Big Flood

Chapter Twenty-four

Matsya, the Lord's Fish Incarnation



This chapter describes the Supreme Personality of Godhead's incarnation as a fish, and it also describes the saving of Maharaja Satyavrata from an inundation.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead expands Himself by svamsa (His personal expansions) and vibhinnamsa (His expansions as the living entities). As stated in Bhagavad-gita (4. 8), paritranaya sadhunam vinasaya ca duskrtam: the Supreme Personality of Godhead appears on this planet for the protection of the sadhus, or devotees, and for the destruction of the miscreants, or nondevotees. He especially descends to give protection to the cows, the brahmanas, the demigods, the devotees and the Vedic system of religion. Thus He appears in various forms--sometimes as a fish, sometimes a boar, sometimes Nrsimhadeva, sometimes Vamanadeva and so on--but in any form or incarnation, although He comes within the atmosphere of the material modes of nature, He is unaffected. This is a sign of His supreme controlling power. Although He comes within the material atmosphere, maya cannot touch Him. Therefore, no material qualities can be attributed to Him in any degree.

Once, at the end of the previous kalpa, a demon named Hayagriva wanted to take the Vedic knowledge away from Lord Brahma at the time of annihilation. Therefore the Supreme Personality of Godhead took the incarnation of a fish at the beginning of the period of Svayambhuva Manu and saved the Vedas. During the reign of Caksusa Manu there was a king named Satyavrata, who was a great pious ruler. To save him, the Lord appeared as the fish incarnation for a second time. King Satyavrata later became the son of the sun-god and was known as Sraddhadeva. He was established as Manu by the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

To receive the favor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, King Satyavrata engaged in the austerity of subsisting only by drinking water. Once, while performing this austerity on the bank of the Krtamala River and offering oblations of water with the palm of his hand, he found a small fish. The fish appealed to the King for protection, asking the King to keep Him in a safe place. Although the King did not know that the small fish was the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, as a king he gave shelter to the fish and kept Him in a water jug. The fish, being the Supreme Personality of Godhead, wanted to show His potency to King Satyavrata, and thus He immediately expanded His body in such a way that He could no longer be kept in the jug of water. The King then put the fish in a big well, but the well was also too small. Then the King put the fish in a lake, but the lake was also unsuitable. Finally the King put the fish in the sea, but even the sea could not accommodate Him. Thus the King understood that the fish was no one else but the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and he requested the Lord to describe His incarnation as a fish. The Personality of Godhead, being pleased with the King, informed him that within a week there would be an inundation throughout the universe and that the fish incarnation would protect the King, along with the rsis, herbs, seeds and other living entities, in a boat, which would be attached to the fish's horn. After saying this, the Lord disappeared. King Satyavrata offered respectful obeisances to the Supreme Lord and continued to meditate upon Him. In due course of time, annihilation took place, and the King saw a boat coming near. After getting aboard with learned brahmanas and saintly persons, he offered prayers to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone's heart, and thus he taught Maharaja Satyavrata and the saintly persons about Vedic knowledge from the core of the heart. King Satyavrata took his next birth as Vaivasvata Manu, who is mentioned in Bhagavad-gita. Vivasvan manave praha: the sun-god spoke the science of Bhagavad-gita to his son Manu. Because of being the son of Vivasvan, this Manu is known as Vaivasvata Manu.




bhagavan chrotum icchami

harer adbhuta-karmanah

avatara-katham adyam



sri-raja uvaca--King Pariksit said; bhagavan--O most powerful; srotum--to hear; icchami--I desire; hareh--of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari; adbhuta-karmanah--whose activities are wonderful; avatara-katham--pastimes of the incarnation; adyam--first; maya-matsya-vidambanam--which is simply an imitation of a fish.


Maharaja Pariksit said: The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, is eternally situated in His transcendental position, yet He descends to this material world and manifests Himself in various incarnations. His first incarnation was that of a great fish. O most powerful Sukadeva Gosvami, I wish to hear from you the pastimes of that fish incarnation.


The Supreme Personality of Godhead is all-powerful, yet He accepted the form of an uncommon fish. This is one of the ten original incarnations of the Lord.



yad-artham adadhad rupam

matsyam loka-jugupsitam


karma-grasta ivesvarah

etan no bhagavan sarvam

yathavad vaktum arhasi




yat-artham--for what purpose; adadhat--accepted; rupam--form; matsyam--of a fish; loka-jugupsitam--which is certainly not very favorable in this world; tamah--in the mode of ignorance; prakrti--such behavior; durmarsam--which is certainly very painful and condemned; karma-grastah--one who is under the laws of karma; iva--like; isvarah--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; etat--all these facts; nah--unto us; bhagavan--O most powerful sage; sarvam--everything; yathavat--properly; vaktum arhasi--kindly describe; uttamasloka-caritam--the pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; sarva-loka-sukha-avaham--by hearing of which everyone becomes happy.


What was the purpose for which the Supreme Personality of Godhead accepted the abominable form of a fish, exactly as an ordinary living being accepts different forms under the laws of karma? The form of a fish is certainly condemned and full of terrible pain. O my lord, what was the purpose of this incarnation? Kindly explain this to us, for hearing about the pastimes of the Lord is auspicious for everyone.


Pariksit Maharaja's question to Sukadeva Gosvami was based on this principle stated by the Lord Himself in Bhagavad-gita (4.7):

yada yada hi dharmasya

glanir bhavati bharata

abhyutthanam adharmasya

tadatmanam srjamy aham

"Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion--at that time I descend Myself." The Lord appears in each incarnation to save the world from irreligious principles and especially to protect His devotees (paritranaya sadhunam). Vamanadeva, for example, appeared to save the devotee Bali Maharaja. Similarly, when the Supreme Personality of Godhead accepted the abominable form of a fish, He must have done so to favor some devotee. Pariksit Maharaja was eager to know about the devotee for whom the Supreme Lord accepted this form.



sri-suta uvaca

ity ukto visnu-ratena

bhagavan badarayanih

uvaca caritam visnor

matsya-rupena yat krtam


sri-sutah uvaca--Sri Suta Gosvami said; iti uktah--thus being questioned; visnu-ratena--by Maharaja Pariksit, known as Visnurata; bhagavan--the most powerful; badarayanih--the son of Vyasadeva, Sukadeva Gosvami; uvaca--said; caritam--the pastimes; visnoh--of Lord Visnu; matsya-rupena--by Him in the form of a fish; yat--whatever; krtam--was done.


Suta Gosvami said: When Pariksit Maharaja thus inquired from Sukadeva Gosvami, that most powerful saintly person began describing the pastimes of the Lord's incarnation as a fish.



sri-suka uvaca


chandasam api cesvarah

raksam icchams tanur dhatte

dharmasyarthasya caiva hi


sri-sukah uvaca--Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said; go--of the cows; vipra--of the brahmanas; sura--of the demigods; sadhunam--and of the devotees; chandasam api--even of the Vedic literature; ca--and; isvarah--the supreme controller; raksam--the protection; icchan--desiring; tanuh dhatte--accepts the forms of incarnations; dharmasya--of the principles of religion; arthasya--of the principles of the purpose of life; ca--and; eva--indeed; hi--certainly.


Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: O King, for the sake of protecting the cows, brahmanas, demigods, devotees, the Vedic literature, religious principles, and principles to fulfill the purpose of life, the Supreme Personality of Godhead accepts the forms of incarnations.


The Supreme Personality of Godhead generally appears in various types of incarnations to give protection to the cows and brahmanas. The Lord is described as go-brahmana-hitaya ca; in other words, He is always eager to benefit the cows and brahmanas. When Lord Krsna appeared, He purposefully became a cowherd boy and showed personally how to give protection to the cows and calves. Similarly, He showed respect to Sudama Vipra, a real brahmana. From the Lord's personal activities, human society should learn how to give protection specifically to the brahmanas and cows. Then the protection of religious principles, fulfillment of the aim of life and protection of Vedic knowledge can be achieved. Without protection of cows, brahminical culture cannot be maintained; and without brahminical culture, the aim of life cannot be fulfilled. The Lord, therefore, is described as go-brahmana-hitaya because His incarnation is only for the protection of the cows and brahmanas. Unfortunately, because in Kali-yuga there is no protection of the cows and brahminical culture, everything is in a precarious position. If human society wants to be exalted, the leaders of society must follow the instructions of Bhagavad-gita and give protection to the cows, the brahmanas and brahminical culture.



uccavacesu bhutesu

caran vayur ivesvarah

noccavacatvam bhajate

nirgunatvad dhiyo gunaih


ucca-avacesu--having higher or lower bodily forms; bhutesu--among the living entities; caran--behaving; vayuh iva--exactly like the air; isvarah--the Supreme Lord; na--not; ucca-avacatvam--the quality of higher or lower grades of life; bhajate--accepts; nirgunatvat--because of being transcendental, above all material qualities; dhiyah--generally; gunaih--by the modes of material nature.


