Third Skanda

Maitreya dilates on the Universal Form, the Time
and the appearance of Brahmâ and His sages,
the demons and the first avatâras Varâha and Kapila

Chapter 1: Questions by Vidura

(1) S’uka said: ‘This is what formerly Vidura asked His Grace Maitreya Rishi when he entered the forest after renouncing his prosperous home: (2) ‘What to say about the house [of the Pândavas] I am identified with? S’rî Krishna, the Supreme Lord and master of all, was accepted as the minister of its people and had given up entering the house of Duryodhana.’

(3) The king said: ‘Please tell us master, where and when met Vidura with His Grace Maitreya Rishi to discuss this? (4) Certainly the questions Vidura asked the holy man cannot have been unimportant, they must have been full of the highest purpose as is approved by the seekers of truth.’

(5) Sûta said: “He, the great sage S’ukadeva thus being questioned by King Parîkchit, fully satisfied replied, speaking from his great expertise: ‘Please listen to this.’

(6) S’rî S’ukadeva said: ‘During the time King Dhritarâshthra was raising his dishonest sons, he who never walked the straight path had lost his sight being the guardian of the sons of his younger brother [the deceased Pându, see family tree]. He let them enter the laquer house which he next set on fire [see Mahâbhârata I 139-148]. (7) When in the assembly the wife of the saintly Kurus [Draupadî] was insulted by his son [Duhs’âsana] who grabbed her by her hair, the king did not forbid this, although his daughter-in-law shed tears that washed the red dust of her breast [see Mahâbhârata II 58-73]. (8) When by unfair means he who was without an enemy [Yudhishthhira] was defeated in a game of gambling and as someone faithful to the truth went to the forest, he upon returning was never alotted the share that was promised by him who was overcome by illusion [Dhritarâshthra]. (9) Also Lord Krishna, when He on the plea of Arjuna for their sake appeared in the assembly as the teacher of the world, was, with His words as good as nectar, by the king not taken seriously among all the men of sense whose last bit of piety was dwindling.

(10) When Vidura by his elder brother [Dhritarâshthra] was called to the palace, he had entered there for consultation and the advice that he then with his directions gave was exactly what the ministers of state could appreciate: (11) ‘Return now the legitimate share to the one who has no enemy [Yudhishthhira] and who was so patient with your unbearable offenses. You better be afraid of him and his younger brothers, of whom we know Bhîma to be as angry and wrathful as a snake. (12) The sons of Prithâ are now adopted by the Supreme Lord of Liberation who at present supported by the brahmins and the godly, resides with His family, the honorable Yadu dynasty, that together with Him has defeated an unlimited amount of kings. (13) He [Duryodhana], this bad guy you consider your son, stepped forward in your household as an enemy of the Original Person. You thus having turned against Krishna are therefore bereft of all goodness – that inauspiciousness you must, for the sake of the family, give up as soon as possible.’

(14) After these words of Vidura Duryodhana adressed him on the spot. Swollen with anger and with trembling lips, he insulted the respectable one of good qualities in the company of Karna, his younger brothers and S’akuni [a maternal uncle] saying: (15) ‘Who asked him to be here, this bastard son of a maid-servant who grew up living on the cost of those he betrays as an enemy spy? Throw him immediately out of the palace to be left with his breath only!’ (16) Vidura on his turn immediately put his bow at the door and left the palace of his brother, being hurt in the core of his heart by the violence aimed at him. But despite of these arrows so painful to the ear, he was unperturbed and felt great.

(17) After having left the Kauravas he achieved upon his departure from Hastinâpura the piety of the Supreme Lord the moment he sought the salvation of pilgrimages. All he wanted was the highest grade of devotion as was established by means of all those thousands of idols. (18) He traveled to holy places of devotion where the air, the hills and the orchards, waters, rivers and lakes are pure with temples decorated with the appearances of the One Unlimited. Thus he proceeded alone through the holy lands. (19) Traversing the earth purely and independently, he was sanctified by the ground he slept upon and without his familiar clothes being dressed like a mendicant and performing according the vows to please the Lord, one could not recognize him. (20) Traveling this way through India only, he arrived at the holy land of Prabhâsa, which at the time was under the reign of King Yudhishthhira who by the mercy of the Invincible Lord ruled the world under one military force and flag [see 1.13]. (21) There he heard how all his kinsmen had perished [at Kurukshetra] in a violent passion like a bamboo forest burning down because of ignition through its own friction. Thereupon he, silent with his thoughts, went westward heading for the river Sarasvatî. (22) On the bank of the river he visited and duly worshiped the holy places called Trita, Us’anâ, Manu, Prithu, Agni, Asita, Vâyu, Sudâsa, Go, Guha and S’râddhadeva. (23) Also other places had been established there by the twice-born godly and the devotees of the various forms of Lord Vishnu, who, as the leading personality marked each and every part of the temples. Even at a distance they reminded one of Lord Krishna. (24) From there passing through the wealthy kingdoms of Surat, Sauvîra and Kurujângala (west of India), he after some time reaching the Yamunâ river, also happened to meet Uddhava, the Supreme Lord His greatest devotee [see Canto 11].

