First of all, let me offer my humble, respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of my spiritual master, His Divine Grace Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada. Sometime in the year 1935 when His Divine Grace was staying at Radha-kunda, I went to see him from Bombay. At that time, he gave me many important instructions in regard to constructing temples and publishing books. He personally told me that publishing books is more important than constructing temples. Of course, those same instructions remained within my mind for many years. In 1944 I began publishing my Back to Godhead, and when I retired from family life in 1958 I began publishing Srimad-Bhagavatam in Delhi. When three parts of Srimad-Bhagavatam had been published in India, I then started for the United States of America on the thirteenth of August, 1965.
I am continuously trying to publish books, as suggested by my spiritual master. Now, in this year, 1976, I have completed the Seventh Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, and a summary of the Tenth Canto has already been published as Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Still, the Eighth Canto, Ninth Canto, Tenth Canto, Eleventh Canto and Twelfth Canto are yet to be published. On this occasion, therefore, I am praying to my spiritual master to give me strength to finish this work. I am neither a great scholar nor a great devotee; I am simply a humble servant of my spiritual master, and to the best of my ability I am trying to please him by publishing these books, with the cooperation of my disciples in America. Fortunately, scholars all over the world are appreciating these publications. Let us cooperatively publish more and more volumes of Srimad-Bhagavatam just to please His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.
This First Chapter of the Eighth Canto may be summarized as a description of four Manus, namely Svayambhuva, Svarocisa, Uttama and Tamasa. After hearing descriptions of the dynasty of Svayambhuva Manu until the end of the Seventh Canto, Maharaja Pariksit desired to know about other Manus. He desired to understand how the Supreme Personality of Godhead descends—not only in the past but at the present and in the future—and how He acts in various pastimes as Manu. Since Pariksit Maharaja was eager to know all this, Sukadeva Gosvami gradually described all the Manus, beginning with the six Manus who had appeared in the past.
The first Manu was Svayambhuva Manu. His two daughters, namely Akuti and Devahuti, gave birth to two sons, named Yajna and Kapila respectively. Because Sukadeva Gosvami had already described the activities of Kapila in the Third Canto, he now described the activities of Yajna. The original Manu, along with his wife, Satarupa, went into the forest to practice austerities on the bank of the River Sunanda. They practiced austerities for a hundred years, and then Manu, in a trance, formed prayers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Raksasas and asuras then attempted to devour him, but Yajna, accompanied by his sons the Yamas and the demigods, killed them. Then Yajna personally took the post of Indra, the King of the heavenly planets.
The second Manu, whose name was Svarocisa, was the son of Agni, and His sons were headed by Dyumat, Susena and Rocismat. In the age of this Manu, Rocana became Indra, the ruler of the heavenly planets, and there were many demigods, headed by Tusita. There were also many saintly persons, such as Urja and Stambha. Among them was Vedasira, whose wife, Tusita, gave birth to Vibhu. Vibhu instructed eighty-eight thousand drdha-vratas, or saintly persons, on self-control and austerity.
Uttama, the son of Priyavrata, was the third Manu. Among his sons were Pavana, Srnjaya and Yajnahotra. During the reign of this Manu, the sons of Vasistha, headed by Pramada, became the seven saintly persons. The Satyas, Devasrutas and Bhadras became the demigods, and Satyajit became Indra. From the womb of Sunrta, the wife of Dharma, the Lord appeared as Satyasena, and He killed all the Yaksas and Raksasas who were fighting with Satyajit.
Tamasa, the brother of the third Manu, was the fourth Manu, and he had ten sons, including Prthu, Khyati, Nara and Ketu. During his reign, the Satyakas, Haris, Viras and others were demigods, the seven great saints were headed by Jyotirdhama, and Trisikha became Indra. Harimedha begot a son named Hari in the womb of his wife Harini. This Hari, an incarnation of God, saved the devotee Gajendra. This incident is described as gajendra-moksana. At the end of this chapter, Pariksit Maharaja particularly asks about this incident.
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