Like the air passing through different types of atmosphere, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, although appearing sometimes as a human being and sometimes as a lower animal, is always transcendental. Because He is above the material modes of nature, He is unaffected by higher and lower forms.


The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the master of the material nature (mayadhyaksena prakrtih suyate sacaracaram). Therefore, being the supreme controller of the laws of nature, the Lord cannot be under their influence. An example given in this regard is that although the wind blows through many places, the air is not affected by the qualities of these places. Although the air sometimes carries the odor of a filthy place, the air has nothing to do with such a place. Similarly, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, being all-good and all-auspicious, is never affected by the material qualities like an ordinary living entity. purusah prakrti-stho hi bhunkte prakrtijan gunan (Bg. 13.21). When the living entity is in the material nature, he is affected by its qualities. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, however, is not affected. Disrespectfully, one who does not know this considers the Supreme Personality of Godhead an ordinary living being (avajananti mam mudhah). Param bhavam ajanantah: such a conclusion is reached by the unintelligent because they are unaware of the transcendental qualities of the Lord.



asid atita-kalpante

brahmo naimittiko layah

samudropaplutas tatra

loka bhur-adayo nrpa


asit--there was; atita--past; kalpa-ante--at the end of the kalpa; brahmah--of Lord Brahma's day; naimittikah--because of that; layah--inundation; samudra--in the ocean; upaplutah--were inundated; tatra--there; lokah--all the planets; bhuh-adayah--Bhuh, Bhuvah and Svah, the three lokas; nrpa--O King.


O King Pariksit, at the end of the past millennium, at the end of Brahma's day, because Lord Brahma sleeps during the night, annihilation took place, and the three worlds were covered by the water of the ocean.




dhatuh sisayisor bali

mukhato nihsrtan vedan

hayagrivo 'ntike 'harat


kalena--because of time (the end of Brahma's day); agata-nidrasya--when he felt sleepy; dhatuh--of Brahma; sisayisoh--desiring to lie down to sleep; bali--very powerful; mukhatah--from the mouth; nihsrtan--emanating; vedan--the Vedic knowledge; hayagrivah--the great demon named Hayagriva; antike--nearby; aharat--stole.


At the end of Brahma's day, when Brahma felt sleepy and desired to lie down, the Vedas were emanating from his mouth, and the great demon named Hayagriva stole the Vedic knowledge.



jnatva tad danavendrasya

hayagrivasya cestitam

dadhara saphari-rupam

bhagavan harir isvarah


jnatva--after understanding; tat--that; danava-indrasya--of the great demon; hayagrivasya--of Hayagriva; cestitam--activity; dadhara--accepted; saphari-rupam--the form of a fish; bhagavan--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; harih--the Lord; isvarah--the supreme controller.


Understanding the acts of the great demon Hayagriva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, who is full of all opulences, assumed the form of a fish and saved the Vedas by killing the demon.


Because everything was inundated by water, to save the Vedas it was necessary for the Lord to assume the form of a fish.



tatra raja-rsih kascin

namna satyavrato mahan

narayana-paro 'tapat

tapah sa salilasanah


tatra--in that connection; raja-rsih--a king equally qualified as a great saintly person; kascit--someone; namna--by the name; satyavratah--Satyavrata; mahan--a great personality; narayana-parah--a great devotee of Lord Narayana, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; atapat--performed austerities; tapah--penances; sah--he; salila-asanah--only drinking water.


During the Caksusa-manvantara there was a great king named Satyavrata who was a great devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Satyavrata performed austerities by subsisting only on water.


The Lord assumed one fish incarnation to save the Vedas at the beginning of the Svayambhuva-manvantara, and at the end of the Caksusa-manvantara the Lord again assumed the form of a fish just to favor the great king named Satyavrata. As there were two incarnations of Varaha, there were also two incarnations of fish. The Lord appeared as one fish incarnation to save the Vedas by killing Hayagriva, and He assumed the other fish incarnation to show favor to King Satyavrata.



yo 'sav asmin maha-kalpe

tanayah sa vivasvatah

sraddhadeva iti khyato

manutve harinarpitah


yah--one who; asau--He (the Supreme Person); asmin--in this; maha-kalpe--great millennium; tanayah--son; sah--he; vivasvatah--of the sun-god; sraddhadevah--by the name Sraddhadeva; iti--thus; khyatah--celebrated; manutve--in the position of Manu; harina--by the Supreme Personality of Godhead; arpitah--was situated.


In this [the present] millennium King Satyavrata later became the son of Vivasvan, the king of the sun planet, and was known as Sraddhadeva. By the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he was given the post of Manu.



ekada krtamalayam

kurvato jala-tarpanam

tasyanjaly-udake kacic

chaphary ekabhyapadyata


ekada--one day; krtamalayam--on the bank of the Krtamala River; kurvatah--executing; jala-tarpanam--the offering of oblations of water; tasya--his; anjali--palmful; udake--in the water; kacit--some; saphari--a small fish; eka--one; abhyapadyata--was generated.


One day while King Satyavrata was performing austerities by offering water on the bank of the River Krtamala, a small fish appeared in the water in his palms.



satyavrato 'njali-gatam

saha toyena bharata

utsasarja nadi-toye

sapharim dravidesvarah


satyavratah--King Satyavrata; anjali-gatam--in the water held in the palms of the King; saha--with; toyena--water; bharata--O King Pariksit; utsasarja--threw; nadi-toye--in the water of the river; sapharim--that small fish; dravida-isvarah--Satyavrata, the King of Dravida.


Satyavrata, the King of Dravidadesa, threw the fish into the water of the river along with the water in his palm, O King Pariksit, descendant of Bharata.



tam aha satikarunam

maha-karunikam nrpam

yadobhyo jnati-ghatibhyo

dinam mam dina-vatsala

katham visrjase rajan

bhitam asmin sarij-jale


tam--unto him (Satyavrata); aha--said; sa--that small fish; ati-karunam--extremely compassionate; maha-karunikam--extremely merciful; nrpam--unto King Satyavrata; yadobhyah--to the aquatics; jnati-ghatibhyah--who are always eager to kill the smaller fish; dinam--very poor; mam--me; dina-vatsala--O protector of the poor; katham--why; visrjase--you are throwing; rajan--O King; bhitam--very much afraid; asmin--within this; sarit-jale--in the water of the river.


With an appealing voice, the poor small fish said to King Satyavrata, who was very merciful: My dear King, protector of the poor, why are you throwing Me in the water of the river, where there are other aquatics who can kill Me? I am very much afraid of them.


In the Matsya Purana it is said:

ananta-saktir bhagavan

matsya-rupi janardanah

kridartham yacayam asa

svayam satyavratam nrpam

"The Supreme Personality of Godhead possesses unlimited potency. Nonetheless, in His pastime in the form of a fish He begged protection from King Satyavrata."



tam atmano 'nugrahartham

pritya matsya-vapur-dharam

ajanan raksanarthaya

sapharyah sa mano dadhe


tam--unto the fish; atmanah--personal; anugraha-artham--to show favor; pritya--very much pleased; matsya-vapuh-dharam--the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who had assumed the form of a fish; ajanan--without knowledge of this; raksana-arthaya--just to give protection; sapharyah--of the fish; sah--the King; manah--mind; dadhe--decided.


To please himself, King Satyavrata, not knowing that the fish was the Supreme Personality of Godhead, decided with great pleasure to give the fish protection.