(25) He embraced the sober and gentle constant companion of Vâsudeva who was formerly a student of Brihaspati, the master of all ritual, and with great love and affection he questioned him about the family of the Supreme Lord: (26) ‘Are the original personalities of Godhead [Krishna and Balarâma], who, on the request of the Creator who was born from the lotus, descended in the world for the elevation and well-being of everyone, all well in the house of S’ûrasena [the father of Queen Kuntî, aunt Prithâ]? (27) And, o Uddhava, is our greatest Kuru and brother-in-law, Vasudeva [the father of Lord Krishna] happy who is truly like a father to his sisters and so generous in providing to the pleasure of his wives everything they desire? (28) Please Uddhava, tell me whether the military commander-in-chief of the Yadus, Pradyumna, is all happy. He was in his previous life the god of love and is now the great hero who was born from Rukminî as the prince of the Supreme Lord after she had pleased the brahmins. (29) And is Ugrasena the king of the Sâtvatas, Vrishnis, Dâs’ârhas and Bhojas doing well? He is the one to whom Lord Krishna restored the hope of the throne after he had to give it up being put aside [under the rule of uncle Kamsa]. (30) O grave one, is the son of the Lord, Sâmba, faring well, he, the foremost and best behaved among the warriors, who is so much alike Him and to whom Jâmbavatî [another wife of Krishna] who is so rich in her vows gave birth after his previous life as the godly Kârttikeya who was born unto the wife of S’iva? (31) And how is Yuyudhâna [Sâtyaki] faring, he who learned from Arjuna and fulfilled his purpose as someone understanding the intricacies of military art and on top of that in being of service attained the destination of the Transcendental that even for the greatest renouncers is so difficult to achieve? (32) And the scholarly impeccable son of S’vaphalka, Akrûra, how is he? He is the one who in his surrender on the path of Krishna’s lotus feet lost his balance and fell down in the dust showing symptoms of transcendental love. (33) Is everything well with the daughter of King Devaka-Bhoja? The way the purpose of sacrifice originated from the Vedas and the mother of the demigods [Aditi] gave birth to the godhead, she [Devakî] gave birth to Lord Vishnu. (34) And is also He, the Personality of Godhead Aniruddha all happy, He who as the source for the fulfillment of the desires of the devotees traditionally is considered the birth channel for the Rig-Veda, the creator of the mind and the transcendental fourth plenary expansion of the Reality Principle [of Vishnu-tattva]? (35) And others like Hridîka, Cârudeshna, Gada and the son of Satyabhâmâ, who accept the divinity of their own self as being the soul, o humble one, and who follow with an absolute faith, are they also faring well in passing their time?

(36) Does Yudhishthhira, ruling with the principles of humanity, maintain the respect of religion under the protection of the arms of Arjuna and the Infallible One? It was he who with the opulence of his royal entourage and the service of Arjuna, raised the envy of Duryodhana. (37) And vented the unconquerable Bhîma, who is like a cobra, his long-cherished fury upon the sinners? The way he with the wonderful play of his club operated on the battlefield he could not be defeated. (38) Is Arjuna doing well, he the famous one among the chariot fighters who with his bow the Gândîva vanquished so many enemies? He once satisfied Lord S’iva covering him with arrows when he presented himself unrecognizable as a false hunter. (39) And are the twin sons of Prithâ [Nakula and Sahadeva] carefree? They were by their brothers protected as eyelids covering eyes when they reclaimed their property in the fight with the enemy like Garuda [the carrier of Vishnu] did [with the nectar] from the mouth of Indra. (40) O dear one, is Prithâ still alive? She dedicated her life to the care for the fatherless children when she had to live without King Pându who alone as a commanding warrior could master the four directions with a second bow only.

(41) O gentle one, I just pity him [Dhritarâshthra] who falling down when his brother [Pându] died, turned against me and drove me, his well-wisher, out of my own city adopting the same line of action as his sons. (42) Therefore I travel by the grace of His feet incognito through this world of the Lord which is so bewildering for others to manage. I never missed to see His feet being doubtless in this matter. (43) As for the kings who went astray because of the three kinds of false pride [about wealth, education and followers] and who constantly agitated mother earth with the movements of their troops, He, being the Supreme Lord willing to relieve the distress of the surrendered souls, of course waited to kill the Kurus despite of their offenses. (44) The appearance of the Unborn One, He without any obligation in the world, is there to put an end to the upstarts so that each may understand. What other purpose would He serve in taking up a body and all kinds of karma? (45) O my friend, sing the glories and discuss the topics of the Lord of all sacred places who from His unborn position took birth in the family of the Yadus for the sake of all rulers of the universe who surrendered to Him and [the devotional culture of ] His self-control.’