brahmaṇā codito brahman
guṇākhyāne 'guṇasya ca
yasmai yasmai yathā prāha
rājā—the King; uvāca—inquired; brahmaṇā—by Lord Brahmā; coditaḥ—being instructed; brahman—O learned brāhmaṇa (Śukadeva Gosvāmī); guṇa-ākhyāne—in narrating the transcendental qualities; aguṇasya—of the Lord, who is without material qualities; ca—and; yasmai yasmai—and whom; yathā—as much as; prāha—explained; nāradaḥ—Nārada Muni; deva-darśanaḥ—one whose audience is as good as that of any demigod.
King Parīkṣit inquired from Śukadeva Gosvāmī: How did Nārada Muni, whose hearers are as fortunate as those instructed by Lord Brahmā, explain the transcendental qualities of the Lord, who is without material qualities, and before whom did he speak?
Devarṣi Nārada was directly instructed by Brahmājī, who was also directly instructed by the Supreme Lord; therefore the instructions imparted by Nārada to his various disciples are as good as those of the Supreme Lord. That is the way of understanding Vedic knowledge. It comes down from the Lord by disciplic succession, and this transcendental knowledge is distributed to the world by this descending process. There is no chance, however, to receive the Vedic knowledge from mental speculators. Therefore, wherever Nārada Muni goes, he represents himself as authorized by the Lord, and his appearance is as good as that of the Supreme Lord. Similarly, the disciplic succession which strictly follows the transcendental instruction is the bona fide chain of disciplic succession, and the test for such bona fide spiritual masters is that there should be no difference between the instruction of the Lord originally imparted to His devotee and that which is imparted by the authority in the line of disciplic succession. How Nārada Muni distributed the transcendental knowledge of the Lord will be explained in later cantos.
It will appear also that the Lord existed prior to the material creation, and therefore His transcendental name, quality, etc., do not represent any material quality. Whenever, therefore, the Lord is described as aguṇa, or without any quality, it does not mean that He has no quality, but that He has no material quality, such as the modes of goodness, passion or ignorance, as the conditioned souls have. He is transcendental to all material conceptions, and thus He is described as aguṇa.
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