Here is an example of giving service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead even without knowledge. Such service is called ajnata-sukrti. King Satyavrata wanted to show his own mercy, not knowing that the fish was Lord Visnu. By such unknowing devotional service, one is favored by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Service rendered to the Supreme Lord, knowingly or unknowingly, never goes in vain.



tasya dinataram vakyam

asrutya sa mahipatih

kalasapsu nidhayainam

dayalur ninya asramam


tasyah--of the fish; dina-taram--pitiable; vakyam--words; asrutya--hearing; sah--that; mahi-patih--the King; kalasa-apsu--in the water contained in the water jug; nidhaya--taking; enam--the fish; dayaluh--merciful; ninye--brought; asramam--to his residence.


The merciful King, being moved by the pitiable words of the fish, placed the fish in a water jug and brought Him to his own residence.



sa tu tatraika-ratrena

vardhamana kamandalau

alabdhvatmavakasam va

idam aha mahipatim


sa--that fish; tu--but; tatra--therein; eka-ratrena--in one night; vardhamana--expanding; kamandalau--in the waterpot; alabdhva--without attaining; atma-avakasam--a comfortable position for His body; va--either; idam--this; aha--said; mahi-patim--unto the King.


But in one night that fish grew so much that He could not move His body comfortably in the water of the pot. He then spoke to the King as follows.



naham kamandalav asmin

krcchram vastum ihotsahe

kalpayaukah suvipulam

yatraham nivase sukham


na--not; aham--I; kamandalau--in this waterpot; asmin--in this; krcchram--with great difficulty; vastum--to live; iha--here; utsahe--like; kalpaya--just consider; okah--residential place; su-vipulam--more expanded; yatra--wherein; aham--I; nivase--can live; sukham--in pleasure.


O My dear King, I do not like living in this waterpot with such great difficulty. Therefore, please find some better reservoir of water where I can live comfortably. TEXT 19


sa enam tata adaya

nyadhad audancanodake

tatra ksipta muhurtena

hasta-trayam avardhata


sah--the King; enam--unto the fish; tatah--thereafter; adaya--taking out; nyadhat--placed; audancana-udake--in a well of water; tatra--therein; ksipta--being thrown; muhurtena--within a moment; hasta-trayam--three cubits; avardhata--immediately developed.


Then, taking the fish out of the waterpot, the King threw Him in a large well. But within a moment the fish developed to the length of three cubits.



na ma etad alam rajan

sukham vastum udancanam

prthu dehi padam mahyam

yat tvaham saranam gata


na--not; me--unto Me; etat--this; alam--fit; rajan--O King; sukham--in happiness; vastum--to live; udancanam--reservoir of water; prthu--very great; dehi--give; padam--a place; mahyam--unto Me; yat--which; tva--unto you; aham--I; saranam--shelter; gata--have taken.


The fish then said: My dear King, this reservoir of water is not fit for My happy residence. Please give Me a more extensive pool of water, for I have taken shelter of you.



tata adaya sa rajna

ksipta rajan sarovare

tad avrtyatmana so 'yam

maha-mino 'nvavardhata


tatah--from there; adaya--taking away; sa--the fish; rajna--by the King; ksipta--being thrown; rajan--O King (Maharaja Pariksit); sarovare--in a lake; tat--that; avrtya--covering; atmana--by the body; sah--the fish; ayam--this; maha-minah--gigantic fish; anvavardhata--immediately developed.


O Maharaja Pariksit, the King took the fish from the well and threw Him in a lake, but the fish then assumed a gigantic form exceeding the extent of the water.



naitan me svastaye rajann

udakam salilaukasah

nidhehi raksa-yogena

hrade mam avidasini


na--not; etat--this; me--unto Me; svastaye--comfortable; rajan--O King; udakam--water; salila-okasah--because I am a big aquatic; nidhehi--put; raksa-yogena--by some means; hrade--in a lake; mam--Me; avidasini--perpetual.


The fish then said: O King, I am a large aquatic, and this water is not at all suitable for Me. Now kindly find some way to save Me. It would be better to put Me in the water of a lake that will never reduce.



ity uktah so 'nayan matsyam

tatra tatravidasini

jalasaye 'sammitam tam

samudre praksipaj jhasam


iti uktah--thus being requested; sah--the King; anayat--brought; matsyam--the fish; tatra--therein; tatra--therein; avidasini--where the water never diminishes; jala-asaye--in the reservoir of water; asammitam--unlimited; tam--unto the fish; samudre--in the ocean; praksipat--threw; jhasam--the gigantic fish.


When thus requested, King Satyavrata took the fish to the largest reservoir of water. But when that also proved insufficient, the King at last threw the gigantic fish into the ocean.



ksipyamanas tam ahedam

iha mam makaradayah

adanty atibala vira

mam nehotsrastum arhasi


ksipyamanah--being thrown in the ocean; tam--unto the King; aha--the fish said; idam--this; iha--in this place; mam--Me; makara-adayah--dangerous aquatics like sharks; adanti--will eat; ati-balah--because of being too powerful; vira--O heroic King; mam--Me; na--not; iha--in this water; utsrastum--to throw; arhasi--you deserve.


While being thrown in the ocean, the fish said to King Satyavrata: O hero, in this water there are very powerful and dangerous sharks that will eat Me. Therefore you should not throw Me in this place.



evam vimohitas tena

vadata valgu-bharatim

tam aha ko bhavan asman

matsya-rupena mohayan


evam--thus; vimohitah--bewildered; tena--by the fish; vadata--speaking; valgu-bharatim--sweet words; tam--unto him; aha--said; kah--who; bhavan--You; asman--us; matsya-rupena--in the form of a fish; mohayan--bewildering.


After hearing these sweet words from the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the form of a fish, the King, being bewildered, asked Him: Who are You, sir? You simply bewilder us.



naivam viryo jalacaro

drsto 'smabhih sruto 'pi va

yo bhavan yojana-satam

ahnabhivyanase sarah


na--not; evam--thus; viryah--powerful; jala-carah--aquatic; drstah--seen; asmabhih--by us; srutah api--nor heard of; va--either; yah--who; bhavan--Your Lordship; yojana-satam--hundreds of miles; ahna--in one day; abhivyanase--expanding; sarah--water.


My Lord, in one day You have expanded Yourself for hundreds of miles, covering the water of the river and the ocean. Before this I had never seen or heard of such an aquatic animal.



nunam tvam bhagavan saksad

dharir narayano 'vyayah

anugrahaya bhutanam

dhatse rupam jalaukasam


nunam--certainly; tvam--You (are); bhagavan--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; saksat--directly; harih--the Lord; narayanah--the Personality of Godhead; avyayah--inexhaustible; anugrahaya--to show mercy; bhutanam--to all living entities; dhatse--You have assumed; rupam--a form; jala-okasam--like an aquatic.


My Lord, You are certainly the inexhaustible Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana, Sri Hari. It is to show Your mercy to the living entities that You have now assumed the form of an aquatic.



namas te purusa-srestha


bhaktanam nah prapannanam

mukhyo hy atma-gatir vibho


namah--I offer my respectful obeisances; te--unto You; purusa-srestha--the best of all living entities, the best of all enjoyers; sthiti--of maintenance; utpatti--creation; apyaya--and destruction; isvara--the Supreme Lord; bhaktanam--of Your devotees; nah--like us; prapannanam--those who are surrendered; mukhyah--the supreme; hi--indeed; atma-gatih--the supreme destination; vibho--Lord Visnu.


O my Lord, master of creation, maintenance and annihilation, O best of enjoyers, Lord Visnu, You are the leader and destination of surrendered devotees like us. Therefore let me offer my respectful obeisances unto You.



sarve lilavataras te

bhutanam bhuti-hetavah

jnatum icchamy ado rupam

yad-artham bhavata dhrtam


sarve--everything; lila--pastimes; avatarah--incarnations; te--of Your Lordship; bhutanam--of all living entities; bhuti--of a flourishing condition; hetavah--the causes; jnatum--to know; icchami--I wish; adah--this; rupam--form; yat-artham--for what purpose; bhavata--by Your Lordship; dhrtam--assumed.


