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XXIX. The Dialogue Begins

Describing the stages of creation, sage Suka said, "Satharupa and Manu together approached the Lord of creation and inquired what they had to fulfil. Brahma replied with a smile, 'Be mates of each other; beget and people the earth.' Equipped with the authority derived from this command, they filled the earth with people."

At this the king interjected: "Master! I have learnt from my own experience that the origin of all grief in this world is infatuation or Moha. I have no desire to hear about these matters; please relate to me how to overcome infatuation, delusion and attachment. In these last days, what exactly has man to do? Which name has he to keep constantly in mind so that he can avoid for ever this round of birth and death? Tell me these things," he asked.

Suka was very much delighted at this query. He replied, "O king! You are a spiritual soul. You serve sages with devotion. This large gathering of monks, ascetics and sages is proof of your meritorious acts. For, these do not usually congregate in any place." The king interrupted him with his protest: "No, no, my Lord! I am a great sinner; I have no trace of spiritual progress in me. If I had the least merit, if I had served sages devotedly, I would not have become the target for the curse of the Brahmin. The fortune that I now enjoy, namely, the company of these great sages and the chance of adoring your feet, is the consequence of the meritorious acts of my forefathers. I know fully well that my activities have not contributed anything to it. The grace that Syamasundara (Krishna) showered on my grandparents is the cause. Had it been otherwise, can persons like me who are sunk in the well of Samsar, immersed in the vain pursuit of sensory pleasure, who do not contemplate for a moment the true, the eternal and the pure - can we ever hope to see before us, in concrete form your presence, ever roaming in the silences of the forests, unknown to man? Really, this is an unattainable piece of good fortune. All this is due to the blessings of my grandparents, and the grace of Syamasundara (Krishna); not to anything else. You are full of affection for me and so, you attribute this to my own merit. I am only too well aware of my failings."

"Kindly continue to shower on me the same affection, and help me to decide what has to be given up by a person whose death is imminent, what has to be adopted and practised by him. Advise me on this and make my days worth while. You alone can solve this for me. Relate to me the Bhagavatha, as you said you would. You told me that it is the basis for progress and for liberation; it will destroy sins; it will result in prosperity. Let me quaff the sacred nectar of the name of Krishna and refresh myself, in this feverish heat," he pleaded.