The Skanda Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words

This page describes Dialogue between Parikshit and Uddhava which is chapter 3 of the English translation of the Skanda Purana, the largest of the eighteen Mahapuranas, preserving the ancient Indian society and Hindu traditions in an encyclopedic format, detailling on topics such as dharma (virtous lifestyle), cosmogony (creation of the universe), mythology (itihasa), genealogy (vamsha) etc. This is the third chapter of the Bhagavata-mahatmya of the Vaishnava-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 3 - Dialogue between Parīkṣit and Uddhava

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Śrī Sūta said:

1. On observing them eagerly engaged in glorifying Kṛṣṇa, Uddhava received them ardently, embraced Parīkṣit and said:

Uddhava said:

2. O king, you are full of devotion solely to Kṛṣṇa. You are continuously engrossed in the festival of the glorification of Śrīkṛṣṇa. Indeed you are blessed!

3. O dear one, the power of your limbs was granted to you by Kṛṣṇa (Kṛṣṇa resuscitated your life). Hence this is befitting unto you. Fortunately you have evinced your affection for the wives of Kṛṣṇa and also for Vajra.

4. Among all those residents of Dvārakā, blessed are all those who were asked to migrate to Vraja by the Lord by instructing Pārtha (to settle them there).

5. Like the moon, the mind of Śrīkṛṣṇa, accompanied by the refulgence of the face of Rādhā, always shines, beautifying that forest of sports by means of its rays.

6. Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Moon, is always full. His sixteen digits are non-different from the refulgence of thousands of Cits (Gopīs or Kṛṣṇa’s queens). Here his form and likeness exist.

7. Thus, O eminent king, Vajra is the dispeller of the fear of those who resort to him. His place is at the right foot of Śrīkṛṣṇa. (This suggests the Vajra mark on Kṛṣṇa’s sole.).

8. In this incarnation, the Yogic Māyā was very much displayed by Kṛṣṇa. O n account of its power all these are undoubtedly languishing with self-oblivion (forgetting their own nature).

9. Without the light of Kṛṣṇa no one shall have self-enlightenment. That light is always hidden by Māyā in the case of the individual souls.

10. Towards the end of the twenty-eighth Dvāpara, when Hari himself would remove his own Māyā, that light could be manifested.

11. That time has passed off. Therefore, listen to this other suggestion. On other occasions, that light can issue forth from Śrīmadbhāgavata.[1]

12. Certainly Śrīkṛṣṇa is present at that place and time where! and when the scripture Śrīmadbhāgavata is expounded and listened to by Bhāgavatas (devotees, followers of the Lord).

13. Lord Kṛṣṇa graces that place also along with the cowherd lasses—the place where a verse of Śrīmadbhāgavata or half of it is present.

14. If, after being born as human beings in Bhārata, people have not heard about Bhāgavata, self-murder has been committed by them.

15. The lines of families of their father, mother and wife have been redeemed by the people who have continuously resorted to the (study, recitation of or listening to) the scripture Śrīmadbhāgavata.

16. From Śrīmadbhāgavata Brāhmaṇas will derive the enlightenment of learning, kings victory over their enemies, Vaiśyas plenty of wealth and Śūdras good health.

17. Women and other people shall obtain the realization of their desires. So which fortunate man will not continuously resort to Bhāgavata?

18. It iṣ only after fruition of the merits of many births that a person can obtain Śrīmadbhāgavata. Enlightenment and devotion to God result herefrom.

19. Formerly Śrīmadbhāgavata was obtained by Bṛhaspati through the grace of Sāṃkhyāyana. Bṛhaspati imparted it to me. Therefore, I am a lover of Kṛṣṇa.

20. O Viṣṇurāta, know the anecdote told by him. In it the traditional (mode) of listening to Bhāgavata (is also obtained).

Śrī Bṛhaspati said:

21 -23a. When Kṛṣṇa who had assumed the form of Māyāpuruṣa was beholding, three Puruṣas, viz. Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva rose up with the Guṇas Rajas, Sattva and Tamas. (The Lord) then employed them in the work of creation, sustenance and annihilation respectively. Brahmā who was born of the lotus at his navel, submitted to him:

Brahmā said:

23b-24. O Nārāyaṇa, O Primordial Being, O Supreme Ātman, I offer obeisance to you. I have been engaged in the work of creation by you. Take pity on me lest the evil Rajas Guṇa should obstruct me while remembering you.

