Book 1: Chapter 19
Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana: Book 1: Chapter 19: Verses 24-35
Reposing faith in you, therefore, O Brahmanas, I ask you this question-which is the only question worth asking-in regard to my duty. Tell me, O learned sages, after due deliberation, what innocent course should be pursued by all under every circumstance and in particular, by those who are about to die" Meanwhile there arrived on the scene wandering about on the earth at will, the divine Suka (the son of Vyasa) who was indifferent to the world and had no visible marks of any particular Varna (grade of society) or Mrama (stage of life) on his person, who was contented with the realization of his own Self and was surrounded by women and children and who wore the appearance of an ascetic that had renounced all worldly attachments and connections. Sixteen years of age, with tender feet, hands, thighs, arms, shoulders, cheeks and frame, he had a lovely countenance with large eyes, a prominent nose, symmetrical ears, beautiful eyebrows and a conch-like shapely neck. His collar-bone was hidden within a fleshy frame; his chest was broad and prominent, his navel deep and spiral like an eddy and his belly looked charming with its three folds. He was stark naked, with hair flung about his face, had long arms and shone like one of the highest gods. He possessed a swarthy complexion and captivated the heart of women by his charming youth, graceful limbs and winsome smiles. Although he had concealed his spiritual glow (behind a crazy appearance), the sages (present there) recognized him by his characteristic features and rose from their seats to receive him. King Visnurata (Pariksit, so-called because his life had been preserved by Lord Visnu i.e., Sri Krsna Himself), of whom we have spoken before, bowed his head to the stranger who had called on him (of his own accord), and did homage to him. The ignorant women and children thereupon withdrew and, worshipped by all, the sage occupied an exalted seat. Surrounded by hosts of Brahmana sages, royal sages and celestial sages, the divine Suka, who was greatest among the great, shone most resplendent even as the moon in the midst of other planets, constellations and stars. When that sage of unfailing wisdom had taken his seat, fully composed, the king, who was a devotee of the Lord, approached him and, touching his feet with his head; stood attentive before him. Then, bowing (again) with joined palms, he questioned the sage in sweet accents.
Pariksit said : Oh, how blessed are we today, O holy sage, in that we, vile Ksatriyas, have been considered worthy of a visit by saints and have been so graciously consecrated by you by calling on us as our guest. Men's houses are instantly purified by your remembrance, much more by your sight and touch, by washing your feet, offering a seat to you and so on. Men's worst sins, O great Yogi, are wiped out at once by your very presence, even as the demons are by the presence of Lord Visnu. I presume Lord Sri Krsna, the friend of the Pandavas, is pleased with me. It is for the pleasure of His cousins (the Pandavas) that He has acted in a friendly manner even towards me, their scion.
- King Pariksit asks here the following two questions:- (1) What should a mortal do at all limes and under all circumstances ? (2) What is the duty of a man who is about to die ? He puts these very question to the sage Suka later on: and as a matter of fact, it is these two questions that have been answered at length by the latter in the course of the following eleven books of the Srimad Bhagavata.