All Your pastimes and incarnations certainly appear for the welfare of all living entities. Therefore, my Lord, I wish to know the purpose for which You have assumed this form of a fish.



na te 'ravindaksa padopasarpanam

mrsa bhavet sarva-suhrt-priyatmanah

yathetaresam prthag-atmanam satam

adidrso yad vapur adbhutam hi nah


na--never; te--of Your Lordship; aravinda-aksa--My Lord, whose eyes are like the petals of a lotus; pada-upasarpanam--worship of the lotus feet; mrsa--useless; bhavet--can become; sarva-suhrt--the friend of everyone; priya--dear to everyone; atmanah--the Supersoul of everyone; yatha--as; itaresam--of others (the demigods); prthak-atmanam--living entities who have material bodies different from the soul; satam--of those who are spiritually fixed; adidrsah--You have manifested; yat--that; vapuh--body; adbhutam--wonderful; hi--indeed; nah--unto us.


O my Lord, possessing eyes like the petals of a lotus, the worship of the demigods, who are in the bodily concept of life, is fruitless in all respects. But because You are the supreme friend and dearmost Supersoul of everyone, worship of Your lotus feet is never useless. You have therefore manifested Your form as a fish.


The demigods like Indra, Candra and Surya are ordinary living entities who are differentiated parts and parcels of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Lord expands Himself through the living beings (nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam). His personal visnu-tattva forms, which are all spiritual, are called svamsa, and the living entities who are differentiated parts are called vibhinnamsa. Some of the vibhinnamsa forms are spiritual, and some are a combination of matter and spirit. The conditioned souls in the material world are different from their external bodies made of material energy. Thus the demigods living in the upper planetary systems and the living entities living in the lower planetary system are of the same nature. Nonetheless, those living as human beings on this planet are sometimes attracted to worshiping the demigods in the higher planetary systems. Such worship is temporary. As the human beings on this planet have to change their bodies (tatha dehantara-praptih), the living entities known as Indra, Candra, Varuna and so on will also have to change their bodies in due course of time. As stated in Bhagavad-gita, antavat tu phalam tesam tad bhavaty alpa-medhasam: "Men of small intelligence worship the demigods, and their fruits are limited and temporary." Kamais tais tair hrta jnanah prapadyante 'nya-devatah: those who do not know the position of the demigods are inclined to worship the demigods for some material purpose, but the results of such worship are never permanent. Consequently, here it is said, yathetaresam prthag-atmanam satam, padopasarpanam mrsa bhavet. In other words, if one is to worship someone else, he must worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Then his worship will never be fruitless. Svalpam apy asya dharmasya trayate mahato bhayat: even a slight attempt to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead is a permanent asset. Therefore, as recommended in Srimad-Bhagavatam, tyaktva sva-dharmam caranambujam hareh. One should take to the worship of the lotus feet of Hari, even if this means giving up the so-called occupational duty assigned because of the particular body one has accepted. Because worship in terms of the body is temporary, it does not bear any permanent fruit. But worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead gives immense benefit.



sri-suka uvaca

iti bruvanam nrpatim jagat-patih

satyavratam matsya-vapur yuga-ksaye

vihartu-kamah pralayarnave 'bravic

cikirsur ekanta-jana-priyah priyam


sri-sukah uvaca--Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said; iti--thus; bruvanam--speaking like that; nrpatim--unto the King; jagat-patih--the master of the entire universe; satyavratam--unto Satyavrata; matsya-vapuh--the Lord, who had assumed the form of a fish; yuga-ksaye--at the end of a yuga; vihartu-kamah--to enjoy His own pastimes; pralaya-arnave--in the water of inundation; abravit--said; cikirsuh--desiring to do; ekanta-jana-priyah--most beloved by the devotees; priyam--something very beneficial.


Sukadeva Gosvami said: When King Satyavrata spoke in this way, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who at the end of the yuga had assumed the form of a fish to benefit His devotee and enjoy His pastimes in the water of inundation, responded as follows.



sri-bhagavan uvaca

saptame hy adyatanad urdhvam

ahany etad arindama

nimanksyaty apyayambhodhau

trailokyam bhur-bhuvadikam


sri-bhagavan uvaca--the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; saptame--on the seventh; hi--indeed; adyatanat--from today; urdhvam--forward; ahani--on the day; etat--this creation; arimdama--O King who can subdue your enemies; nimanksyati--shall be inundated; apyaya-ambhodhau--in the ocean of destruction; trailokyam--the three lokas; bhuh-bhuva-adikam--namely Bhurloka, Bhuvarloka and Svarloka.


The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O King, who can subdue your enemies, on the seventh day from today the three worlds--Bhuh, Bhuvah and Svah--will all merge into the water of inundation.



tri-lokyam liyamanayam

samvartambhasi vai tada

upasthasyati nauh kacid

visala tvam mayerita


tri-lokyam--the three lokas; liyamanayam--upon being merged; samvarta-ambhasi--in the water of destruction; vai--indeed; tada--at that time; upasthasyati--will appear; nauh--boat; kacit--one; visala--very big; tvam--unto you; maya--by Me; irita--sent.


When all the three worlds merge into the water, a large boat sent by Me will appear before you.

TEXTS 34-35


tvam tavad osadhih sarva

bijany uccavacani ca

saptarsibhih parivrtah


aruhya brhatim navam

vicarisyasy aviklavah

ekarnave niraloke

rsinam eva varcasa


tvam--you; tavat--until that time; osadhih--herbs; sarvah--all kinds of; bijani--seeds; ucca-avacani--lower and higher; ca--and; sapta-rsibhih--by the seven rsis; parivrtah--surrounded; sarva-sattva--all kinds of living entities; upabrmhitah--surrounded by; aruhya--getting on; brhatim--very large; navam--boat; vicarisyasi--shall travel; aviklavah--without moroseness; eka-arnave--in the ocean of inundation; niraloke--without being illuminated; rsinam--of the great rsis; eva--indeed; varcasa--by the effulgence.


Thereafter, O King, you shall collect all types of herbs and seeds and load them on that great boat. Then, accompanied by the seven rsis and surrounded by all kinds of living entities, you shall get aboard that boat, and without moroseness you shall easily travel with your companions on the ocean of inundation, the only illumination being the effulgence of the great rsis.



dodhuyamanam tam navam

samirena baliyasa

upasthitasya me srnge

nibadhnihi mahahina


dodhuyamanam--being tossed about; tam--that; navam--boat; samirena--by the wind; baliyasa--very powerful; upasthitasya--situated nearby; me--of Me; srnge--to the horn; nibadhnihi--bind; maha-ahina--by the large serpent (Vasuki).


Then, as the boat is tossed about by the powerful winds, attach the vessel to My horn by means of the great serpent Vasuki, for I shall be present by your side.



aham tvam rsibhih sardham

saha-navam udanvati

vikarsan vicarisyami

yavad brahmi nisa prabho


aham--I; tvam--unto you; rsibhih--with all the saintly persons; sardham--all together; saha--with; navam--the boat; udanvati--in the water of devastation; vikarsan--contacting; vicarisyami--I shall travel; yavat--as long as; brahmi--pertaining to Lord Brahma; nisa--night; prabho--O King.


Pulling the boat, with you and all the rsis in it, O King, I shall travel in the water of devastation until the night of Lord Brahma's slumber is over.


This particular devastation actually took place not during the night of Lord Brahma but during his day, for it was during the time of Caksusa Manu. Brahma's night takes place when Brahma goes to sleep, but in the daytime there are fourteen Manus, one of whom is Caksusa Manu. Therefore, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura comments that although it was daytime for Lord Brahma, Brahma felt sleepy for a short time by the supreme will of the Lord. This short period is regarded as Lord Brahma's night. This has been elaborately discussed by Srila Rupa Gosvami in his Laghu-bhagavatamrta. The following is a summary of his analysis. Because Agastya Muni cursed Svayambhuva Manu, during the time of Svayambhuva Manu a devastation took place. This devastation is mentioned in the Matsya Purana. During the time of Caksusa Manu, by the supreme will of the Lord, there was suddenly another pralaya, or devastation. This is mentioned by Markandeya Rsi in the Visnu-dharmottara. At the end of Manu's time there is not necessarily a devastation, but at the end of the Caksusa-manvantara, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, by His illusory energy, wanted to show Satyavrata the effects of devastation. Srila Sridhara Svami also agrees with this opinion. The Laghu-bhagavatamrta says:

madhye manvantarasyaiva

muneh sapan manum prati

pralayo 'sau babhuveti

purane kvacid iryate

ayam akasmiko jatas

caksusasyantare manoh

pralayah padmanabhasya

lilayeti ca kutracit


pralayo niscitam bhavet

visnu-dharmottare tv etat

markandeyena bhasitam

manor ante layo nasti

manave 'darsi mayaya

visnuneti bruvanais tu

svamibhir naisa manyate



madiyam mahimanam ca

param brahmeti sabditam

vetsyasy anugrhitam me

samprasnair vivrtam hrdi


madiyam--pertaining to Me; mahimanam--glories; ca--and; param brahma--the Supreme Brahman, the Absolute Truth; iti--thus; sabditam--celebrated; vetsyasi--you shall understand; anugrhitam--being favored; me--by Me; samprasnaih--by inquiries; vivrtam--thoroughly explained; hrdi--within the heart.