Śrī Bṛhaspati said:

25-27. Formerly the Lord imparted Śrīmadbhāgavata to him and

advised him in the following words:[2] “O Brahmā, resort to this for the sake of your Siddhi.” Thereupon, Brahmā became exceedingly pleased. Therefore, in order to attain Kṛṣṇa permanently and to break through the seven Āvaraṇas (coverings) (viz. two of auspicious and inauspicious Karmas plus five of Avidyā), he spent seven days. By resorting to (reading) Śrīmadbhāgavata for seven days he realized his desire. He continues to create again and again resorting to the Saptāha (i.e. study/reading/expounding spread over seven days) of Bhāgavata.

28. Viṣṇu too requested the Puruṣa for the accomplishment of his purpose, since the work of protecting the subjects had been allotted to him by the Puruṣa.

Śrī Viṣṇu said:

29-32. O Lord, I shall carry on the protection of the subjects in a suitable manner by means of Pravṛtti (active engagement) and Nivṛtti (renunciation) of Karma as well as Jñāna (perfect knowledge).

In course of time, whenever there is decline of Dharma, I shall reestablish it by means of incarnations (such as Divine Fish, Tortoise). I shall certainly grant the benefit of Yajñas to those who seek worldly pleasures. To those who are devoid of attachment and who seek salvation, I shall accord salvation of five types, viz. (1) stay in the same region, (2) similarity of power, (3) vicinity to God, (4) similarity of form, (5) identity with God. But, how shall I protect those people who do not desire salvation too? How shall I protect myself and Śrī (goddess Lakṣmī)? Tell me.

33. The primordial Being imparted Śrīmadbhāgavata to him too and said: “Read this for the sake of realizing all your objectives.”

34-35. Thereupon, Viṣṇu became delighted in his mind. Remembering Bhāgavata every month (i.e. reading fully once) along with Śrī, he became capable of protecting (the subjects) genuinely.

When Viṣṇu himself is the expounder and Lakṣmī is engaged in listening, the duration of the process is one month.

36. When Lakṣmī herself expounds and Viṣṇu is engaged in listening, the duration of enjoying its contents is two months.

37. Viṣṇu is officially engaged in his duty; but Lakṣmī is mentally carefree. Hence her exposition of Bhāgavata is better.

38. Rudra too who was formerly engaged in the duty of annihilation, requested that Lord Puruṣa for the sake of enhancing his ability.

Śrī Rudra said:

39-40. O Lord of Devas, O my Lord, I have ample power in the case of the annihilation of Nitya (daily), Naimittika (occasional) and Prākṛta (pertaining to Prakṛti) types. But I do not have any power in regard to Ātyantika (ultimate) annihilation. On account of this, I am very unhappy; therefore, I request you.

Śrī Bṛhaspati said:

41. Nārāyaṇa imparted Śrīmadbhāgavata to him also. By resorting to it, he conquered the Tamas Guṇa.

42. The story of Bhāgavata was resorted to (read) by him for a period of one year. Thereby Sadāśiva obtained the power (to manage) the ultimate annihilation as well.

Uddhava said:

43-44. On hearing this narrative in regard to the greatness of Śrīmadbhāgavata from my preceptor (from Bṛhaspati) and on getting the Bhāgavata text, I rejoiced much and I bowed down to him. Therefore, I adopted the procedure of the Vaiṣṇavas and for full one month Śrīmadbhāgavata was ardently resorted to by me.

45-46. By that alone I became the beloved companion of Kṛṣṇa. Then I was sent with an errand to Vraja to the group of his beloved ones.

The Lord continued to be perpetually sporting even while the cowherd lasses were in agony due to the separation. The message of Śrīmadbhāgavata was sent over to them through me.

47. After receiving it in accordance with their intellectual capacity, they became free from the pangs of separation. I could not know the secret thereof. But the miracle was seen.

48. After requesting Kṛṣṇa for his stay in heaven, Brahmā and others went away. Then Śrīkṛṣṇa himself gave me that secret in Bhāgavata.

49. In front of the root of Aśvattha (Pippla tree) he made it firmly fixed in me. Therefore, having gone to Badarī I stay here in the creepers of Vraja.

