(1) S'rî S'uka said: 'When Prithâ, the daughter of the king of Subala [Gândhârî] and Draupadî, Subhadrâ and the wives of the kings as well as His gopîs, heard of the loving attachment [of the wives] to Krishna, Lord Hari, the Soul of All, were they all greatly amazed, with tears filling their eyes. (2-5) As the women were thus conversing with the women and the men with the men, arrived, eager to see Krishna and Râma at that place, the sages Dvaipâyana, Nârada, Cyavana, Devala and Asita; Vis'vâmitra, S'atânanda, Bharadvâja and Gautama; Lord Paras'urâma and his disciples, Vasishthha, Gâlava, Bhrigu, Pulastya and Kas'yapa; Atri, Mârkandeya and Brihaspati; Dvita, Trita, Ekata and the sons of Brahmâ [the four Kumâras] as also Angirâ, Âgastya, Yâjñavalkya and others headed by Vâmadeva. (6) Seeing them stood the Pândavas, Krishna, Râma, the kings and others who sat down, immediately up to bow down to those honored throughout the universe. (7) They all, including Râma and Acyuta, properly worshiped them with words of welcome, sitting places, water to wash their feet and to drink, flower garlands, incense and sandalwood paste. (8) The Supreme Lord who in His embodiment defends the dharma, addressed in the with rapt attention listening assembly the great souls who were comfortably seated there. (9) The Supreme Lord said: 'We who gained this birth have now altogether obtained its fruit: the audience of the masters of yoga that is rarely won even by the demigods. (10) How is it possible that human beings who not being very renounced see God in the form of the temple deity, now may enjoy your company and may touch you, ask you questions, bow down and be of worship at your feet and such? (11) By just seeing you, the saints, is one instantly purified, while that is not so with the holy places consisting of water or the deities made of clay that only gradually make that happen [1.13: 10]. (12) Not the fire, nor the sun, the moon nor the firmament, not the earth, the water, the ether, the breath, the speech nor the mind take, being worshiped, away the sins of the one caught in the material opposites; but they are wiped out by only a few moments of delivering service to the men of [brahminical] learning. (13) He with the idea of himself as being the body that can be so smelly with its three elements [of mucus, bile and air], with the notion of a wife and that all as being his property, with the view of clay as being something worshipable, with the thought of water as being a place of pilgrimage, is, [going for appearances but] never moved by the wisdom in men, indeed not much better than a cow or an ass.'
(14) S'rî S'uka said: 'Hearing this being said by the Supreme Lord Krishna Unlimited in His Wisdom, were the learned silent, confounded by the words that were hard to digest. (15) The sages for some time pondered over the Supreme Controller and the subordinate position [He had assumed]. They arrived at the conclusion that it was meant to enlighten the people and thus addressed they Him, the Spiritual Master of the Universe, with a smile on their faces. (16) The honorable sages said: 'Ah, we the best knowers of the truth and chief creators of the universe, are bewildered by the power of the material illusion created by the activities of the Supreme Lord, who so amazingly covert in His operations pretends to be the one controlled. (17) Effortlessly He creates, all by Himself, the variety of this universe and maintains He and destroys He without getting entangled Himself. He is in His actions just like the earth element with the many names and forms of its transformations; ah, what an actor the Almighty is in His activities [see also 8.6: 10]! (18) Nonetheless does Your good Self, the Original Personality of the Soul, at times, in order to protect Your people and to chastise the wicked, assume the mode of goodness, the mode in which You by means of Your pastimes maintain the eternal vedic path of the varnâs'rama status oriëntations [see also sanâtana dharma]. (19) The spiritual [the 'brahma'] is Your pure heart in which by austerities, study and turning inward in concentrated meditation the eternal manifest and unmanifest is realized as also the transcendental to that [see also B.G. 7: 5]. (20) For that reason do You, o Absolute Truth, prove Your respect for the community of the brahmins by the perfect of whom one may realize the truth of the revealed scriptures, and thus are You the leader of those who are of respect for the brahminical. (21) Today there is [indeed] the fruition of our birth, education, austerities and vision, for it is the goal of the saintly to have association with You, the Golden Mean, the Ultimate of all Welfare. (22) Our obeisances to Him, the Supreme Lord whose wisdom is ever fresh, [You] Krishna, the Supersoul who by His yogamâyâ covered His own greatness. (23) None of these kings enjoying with You, nor the Vrishnis know You, cloaked by the curtain of mâyâ, as the Supreme Soul, the Time and the Controller [B.G. 6: 26]. (24-25) The way a sleeping person, who envisions an alternate reality with names and forms, in what he manifests through his mind does not know of a separate reality beyond it, does one with You similarly having names and forms, have no clue because of the discontinuity of one's memory that is created by the activity of the senses which bewilder one's consciousness with Your mâyâ [compare B.G. 4: 5 and 4.29: 1b, 10.1: 41 and 7.7: 25]. (26) Today You granted us the vision of Your feet, the source of the Ganges which washes away floods of sins; [with them] well installed in the heart is by those whose yoga practice matured and the devotional service fully developed, the material mentality, the covering of their individual souls, destroyed and the destination of You attained - so please, show Your devotees Your mercy.'