You will be thoroughly advised and favored by Me, and because of your inquiries, everything about My glories, which are known as param brahma, will be manifest within your heart. Thus you will know everything about Me.


As stated in Bhagavad-gita (15.15), sarvasya caham hrdi sannivisto mattah smrtir jnanam apohanam ca: the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Paramatma, is situated in everyone's heart, and from Him come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. The Lord reveals Himself in proportion to one's surrender to Him. Ye yatha mam prapadyante tams tathaiva bhajamy aham. In responsive cooperation, the Lord reveals Himself in proportion to one's surrender. That which is revealed to one who fully surrenders is different from what is revealed to one who surrenders partially. Everyone naturally surrenders to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, either directly or indirectly. The conditioned soul surrenders to the laws of nature in material existence, but when one fully surrenders to the Lord, material nature does not act upon him. Such a fully surrendered soul is favored by the Supreme personality of Godhead directly. Mam eva ye prapadyante mayam etam taranti te. One who has fully surrendered to the Lord has no fear of the modes of material nature, for everything is but an expansion of the Lord's glories (sarvam khalv idam brahma), and these glories are gradually revealed and realized. The Lord is the supreme purifier (param brahma param dhama pavitram paramam bhavan). The more one is purified and the more he wants to know about the Supreme, the more the Lord reveals to him. Full knowledge of Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan is revealed to the pure devotees. The Lord says in Bhagavad-gita (10.11):

tesam evanukampartham

aham ajnana-jam tamah

nasayamy atma-bhavastho

jnana-dipena bhasvata

"Out of compassion for them, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance."



ittham adisya rajanam

harir antaradhiyata

so 'nvavaiksata tam kalam

yam hrsikesa adisat


ittham--as aforementioned; adisya--instructing; rajanam--the King (Satyavrata); harih--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; antaradhiyata--disappeared from that place; sah--he (the King); anvavaiksata--began to wait for; tam kalam--that time; yam--which; hrsika-isah--Lord Hrsikesa, the master of all the senses; adisat--instructed.


After thus instructing the King, the Supreme Personality of Godhead immediately disappeared. Then King Satyavrata began to wait for that time of which the Lord had instructed.



astirya darbhan prak-kulan

rajarsih prag-udan-mukhah

nisasada hareh padau

cintayan matsya-rupinah


astirya--spreading; darbhan--kusa grass; prak-kulan--the upper portion facing east; raja-rsih--Satyavrata, the saintly King; prak-udak-mukhah--looking toward the northeast (isana); nisasada--sat down; hareh--of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; padau--upon the lotus feet; cintayan--meditating; matsya-rupinah--who had assumed the form of a fish.


After spreading kusa with its tips pointing east, the saintly King, himself facing the northeast, sat down on the grass and began to meditate upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Visnu, who had assumed the form of a fish.



tatah samudra udvelah

sarvatah plavayan mahim

vardhamano maha-meghair

varsadbhih samadrsyata


tatah--thereafter; samudrah--the ocean; udvelah--overflowing; sarvatah--everywhere; plavayan--inundating; mahim--the earth; vardhamanah--increasing more and more; maha-meghaih--by gigantic clouds; varsadbhih--incessantly pouring rain; samadrsyata--King Satyavrata saw it.


Thereafter, gigantic clouds pouring incessant water swelled the ocean more and more. Thus the ocean began to overflow onto the land and inundate the entire world.



dhyayan bhagavad-adesam

dadrse navam agatam

tam aruroha viprendrair



dhyayan--remembering; bhagavat-adesam--the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; dadrse--he saw; navam--a boat; agatam--coming near; tam--aboard the boat; aruroha--got up; vipra-indraih--with the saintly brahmanas; adaya--taking; ausadhi--herbs; virudhah--and creepers.


As Satyavrata remembered the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he saw a boat coming near him. Thus he collected herbs and creepers, and, accompanied by saintly brahmanas, he got aboard the boat.



tam ucur munayah prita

rajan dhyayasva kesavam

sa vai nah sankatad asmad

avita sam vidhasyati


tam--unto the King; ucuh--said; munayah--all the saintly brahmanas; pritah--being pleased; rajan--O King; dhyayasva--meditate; kesavam--upon the Supreme Lord, Kesava; sah--His Lordship; vai--indeed; nah--us; sankatat--from the great danger; asmat--as now visible; avita--will save; sam--auspiciousness; vidhasyati--He will arrange.


The saintly brahmanas, being pleased with the King, said to him: O King, please meditate upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kesava. He will save us from this impending danger and arrange for our well-being.



so 'nudhyatas tato rajna

pradurasin maharnave

eka-srnga-dharo matsyo

haimo niyuta-yojanah


sah--the Lord; anudhyatah--being meditated upon; tatah--thereafter (hearing the words of the saintly brahmanas); rajna--by the King; pradurasit--appeared (before him); maha-arnave--in the great ocean of inundation; eka-srnga-dharah--with one horn; matsyah--a big fish; haimah--made of gold; niyuta-yojanah--eight million miles long.


Then, while the King constantly meditated upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead, a large golden fish appeared in the ocean of inundation. The fish had one horn and was eight million miles long.



nibadhya navam tac-chrnge

yathokto harina pura

varatrenahina tustas

tustava madhusudanam


nibadhya--anchoring; navam--the boat; tat-srnge--onto the horn of the big fish; yatha-uktah--as advised; harina--by the Supreme Personality of Godhead; pura--before; varatrena--used as a rope; ahina--by the great serpent (of the name Vasuki); tustah--being pleased; tustava--he satisfied; madhusudanam--the Supreme Lord, the killer of Madhu.


Following the instructions formerly given by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the King anchored the boat to the fish's horn, using the serpent Vasuki as a rope. Thus being satisfied, he began offering prayers to the Lord.






yadrcchayopasrta yam apnuyur

vimuktido nah paramo gurur bhavan


sri-raja uvaca--the King offered prayers as follows; anadi--from time immemorial; avidya--by ignorance; upahata--has been lost; atma-samvidah--knowledge about the self; tat--that is; mula--the root; samsara--material bondage; parisrama--full of miserable conditions and hard work; aturah--suffering; yadrcchaya--by the supreme will; upasrtah--being favored by the acarya; yam--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; apnuyuh--can achieve; vimukti-dah--the process of liberation; nah--our; paramah--the supreme; guruh--spiritual master; bhavan--Your Lordship.


The King said: By the grace of the Lord, those who have lost their self-knowledge since time immemorial, and who because of this ignorance are involved in a material, conditional life full of miseries, obtain the chance to meet the Lord's devotee. I accept that Supreme Personality of Godhead as the supreme spiritual master.


