Book 3: Chapter 8
Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana: Book 3: Chapter 8: Verses 1-13
Maitreya said ; Oh ! the race of Puru has become worthy of adoration even by noble men ever since you were born into it----you, who are no other than the god Varna (one of the protectors of the world), so devoted to the Lord; and you lend fresher and newer charm at every step and every moment to the garland of Sri Hari's glories (by your pertinent questions). Now, in order to relieve the great woe of men who fall into it in their search for trivial delights (of sense), I commence the Bhagavata-Purana, which Lord Sankarsana (Sesa) himself was pleased to teach the seers (Sanaka and others). Eager to know the truth about the Lord who is even higher than Sankarsana, Sanatkumara and the other sages approached and questioned Lord Sankarsana, the first among the gods, whose wisdom knows no obstruction and who had ensconced himself in the subterranean region (of Patala). Sankarsana was (at that time) engaged in offering (mental) worship to his own (source and) stay, whom the Vedas call by the name of Lord Vasudeva; and in order to afford delight to the sages (Sanatkumara and others) he had now partially opened his eyes, that resembled a pair of lotus buds and which he had turned inward till then. The sages (reverentially) touched with their matted locks, drenched W by the water of the heavenly river (Ganga), the lotus that served as a support for his feet, and which daughters of the serpent chiefs, lovingly worshipped through various offerings with a longing to obtain a suitable match. The sages, who were conversant with his doings, repeatedly extolled them in accents that faltered on account of affection. The thousand noble hoods of the serpent-god were brightened by superb gems set in his thousand crowns. Tradition says that the most worshipful Sankarsanataught this 'Bhagavata' to Sanatkumara, who is devoted to the path of renunciation; and the latter in his turn, 0 dear Vidura, imparted it to Sankhyayana, who had taken a vow (of strict celibacy) and asked him questions about the same. Sankhyayana, the foremost among those who had realized the truth, in his eagerness to recount the glories of the Lord, repeated it to his devoted pupil and our preceptor, Parasara, and then to the sage Brhaspati. Urged by Pulastya, the gracious sage Parasara reproduced that foremost Purana (Srimad Bhagavata) to me; and I now proceed to teach the same to you, dear child, who are so reverent and ever devoted to me. (Prior to the creation) the whole of this universe was submerged in water. At that time the only one that existed was Lord Narayana, who lay on His couch of Sesa (the lord of serpents), having shut His eyes on account of sleep (in the form of deep meditation), although His consciousness was wide awake even then, ceasing from all activity (in the form of creation, preservation and dissolution of the universe) and revelling in the bliss of His own Self. Having deposited the subtle bodies of all the divas (embodied souls) in His own body, the Lord reposed on those waters, which served as His resting-place-even as fire remains latent in wood, concealing its burning capacity etc.,-keeping only His potency in the shape of Time active (in order to rouse Him when the time of creation arrived again). Having thus slept on those waters for (a period equivalent to) one thousand rounds of the four Yugas with His own energy in the form of consciousness about Him, when He was shown the residue of Karma of all the divas by His potency called Time, which had already been directed by Him for this purpose, He saw countless worlds merged in His own body. When His eye thus fell on the subtle matter (in the shape of subtle bodies) which lay deposited in His body and which was now roused into activity by) the Rajoguna (the principle of activity impelled by Time, the same issued out of His navel in order to evolve grosser forms.
- hile coming from the highest heaven, Satyaloka, to the nethermost region of Petala, it seems, Sanatkumara and others had coursed through the stream of the Ganga, which flows from Satyaloka right up to Petala washing on its way all the other celestial spheres, the atmosphere, the surface of the earth and all the other terrestrial regions. This obviously accounts for the wetness of their matted locks.