Chapter 24: Matsya, the Lord's Fish Incarnation
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    Welcome, Guest · RSS 2018-11-17, 3:32 AM

    Chapter 24: Matsya, the Lord's Fish Incarnation

    (1) The honorable king said: 'Oh powerful one, I would like to hear the story about that first incarnation of the Lord whose deeds are so wonderful, in which He poses as a fish [or Matsya, see also 2.7: 12, 5.18: 24-28 and 6.9: 23]. (2-3) For what purpose did the Controller accept the form of a fish? It is a form that is certainly not the most favorable one in the world. To operate in that slow mode must be as hard as the life of someone tormented by the laws of karma! Oh mighty sage, please tell us as good as you can everything about the activities of Lord Uttamas'loka ['the One glorified'], for to hear about Him makes the entire world happy [B.G. 4: 7].'

    (4) S'rî Sûta Gosvâmî said: "The mighty son of Vyâsadeva thus upon the request of Vishnurâta ['Vishnu-sent'] told him everything there was to know about the deeds of Lord Vishnu in the form of a fish. (5) S'rî S'uka said: 'For the sake of the cows, the brahmins, the enlightened souls, the devotees as also the Vedic literatures, the Supreme Controller assumes in His incarnations [all kinds of] forms for the purpose of protecting the dharma. (6) Even though the Lord assumes forms among higher or lower living beings, He [Himself], just like moving air, is therewith not of a higher or lower nature, for being intent upon the modes He is transcendental to the modes. (7) During the previous day of Brahmâ [the previous kalpa] there was at its end an inundation because of which all the existing worlds were submerged in the ocean oh King. (8) At the moment Brahmâ felt sleepy and wanted to lie down to rest, the Vedic knowledge most powerfully emanated from his mouth. Hayagrîva who happened to be nearby then took it away [see 2.7: 11 and 5.18: 6]. (9) Understanding Hayagrîva's Dânava course of action the Supreme Lord Hari, the Controller, [thereupon] assumed the form of a fish. (1o) When that happened there was some saintly king called Satyavrata, a great personality and devotee of Lord Nârâyana, who in his penances had developed the austerity of subsisting on water only. (11) During this day of Brahmâ he as a son of the sungod became known as S'râddhadeva. Lord Hari entrusted him with the position of Manu [see 6.6: 40 and 8.13: 1]. (12) When he one day was sitting at the Kritamâlâ river, performing oblations of water, in his palm full of water some kind of a small fish manifested itself. (13) Satyavrata, the master of Dravidades'a oh son of Bharata, threw the little fish together with the handful of water into the river. (14) It appealed to the most compassionate king and said: 'The river water is very scaring oh protector of the poor, why do you throw Me, so small, before the voracious aquatics oh King?'

    (15) Most pleased to show it his personal favor he, not knowing that he held the form of Matsya, decided to offer the fish protection. (16) The great leader hearing its pitiable words mercifully put it in a jug full of water and took it home. (17) But in a single night it expanded in the water of that pot so that it, not feeling comfortably anymore, said to the great leader: (18) 'I do not like it here, this water pot is a difficult place for Me, please consider a more spacious refuge where I can live with pleasure.'

    (19) He then took it out and placed it in a bucket full of water, but thrown in there it grew within a second to the length of three cubits [2.10 meters]. (20) [It said:] 'This bucket is unsuitable for Me to live happily, please give Me, who sought your shelter, a much bigger place!'

    (21) The king removed it from there and threw it in a lake that was immediately filled by its body when He instantly grew into a gigantic fish. (22) 'This water you have put  Me in does not accommodate Me oh King, I'm a large aquatic, you better put Me in an expanse of water that suits Me more permanently.'

    (23) Thus requested he brought Matsya to bigger and bigger reservoirs until he finally threw the giant into the ocean. (24) Thrown there it said to the king: 'In this place there are dangerous, powerful aquatics that will eat Me oh hero, please do not put Me in here!'

    (25) Thus perplexed by the fish that addressed him in agreeable terms he said: 'Who are You who in this fish form is bewildering us? (26) I've never seen or heard of such a powerful aquatic like You are. Your Lordship has expanded to hundreds of miles in a single day! (27) You must be the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, the imperishable Lord Nârâyana who has assumed the form of a marine animal to show all living beings Your mercy. (28) I offer You, the Most Excellent Personality of Maintenance, Creation and Destruction my obeisances. Oh Almighty One, unto surrendered devotees like us You are the Supreme Lord and the Highest Destination. (29) Everything You do in Your incarnations is the cause of the welfare of all living beings. I'd like to know for what purpose Your Lordship has assumed this form. (30) As opposed to [the worship of] others who are differently embodied [the demigods], one never worships Your lotus feet in vain, oh Lotus petal-eyed One. For You are the friend, the dearest and original Soul of everyone, You who now have manifested that so very wonderful body for us Your devotees.'

