Śrīmad Devi Bhāgavatam | Book 6 Chapter 28
THE SIXTH BOOK
On Nārada’s getting the feminine form
1-11. Nārada said:
O Thou whose only wealth consists in asceticism! I am now describing to you all those good stories; hear attentively.
O Muni! This Māyā and Her Power are incomprehensible even by those who are the foremost amongst the Yogins.
This whole Universe, moving and non-moving, from Brahmā to the blade of grass, is enchanted by that Unborn and Incomprehensible Māyā; therefore no one can escape from the hands of that Māyā.
One day I wanted to see Hari, of wonderful deeds, and went out with lute in my hand from Satyaloka, to the lovely Śveta Dvīpa (the residence of Viṣṇu) singing the beautiful Sāma hymns in tune with the seven Svaras.
I saw there Gadādhara, the Deva of the Devas, with four arms holding disc in one of his hands.
He resembled a newly-formed rain-cloud of Śyāma 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 Bhagavān Nārāyaṇa was playing in amorous movements with the daughter of the ocean, fully capable to give one delight and enjoyment.
Seeing me, the lovely Devī Kamalā, dear to Vāsudeva, 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 Janārdana.
The breast of Lakṣmī Devī was becoming visible even through the cloth thrown over it; therefore she went hurriedly to the inner compartment.
Seeing this I asked Janārdana, the Deva of the Devas, the Lord of the worlds, and holding a garland of forest grown flowers thus:
“O Bhagavān! O Slayer of Mura! O Padmanābha! Why has Kamalā Devī, 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 Māyā.
Therefore O Deva! What is the cause of the departure of the Kamalā Devī from here? Kindly explain this to me.”
12-20. Nārada said:
O Dvaipāyana! Hearing my words, expressive of my pride, Janārdana smiled and spoke to me in words sweet like the sound of a lute:
“O Nārada! 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 Nārada! It is very hard to conquer Māyā; even those, who by Prāṇāyāma have conquered their Prāṇa Vāyu, their organs of senses and their food, even those Sāṁkhya Yogins and the Devas are not able to conquer Māyā.
The words that you have just now uttered that you have conquered Māyā 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.
Brahmā, I, Śiva, and the other Munis, none of us has been able as yet to conquer that Unborn Māyā; how, then, can it be possible that you or any other man can conquer that Māyā!
Any embodied being, be he a Deva, a human being, or a bird, no one is able to conquer that Māyā Unborn.
Whoever is endowed with the three Guṇas, be he a knower of the Vedas, or a Yogin, or conqueror of his passions, or all knowing, is not able to conquer Māyā.
The Great Time (Kāla) though formless, is one form of Māyā and fashions this universe. All the Jīvas are subservient to this Kāla, be he a good literary person, or of a mediocre nature, or an illiterate brute.
This Kāla sometimes makes even a religious man that knows Dharma confounded and deluded; so you know the nature of Māyā is very incomprehensible and Her ways mysterious.”
21-23. O Dvaipāyana! - Thus saying, Viṣṇu stopped.
I was greatly astonished and asked that Eternal Vasudeva, the Deva of the Devas, the Lord of the World:
“O Lord of Ramā! What is the form of Māyā? 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 Māyā; Show Her to me quickly. O Lord of Ramā! I am very eager to know Māyā. Be graciously pleased to describe tome the glory of Māyā.”
24-36. Viṣṇu said Māyā resides everywhere throughout this whole Universe; Her nature consists of the three Guṇas; She is the substratum of all; She is omniscient, and acknowledged by all; invisible, and of diverse forms.
O Nārada! If you want to see Māyā, then come quickly and mount with me on Garuda; we both will go elsewhere and I will show you that Māyā, invincible by those who have not conquered themselves.
O Son of Brahmā! Don’t be depressed when you see Māyā.
Thus saying, Janārdana Hari remembered Garuda and instantly he came to Hari. Janārdana 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 Bhagavān 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 hills, 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, Kāraṇḍavas, and Chakravākas and other aquatic 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 Bhagavān told me:
“O Nārada! See, how beautiful is this deep tank with its clear waters, and adorned all over with lotuses! The sweet voiced flamingos 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 Bhagavān 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 Śrī Bhagavān said:
“O Muni! Better bathe you first in this tank; next I will bathe in this very holy pool of water. O Nārada! 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 Bhagavān 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 Kuśa grass, I performed my Āchaman 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 Jagannātha, 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 Tāladhvaja, 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 Kalyāṇi! Who are you? Are you the daughter of a man or of a Naga (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 Nārada’s getting the feminine form in the Mahāpurāṇam Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam of 18,000 verses by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa.