CHAPTER ONE TALK BETWEEN SUTA AND SAGES IN NAIMISHARANYA
Once upon a time, about twenty-six thousand sages assembled in the holy ambience of Naimisharanya. All of them had renounced their desires and homely comforts and were worshipping Lord Vishnu for the benefit of the entire humanity.
During their stay in Naimisharanya, those sages called a huge assembly to discuss about the means of attaining all the four goals of life like Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. The great sage Shaunak was presiding over the assembly. He said: “O sages! We have assembled here to discuss the most cryptic disciplines of life. But it is beyond my powers to answer the questions you have put before me. Only a great sage like Suta, who is the most learned disciple of Veda Vyasa, is able to answer these questions. Presently, he lives in a hermitage in Siddhipeeth. Let us all go there and request him to preach us about the cryptic disciplines of life.” Hearing these words, all the sages thanked Shaunak with joy. Then, led by Shaunak himself, all of them reached the hermitage of the sage Suta. At the hermitage, sage Suta welcomed them all and satisfied their queries. He said:
” O great sages! I narrate to you, the great Purana, which was once narrated by the great saint Sanatkumar to Devarshi Narada and now known as Narada Purana.”
CHAPTER – 2 NARADA PRAYS TO LORD VISHNU
Shaunak says: “Suta, how did Sanatkumar unfold the mystic character of the religion to Narada? When and where they had the meeting to hold this pious discussion? Kindly tell us in detail.”
Suta says: “The great sage Sanatkumar, who was free from illusions, was the creation of Brahma’s imagination. He always remained engrossed in the worship of Brahma. Once, he was going towards the peaks of the mighty Meru Mountains (Himalayas) when on the way, he happened to sight the sacred Ganges. He was about to take a dip in the waters when Devarshi Narada also arrived there. Devarshi Narada greeted his elder brother and took bath in the river.
After carrying out usual rituals, they seated there and started a discussion about the virtues of Lord Vishnu.” Devarshi Narada asked- “O brother! How can one realize the Lord Vishnu? Who is the cause of this whole creation? What is the appearance of devotion, knowledge and penance? Kindly elaborate the mystery of treating the guests also. Also tell me, how did Lord Vishnu effected the origin of Brahma and other gods?”
Sanatkumar says: In the beginning of creation, the self-illuminating Lord Vishnu created Brahma from His right hand side, Rudra from His central part and Vishnu, his own replica from His left hand side. As Lord Vishnu is omnipresent, similarly his illusions are also omnipresent and known with different names like Lakshmi, Uma, Shakti and Chandi. These are the powers of Lord Vishnu. Some people identify these powers with the illusions created by the Lord whereas the sages regard them as nature.”
The gods, who protect the world, are Purusha, and the Supreme Being, who is above these levels, is Lord. Nobody else is greater than He is. From His navel even Brahma has originated on a divine lotus. He is the Supreme Being the eternal joy incorporating all the three virtues.
O Narada! Five senses- sights, sound, scent, touch and taste have originated from the ego. Ego is the origin of other eleven senses also. These five senses in turn gave rise to five physical elements- ether, air, fire, water and earth. It was after the creation of these five physical elements that Brahma created the lower living beings. Then he created human beings followed by the creation of all the seven worlds and seven guards of these seven worlds. For the inhabitation of the living beings, Brahma also created great mountains, plains and seven seas.
Towards the north of the great saline sea and towards the south of the great Himalayas is situated the Holy Land of India. People who worship Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu inhabit this land. Because of their virtues, even the gods worship the people who populate the Indian landmass. Those ignorant people, who do not seek salvation despite having been born in India, have to suffer the tortures of hell as long as the Sun and the Moon shine in the sky. The whole world from Brahma to a seemingly unimportant blade of grass is the manifestation of Vasudev (Lord Vishnu).
CHAPTER – 3 PROFILE OF THE SAGE MARKANDEYA
Sanatkumar says: O sage! Faith has the greatest significance. Achievement of everything and appeasement of Lord Vishnu depend upon the faith. Nothing is attainable without faith. Such as a human being faces inertia in the absence of life and is rendered motionless. Similarly, faith is like a spiritual light without which, religious actions of a man come to cease. Similarly, devotion is also known as the life of all the achievements. It is also the giver of four supreme goals of life like Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. No action succeeds without the input of devotion and faith. Even the menial jobs done with faith gives everlasting results. On the contrary, even the pious actions of envious people go futile. Attainment of God by envious people is impossible.
Envy is the greatest enemy of the human being. It creates a gap as big as the one that separates the sky from the nether world. O Brahmanandan! Only those people, who remain engrossed in faithful devotion of God, attain to the abode of Vishnu. Fallen are those who, despite having the knowledge of Vedas, do not comply with the moral code of conduct of their clan. Neither Vedas nor even devotion can save such people. In other words, moral conduct is everything. O great sage! Devotion is like mother who is the base of life for every living being.
O Narada! Company of the pious people and the saints is the best means to cherish devotion. Saints are the teachers of the entire world. When the sins that have been accumulating all throughout the previous births decay only when one gets pious company and those who once get pious company experiences eternal joy.