The Supreme Personality of Godhead is actually the supreme spiritual master. The Supreme Lord knows everything about the suffering of the conditioned soul, and therefore He appears in this material world, sometimes personally, sometimes by an incarnation and sometimes by authorizing a living being to act on His behalf. In all cases, however, He is the original spiritual master who enlightens the conditioned souls who are suffering in the material world. The Lord is always busy helping the conditioned souls in many ways. Therefore He is addressed here as paramo gurur bhavan. The representative of the Supreme Personality of Godhead who acts to spread Krsna consciousness is also guided by the Supreme Lord to act properly in executing the Lord's order. Such a person may appear to be an ordinary human being, but because he acts on behalf of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the supreme spiritual master, he is not to be neglected as ordinary. It is therefore said, acaryam mam vijaniyat: an acarya who acts on behalf of the Supreme Personality of Godhead should be understood to be as good as the Supreme Lord Himself.

saksad dharitvena samasta-sastrair

uktas tatha bhavyata eva sadbhih

kintu prabhor yah priya eva tasya

vande guroh sri-caranaravindam

Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has advised that the spiritual master acting on the Supreme Lord's behalf must be worshiped as being as good as the Supreme Lord, for he is the Lord's most confidential servant in broadcasting the Lord's message for the benefit of the conditioned souls involved in the material world.



jano 'budho 'yam nija-karma-bandhanah

sukhecchaya karma samihate 'sukham

yat-sevaya tam vidhunoty asan-matim

granthim sa bhindyad dhrdayam sa no guruh


janah--the conditioned soul subjected to birth and death; abudhah--most foolish because of accepting the body as the self; ayam--he; nija-karma-bandhanah--accepting different bodily forms as a result of his sinful activities; sukha-icchaya--desiring to be happy within this material world; karma--fruitive activities; samihate--plans; asukham--but it is for distress only; yat-sevaya--by rendering service unto whom; tam--the entanglement of karma; vidhunoti--clears up; asat-matim--the unclean mentality (accepting the body as the self); granthim--hard knot; sah--His Lordship the Supreme Personality of Godhead; bhindyat--being cut off; hrdayam--in the core of the heart; sah--He (the Lord); nah--our; guruh--the supreme spiritual master.


In hopes of becoming happy in this material world, the foolish conditioned soul performs fruitive activities that result only in suffering. But by rendering service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one becomes free from such false desires for happiness. May my supreme spiritual master cut the knot of false desires from the core of my heart.


For material happiness, the conditioned soul involves himself in fruitive activities, which actually put him into material distress. Because the conditioned soul does not know this, he is said to be in avidya, or ignorance. Because of a false hope for happiness, the conditioned soul becomes involved in various plans for material activity. Here Maharaja Satyavrata prays that the Lord sever this hard knot of false happiness and thus become his supreme spiritual master.



yat-sevayagner iva rudra-rodanam

puman vijahyan malam atmanas tamah

bhajeta varnam nijam esa so 'vyayo

bhuyat sa isah paramo guror guruh


yat-sevaya--the Supreme Personality of Godhead, by serving whom; agneh--in touch with fire; iva--as it is; rudra-rodanam--a block of silver or gold becomes purified; puman--a person; vijahyat--can give up; malam--all the dirty things of material existence; atmanah--of one's self; tamah--the mode of ignorance, by which one performs pious and impious activities; bhajeta--may revive; varnam--his original identity; nijam--one's own; esah--such; sah--He; avyayah--inexhaustible; bhuyat--let Him become; sah--He; isah--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; paramah--the supreme; guroh guruh--the spiritual master of all other spiritual masters.


One who wants to be free of material entanglement should take to the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and give up the contamination of ignorance, involving pious and impious activities. Thus one regains his original identity, just as a block of gold or silver sheds all dirt and becomes purified when treated with fire. May that inexhaustible Supreme Personality of Godhead become our spiritual master, for He is the original spiritual master of all other spiritual masters.


In human life one is meant to undergo austerity to purify one's existence. Tapo divyam putraka yena sattvam suddhyet. Because of contamination by the modes of material nature, one continues in the cycle of birth and death (karanam guna-sango 'sya sad-asad-yoni janmasu). Therefore the purpose of human life is to purify oneself of this contamination so that one can regain his spiritual form and not undergo this cycle of birth and death. The recommended process of decontamination is devotional service to the Lord. There are various processes for self-realization, such as karma, jnana and yoga, but none of them is equal to the process of devotional service. As gold and silver can be freed from all dirty contamination by being put into a fire but not merely by being washed, the living entity can be awakened to his own identity by performing devotional service (yat-sevaya), but not by karma, jnana or yoga. Cultivation of speculative knowledge or practice of yogic gymnastics will not be helpful.

The word varnam refers to the luster of one's original identity. The original luster of gold or silver is brilliant. Similarly, the original luster of the living being, who is part of the sac-cid-ananda-vigraha, is the luster of ananda, or pleasure. Anandamayo bhyasat. Every living entity has the right to become anandamaya, joyful, because he is part of the sac-cid-ananda-vigraha, Krsna. Why should the living being be put into tribulation because of dirty contamination by the material modes of nature? The living entity should become purified and regain his svarupa, his original identity. This he can do only by devotional service. Therefore, one should adopt the instructions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is described here as guror guruh, the spiritual master of all other spiritual masters.

Even though we may not have the fortune to contact the Supreme Lord personally, the Lord's representative is as good as the Lord Himself because such a representative does not say anything unless it is spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu therefore gives a definition of guru. Yare dekha, tare kaha 'krsna'-upadesa: the bona fide guru is he who advises his disciples exactly in accordance with the principles spoken by Krsna. The bona fide guru is he who has accepted Krsna as guru. This is the guru-parampara system. The original guru is Vyasadeva because he is the speaker of Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam, wherein everything spoken relates to Krsna. Therefore guru-puja is known as Vyasa-puja. In the final analysis, the original guru is Krsna, His disciple is Narada, whose disciple is Vyasa, and in this way we gradually come in touch with the guru-parampara. One cannot become a guru if he does not know what the Personality of Godhead Krsna or His incarnation wants. The mission of the guru is the mission of the Supreme Personality of Godhead: to spread Krsna consciousness all over the world.



na yat-prasadayuta-bhaga-lesam

anye ca deva guravo janah svayam

kartum sametah prabhavanti pumsas

tam isvaram tvam saranam prapadye


na--not; yat-prasada--of the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; ayuta-bhaga-lesam--only one ten-thousandth; anye--others; ca--also; devah--even the demigods; guravah--the so-called gurus; janah--the total population; svayam--personally; kartum--to execute; sametah--all together; prabhavanti--can become equally able; pumsah--by the Supreme Personality of Godhead; tam--unto Him; isvaram--unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead; tvam--unto You; saranam--shelter; prapadye--let me surrender.


Neither all the demigods, nor the so-called gurus nor all other people, either independently or together, can offer mercy that equals even one ten-thousandth of Yours. Therefore I wish to take shelter of Your lotus feet.


It is said, kamais tais tair hrta jnanah prapadyante 'nya-devatah: people in general, being motivated by material desires, worship the demigods to get fruitive results very quickly. People generally do not become devotees of Lord Visnu, since Lord Visnu never becomes the order-supplier of His devotee. Lord Visnu does not give a devotee benedictions that will create a further demand for benedictions. By worshiping the demigods one may get results, but, as described in Bhagavad-gita, antavat tu phalam tesam tad bhavaty alpa-medhasam: whatever great benedictions one may achieve from the demigods are all temporary. Because the demigods themselves are temporary, their benedictions are also temporary and have no permanent value. Those who aspire for such benedictions have a poor fund of knowledge (tad bhavaty alpa-medhasam). The benedictions of Lord Visnu are different. By the mercy of the Lord Visnu, one can be completely freed from material contamination and go back home, back to Godhead. Therefore the benedictions offered by the demigods cannot compare to even one ten-thousandth of the Lord's benedictions. One should not, therefore, try to obtain benedictions from the demigods or false gurus. One should aspire only for the benediction offered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As the Lord says in Bhagavad-gita (18.66):

sarva-dharman parityajya

mam ekam saranam vraja

aham tvam sarva-papebhyo

moksayisyami ma sucah

"Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear." This is the greatest benediction.



acaksur andhasya yathagranih krtas

tatha janasyaviduso 'budho guruh

tvam arka-drk sarva-drsam samiksano

vrto gurur nah sva-gatim bubhutsatam


acaksuh--one who does not have his power of sight; andhasya--for such a blind person; yatha--as; agranih--the leader, who goes first; krtah--accepted; tatha--similarly; janasya--such a person; avidusah--who has no knowledge of the goal of life; abudhah--a foolish rascal; guruh--the spiritual master; tvam--Your Lordship; arka-drk--appear like the sun; sarva-drsam--of all sources of knowledge; samiksanah--the complete seer; vrtah--accepted; guruh--the spiritual master; nah--our; sva-gatim--one who knows his real self-interest; bubhutsatam--such an enlightened person.


