“Yudhishthira said, ‘Thou always worshippest, O king, Brahmanas ofpraiseworthy, vows. Whatever, however is that fruit seeing which thouworshippest them, O king? O thou of high vows, beholding what prosperityattaching to the worship of the Brahmanas dost thou worship them? Tell meall this, O thou of mighty arms!
“Bhishma said, ‘Here is Kesava endued with great intelligence. He willtell thee everything. Of high vows and endued with prosperity, even hewill tell you what the prosperity is that attaches to the worship ofBrahmanas. My strength, ears, speech, mind, eyes, and that clearunderstanding of mine (are all clouded today). I think, the time is notdistant when I shall have to cast off my body. The sun seems to me to govery slowly. Those high duties, O king, that are mentioned in thePuranas as observed by Brahmanas and Kshatriyas and Vaisyas and Sudras,have all been recited by me. Do thou, O son of Pritha, learn from Krishnawhat little remains to be learnt on that head. I know Krishna truly. Iknow who he is and what his ancient might is. O chief of the Kauravas,Kesava is of immeasurable soul. Whenever doubts arise, it is he whoupholds Righteousness then. It is Krishna who created the earth, andsky, and the heavens. Indeed, the earth has sprung from Krishna’s body.Of terrible prowess and existing from the beginning of time, it isKrishna who became the mighty Boar and raised the submerged Earth. It isHe who created all the points of the compass, together with all themountains. Below Him are the welkin, heaven, the four cardinal points,and the four subsidiary points. It is from him that the entire creationhas flowed. It is He who has created this ancient universe. In His navelappeared a Lotus. Within that Lotus sprang Brahma himself of immeasurableenergy. It was Brahma, O son of Pritha, who rent that darkness whichexisted surpassing the very ocean (in depth and extent). In the Tretaage, O Partha, Krishna existed (on the earth), in the form ofRighteousness. In the Treta age, he existed in the form of Knowledge. Inthe Dwapara age, he existed in the form of might. In the Kali age he cameto the earth in the form of unrighteousness. It is He who in days of yoreslew the Daityas. It is He who is the Ancient God. It is He who ruled theAsuras in the form of their Emperor (Valin). It is He who is the Creatorof all beings. It is He who is also the future of all created Beings. Itis He who is also the protector of this universe fraught with the seed ofdestruction. When the cause of Righteousness languishes, this Krishnatakes birth in the race of either the gods or among men. Staying onRighteousness, this Krishna of cleansed soul (on such occasion) protectsboth the higher and the lower worlds. Sparing those that deserve to bespared, Krishna sets himself to the slaughter of the Asura, O Partha! Itis he who is all acts proper and improper and it is he who is the cause.It is Krishna who is the act done, the act to be done, and the act thatis being done. Know that that illustrious one is Rahu and Soma and Sakra.It is he that is Viswakarma. It is he that is of universal form. He isthe destroyer and he is the Creator of the universe. He is the wielder ofthe Sula (lance); He is of human form; and He is of terrible form. Allcreatures sing his praises, for he is known by his acts. Hundreds ofGandharvas and Apsaras and deities always accompany him. The veryRakshasas hymn his praise. He is the Enhancer of Wealth; He is the onevictorious Being in the universe. In Sacrifices, eloquent men hymn Hispraises. The singers of Samans praise Him by reciting the Rathantaras.The Brahmanas praise Him with Vedic Mantras. It is unto Him that thesacrificial priests pour their libations. The deities with Indra at theirhead hymned His praise when He lifted up the Gobardhana mountains forprotecting the cow-herds of Brindavana against the incessant showers thatIndra poured in rage. He is, O Bharata, the one Blessing unto allcreatures. He, O Bharata, having entered the old Brahma cave, beheld fromthat place the original cover of the world in the beginning of Time.Agitating all the Danavas and the Asuras, this Krishna of foremost featsrescued the earth. It is unto Him that people dedicate diverse kinds offood. It is unto Him that the warriors dedicate all kinds of theirvehicles at the time of war. He is eternal, and it is under thatillustrious one that the welkin, earth, heaven, all things exist andstay. He it is who has caused the vital seed of the gods Mitra and Varunato fall within a jar, whence sprang the Rishi known by the name ofVasishtha. It is Krishna who is the god of wind; it is He who is thepuissant Aswins; it is He who is that first of gods, viz., the sunpossessed of a thousand rays. It is He by whom the Asuras have beensubjugated. It is He who covered the three worlds with three steps ofHis. He is the soul of the deities and human beings, and Pitris. It is Hewho is the Sacrifice performed by those persons that are conversant withthe rituals of sacrifices. It is He who rises every day in the firmament(in the form of the sun) and divides Time into day and night, and coursesfor half the year northwards and for half the year southwards.Innumerable rays of light emanate from Him upwards and downwards andtransversely and illumine the earth. Brahmanas conversant with the Vedasadore Him. Taking a portion of His rays the sun shines in the firmament.Month after month, the sacrificer ordains Him as a sacrifice. Regeneratepersons conversant with the Vedas sing His praises in sacrifices of allkinds. He it is that constitutes the wheel of the year, having threenaves and seven horses to drag it. It is in this way that He supports thetriple mansion (of the seasons), Endued with great energy, pervading allthings, the foremost of all creatures, it is Krishna who alone upholdsall the worlds. He is the sun, the dispeller of all darkness. He is theCreator of all. Do thou, O hero, approach that Krishna! Once on a time,the high-souled and puissant Krishna dwelt, for a while, in the form ofAgni in the forest of Khandava among some straw or dry grass. Soon was Hegratified (for he consumed all the medicinal herbs in that forest).Capable of going