yad-artham adadhad rupam
matsyam loka-jugupsitam
karma-grasta ivesvarah
etan no bhagavan sarvam
yathavad vaktum arhasi
yat-artham—for what purpose; adadhat—accepted; rupam—form; matsyam—of a fish; loka-jugupsitam—which is certainly not very favorable in this world; tamah—in the mode of ignorance; prakrti—such behavior; durmarsam—which is certainly very painful and condemned; karma-grastah—one who is under the laws of karma; iva—like; isvarah—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; etat—all these facts; nah—unto us; bhagavan—O most powerful sage; sarvam—everything; yathavat—properly; vaktum arhasi—kindly describe; uttamasloka-caritam—the pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; sarva-loka-sukha-avaham—by hearing of which everyone becomes happy.
What was the purpose for which the Supreme Personality of Godhead accepted the abominable form of a fish, exactly as an ordinary living being accepts different forms under the laws of karma? The form of a fish is certainly condemned and full of terrible pain. O my lord, what was the purpose of this incarnation? Kindly explain this to us, for hearing about the pastimes of the Lord is auspicious for everyone.
Pariksit Maharaja’s question to Sukadeva Gosvami was based on this principle stated by the Lord Himself in Bhagavad-gita (4.7):
“Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion—at that time I descend Myself.” The Lord appears in each incarnation to save the world from irreligious principles and especially to protect His devotees (paritranaya sadhunam). Vamanadeva, for example, appeared to save the devotee Bali Maharaja. Similarly, when the Supreme Personality of Godhead accepted the abominable form of a fish, He must have done so to favor some devotee. Pariksit Maharaja was eager to know about the devotee for whom the Supreme Lord accepted this form.

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