(27) S'uka said: 'Having said this took the sages leave of Das'ârha [Krishna], Dhritarâshthra and Yudhishthhira, o sage among kings, and prepared they to return to their hermitages. (28) Seeing this approached the greatly renown Vasudeva them and took he bowing down hold of their feet expressing the following careful choice of words. (29) S'rî Vasudeva said: 'My obeisances to you who represent all the gods [*]. O seers, please listen, tell us this: how can we be freed from our karma by doing work?'
(30) S'rî Nârada said: 'O learned ones, this question Vasudeva asked in his eagerness to learn about his ultimate benefit is not that surprising considering the fact that he thinks of Krishna as being a child [of his, his son]. (31) When people are close in this world is that easily a cause of disregard, just as it is e.g. with someone living at the Ganges who leaves to seek purification elsewhere. (32-33) [The Lord] His awareness is for no reason, nor on its own nor due to some other agency, in its qualities ever disrupted by the destructive and creative that is caused by the time of this [universe, see B.G. 4: 14 and 10: 30]. He, the One Controller without a Second, whose consciousness is unaffected by hindrances, material activities and their consequences and the modes and their flow of changes [kles'a, karma and guna], is by someone else [ignorantly] considered as being covered by His own expansions of prâna and other elements, just like the sun is being covered by clouds, snow or eclipses.'
(34) Then, o King, said the sages, addressing Vasudeva with all the kings as also Acyuta and Râma listening: (35) 'As correct has been ascertained that karma is counteracted by this work: that one with faith with sacrifices [sprightly, as in a kirtan] worships Vishnu, the Lord of all Sacrifices. (36) This indeed is what the scholars through the eye of the S'âstras demonstrated as the easiest way to pacify the mind; it is the yoga-dharma which gives joy to the heart. (37) The one twice-born performing sacrifices at home should pure and selfless with the entrusted possessions be of worship for the Personality of Godhead; this is the path that brings success [**]. (38) An intelligent person should renounce the desire for wealth by means of sacrifices and charity, the desire for a wife and kids by engaging in household affairs and the desire to build a world for himself [or another life], o Vasudeva, by means of the Time [that constitutes the temporality of any world, see also 9.5 and B.G. 3: 16]. All the ones who are sober renounced their desires for a household life and went for penance into the forest [see also B.G. 2: 13]. (39) Prabhu, someone twice-born is born with three debts: the debt to the gods, the sages and the forefathers; not liquidating them by [respectively] sacrifice [celibacy e.g.], studying the scriptures and with byproducts [children, pupils or books see ***] will he, leaving the body, fall down [again into the material world]. (40) But you are in fact free from two of the debts, the debt to the sages and the debt to the forefathers, o magnanimous one. Be now free from debt by sacrificing to the gods and renouncing your homestead. (41) O Vasudeva since He took the role of your son must your good self [in a previous life] indeed with devotion thoroughly have been of worship for the Supreme Lord and Controller of All Worlds [see also 1o.3: 32-45 and 11.5: 41].'
