(1) S'rî S'uka said: 'Among the sages performing a sacrifice at the bank of the Sarasvatî, o King, arose a controversy as to which of the three [Lords] there from the beginning would be the greatest. (2) Desirous to know this send they Bhrigu, the son of Brahmâ to find this out, o King, and so he went to the court of Brahmâ. (3) To make it a test of goodness he didn't bow down to him nor uttered he a prayer. That then kindled the great Lord his passion and he grew angry. (4) Even though in his heart anger was rising towards his son, managed the self-born one to control himself, just like with a fire that is put out by its own product, water [see also 3.12: 6-10]. (5) Next went he to Mount Kailâsa where S'iva happy to see him rose to his feet in order to embrace his brother. (6-7) But when Bhrigu denied this and said 'You are a transgressor of the path', became he angry and rose he with eyes shooting fire his trident against him ready to kill. The goddess fell at his feet and pacified him verbally. Bhrigu subsequently went to Vaikunthha were Lord Janârdana resides. (8-9) After he there had kicked Him in the chest as He was lying with His head on the lap of the goddess of fortune, rose the Supreme Lord, the Destination of the Devotees, up together with Lakshmî. Coming down from the bed He next with His head bowed down to the sage and said: 'Be welcome, o brahmin, take this seat, please forgive Us o master, for a second we didn't notice you'd arrived! (10-11) Please purify Me, My world and the rulers of all worlds devoted to Me, with the water washing from the feet of your good self that creates the sacredness of the sites of pilgrimage. Today, o My lord, I've become the exclusive shelter, because with your foot having freed My chest from all sin the goddess of fortune will consent to reside there.'
(12) S'rî S'uka said: 'Bhrigu delighted by the solemn words that the Lord of Vaikunthha thus spoke, gratified fell silent with tears in his eyes, overwhelmed as he was with devotion. (13) O King, having returned to the sacrifice of the sages defending the Veda, described Bhrigu in full what he personally had experienced. (14-17) Hearing this fell the sages in amazement, because they were freed from their troubles in putting their faith in Lord Vishnu as the greatest of whom there is peace and fearlessness, direct proof of dharma, spiritual knowledge, detachment, realization [of tat], the eight mystic powers [siddhis] and His fame that drives away the impurities of the mind. He's the Supreme Destination of the selfless and saintly sages who, giving up on the violence [of ruling by passion], have minds that are equipoised and peaceful. He's the embodiment of the mode of goodness of which the brahmins of spiritual peace, they who are so keenly and expertly of worship without ulterior motives, are the worshipable deities [see 1.2: 7; 3.25: 37 and 10.81]. (18) In accord with the gunas are there the three types of conditioned beings brought about by His material energy: the wild [the Râkshasas], the unenlightened [the Asuras] and the godly [the Suras]; among these three is it the mode of goodness [of the Suras] that leads the way [see B.G. 14: 6 & 14: 14].'
(19) S'rî S'uka said: 'It is through their service of the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality [the Pure of Goodness] that the learned ones, who this way live at the Sarasvatî to dispel the doubts of the common people, attained His destination.' "
(20) S'rî Sûta [at Naimishâranya] said: "Thus flowed this nectar with the fragrance of a lotus from the mouth of the son of the sage [Vyâsa]. Dealing with the Supreme Personality shatters that nectar the fear of a material existence and makes it the traveler, who constantly drinks in the fine verses through the holes of his ears, forget the fatigue of his wandering the [worldly] road. (21) S'uka said: 'Once, in Dvârakâ, it happened that the infant son born from the wife of a brahmin died the moment it, so one says, touched the ground, o descendant of Bharata. (22) The learned one, in misery lamenting with an agitated mind, took the corpse to the gate of the king [Ugrasena] and said, presenting it, the following: (23) 'Because this unqualified avaricious kshatriya addicted to sense-gratification, with a mind deceitful and hostile to the brahmins, failed in his duties, has my son met his death. (24) Citizens serving a wicked peoples-lord who, out of control with his senses, takes pleasure in violence [like meat-eating], have to suffer poverty and constant misery.'
(25) And the same way it happened a second and a third time alike that the wise brahmin left [a dead child] at the gate and sang the same song. (26-27) Arjuna who some day because of Kes'ava was in the vicinity happened to hear about it when the ninth child of the brahmin died. He said: 'O brahmin, isn't there someone out here to wield the bow at the place where you are living? Truly these fallen nobles act as brahmins attending a sacrifice! (28) There where brahmins have to lament the loss of wives, children and wealth, are the ones dressed up as kings but actors living for their own material interest. (29) O great lord, I'll protect the offspring of the two of you so miserable in this matter. And if I fail to fulfill my promise will I enter the fire to put an end to my sins [compare B.G. 2: 34].'
(30-31) The brahmin said: 'Since neither Sankarshana, Vâsudeva, Pradyumna the greatest archer, nor Aniruddha the incomparable chariot fighter, were able to save [my sons], why for heaven's sake do you then so naively intend to do what is even impossible to the [catur-vyûha] lords of the universe? That sounds pretty incredible to us.'
(32) S'rî Arjuna said: 'I'm not Sankarshana o brahmin, nor Krishna or even a descendant. I for true am the one named Arjuna with the Gândîva as his bow! (33) Do not belittle my prowess o brahmin, it satisfied the three-eyed one [S'iva]. I, defeating death in battle, will bring back your children o master!'
(34) The learned one thus convinced by Arjuna, o tormentor of the enemies, went home, satisfied about what he heard about the prowess of the son of Prithâ. (35) The time his wife was about to deliver again, said the most elevated brahmin distraught to Arjuna: 'Please save my child from dying!'
