On Nârada’s getting the feminine form
1-11. Nârada said :– O Thou whose only wealth consists in asceticism! I am now describing to you all those good stories; hear attentively. O Muni! This Mâyâ and Her Power are incomprehensible even by those who are the foremost amongst the Yogins. This whole Universe, moving and non-moving, from Brahmâ to the blade of grass, is enchanted by that Unborn and Incomprehensible Mâyâ; therefore no one can escape from the hands of that Mâyâ. One day I wanted to see Hari, of wonderful deeds, and went out with lute in my hand from Satyaloka, to the lovely S’veta Dvîpa (the residence of Visnu) singing the beautiful Sâma hymns in tune with the seven Svaras. I saw there Gadâdhara, the Deva of the Devas, with four arms holding disc in one of his hands. He resembled a newly-formed rain-cloud of S’yâma colour. He was illumined with the lustre of the Kaustubha jewel in his breast. He was wearing an yellow apparel. His head was beautified with a lustrous crown.
Thus the Bhagavân Nârâyana was playing in amorous movements with the daughter of the ocean, fully capable to give one delight and enjoyment. Seeing me, the lovely Devî Kamalâ, dear to Vâsudeva, full of youth and beauty, decorated with ornaments, endowed with all auspicious signs, superior to all the women, went away at once (to another room) from the presence of Janârdana. The breast of Laksmî Devî was becoming visible even through the cloth thrown over it; therefore she went hurriedly to the inner compartment. Seeing this I asked Janârdana, the Deva of the Devas, the Lord of the worlds, and holding a garland of forest grown flowers thus :– “O Bhagavân! O Slayer of Mura! O Padmanâbha! Why has Kamalâ Devî, the Mother of all the Lokas, on seeing me coming here, gone out of Your presence. O Lord of the worlds! I am not a rogue nor a cheat; I have conquered my passions and am become an ascetic; I have conquered even Mâyâ. Therefore O Deva! What is the cause of the departure of the Kamalâ Devî from here? Kindly explain this to me.”
12-20. Nârada said :– O Dvaipâyana! Hearing my words, expressive of my pride, Janârdana smiled and spoke to me in words sweet like the sound of a lute :– “O Nârada! The rule in such cases is this :– The wife of any man whatsoever ought not to stay before any other male outsider than her husband. O Nârada! It is very hard to conquer Mâyâ; even those, who by Prânâyâma have conquered their Prâna Vâyu, their organs of senses and their food, even those Sâmkhya Yogins and the Devas are not able to conquer Mâyâ. The words that you have just now uttered that you have conquered Mâyâ are not fit to come out of your mouth; for by your knowledge of music, it seems that you are enchanted with the sounds of the music. Brahmâ, I, S’iva, and the other Munis, none of us has been able as yet to conquer that Unborn Mâyâ; how, then, can it be possible that you or any other man can conquer that Mâyâ! Any embodied being, be he a Deva, a human being, or a bird, no one is able to conquer that Mâyâ Unborn. Whoever is endowed with the three Gunas, be he a knower of the Vedas, or a Yogin, or conqueror of his passions, or all knowing, is not able to conquer Mâyâ. The Great Time (Kâla) though formless, is one form of Mâyâ and fashions this universe. All the Jîvas are subservient to this Kâla, be he a good literary person, or of a mediocre nature, or an illiterate brute. This Kâla sometimes makes even a religious man that knows Dharma confounded and deluded; so you know the nature of Mâyâ is very incomprehensible and Her ways mysterious.” (Note: This Kâla is of the fourth dimension, time and space.)
21-23. O Dvaipâyana! Thus saying, Visnu stopped. I was greatly astonished and asked that Eternal Vâsudeva, the Deva of the Devas, the Lord of the World, “O Lord of Ramâ! What is the form of Mâyâ? How is She? What is the measure of Her strength? Where She resides? Whose substratum is She? Kindly tell these to me. O Preserver of the Universe! I am greatly desirous to see Mâyâ; Shew Her to me quickly. O Lord of Ramâ! I am very eager to know Mâyâ. Be graciously pleased to describe tome the glory of Mâyâ.”