everywhere at will, it was Krishna who, havingsubjugated the Rakshasas and Uragas, poured them as libations upon theblazing fire. It is Krishna who gave unto Arjuna a number of whitesteeds. It is He who is the creator of all steeds. This world (or, humanlife) represents his car. He it is that yokes that car for setting it inmotion. That car has three wheels (viz., the three attributes of Sattwa,Rajas, and Tamas). It has three kinds of motion (for it goes upwards ordownwards or transversely, implying superior, inferior, and intermediatebirth as brought about by acts). It has four horses yoked to it (viz.,Time, Predestiny, the will of the deities, and one’s own will). It hasthree naves (white, black, and mixed, implying good acts, evil acts andacts that are of a mixed character). It is this Krishna who is the refugeof the five original elements with the sky among them. It is He whocreated the earth and heaven and the space between. Indeed, it is thisKrishna of immeasurable and blazing energy who has created the forestsand the mountains. It is this Krishna who, desirous of chastising Sakrawho was about to hurl his thunder at him, crossed the rivers and onceparalysed him. He is the one great Indra that is adored by the Brahmanasin great sacrifices with the aid of a thousand old Riks. It was thisKrishna, O king, who alone was able to keep the Rishi Durvasa of greatenergy as a guest for some time in his house. He is said to be the oneancient Rishi. He is the Creator of the universe. Indeed, He createseverything from His own nature. Superior to all two deities it is He whoteaches all the deities. He scrupulously observes all ancient ordinances.Know, O king, that this Krishna, who is called Vishwaksena, is the fruitof all acts that relate to pleasure, of all acts that are founded on theVedas, and of all acts that appertain to the world. He is the white raysof light that are seen in all the worlds. He is the three worlds. He isthe three Regents of all the worlds. He is the three sacrificial fires.He is the three Vyahritis; indeed, this son of Devaki is all the godstogether. He is the year; He is the Seasons; He is the Fortnights; He isthe Day and the Night; He is those divisions of time which are calledKalas, and Kashthas, and Matras, and Muhurtas, and Lavas, and Kshanas.Know that this Vishwaksena is all these. The Moon and the Sun, thePlanets, the Constellations, and the Stars, all the Parva days, includingthe day of the full moon, the conjunctions of the constellations and theseasons, have, O son of Pritha, flowed from this Krishna who isVishwaksena. The Rudras, the Adityas, the Vasus, the Aswins, the Sadhyas,the Viswedevas, the diverse Maruts, Prajapati himself, the mother of thedeities, viz., Aditi, and the seven Rishis, have all sprung from Krishna.Transforming Himself into the Wind, He scatters the universe. OfUniversal form, He becomes Fire that burns all things. Changing Himselfinto Water, He drenches and submerges all, and assuming the form ofBrahman, He creates all the diverse tribes of animate and inanimatecreatures. He is Himself the Veda, yet he learns all the Vedas. He isHimself all the ordinances, yet He observes all the ordinances that havebeen laid down in matters connected with Righteousness and the Vedas andthat force or might which rules the world. Indeed, know, O Yudhishthira,that this Kesava is all the mobile and immobile universe. He is of theform of the most resplendent light. Of universal form, this Krishna isdisplayed in that blazing effulgence. The original cause of the soul ofall existent creatures, He at first created the waters. Afterwards Hecreated this universe. Know that this Krishna is Vishnu. Know that He isthe soul of the universe. Know that He is all the seasons; He is thesediverse wonderful vegetations of Nature which we see; He is the cloudsthat pour rain and the lightening that flashes in the sky. He is theelephant Airavata. In fact, He is all the immobile and mobile universe.The abode of the universe and transcending all attributes, this Krishnais Vasudeva. When He becomes Jiva He comes to be called Sankarshana.Next, He transforms Himself into Pradyumna and then into Aniruddha. Inthis way, the high-souled Krishna, who has Himself for His origin divides(or displays) Himself in fourfold form. Desirous of creating thisuniverse which consists of the fivefold primal elements. He sets himselfto his task, and causes it to go on in the fivefold form of animateexistence consisting of deities and Asuras and human beings and beastsand birds. He it is that then creates the Earth and the Wind, the Sky,Light, and also Water, O son of Pritha! Having created this universe ofimmobile and mobile objects distributed into four orders of being (viz.,viviparous, oviparous, vegetable and filth-born), he then created theearth with her fivefold seed. He then created the firmament for pouringcopious showers of water on the earth. Without doubt, O king, it isthis Krishna who has created this universe. His origin is in his ownself; it is He who causes all things to exist through his own puissance.He it is that has created the deities, the Asuras, the human beings, theworld, the Rishis, the Pitris, and all creatures. Desirous of creating,that Lord of all creatures duly created the whole universe of life. Knowthat good and evil, mobile and immobile, have all flowed from this Onewho is Vishwaksena. Whatever exists, and whatever will spring intoexistence, all is Kesava. This Krishna is also the death that overtakesall creatures when their end comes. He is eternal and it is He whoupholds the cause of Righteousness. Whatever existed in the past, andwhatever we do not know, verily, all that also is this Vishwaksena.Whatever is noble and meritorious in the universe, indeed, whatever ofgood and of evil exists, all that is Kesava who is inconceivable. Hence,it is absurd to think of anything that is superior to Kesava. Kesava iseven such. More than this, He is Narayana, the highest of the high,immutable and unfading. He is the eternal and immutable cause of theentire mobile and immobile universe with its beginning, middle, and end,as also of all creatures whose birth follows their wish.'”