The Mahabharata Home
Vaisampayana said, 'Having heard these words of Nara and Narayana, the Rishi Narada became filled with devotion towards the Supreme Being. Indeed, with his whole soul he devoted himself to Narayana. Having resided for a full thousand years in the retreat of Nara and 'Narayana, having beheld the immutable Hari, and heard the excellent discourse
having Narayana for its topic, the celestial Rishi repaired to his own retreat on the breast of Himavat, Those foremost of ascetics viz., Nara and Narayana, however continued to reside in their delightful retreat of Vadari, engaged in the practice of the severest austerities. Thou art born in the race of the Pandavas. Thou art of immeasurable energy. O perpetuator of the race of the Pandavas, having listened to this discourse on Narayana from the beginning, thou hast certainly been cleansed of all thy sins and thy soul has been sanctified. His is neither this world nor the world hereafter, O best of kings, who hates instead of loving and reverencing the immutable Hari. The ancestors of that person who hates Narayana, who is the foremost of deities, and is otherwise called Hari, sink into hell for eternity. O tiger among men, Vishnu is the soul of all beings. How, then, can Vishnu be hated, for in hating him one would hate one's own self. He who is our preceptor, viz., the Rishi Vyasa, the son of Gandhavati, has himself recited this discourse unto us on the glory of Narayana, that glory which is the highest and which is immutable. I heard it from him and have recited it to thee exactly as I heard it, O sinless one. This cult, with its mysteries and its abstract of details, was obtained by Narada, O king, from that Lord of the universe, viz., Narayana himself. Even such are the particulars of this great cult. I have, before this, O foremost of kings, explained it to thee in the Hari-Gita, with a brief reference to its ordinances. 1 Know that the Island-born Krishna, otherwise called Vyasa, is Narayana on Earth. Who else than he, O tiger among kings, could compile such a treatise as the Mahabharata? Who else than that puissant Rishi could discourse upon the diverse kinds of duties and cults for the observance and adoption of men? Thou hast resolved upon performing a great sacrifice. Let that sacrifice of thine proceed as determined by thee. Having listened to the diverse kinds of duties and cults, let thy Horse-sacrifice go on."
Sauti continued, That best of kings, having heard this great discourse, began all those rites that are laid down in the ordinance, for the completion of his great sacrifice. Questioned by thee, O Saunaka, I have duly recited to thee and all these Rishis that are denizens of the Naimisha forest, that great discourse having Narayana for its topic. Formerly Narada had recited it to my preceptor in the hearing of many Rishis and the sons of Pandu and in the presence of Krishna and Bhishma also. 2 The Supreme deity Narayana is the Lord of all the foremost of Rishis, and of the three worlds. He is the upholder of Earth herself of vast proportions. He is the receptacle of the Srutis and of the attribute of humility. He Is the great receptacle of all those ordinances that should be practised for attaining to tranquillity of heart, as also of all those that go by the name
of Yama. He is always accompanied by the foremost of regenerate persons. Let that great deity be thy refuge. Hari ever does what is agreeable and beneficial to the denizens of heaven. He is always the slayer of such Asuras (as become troublesome to the three worlds). He is the receptacle of penances. He is possessed of great fame. He is the slayer of the Daityas known by the name of Madhu and Kaitabha. He is the ordainer of the ends that are attained to by persons acquainted with and observant of scriptural and other duties. He dispels the fears of all persons. He takes the foremost of those offerings that are dedicated in sacrifices. He is thy refuge and protection. He is endued with attributes. He is freed from attributes. He is endued with a quadruple form. He shares the merits arising from the dedication of tanks and the observance of similar religious rites. Unvanquished and possessed of great might, it is He that always ordains the end approachable by the Soul alone, of Rishis of righteous deeds. He is the witness of the worlds. He is unborn. He is the one ancient Purusha. Endued with the complexion of the Sun, He is the Supreme Lord, and he is the refuge of all. Do all of you bow your heads unto Him since He who sprang from the waters (viz., Narayana himself) bends his head unto Him. 1 He is the origin of the universe. He is that Being who is called Amrita. He is minute. He is the refuge upon whom all things depend. He is the one Being to whom the attribute of immutability attaches. The Sankhyas and Yogins, of restrained souls, hold Him who is eternal in their understandings.
179:1 The Hari-Gita is the Bhagavad-Gita. It is sometimes called also Narayana-Gita.
179:2 It is not clear who is the Guru referred to in this verse. The commentator thinks that it is Vrihaspati, the preceptor of the celestials. The celestial preceptor never came to the Pandavas. It is probable that either Vyasa or Vaisampayana is meant.
180:1 In these verses, it is to Vasudeva that the speaker is referring. The witness of the worlds means that he has witnessed innumerable Creation and Destructions and will witness them through eternity.
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