Chapter – 5 ( This episode is from Chapter 2 of the original)
Short suspenseful remarks kindle curiosity
Listener’s attention crucial
Once Vaisampayana approached king Janamejaya and said: “Listen, I wish to recite the Mahabharata to you.” It is common that even when we speak a long sentence, we are chided for ‘narrating a Mahabharata’. When Vaisampayana offered to recite the whole of Mahabharata, naturally Janamejaya was aghast and it is not surprising that he replied: “Sorry, I have no time now.” Vaisampayana would not accept any refusal. So, he said, ” Well, I shall narrate you just one Parva; listen me.” But the king said he had no time even for that. Vaisampayana pondered for a while. He was determined to teach the whole of the Mahabharata to the king. So he pleaded: “I shall recite just one couplet. Do listen to it.” The King assented. Vaisampayana composed a verse that could kindle the king’s interest.
Dvaavimau purushau moodhau duryodhana dasaananau
Gograaham vanabhangam cha dhrishtvaa yuddham punah punah
The message was meant to be short to create interest. “In this world both Duryodhana and Ravana have been idiots. Even after watching Arjuna retrieve the cows in Virata’s city and Hanuman destroy the Ashoka grove in Lanka, these two repeatedly went to war!” When Janamejaya heard it, he showed eagerness to know what was meant by gograaha and vanabhanga. Vaisampayana began his recital. Likewise Bhagavan Parasara elaborates in the second chapter what he had indicated earlier, finding Maitreya eager to listen.
The Supreme Being is Amalan Aadipiran
“Maitreya! I am going to impart to you the knowledge I have received through the lineage of teachers. Daksha and other Prajapatis prayed to Brahma who taught them this knowledge. Later, they spoke of it to king Purukutsa. That king conveyed it to Saarasvata. He taught it to me. Hence I am gifting you the teachings of a line of ancient sages.” Vaisampayana describes the nature of the Supreme who is the Primal Cause of creation. The Primal Cause of creation is Narayana. But, He does not change as the things of the world. He is quite independent of earthly creation. He undergoes no change that comes of birth. All things abide in Him. He is in everything. This is why He is hailed as Vaasudeva and He is the Para Brahman. The Para Brahman is the primal cause of creation. The things of the world can be divided into four categories: Unmanifest Matter (avyakta) or Prakriti, the Manifest Nature (vyakta) called Mahat, the Individual Self (jivatma) and Time (kala). These form the body of the Brahman. Brahman is the soul for these four entities. Brahman goes ahead with creation by using these four principles (tattva-s), which form Its body. The creation of the world is Brahman’s play. These four tattua-s are the toys used for the play.
Creation and dissolution
Prakriti, in time of dissolution (pralaya), contains everything within it “like water that has devoured salt” and surrounds it all. In the time of dissolution, there is nothing, not even night, day, sky, earth, darkness or light. As there is nothing like sound either, only the primordial (mula) Prakriti which cannot be recognised by the senses, the jivatma-s and Para Brahman exist. If the jiuatma-s and Prakriti interact in a special manner, creation will come into being Brahman, through Time, sees to it that this interaction does not take place. As the entire creation gets merged in Prakriti in a subtle form during the dissolution, this great deluge is called praakrita pralaya.
To be continued….
This English Commentary is written by smt Prema Nandakumar based on the tamil commentary written by H.H. 45th Azhagiyasingar of the Ahobila Mutt. His Holiness has ‘commented’ only on select chapters of the Vishnu Purana. The English translation faithfully follows the original in this aspect. Words that appear in square brackets [ ] have been placed there to serve as a link and do not form part of the original. Reproduced from Nrusimhapriya.
For Tamil commentary and Upanyasam of Vishnu Puranam, please visit: http://anudinam.org/category/stories/