As a blind man, being unable to see, accepts another blind man as his leader, people who do not know the goal of life accept someone as a guru who is a rascal and a fool. But we are interested in self-realization. Therefore we accept You, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as our spiritual master, for You are able to see in all directions and are omniscient like the sun.


The conditioned soul, being wrapped in ignorance and therefore not knowing the goal of life, accepts a guru who can juggle words and make some display of magic that is wonderful to a fool. Sometimes a foolish person accepts someone as a guru because he can manufacture a small quantity of gold by mystic yogic power. Because such a disciple has a poor fund of knowledge, he cannot judge whether the manufacture of gold is the criterion for a guru. Why should one not accept the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, from whom unlimited numbers of gold mines come into being? Aham sarvasya prabhavo mattah sarvam pravartate. All the gold mines are created by the energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, why should one accept a magician who can manufacture only a small portion of gold? Such gurus are accepted by those who are blind, not knowing the goal of life. Maharaja Satyavrata, however, knew the goal of life. He knew the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore he accepted the Lord as his guru. Either the Supreme Lord or His representative can become guru. The Lord says, mam eva ye prapadyante mayam etam taranti te: "One can get relief from the clutches of maya as soon as he surrenders unto Me." Therefore it is the guru's business to instruct his disciple to surrender to the Supreme Personality of Godhead if he wants relief from the material clutches. This is the symptom of the guru. This same principle was instructed by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu: yare dekha, tare kaha 'krsna'-upadesa. In other words, one is advised not to accept a guru who does not follow the path of instruction given by Lord Krsna.



jano janasyadisate 'satim gatim

yaya prapadyeta duratyayam tamah

tvam tv avyayam jnanam amogham anjasa

prapadyate yena jano nijam padam


janah--a person who is not a bona fide guru (an ordinary person); janasya--of an ordinary person who does not know the goal of life; adisate--instructs; asatim--impermanent, material; gatim--the goal of life; yaya--by such knowledge; prapadyeta--he surrenders; duratyayam--insurmountable; tamah--to ignorance; tvam--Your Lordship; tu--but; avyayam--indestructible; jnanam--knowledge; amogham--without material contamination; anjasa--very soon; prapadyate--achieves; yena--by such knowledge; janah--a person; nijam--his own; padam--original position.


A materialistic so-called guru instructs his materialistic disciples about economic development and sense gratification, and because of such instructions the foolish disciples continue in the materialistic existence of ignorance. But Your Lordship gives knowledge that is eternal, and the intelligent person receiving such knowledge is quickly situated in his original constitutional position.


So-called gurus instruct their disciples for the sake of material profit. Some guru advises that one meditate in such a way that his intelligence will increase in regard to keeping his body fit for sense gratification. Another guru advises that sex is the ultimate goal of life and that one should therefore engage in sex to the best of his ability. These are the instructions of foolish gurus. In other words, because of the instructions of a foolish guru one remains perpetually in material existence and suffers its tribulations. But if one is intelligent enough to take instructions from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as enunciated in Bhagavad-gita or the Sankhya philosophy of Kapiladeva, one can very soon attain liberation and be situated in his original position of spiritual life. The words nijam padam are significant. The living entity, being part and parcel of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, has the birthright to a position in Vaikunthaloka, or the spiritual world, where there is no anxiety. Therefore, one should follow the instructions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Then, as stated in Bhagavad-gita, tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti so 'rjuna: after giving up one's body, one will return home, back to Godhead. The Lord lives in the spiritual world in His original personality, and a devotee who follows the instructions of the Lord approaches Him (mam eti). As a spiritual person, such a devotee returns to the Personality of Godhead and plays and dances with Him. That is the ultimate goal of life.



tvam sarva-lokasya suhrt priyesvaro

hy atma gurur jnanam abhista-siddhih

tathapi loko na bhavantam andha-dhir

janati santam hrdi baddha-kamah


tvam--You, my dear Lord; sarva-lokasya--of all planets and their inhabitants; suhrt--the most well-wishing friend; priya--the most dear; isvarah--the supreme controller; hi--also; atma--the supreme soul; guruh--the supreme teacher; jnanam--the supreme knowledge; abhista-siddhih--the fulfillment of all desires; tatha api--still; lokah--persons; na--not; bhavantam--unto You; andha-dhih--because of blind intelligence; janati--can know; santam--situated; hrdi--in his heart; baddha-kamah--because of being bewildered by material lusty desires.


My Lord, You are the supreme well-wishing friend of everyone, the dearmost friend, the controller, the Supersoul, the supreme instructor and the giver of supreme knowledge and the fulfillment of all desires. But although You are within the heart, the foolish, because of lusty desires in the heart, cannot understand You.


Herein the reason for foolishness is described. Because the conditioned soul in this material world is full of materialistic lusty desires, he cannot understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead, although the Lord is situated in everyone's heart (isvarah sarva-bhutanam hrd-dese'rjuna tisthati). It is because of this foolishness that one cannot take instructions from the Lord, although the Lord is ready to instruct everyone both externally and internally. The Lord says, dadami buddhi-yogam tam yena mam upayanti te. In other words, the Lord can give instructions on devotional service by which one can return home, back to Godhead. Unfortunately, however, people do not take this devotional service. The Lord, being situated in everyone's heart, can give one complete instructions on going back to Godhead, but because of lusty desires one engages himself in materialistic activities and does not render service to the Lord. Therefore one is bereft of the value of the Lord's instructions. By mental speculation one can understand that one is not the body but a spirit soul, but unless one engages in devotional service, the real purpose of life is never fulfilled. The real purpose of life is to go back home, back to Godhead, and live with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, play with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, dance with the Supreme Personality of Godhead and eat with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. These are different items of ananda, spiritual happiness in spiritual variegatedness. Even though one may come to the platform of brahma-bhuta and understand his spiritual identity by speculative knowledge, one cannot enjoy spiritual life without understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is indicated here by the word abhista-siddhih. One can fulfill the ultimate goal of life only by engaging in devotional service to the Lord. Then the Lord will give one proper instructions on how to go back home, back to Godhead.



tvam tvam aham deva-varam varenyam

prapadya isam pratibodhanaya

chindhy artha-dipair bhagavan vacobhir

granthin hrdayyan vivrnu svam okah


tvam--how exalted You are; tvam--unto You; aham--myself; deva-varam--worshiped by the demigods; varenyam--the greatest of all; prapadye--fully surrendering; isam--unto the supreme controller; pratibodhanaya--for understanding the real purpose of life; chindhi--cut off; artha-dipaih--by the light of purposeful instruction; bhagavan--O Supreme Lord; vacobhih--by Your words; granthin--knots; hrdayyan--fixed within the core of the heart; vivrnu--kindly explain; svam okah--my destination in life.


O Supreme Lord, for self-realization I surrender unto You, who are worshiped by the demigods as the supreme controller of everything. By Your instructions, exposing life's purpose, kindly cut the knot from the core of my heart and let me know the destination of my life.


