by that attained the path of liberation. (31) The gopîs with their lusty desires, Kamsa out of fear, S'is'upâla and others out of hatred, many Kings out of kinship, Krishna's family out of affection and you and us through bhakti did so o King. (32) Not to be someone like Vena, who couldn't adopt one of these five forms of respect in regard of the Original Person, must one then fix one's mind on Krishna in any of these ways. (33) The sons of your mother's sister, S'is'upâla and Dantavakra, o Pândava, were the two exalted attendants of Vishnu [Jaya and Vijaya, see 3.15-16] who because of a curse of the brahmins fell away from the feet.'
(34) S'rî Yudhishthhira said: 'Who did that and what kind of curse was used; a servant of the Lord thus overcome seems an incredible thing to me, how can those exclusively devoted to Him take birth again [see B.G. 4: 9 and 8: 16]? (35) Those who reside in Vaikunthha are not concerned with a material body, material senses or a material life, please describe how they then could be bound to a physical body.'
(36) S'rî Nârada said: 'Once happened the sons of Brahmâ, Sanandana and the others, who traveled around the three worlds, to arrive at that place. (37) Approaching like boys of five or six year old, even though they were born before the ancients of the universe [see 1.3: 6], denied the two guards them access thinking they were naked children. (38) And so they were full of anger cursed by them: 'O, you two undeserving ones, at the feet of the Slayer of Madhu it is most sinful not to be free from passion and ignorance and therefore, o fools, will you soon hereafter be born from an unenlightened womb [see 3.17]. (39) Thus being cursed to fall down from their abode heard they from the merciful sages: 'May it be so that after three births you return again to your abode.'
(40) The two were thereafter born as the sons of Diti and worshiped by all the Daityas and Danava's as Hiranyakas'ipu the older one and Hiranyâksha the younger brother. (41) Hiranyakas'ipu was killed by the Lord appearing in the form of a lion [Lord Nrisimhadeva] and Hiranyâksha was killed by Him when He in the form of a boar had appeared to uplift the world [Lord Varâha, see 3.18-19]. (42) Hiranyakas'ipu desirous to kill his son Prahlâda, the beloved devotee of Kes'ava, enacted various ways of torture to cause his death. (43) Since his son was protected by the power of the Supreme Lord, the Soul of mercy and equality towards all, could he, with all the might he displayed, not kill him though. (44) Next were the two demons as Râvana and Kumbhakarna born from Kes'inî as the sons of Vis'ravâ, and were they the cause of a lot of misery for all the people. (45) In order to relieve the two from the curse, manifested thereupon Râmacandra Himself to kill them, but you better hear about the exploits of Râma [see 9: 10 & 11] from the lips of Mârkandeya, my best. (46) The two in their third birth were [as S'is'upâla and Dantavakra] born in this world as kshatriya sons to your mother's sister and are now freed from the curse with their sins destroyed by Krishna's cakra. (47) By meditation in a bond of acute hatred getting near to Him managed the gate keepers of Vishnu again to find absorption into the essence of the infallible Lord.'
(48) S'rî Yudhishthhira said: 'How could there [with Hiranyakas'ipu] be such a hatred for his own son, that great soul, please tell me o exalted one how Prahlâda got that close to Acyuta [the Infallible Lord].