50. So I stay always as I please in the Nārada Kuṇḍa here. Devotees will get the knowledge of Kṛṣṇa from Śrīmadbhāgavata.

51. Therefore, for the sake of these, I shall expound Śrīmadbhāgavata. In this matter you should assist me.

Śrī Sūta said:

52a. On hearing it, Viṣṇurāta bowed down to Uddhava and said:

Śrī Parīkṣit said:

52b-53a. O servant of Hari, Śrīmadbhāgavata must be glorified by you (expounded by you). I may be commanded to assist you in any task that can be done by me.

Śrī Sūta said:

53b. On hearing this Uddhava was delighted in his mind. He spoke these words:

Uddhava said:

54-56. When the earth is left behind by Śrīkṛṣṇa, the powerful Kali will create great obstacles whenever any good work is started. Hence proceed on a campaign of conquest of the quarters. Restrain and subdue Kali. I shall adopt the procedure of the Vaiṣṇavas and in the course of a month spread the gospel of Śrīmadbhāgavata with your assistance. Thereby, I shall enable these to attain the permanent abode of the Slayer of Madhu.

Śrī Sūta said:

57. On hearing his words, the king was joyous as well as worried (a little). Then he intimated to Uddhava his own opinion.

Śrī Parīkṣit said:

58-59. O dear one, at your behest I shall restrain and subdue Kali. But how will I attain (the benefit) of Śrībhāgavata? I have resorted to your feet. I am to be blessed.

Śrī Sūta said:

On heari ng these words Uddhava said to him once again:

Uddhava said:

60. O king, no anxiety or worry need to entertained by you at all, since the most important person authorized in the scripture of the Lord is you yourself.

61. Till this time men devoted to Karma have not even news whatsoever of the holy text of Bhāgavata.

62. With your favour in the region of Bhārata many men will attain permanent happiness after the acquisition of (hearing) Śrīmadbhāgavata.

63. The great holy sage Śrīśuka who is in the form of Lord Kṛṣṇa himself will undoubtedly recount to you Śrīmadbhāgavata.[3]

64. Thereby, O king, you will attain the eternal abode of the Lord of Vraja. Thereafter, Śrīmadbhāgavata will begin to spread on the earth.

65. Hence, O great king, go. Restrain and subdue Kali.

Śrī Sūta said:

On being told thus, the king circumambulated him and went for the conquest of the quarters.

66. Vajra made Pratibāhu the lord of his own kingdom. Hoping to secure Bhāgavata, he remained there itself along with the mothers.

67. Then in Vṛndāvana near Govardhana the joyful exposition of Śrīmadbhāgavata lasting for a month was inaugurated by Uddhava.

68-71. While the gospel (of Bhāgavata) was being enjoyed, Hari’s Līlā (sport) in the form of existence, knowledge and bliss manifested everywhere. So also Kṛṣṇa. All people saw themselves stationed within him. On seeing himself in the lotus-like right foot of Kṛṣṇa, Vajra was rid of the pangs of separation from Kṛṣṇa. He shone on that ground. The mothers were amazed on seeing themselves as refulgence of the digits in Kṛṣṇa, the moon shining on the night of Rāsa dance. Liberated from the ailment of separation from their dearest beloved, they went over to their own region.

72-73. Others too who were there entered the eternal Līlā (graceful sports). Immediately they became invisible to the ordinary world of everyday life.

They rejoice continuously with Kṛṣṇa in the bowers of Govardhana, in the (middle of the) cows, in Vṛndāvana etc. They are seen by persons who love and who are devoted to them.

Śrī Sūta said:

74. He who listens to and glorifies this attainment of the Lord shall attain the Lord himself. His miseries will be dispelled.

Footnotes and references:


From this verse onwards the glorification of Śrīmadbhāgavata and its recitation follows.


VV 25ff prescribe different periods of recitation:

(1) God Brahmā—work creation—period of Bhāgavata recitation—seven days.
(2) God Viṣṇu—work protection—period of Bhāgavata recitation 30 days—when Viṣṇu is the expounder.
(2A) When Lakṣmī is the expounder—period of recitation of BhP—two months.
(3) God Rudra—work annihilation—period of recitation one year.


The historical fact of Śuka’s recitation of Bhāgavata to Parīkṣit is expressed in a prophetic vein.

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