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The prayers of the Personified Vedas.
Maharaja Parikshit inquired, “O brahmana, how can the Vedas directly describe the Supreme Absolute Truth, who is not within the jurisdiction of material words?”
Shukadeva Gosvami replied, “The Supreme Lord manifests the material intelligence, senses, mind and vital air of all living beings so that they can indulge their desires for sense gratification, take repeated births to engage in fruitive activity, become elevated in future lives, and ultimately attain liberation.”
In this connection, Shukadeva Gosvami related the following history. Once, while travelling throughout the universe, Narada Muni went to see Narayana Rishi at His ashram. Since the very beginning of Brahma’s day, Narayana Rishi has been undergoing severe austerities in Bharata-varsha, for the benefit of human society.
After arriving at Badarikashrama, in the Himalayas, Narada saw Narayana Rishi surrounded by sages who were residents of the nearby village, Kalapa-grama. After bowing down to offer obeisances, Narada asked the very same question that was posed by Maharaja Parikshit.
In response, Narayana Rishi also referred to higher authorities by describing to Narada how the same topic had been discussed on Janaloka long ago, when there was a meeting of all the important demigods and rishis. At that time, Narada was visiting the Lord on the island, Svetadvipa, and thus he was not present in Janaloka.
The discussions about the Absolute Truth were so delicate that even the Vedas were unable to answer the intricate questions that were raised. Sanandana Kumara was then selected to speak, and he said, “At the time of dissolution, the cosmic manifestation, along with the totality of material energy in its subtle form, enters the body of Garbodakashayi Vishnu (or, perhaps Maha-Vishnu), who then remains asleep for a very long time.”
“When there is again a necessity for creation, the Personified Vedas assemble around the Lord and begin to glorify Him, praying that the conditioned souls may be released from the bondage that is caused by their disobedience to His supremacy.”
The Personified Vedas (Srutis) prayed, “This perceivable world is identified with the Supreme because the Supreme Brahman is the ultimate foundation of all existence. The Supreme Absolute Truth remains unchanging as all created things are generated from it, and are at last dissolved into it. This is just like clay, which remains unchanged by the products made from it and again merged into it.”
“Thus, O Lord, it is toward You alone that all great sages direct their thoughts, words and actions. After all, how can the footsteps of men fail to touch the earth on which they live? (This means- because saintly persons live in God, how can their every step, word, thought and deed, be other than in relation to God?)”
“O Lord, the wise get rid of all miseries by diving deep into the nectarean ocean of topics about You, which washes away all the contamination of conditional life. These rare souls renounce the happiness of home and family, because of their association with devotees, who are like flocks of swans enjoying at the lotus of Your feet.”
“Everyone in this world has recently been born and will soon die. So, how can anyone here know Him who existed prior to everything and who generated the first learned sage, Brahma. When He lies down and withdraws everything within Himself, nothing else remains- no gross or subtle matter or bodies composed of these, no force of time, or revealed scriptures.”
“Supposed authorities who declare that matter is the origin of existence, that the permanent qualities of the soul can be destroyed, that the soul is composed of separate aspects of spirit and matter, or that the material transactions constitute reality- all such authorities base their teachings on mistaken ideas.”
“The three modes of nature comprise everything in this world. Although these phenomena appear real, they are only a false reflection of the spiritual reality. Still, those who know the Supreme Self consider the material creation to be real inasmuch as it is nondifferent from the Self. Just as things made of gold are not to be rejected, since their substance is actual gold, so this world is undoubtedly nondifferent from the Lord who created and entered within it.”
“If the countless living entities were all-pervading and possessed forms that never changed, You could not possibly be their absolute ruler, O Lord. But, because they are Your localized expansions, You control them.”
“The mind is like an impetuous horse that even persons who have regulated their senses and breath cannot control. Those in this world who try to tame the uncontrolled mind, but who abandon the feet of their spiritual master, encounter numerous obstacles in the cultivation of their various distressful practices. O Lord, they are like merchants on a boat in the ocean who have failed to employ a helmsman.”
“To persons who take shelter of You, You reveal Yourself as the Paramatma, the embodiment of all transcendental pleasure. What further use have such devotees for their servants, children, bodies, wives, money, houses, land, good health or conveyances? And for those who fail to appreciate the truth about You and go on pursuing the pleasure of sex, what could there be in this entire world- a place inherently doomed to destruction and devoid of significance-that could give them real happiness?”
“The illusory material nature attracts the minute living entity to embrace her, and as a result, he assumes forms composed of her qualities. Subsequently, he loses all his spiritual qualities and must undergo repeated deaths.”
After hearing these topics about the Supreme Self, all the assembled sages could understand their goal in life. Being very satisfied, they honored Sanandana Kumara with their worship.
Narayana Rishi then said, “O son of Brahma (Narada), as you wander at will you should faithfully meditate upon these instructions concerning the science of the Self.”
Narada Muni bowed down to Narayana Rishi and then departed for the ashrama of Dvaipayana Vyasa. After being seated, Narada described to Vyasadeva all that he had heard from the mouth of Narayana Rishi.
Shukadeva Gosvami then said, “O King, thus I have replied to the question concerning how the mind can have access to the Absolute Truth, which is indescribable by material words, and devoid of material qualities. By surrendering to the Supreme Lord, one can escape the embrace of illusion.”