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Patala One Avatara-nimitta-kathana
Description of the Sequence of Causes that Precede the Lord's Incarnation
1 Shri Suta Gosvami said: I surrender to Shri Krishna, whose form is full of bliss, and who at the beginning of the material creation expanded to become many.
2 Concerned for the welfare of all living beings, Narada Muni asked a question of auspicious Lord Siva, who was seated on the summit of Mount Kailasa.
3 Shri Narada said: O Lord, I wish to hear about the wonderful pastimes of Shri Krishna, the unlimited Supreme Personality of Godhead, who expands in many forms and enjoys many transcendental pastimes.
4 Please tell me when, why, and in what forms the Lord appeared (in His many incarnations).
5 O best of the wise, please elaborately explain the reason the Lord appears in the forms of His incarnations.
6 Shri Siva said: O fortunate one, O best of the devotees, You have asked well, for you inspire me to describe the powers and glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
7 O noble-hearted one, even after many hundreds of years I will not be able to see the farther shore of the descriptions of Lord Vishnu's incarnations and His universal form.
8 Still, I will extract the essence of those descriptions and tell them to you, O Narada, as the merciful Lord Himself told them to me.
9 Glories to Him! Obeisances to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose form is that of a cowherd boy! Now I will speak (the scripture) named Satvata Tantra, which nourishes devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
10 What the impersonalist philosophers think is the unmanifested, eternal, omniscient, unchanging Brahman, the devotees know is the supremely opulent Personality of Godhead.
11 (When the material universe was first manifested) the all-powerful Lord, considering that nothing yet had become visible, manifested Himself in two ways: 1. as existence, and 2. as truth.
12 Then by His spiritual potency He manifested the material energy. Then He Himself appeared as the great purusa-avatara, the only resting place of all the worlds. Because he acted in this way, the Vedas call Him Bhagavan (the supremely opulent Personality of Godhead).
13 Then the Lord's material energy assumed the forms of material causes and effects and divided itself into the three modes.
14 Some say that is was from the Lord's own invincible act in the form of time. Because of time the material energy became agitated and from that agitation the three modes were manifested.
15 From the unmanifested form of the Supreme was manifested the mahat-tattva, and from the mahat-tattva was manifested karma, which gives pure and impure results to the conditioned souls.
16 From that was manifested the constant flux of the material nature. The knowers of the Vedas call the subtle aspect of this constant flux "svabhava".
17 The previously described purusa-avatara is the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Time, karma and svabhava rest within Him. He causes the material energy to act.
18 The purusa-avatara manifested the goddess of material energy, who rules over the modes of nature. From her was manifested the mahat-tattva, which manifested material knowledge and actions.
19 The wise know that from the mahat-tattva the Lord manifested false-ego, which is situated in goodness, passion and ignorance.
20 From false-ego in the mode of goodness were manifested the mind, and the demigods that control knowledge and action. Vayu, Varuna, the deities of the directions, and the Asvini-kumaras, were manifested with knowledge as the catalyst.
21 Agni, Indra, Mitra and Upendra were manifested with karma as the catalyst.
22 From false-ego in the mode of passion were manifested the senses of knowledge and action, such as the skin, tongue, ears, eyes, nose, intelligence, and what is related to them.
23 Also were manifested the working senses, such as the voice, hands, anus, genitals and feet. From false-ego in the mode of ignorance were manifested the five material elements and the tan-matras (objects of the senses).
24 From false-ego in the mode of ignorance, sound was manifested first. Then from sound space was manifested. From space, which was a form of sound, touch was manifested. From touch, air was manifested, and then from air, fire was manifested. From fire form was manifested.
25 From form pure water was manifested. From water fragrance was manifested and from fragrance earth was manifested.
26 The mahat-tattva, false-ego, sound, touch, form, taste, and fragrance are all considered transformations of the material energy.
27 The wise know that from the material energy sound was manifested. They know that from sound various material transformations were manifested.
28 In sky sound is present. In air sound and touch are present. In fire sound, touch and form are present. In water sound, touch, form and taste are present. In earth they are all present.
29 This is the sequence of causes and effects. More causes and effects are also seen after these.
30 Vishnu has three forms called purusas. The first, Maha-Vishnu, is the creator of the total material energy (mahat), the second is Garbhodasayi, who is situated within each universe, and the third is Ksirodasyi, who lives in the heart of every living being."*
31 O best of the brahmanas, please know that the mahat-tattva and the other tattvas are manifested from the purusa-avatara.
32 Then, by the desire of the purusa-avatara, all these tattvas came together and manifested the universal form, the soul of the creation.
33 Within the universal form is an open space of five hundred million miles. That open space is surrounded by seven coverings, each one ten times greater than the one before it.
34 They say that space is the home of the purusa-avatara. The purusa-avatara entered it and was all-pervading within it, but still the universal form remained unconscious.
35 The tattvas manifested from the purusa-avatara are called nara. Because these naras are His home (ayana), the Lord is called Narayana.
36 Because He resides (usa) in the home (pur) of the universal form's body, the Supreme Lord is called purusa.
37 When the Supreme Lord, who is the root of the material energy, entered as Lord Narayana into the body of the universal form, the universal from attained consciousness and stood up.
39 In the universal form were born Lord Hari's incarnation Brahma as well as the moving and unmoving living entities. The wise know that the universal form encompasses all the planets of the universe.
40 Filled with false-ego the individual living entities think they are the universal form, and for this reason they are also called "purusa". Then Lord Narayana entered within them and became the Supersoul in their hearts.
41 (The wise) say that the Supersoul is the resting place of all living entities and the eternal seed from which thousands of divine incarnations have come.
42 From a part of the Supersoul the demigod Brahma, who is situated in the mode of passion, was born in the creation. Lord Vishnu, the controller of the mode of goodness, placed the universe in his charge.
43 Siva, who is situated in the mode of ignorance, effects the dissolution of the material universe. These are Lord Vishnu's incarnations that act within the three modes of nature.
44 In this way I have described these partial incarnations of the Lord. From Brahma were manifested Marici, Atri, Angira,...
45 ...Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Daksa, Bhrgu, Vasistha, Atharva, and the prajapatis headed by Kardama.
46 They had many sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons who, given special powers by the Lord, were diligently engaged in he work of creation.
47 From a part of Lord Vishnu were born Dharma, Yajna, Brhat, Trivrt, and the Manus, headed by Svayambhuva, who are famous in the worlds.
48 From them were born the demigods headed by Indra, who are parts of Lord Vishnu, and who protect the planets. In this way I have described them.
49 From a part of Siva were born hundreds of Rudras and hundreds of great serpents. These beings were all violent by nature.
50 Siva's partial expansions are situated in the mode of ignorance. They are horrible and ugly. They destroy the worlds.
51 Now I will describe to You Lord Hari's pastime incarnations, who are situated in the mode of pure goodness, who are peaceful, and who are loved by the people.
52 I offer my respectful obeisances to Lord Krishna, the limitless Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose form is spiritual, who is the Lord of sacrifices, and who to protect the universe appeared in many different forms.