Book 1: Chapter 1
Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana: Book 1: Chapter 1: Verses 1-9
We meditate on that transcendent Reality (God) from whom this universe springs up, in whom it abides and into whom it returns-because He is invariably present in all existing things and is distinct from all non-entities-who is self-conscious and self-effulgent, who revealed to Brahma (the very first seer) by His mere will the Vedas that cause bewilderment even to the greatest sages, in whom this threefold creation (consisting of Sattva,Rajas and Tamas), though unreal, appears as real (because of the reality of its substratum)-even as the sun's rays (which are made up of the element of fire) are mistaken for water (in a mirage), water for earth and earth for water-and who ever excludes Maya by His own self-effulgent glory. In this glorious Bhagavata, produced by the great sage Vedavyasa, has been taught that supreme Religion (the Religion of God-worship, the Bhagavata Dharma as it is called) which is entirely free from all self-deception in the shape of desire (including the desire for Moksa or Liberation). Nay, herein has been expounded that absolute Reality which can be known only by saints who are free from malice, nay, which is the bestower of supreme bliss and uproots the threefold agony 1 .the agony caused by bodily distemper, 2. that which is attributable to natural agencies and 3. that inflicted by a fellow-being). While it is doubtful that God can be speedily captured in one's heart by other means, He can be instantly seized through this work by those blessed persons who have a keen desire to hear it recited. O ye devotees possessing a taste for divine joy, Srimad Bhagavata is the fruit (essence) of the wish-yielding tree of Veda, dropped on earth from the mouth of the parrot-likesage Suka, and is full of the nectar of supreme bliss. It is unmixed sweetness (devoid of rind, seed or other superfluous matter). Go on drinking this divine nectar again and again till there is consciousness left in you.
Once upon a time, in the forest known as Naimisaranya (the modern Nimsar in Oudh), a place sacred to Lord Visnu, Saunaka and other sages were engaged in a great sacrifice, to be completed in the course of a thousand years, with a view to realizing the Lord who is sung in heaven and is the abode of His devotees. One morning, having poured oblations into the sacred fire, the sages paid their respects to the Suta; and when he had taken his seat,they asked him the following question with due reverence. The sages said: O sinless Suta, you have indeed studied and also expounded all the Puranas and itihasas as well as the codes of laws. Whatever is known by the divine sage bdarayan (Vedavyasa, so-called because he is reputed to have his abode in grove of jujube-trees), theforemost among the knowers of Veda, and even by other sages who have realized both the qualified and absolute aspects of the Godhead, you know all that in reality by their grace, which you were able to hear by your guileless and pure heart for the teachers confide even ther profoundest secrets to their beloved pupil. be pleased to tell us, O long-confide lived Suta, that which you have determined through a study of all those sacrd books as the unfailing and easy means to the supreme good of men.
- The Sutas are a mixed caste born of a Ksatriya father and a Brahmana mother.
- It is a well-known truth that a fruit bit by a parrot is exceptionally sweet. There is a pun on the word Suka' in this verse, which also means a parrot.