Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana: Book 2: Chapter 8: Verses 1-15
The king said : Narada is wont to reveal the form of the Lord (to those who are ripe for His sight), 0 holy sage. Therefore, when Brahma (the Creator) urged him to describe (at length) the virtues of the Lord who transcends the three Gunas (modes of Prakrti), to what particular individuals did he discourse about those virtues and in what manner ? I am curious to know this in reality (from you), who are foremost among the knowers of the Vedas; for the stories of Sri Hari, who possesses marvellous powers, are a source of the highest blessing to the world. Tell me, highly blessed sage, how am I to fix my mind which is free from all attachment, on Sri Krsna, the Soul of the universe, before casting off this body ? The Lord enters before long the heart of the man who daily listens with reverence to His stories and also narrates His doings. (4) Reaching the lotus of His devotees, heart through the cavity of their ears, Sri Krsna rids it of all impurities even as autumn turns the water (of rivers etc.) clear. He whose heart is thus purified is rid of all afflictions (of mundane life) and would never abandon the soles of His feet, just as a traveller (who has returned home) after a long and tedious journey would not leave his own roof. The soul, 0 divine sage, has no connection with the elements (matter); yet it takes a body which is made up of these very elements. You know in reality whether this happens as a matter of course or due to some causes (Karma etc.). The Lord, from whose abdomen (navel) sprang up the lotus representing the fourteen worlds, has been spoken of as distinctly endowed with the same limbs and the same number of limbs as an ordinary human being, the measurements alone being His own. Hence He is just like a common man. (In what way, then, does He differ from man ?) It is by His grace that Brahma, who represents all beings, creates them: and it is by His grace alone, that he was able to behold His divine form, though born of the lotus sprung from His navel. Where does that Supreme Person, who is the Lord of Maya and the Indweller of all hearts, and from whom proceed the creation, preservation and destruction of the universe, rest after throwing off (the veil of) His Maya? We have heard from yourself that the various worlds together with their guardian deities were formerly conceived in the limbs of the Supreme Person, and then again they were conceived as His limbs. What is the length of a Mahakalpa and smaller Kalpas (Vikalpas) ? How is (the passage of) time which is referred to by the words 'past','future' and 'present' to be known ? And what is the allotted span of life of creatures that have identified themselves with their physical body? Again, how can the subtle and long movements of time be perceived ? And how many destinies are there to be reached through Karma (action) and what is their character, O noblest sage ? Of the Jivas (embodied souls) who seek the fruit of the three Gunas (in the shape of birth in the higher or lower species of life) what type of Jivas resort to what kind of action in what manner and for what kind of fruit ? How do the earth and Patala (the nethermost sphere), the four quarters and the sky, the planets and the stars, the mountains and rivers, seas and islands and the creatures inhabiting these come into existence ?