    (31) S'rî S'uka said: 'Having spoken thus that master of man, Satyavrata, was addressed by the Master of the Universe, the Lord who, as the one love of the devotees desiring to benefit them, at the end of the yuga for the sake of enjoying His pastimes had assumed the form of a fish in the water of the great flood. (32) The Supreme Lord said: 'On the seventh day from today oh subduer of the enemies, this threefold creation of earth, ether and heaven will be flooded by the all-devouring ocean. (33) When the three worlds are submerged in the waters of annihilation, a very big boat will appear that I have sent to you. (34-35) Collect all higher and lower kinds of herbs and seeds before you get on that huge boat together with the seven sages and all kinds of living beings. Then travel undaunted the ocean of the flood with no other illumination but the light of the rishis. (36) When that boat is being tossed about by the very powerful wind, you can attach it with the great serpent [Vâsuki] to My horn, for I will be near you. (37) I will drag you and the sages on the boat, with Me over the waters throughout the night of Brahmâ oh My best one. (38) With My support, upon your inquiries, in your heart the full knowledge will be revealed of My glory that is known as the Supreme Brahman [see also B.G. 5: 16, 10: 11].'

    (39) After thus having instructed the king the Lord disappeared from there. The king then awaited the time about which the Master of the Senses had spoken. (40) The saintly king spread kus'a grass with its tips pointed to the east and then facing northwards sat down to meditate upon the feet of the Lord who had assumed the form of a fish. (41) Then there were huge clouds in the sky incessantly showering rain. The ocean swell and began to flood on all sides so that the earth was inundated. (42) Meditating on what the Lord had said he saw a boat coming near. He got up, took the herbs and creepers and got on board together with the leading brahmins. (43) The sages were very pleased and said to him: 'Oh King meditate upon Kes'ava ['the Lord with the black curls'], for He will save us from this impending danger and set things right.'

    (44) After the king had meditated, the Lord appeared in the great ocean as a golden fish measuring a million yojanas that had a single horn. (45) Glad that he, like the Lord had told him before, could fasten the boat to the horn using the serpent for a rope, he praised the Killer of Madhu. (46) The king said: 'Since time immemorial ignorance about the knowledge of the soul has been the root cause of  the material bondage that is accompanied by so much suffering and hardship. By the grace of the process of devotional service [and Your devotee] You can be attained oh Lord who are the supreme spiritual master [see 7.5: 23-24]. (47) He who is born accepts in his desire to be happy unwisely different bodies as a result of his karma [see 4.29 and B.G. 4: 5, 6: 45 and 16: 20], but his profit minded plans bring him only grief. That karmic matter is cleared up by rendering service to Him, our guru in the core of the heart, by whom the hard knot of the impure mind is cut. (48) Just like a piece of ore in touch with fire gets purified, a person by that service can get rid of all the impurity as a consequence of his ignorance so that he can revive his original identity [his mode of service or varna]. May He who is Inexhaustible in this respect be our Supreme Controller, the Guru of the Gurus. (49) Neither the demigods, nor the gurus, nor other people individually or else group wise are able to offer but one ten-thousandth of Your grace. I therefore surrender to Him, the Lord, to You who are the shelter. (50) The way the blind are lead by the blind, ignorant people accept an unenlightened person as their guru. We desirous to know our destination, have accepted Your Lordship whose knowledge is like the [rising] sun, as our spiritual master, as the seer of all that can be seen. (51) An ordinary person following the directions of an ordinary man is of surrender to impermanent matters as the goal of life and [thus] of an ignorance that cannot be overcome, but by Your eternal, pure knowledge a person very soon achieves his original position [of service]. (52) You are the dearmost well-wisher, the controller, the original soul and spiritual master of all worlds. You are the spiritual knowledge, the fulfillment of all desires and the One situated in the heart who cannot be known by people who in the grip of lust have a foggy intelligence. (53) May by my surrender to You, the Greatest of All who is worshiped by the gods, the Supreme Controller for understanding the real purpose of life, by my surrender to the light of Your meaningful words of instruction, the knots fixed in the heart be cut through oh Supreme Lord. Please tell me about Your refuge [see also B.G. 4: 34].'

    (54) S'rî S'uka said: 'The Supreme Lord, the Original Person who had assumed the form of a fish, thus being addressed explained the Absolute Truth to the king while they were moving through the great ocean. (55) Through the analytical [sânkhya, matter versus spirit] perspective of [bhakti-]yoga, practically applied in a collection of divine old stories, the holy king Satyavrata thus got acquainted with the mysteries of self-realization in all its forms. (56) Sitting in the boat with the sages, he free from doubt listened to the knowledge of self-realization [âtma-tattva] and the eternal absolute spirit [brahma] as explained by the Supreme Lord. (57) When the last inundation had ended the Lord after [thus] having put an end to the darkness that was caused by Hayagrîva, handed over all the Vedic records to Brahmâ when he woke up. (58) King Satyavrata enlightened in the spiritual knowledge and its practical wisdom, by the mercy of Lord Vishnu became in this period the Manu called Vaivasvata.

    (59) When someone hears this great story describing Satyavrata the saintly king and the Matsya incarnation with the one horn, he will be delivered from all reactions to sin. (60) Anyone who daily glorifies the personal appearance of the Lord will have success in all his endeavors and will return home, back to Godhead. (61) I offer my obeisances to Him, the Cause of All Causes, He who posing as a great fish explained to Satyavrata the Vedic knowledge and put an end to the darkness of the Daitya, He who returned the Vedic records that were stolen from the mouths of Lord Brahmâ who lay deep asleep in the waters of the flood.'


    Thus the eighth Canto of the S'rîmad Bhâgavatam ends named: Withdrawal of the Cosmic Creations.