Sometimes it is argued that people do not know who is a spiritual master and that finding a spiritual master from whom to get enlightenment in regard to the destination of life is very difficult. To answer all these questions, King Satyavrata shows us the way to accept the Supreme Personality of Godhead as the real spiritual master. The Supreme Lord has given full directions in Bhagavad-gita about how to deal with everything in this material world and how to return home, back to Godhead. Therefore, one should not be misled by so-called gurus who are rascals and fools. Rather, one should directly see the Supreme Personality of Godhead as the guru or instructor. It is difficult, however, to understand Bhagavad-gita without the help of the guru. Therefore the guru appears in the parampara system. In Bhagavad-gita (4.34) the Supreme Personality of Godhead recommends:

tad viddhi pranipatena

pariprasnena sevaya

upadeksyanti te jnanam

jnaninas tattva-darsinah

"Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth." Lord Krsna directly instructed Arjuna. Arjuna is therefore tattva-darsi or guru. Arjuna accepted the Supreme Personality of Godhead (param brahma param dhama pavitram paramam bhavan). Similarly, following in the footsteps of Sri Arjuna, who is a personal devotee of the Lord, one should accept the supremacy of Lord Krsna, as supported by Vyasa, Devala, Asita, Narada and later by the acaryas Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya, Nimbarka and Visnusvami and still later by the greatest acarya, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Where, then, is the difficulty in finding a guru? If one is sincere he can find the guru and learn everything. One should take lessons from the guru and find out the goal of life. Maharaja Satyavrata, therefore, shows us the way of the mahajana. Mahajano yena gatah sa panthah. One should surrender to the Supreme Personality of Godhead (dasavatara) and learn from Him about the spiritual world and the goal of life.



sri-suka uvaca

ity uktavantam nrpatim

bhagavan adi-purusah

matsya-rupi mahambhodhau

viharams tattvam abravit


sri-sukah uvaca--Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said; iti--thus; uktavantam--being addressed by Maharaja Satyavrata; nrpatim--unto the King; bhagavan--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; adi-purusah--the original person; matsya-rupi--who had assumed the form of a fish; maha-ambhodhau--in that water of inundation; viharan--while moving; tattvam abravit--explained the Absolute Truth.


Sukadeva Gosvami continued: When Satyavrata had thus prayed to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who had assumed the form of a fish, the Lord, while moving in the water of inundation, explained to him the Absolute Truth.



purana-samhitam divyam


satyavratasya rajarser

atma-guhyam asesatah


purana--the subject matter explained in the Puranas, the old histories, especially the Matsya Purana; samhitam--the Vedic instructions contained in Brahma-samhita and other samhitas; divyam--all transcendental literatures; sankhya--the philosophical way of sankhya-yoga; yoga--the science of self-realization or bhakti-yoga; kriyavatim--practically applied in life; satyavratasya--of King Satyavrata; raja-rseh--the great king and saint; atma-guhyam--all the mysteries of self-realization; asesatah--including all branches.


The Supreme Personality of Godhead thus explained to King Satyavrata the spiritual science known as sankhya-yoga, the science by which one distinguishes between matter and spirit [in other words, bhakti-yoga], along with the instructions contained in the Puranas [the old histories] and the samhitas. The Lord explained Himself in all these literatures.



asrausid rsibhih sakam

atma-tattvam asamsayam

navy asino bhagavata

proktam brahma sanatanam


asrausit--he heard; rsibhih--the great saintly persons; sakam--with; atma-tattvam--the science of self-realization; asamsayam--without any doubt (because it was spoken by the Supreme Lord); navi asinah--sitting in the boat; bhagavata--by the Supreme Personality of Godhead; proktam--explained; brahma--all transcendental literatures; sanatanam--eternally existing.


While sitting in the boat, King Satyavrata, accompanied by the great saintly persons, listened to the instructions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in regard to self-realization. These instructions were all from the eternal Vedic literature [brahma]. Thus the King and sages had no doubt about the Absolute Truth.




utthitaya sa vedhase

hatvasuram hayagrivam

vedan pratyaharad dharih


atita--passed; pralaya-apaye--at the end of the inundation; utthitaya--to bring him to his senses after sleeping; sah--the Supreme Lord; vedhase--unto Lord Brahma; hatva--after killing; asuram--the demon; hayagrivam--by the name Hayagriva; vedan--all the Vedic records; pratyaharat--delivered; harih--the Supreme Personality of Godhead.


At the end of the last inundation [during the period of Svayambhuva Manu] the Supreme Personality of Godhead killed the demon named Hayagriva and delivered all the Vedic literatures to Lord Brahma when Lord Brahma awakened from sleeping.



sa tu satyavrato raja


visnoh prasadat kalpe 'sminn

asid vaivasvato manuh


sah--he; tu--indeed; satyavratah--Satyavrata; raja--the King; jnana-vijnana-samyutah--enlightened in full knowledge and its practical use; visnoh--of Lord Visnu; prasadat--by the mercy; kalpe asmin--in this period (ruled by Vaivasvata Manu); asit--became; vaivasvatah manuh--Vaivasvata Manu.


King Satyavrata was illuminated with all Vedic knowledge by the mercy of Lord Visnu, and in this period he has now taken birth as Vaivasvata Manu, the son of the sun-god.


Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura gives his verdict that Satyavrata appeared in the Caksusa-manvantara. When the Caksusa-manvantara ended, the period of Vaivasvata Manu began. By the grace of Lord Visnu, Satyavrata received instructions from the second fish incarnation and was thus enlightened in all spiritual knowledge.



satyavratasya rajarser

maya-matsyasya sarnginah

samvadam mahad-akhyanam

srutva mucyeta kilbisat


satyavratasya--of King Satyavrata; raja-rseh--of the great king; maya-matsyasya--and the fish incarnation; sarnginah--who had one horn on His head; samvadam--the description or dealings; mahat-akhyanam--the great story; srutva--by hearing; mucyeta--is delivered; kilbisat--from all sinful reactions.


This story concerning the great King Satyavrata and the fish incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Visnu, is a great transcendental narration. Anyone who hears it is delivered from the reactions of sinful life.



avataram harer yo 'yam

kirtayed anvaham narah

sankalpas tasya sidhyanti

sa yati paramam gatim


avataram--incarnation; hareh--of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; yah--whoever; ayam--he; kirtayet--narrates and chants; anvaham--daily; narah--such a person; sankalpah--all ambitions; tasya--of him; sidhyanti--become successful; sah--such a person; yati--goes back; paramam gatim--back home to Godhead, the supreme place.


One who narrates this description of the Matsya incarnation and King Satyavrata will certainly have all his ambitions fulfilled, and he will undoubtedly return home, back to Godhead.



pralaya-payasi dhatuh supta-sakter mukhebhyah

sruti-ganam apanitam pratyupadatta hatva

ditijam akathayad yo brahma satyavratanam

tam aham akhila-hetum jihma-minam nato 'smi


pralaya-payasi--in the water of inundation; dhatuh--from Lord Brahma; supta-sakteh--who was inert because of sleeping; mukhebhyah--from the mouths; sruti-ganam--Vedic records; apanitam--stolen; pratyupadatta--gave back to him; hatva--by killing; ditijam--the great demon; akathayat--explained; yah--one who; brahma--Vedic knowledge; satyavratanam--for the enlightenment of Satyavrata and the great saintly persons; tam--unto Him; aham--I; akhila-hetum--unto the cause of all causes; jihma-minam--appearing as and pretending to be a great fish; natah asmi--I offer my respectful obeisances.


I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who pretended to be a gigantic fish, who restored the Vedic literature to Lord Brahma when Lord Brahma awakened from sleep, and who explained the essence of Vedic literature to King Satyavrata and the great saintly persons.


Here is a summary of Satyavrata's meeting with the fish incarnation of Lord Visnu. Lord Visnu's purpose was to take back all the Vedic literatures from the demon Hayagriva and restore them to Lord Brahma. Incidentally, by His causeless mercy, the Lord spoke with Satyavrata. The word satyavratanam is significant because it indicates that those on the level of Satyavrata can take knowledge from the Vedas delivered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Whatever is spoken by the Supreme Lord is accepted as Veda. As stated in Bhagavad-gita, vedanta-krd veda-vit: the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the compiler of all Vedic knowledge, and He knows the purport of the Vedas. Therefore, anyone who takes knowledge from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, or from Bhagavad-gita as it is, knows the purpose of the Vedas (vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah). One cannot understand Vedic knowledge from the veda-vada-ratas, who read the Vedas and misconstrue their subject matter. One has to know the Vedas from the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Eighth Canto, Twenty-fourth Chapter, of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, entitled "Matsya, the Lord's Fish Incarnation."

--This commentation has been finished in our New Delhi center today, the first of September, 1976, the day of Radhastami, by the grace of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the acaryas. Srila Narottama dasa Thakura says, tandera carana sevi bhakta-sane vasa janame janame haya, ei abhilasa. I am attempting to present Srimad-Bhagavatam in the English language by the order of my spiritual master, Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, and by his grace the work of translation is gradually progressing, and the European and American devotees who have joined the Krsna consciousness movement are helping me considerably. Thus we have expectations of finishing the great task before my passing away. All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.