vyasa uvaca
bhiksubhir vipravasite
vijnanadestrbhis tava
vartamano vayasy adye
tatah kim akarod bhavan
vyasah uvaca—Sri Vyasadeva said; bhiksubhih—by the great mendicants; vipravasite—having departed for other places; vijnana—scientific knowledge in transcendence; adestrbhih—those who had instructed; tava—of your; vartamanah—present; vayasi—of the duration of life; adye—before the beginning of; tatah—after that; kim—what; akarot—did; bhavan—your good self.
Sri Vyasadeva said: What did you [Narada] do after the departure of the great sages who had instructed you in scientific transcendental knowledge before the beginning of your present birth?
Vyasadeva himself was the disciple of Naradaji, and therefore it was natural to be anxious to hear what Narada did after initiation from the spiritual masters. He wanted to follow in Narada's footsteps in order to attain to the same perfect stage of life. This desire to inquire from the spiritual master is an essential factor to the progressive path. This process is technically known as sad-dharma-prccha.

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