(36) He, touching pure water offered the mighty Lord [S'iva] his obeisances and strung the bowstring of his Gândîva with [the mantras of] his weapons kept in mind. (37) He upwards, downwards and sideways fenced in the house of delivery with arrows charged with the mantras and thus created a cage of arrows. (38) When therafter the infant of the brahmin's wife was born, disappeared it, after crying for some time, suddenly into the sky complete with its body. (39) The learned one then with Krishna being present said to Arjuna in derision: 'Just see what a fool I am, I who trusted such a boasting impotent eunuch! (40) When nor Arjuna, nor Aniruddha, nor Râma, nor Krishna were able to prevent this, who else would then be capable to offer protection in a situation like this? (41) Damn that Arjuna with his false words, damn the bow of that braggart, who so dumb, delusioned thought to bring back those who were taken by fate!'
(42) As the wise brahmin was thus cursing him, resorted Arjuna to a mystic incantation and went he straight to the heavenly city of Samyamanî where the great Yamarâja lives. (43-44) Not finding the brahmin's child went he, with his weapons ready, from there to the cities of Indra, Agni, Nirriti [the god of death subordinate to Yamarâja], Soma [the moon-god], Vâyu and Varuna and then to other regions from the subterranean one up to the top of heaven. Failing to obtain from them the son of the twice-born one, was he, about to enter the fire as he had promised, opposed by Krishna who tried to stop him. (45) 'I'll show you the sons of the twice-born one, please do not deprecate yourself, men like this [now so critical with us] are going to bring the spotless fame of the both of us.'
(46) The Supreme Lord, the Divine Controller, thus conferring mounted together with Arjuna his chariot and set off in the western direction. (47) Passing over the seven continents with their seven seas and seven mountain ranges crossed he the border that separated the worlds from outer space and entered He the vast darkness [see also 5.1: 31-33]. (48-49) There in the darkness lost the horses S'aibya, Sugrîva, Meghapushpa and Balâhaka [see also 10.53*] their way, o best of the Bharatas, and thus was by the Supreme Lord, the Great Master of All Yoga Masters, considering their plight His personal cakra that shines like a thousand suns sent ahead to lead the chariot. (50) The Sudars'ana disc that with its extremely intensive effulgence as fast as the mind was speeding ahead, cut itself through the immense dense and fearsome darkness of the manifestation like an arrow of Lord Râmacandra shot away at an army. (51) Following the path of the cakra beyond that darkness beheld Arjuna the all-pervasive, endlessly expanding, transcendental light, that hurt so that he closed both his eyes [see also 10.28: 14-15]. (52) From there entered they a body of water that was moved by a mighty wind into a splendor of huge waves. Therein was situated a verily wondrous abode that supremely radiated with columns that shone bright with thousands of inlaid gems. (53) There resided the huge serpent of Ananta that, amazing with His thousands of heads that radiated with the gems upon the hoods and the twice as many frightening eyes, with His dark blue necks and tongues resembled the white mountain [of Kailâsa]. (54-56) On that serpent saw he comfortably seated the almighty, highest authority of the Personality Supreme to all Personalities of Godhead looking like a dense raincloud, with beautiful yellow garments, a pleasing attractive face and broad eyes. To His eight handsome long arms, the Kaustubha jewel, the S'rîvatsa mark and framed by a garland of forest flowers, reflected the thousands of scattered locks the brilliance of His earrings and the clusters of large jewels in His crown. As the Chief of the Rulers of the Universe was He served by His personal associates headed by Nanda and Sunanda, His cakra and His other weapons that manifested their personal forms, [the consorts of] His energies for prosperity, beauty, fame and material creation [resp. Pushthi, S'rî, Kîrti and Ajâ] and the complete of His mystic powers [siddhis]. (57) Acyuta paid homage to Himself in His Unlimited Form as did also Arjuna who was amazed by the sight [of Mahâ-Vishnu]. Then addressed the Almighty Lord and Master of the Rulers of the Universe with a smile and an invigorating voice the two of them who had their palms joined. (58) 'I brought the sons of the twice-born one over here with the desire to see the two of you, who as My expansions have descended. Turn, after killing the ones of darkness who burden the earth, quickly back to My presence [see 2.2: 24-27 and 2.6: 26]. (59) Even though of the two of you all desires are fulfilled, o best of all persons, should you, as the sages Nara and Nârâyana did, be engaged for the sake of the common man to uphold the dharma.'
(60-61) The two Krishnas [see also B.G. 10: 37] thus instructed by the Supreme Lord of the Highest Abode, said 'om' bowing down to the Almighty and took the sons of the twice-born to return elated to their own places, the same way as they came. They handed over to the brahmin the sons who had the same bodies and the same age [as they had when they were lost]. (62) Having seen the abode of Vishnu was Arjuna deeply moved. He concluded that whatever special powers living beings might have, were all manifestations of Krishna's mercy. (63) He, Krishna, performing many heroic acts like these in this world, enjoyed the sensual pleasures [see also 1.11: 35-39] and was of worship with the most invigorating sacrifices [e.g. in 10.24 and 10.74 & 75]. (64) Beginning with His brahmins, rained the Supreme Lord from within His Supremacy, just like Indra does, at the right time down upon His subjects all that was desired. (65) With His having killed all the kings who turned against the dharma and having engaged Arjuna and others therein, paved He the way for the son of Dharma [Yudhishthhira] to carry out the principles of religion [see also 1.14 & 15].'