24-36. Visnu said :– Mâyâ resides everywhere throughout this whole Universe; Her nature consists of the three Gunas; She is the substratum of all; She is omniscient, and acknowledged by all; invisible, and of diverse forms. O Nârada! If you want to see Mâyâ, then come quickly and mount with me on Garuda; we both will go elsewhere and I will shew you that Mâyâ, invincible by those who have not conquered themselves. O Son of Brahmâ! Don’t be depressed when you see Mâyâ. Thus saying, Janârdana Hari remembered Garuda and instantly he came to Hari. Janârdana mounted on him and gladly made me also get up on his back and took me with Him. In a moment Garuda, went, at his command, with the speed of wind to the forest where the Bhagavân desired to go. Mounting on Garuda we passed and saw on our way beautiful forests, nice lakes, rivers, towns, villages, huts of cultivators, towns close to the mountains, huts for cow-keepers in cowsheds, the beautiful hermitages of the Munis, lovely Jhils, tanks and lakes beautified with big lotuses, flocks of ewes, packs of wild boars, etc., till, at last, we came to a place close to Kanauj. I saw there a beautiful divine tank; nice lotuses blossomed there, spreading their sweet fragrance all around; the bees were making lovely humming noise and ravishing away the minds of men; various flowers, lilies, etc., were beautifying the place; Geese, Kârandavas, and Chakravâkas and other acquatic fowls were playing with their cackling noise, the water was very sweet like milk; the tank was defying, as it were the ocean. Seeing such a wonderful tank, the Bhagavân told me :– “O Nârada! See, how beautiful is this deep tank with its clear waters, and adorned all over with lotuses! The sweet voiced flamingoes are roaming on the lake making lovely sounds!
37-54. We will bathe in this tank and then go to the city Kanauj. Thus saying, He made me descend quickly from Garuda and He himself also got down. Then the Bhagavân smilingly caught hold of my fore-finger and repeatedly praising the glory of the tank took me to its bank. We rested a while on the cool umbrageous beautiful bank when S’rî Bhagavân said :– “O Muni! Better bathe you first in this tank; next I will bathe in this very holy pool of water. O Nârada! Look! Look! How clear crystal-like is the water of this pool like the heart of a saint; see how it smells also fragrantly in contact with the lotuses on it.” When the Bhagavân spoke thus to me; I kept my lute and deer skin aside and gladly went to the edge of the tank. Washing then my hands and feet I tied my hair lock and, taking Kus’a grass, I performed my Âchaman and, purifying myself, began to bathe myself in that tank. While I was bathing, Hari was looking at me; by the time I took a dip, I saw that I quitted my male form and got a beautiful female form. Hari took away, then, my deer skin and lute and mounting on Garuda went away in a moment to His own residence. Getting the female form and decorated with excellent ornaments, my memory of my previous male form vanished at once; I forgot all about my famous lute and forgot also Jagannâtha, the Deva of the Devas. I then came out of the tank in that enchanting woman form, saw the pool of water filled with clear limpid water and adorned with lotuses. Seeing that, I began to think :– “What is this?” and I became very much astonished. While I was thus meditating in my woman form, a king, named Tâladhvaja, came there, all on a sudden, on a chariot, accompanied by numerous elephants and horses. The King looked like a second Cupid; he was decorated with various ornaments on his various limbs; he was just entering into his youth and he looked very enchanting. The King saw me at once and looking at me decked with divine ornaments and my moon-like face, was greatly astonished and asked me :– “O Kalyâni! Who are you? Are you the daughter of a man or of a Nâga (serpent) or of a Gandharva or of a Deva? I see you are now in your youth; why are you alone here? O Lovely-eyed! Has any fortunate person married you? Or are you still unmarried? Speak all these truly to me. O Fair-haired One! What are you looking at in this tank? O One enchanting, as it were, like the Cupid! What is your desire? Say, O Slanting-eyed! My mind is ravished to hear your cuckoo-like voice. O One of thin waist! Choose me as your husband and enjoy various excellent things as you like.”
Here ends the Twenty-eighth Chapter of the Sixth Book on Nârada’s getting the feminine form in the Mahâpurânam S’rî Mad Devî Bhâgavatam of 18,000 verses by Maharsi Veda Vyâsa.