(42) S'rî S'uka said: 'Having heard the words they spoke, chose Vasudeva for the sages as his priests and propitiated he them by bowing his head. (43) The rishis he chose for o King, helped him consequently with strictly to the principles at the holy field [of Kurukshetra] performing fire sacrifices with excellent ritual arrangements. (44-45) When he was about to be initiated, came joyfully the Vrishnis to the sacrificial pavilion, bathed and well-dressed, wearing garlands and being elaborately ornamented. They came together with their queens clad in the finest clothes and smeared with sandalwood paste o King, who carried the items of worship in their hands and wore lockets around their necks. (46) Clay tom-toms and tabors, kettle drums and drums, conch shells and other musical instruments sounded, male and female dancers danced and bards and panegyrists sang sweet voiced along with the female singers of heaven and their husbands. (47) According the scriptures by the priests sprinkled with sacred water [for his initiation], looked he with his eyes decorated with collyrium and his body smeared with fresh butter, with his eighteen wives [see 9.24: 21-23 & 45] as if [he was the moon] surrounded by the stars. (48) With them all finely decorated wearing silk sârîs and bangles, necklaces, ankle bells and earrings shone he, initiated and clad in deerskin, brilliantly. (49) O great King, his supervisors and priests radiated with their jewels and garments of silk as if they were standing in the sacrificial arena of the killer of Vritra [Indra, see 6.11]. (50) At that time stepped also the two Lords Râma and Krishna forward, shining just as splendid, with each of Them accompanied by His own might of wives, sons and family members as expansions of Themselves. (51) Vasudeva excercized respect according the rules with both kinds of sacrifices that are characterized as primary [to the s'ruti] and secondary [modified to other sources, see *4]. Thus he offered oblations in the fire and such in worship of the Lord of the Paraphernalia, the Mantras and the Rituals. (52) Next gave he, at the designated time, to the priests who were already richly decorated, gifts of gratitude that decorated them even more, as also marriageable girls, cows and land of great value. (53) Having executed the ritual performed by the sponsor [patni-samyâja] and the concluding ritual [avabhrithya] bathed the great sages, placing the learned and the sponsor of the yajña in front, in the lake of Lord Paras'urâma [9.16: 18-19]. (54) Having bathed gave he jewelry and clothing to the bards and the women and honored he next in his finest apparel all the classes of people and even the dogs with food. (55-56) With the wealth of gifts did his relatives and their wives and children, the leaders of the Vidarbhas, Kos'alas, Kurus, Kâs'îs, Kekayas and Sriñjayas; the supervisors, the priests, the different types of enlightened souls, the ordinary humans, the paranormal ['the ghostly'], the forefathers and the venerable ones, all take leave from the Abode of S'rî to depart filled with praise for the sacrifice performed. (57-58) The immediate family members Dhritarâshthra and his younger brother [Vidura], Prithâ and her sons [Arjuna, Bhîma and Yudhishthhira], Bhîshma, Drona, the twins [Nakula and Sahadeva], Nârada, and Bhagavân Vyâsadeva and other relatives embracing their friends and relatives, the Yadus, then, with hearts melting of affection on the separation, with difficulty returned to their respective places as did also the rest of the guests. (59) Nanda together with the cowherds stayed out of affection for his relatives and was by Krishna, Râma, Ugrasena and the rest in worship honored most generously. (60) Vasudeva with ease having crossed over the ocean of his great ambition [see also 10.3: 11-12], felt most pleased and addressed, surrounded by his well-wishers, Nanda, touching his hand as he spoke.
(61) S'rî Vasudeva said: 'The by God forged bond of men which is named affection is, I think, for warriors as difficult to relinquish as for yogis. (62) Even though the friendship offered by you so very saintly is not reciprocated by us who are so forgetful of what you did, does it never cease for it is beyond compare. (63) Formerly [sitting in Kamsa's prison] were we incapable to act on your behalf and now well-to-do, o brother, do we with you right in front of us fail to see you because our eyes are blind with our being intoxicated by the opulence. (64) Let there for a person who is after the real benefit of life never be the rise of the fortune of kings, o respectful one, for with his vision thus clouded is he blind to even the needs of his own kinsmen or friends [compare 10.10: 8].'
(65) S'rî S'uka said: 'Thus with tears filling his eyes remembering what he all had done in friendship, had Ânakadundubhi, with his heart softened by the intimacy, to weep. (66) Nanda also loved his most affectionate friend a lot and said: 'I'll go later, I'll go tomorrow', but out of his love for Govinda and Râma stayed he, being honored by the Yadus, for three months. (67-68) After having been offered a host of desirable like the most valuable ornaments, finest linen and various priceless pieces of furniture, he next, seen off by the Yadus, departed together with the people of Vraja and his family. The gifts that were given by Vasudeva, Ugrasena, Krishna, Uddhava and others they had accepted and taken along with them. (69) Nanda, the gopas and the gopîs being unable to put Govinda's lotus feet out of their minds, accordingly [many a time] looking back, returned to Mathurâ. (70) With their relatives departed went the Vrishnis who had Krishna as their Godhead back to Dvârakâ, seeing that the rainy season was about to begin. (71) To the people [there] they gave an account of the great festivity and of what in relation to the lord of the Yadus [Vasudeva] and to all the well-wishers they had seen during the pilgrimage had taken place [see 10.82].'