Chapter 1

 Questions by the Sages

(1) Let there be the salutation of Vâsudeva, the Fortunate One, the primeval Lord of this creation, from whom, being present here and in the beyond, for the purpose of recollection and full independence, the vedic knowledge in the heart was imparted of the one who is the original creator [Lord Brahmâ]. About Him are the enlightened [as surely also the ordinary] souls, like with a mirage of water to the [fire of the] sun, in a state of illusion wherein, through the action and reaction of the modes of material nature, there is the illusion of the factual. Upon Him I meditate who is always self-sufficient and of the transcendental, the negation free from illusion and the Absolute of the truth.

(2) Herein [in this book] is rejected deceitful religiosity [of ulterior motives], and finds one the highest, comprehensible to selfless truth-loving ones. Herein is offered the factual substance of well-being that uproots the threefold miseries [as caused by oneself, others and by nature]. What is the need of other stories when in here is found the beautiful story of the Fortunate One as compiled by the great sage [Vyâsadeva] which, with help of the ones pious and diligently of service, forthwith in the heart confines the Controller. (3) It is the ripened fruit from the desire tree of the vedic literatures that flowing from the lips of S'ukadeva manifested as sweet nectar perfect in every way; o you expert and thoughtfull ones delighting in devotion, ever relish the home of the S'rîmad Bhâgavatam!

(4) In the forest of Naimishâranya, a spot favored by Vishnu, sages headed by the sage S'aunaka performed a thousand-year sacrifice for the Lord of heaven and the devotees on earth. (5) One morning, burning the sacrificial fire, with due respect, the sages asked S'rîla Sûta Gosvâmî, who was offered a seat of honor, the following: (6) "You, free from all vice as you are and familiar with the stories and historical records, are said to be well versed in the religious scriptures that you explained as well. (7) As the eldest of the scholars of the Vedas you know Vyâsadeva, the Lord among them - and Sûta, you know as well the other ones well versed in physical and metaphysical knowledge. (8) Being so conversant, pure and simple by their grace, tell us, your honor, of the secrets you have learned from those spiritual masters as a submissive disciple. (9) Being blessed thereof with ease and a long life, from your goodness please tell us, what you could ascertain to be the absolute and ultimate good that all people deserve. (10) In general, o honorable one, are the people in this age of Kali lazy, misguided, unlucky and above all disturbed. (11) There are many scriptures with as many prescribed duties each separately demanding attention. Therefore o sage, tell us for the good of all living beings what, to the best of your knowledge, is the essence by which the soul is satisfied. (12) Be blessed Sûta, you know the purpose for which the Supreme One, the protector of the devotees, appeared in the womb of Devakî as the son of Vasudeva. (13) Please, for the good and upliftment of all living beings explain it to us, aching for it, as you should [after the tradition]. (14) Entangled in the complications of birth and death will we, even not being fully conscious, find liberation if we respect the name of the Lord who is feared by fear itself. (15) O Sûta, simply associating in devotion will sanctify us directly, as Ganges water would do but only after using it. (16) Who, eager for liberation, wouldn't rather want to hear of the Lord His worshipable virtuous deeds and His glories as the sanctifier in the Age of Quarrel [Kali]? (17) He is hailed by the great souls for His transcendental glories. Please tell us, who are eager to believe, about the pastimes of His descend in time. (18) Therefore, describe us, o sagacious one, the auspicious adventures and pastimes of the multiple incarnations of the Supreme Controller His personal energies. (19) We, relishing the palatable at every step, are never tired of associating with the One Glorified and hearing about His adventures. (20) In the guise of a human being was He with Balarâma [His elder brother] of a superhuman performance. (21) Knowing of the onset of the Age of Kali, we for a longer period have assembled to sacrifice here at this place reserved for the devotees, taking our time to listen to the stories about the Lord. (22) By providence we met your goodness to help us as the captain of the ship through this insurmountable age of Kali that is so threatening to the good qualities. (23) Please tell us with whom we should take shelter, now the Lord of Yoga S'rî Krishna, who is the Absolute Truth and the protector of the religion, has left for His own abode."