The great sage Nārada was the leader of all the sages present. Therefore he began to speak. “My dear sages,” he said, “it is not very difficult to understand that because of his great goodness and simplicity, Vasudeva, who has become the father of the Personality of Godhead by accepting Kṛṣṇa as his son, is inclined to ask us about his welfare. It is said that familiarity breeds contempt. As such, Vasudeva, having Kṛṣṇa as his son, does not regard Kṛṣṇa with awe and veneration. Sometimes it is seen that persons living on the bank of the Ganges do not consider the Ganges very important, and they go far away to take their baths at a place of pilgrimage. There is no need for Vasudeva to ask us for instruction when Lord Kṛṣṇa is personally present, because His knowledge is never second in any circumstance. His knowledge is not affected by the process of creation, maintenance and annihilation, nor is it ever influenced by any agency beyond Himself, nor is it agitated by the interactions of the material qualities or changed in the course of time. His transcendental form is full of knowledge which never becomes agitated by ignorance, pride, attachment, envy or sense enjoyment. His knowledge is never subject to the laws of karma regarding pious or impious activities, nor is it influenced by the three modes of material energy. No one is greater than or equal to Him, because He is the supreme authority, the Personality of Godhead.
“The ordinary conditioned human being may think that the conditioned soul, who is covered by his materialistic senses, mind and intelligence, is equal to Kṛṣṇa, but Lord Kṛṣṇa is just like the sun, which, although it sometimes may appear to be so, is never covered by the cloud, snow or fog, or by other planets during an eclipse. When the eyes of less intelligent men are covered by such influences, they think the sun to be invisible. Similarly, persons who are influenced by senses addicted to material enjoyment cannot have a clear vision of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
The sages present then began to address Vasudeva in the presence of Lord Kṛṣṇa, Balarāma and many other kings, and, as requested by him, they gave their instructions: “To counteract the reactions of fruitive activities and the desires impelling one to fruitive activities, one must with faith and devotion execute the prescribed sacrifices meant for worshiping Lord Viṣṇu. Lord Viṣṇu is the beneficiary of the results of all sacrificial performances. Great personalities and sages who are able to see everything clearly through the eyes of the revealed scriptures and possess vision of the three phases of the time element, namely past, present and future, have unanimously recommended that to purify the dust of material contamination accumulated in the heart and to clear the path of liberation and thereby achieve transcendental bliss, one must please Lord Viṣṇu. For everyone living as a householder in one of the higher social orders (brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya and vaiśya), this worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Viṣṇu, who is known as Puruṣottama, the original person, is recommended as the only auspicious path.
“All conditioned souls within this material world have deep-rooted desires to lord it over the resources of material nature. Everyone wants to accumulate riches, everyone wants to enjoy life to the greatest extent, everyone wants a wife, home and children, and everyone wants to become happy in this world and be elevated to the heavenly planets in the next life. But these desires are the causes of one’s material bondage. Therefore, to get liberation from this bondage, one has to sacrifice his honestly earned riches for the satisfaction of Lord Viṣṇu.
“The only process to counteract all sorts of material desires is to engage oneself in the devotional service of Lord Viṣṇu. In this way a self-controlled person, even while remaining in householder life, should give up the three kinds of material desires, namely the desire for the acquisition of material opulences, for the enjoyment of wife and children, and for elevation to higher planets. Eventually he should give up householder life and accept the renounced order, engaging himself completely in the devotional service of the Lord. Everyone, even if born in a higher status as a brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya or vaiśya, is certainly indebted to the demigods, to the sages, to the forefathers and to other living entities, and in order to liquidate all these debts, one has to perform sacrifices, study the Vedic literature and generate children in religious householder life. If somehow one accepts the renounced order of life without liquidating these debts, he certainly falls down from his position. Today you have already liquidated your debts to your forefathers and the sages. Now, by performing sacrifices, you can free yourself from indebtedness to the demigods and thus take complete shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. My dear Vasudeva, certainly you have already performed many pious activities in your previous lives. Otherwise, how could you be the father of Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, the Supreme Personality of Godhead?”
Saintly Vasudeva, after hearing all the sages, offered his respectful obeisances unto their lotus feet. In this way he pleased the sages, and then he requested them to perform the yajñas. When the sages were selected as priests of the sacrifices, they in turn induced Vasudeva to collect the required paraphernalia for executing the yajñas in that place of pilgrimage. When Vasudeva was thus persuaded to start to perform the yajñas, all the members of the Yadu dynasty took their baths, dressed themselves very nicely, decorated themselves beautifully and garlanded themselves with lotus flowers. Vasudeva’s wives, dressed with nice garments and ornaments and golden necklaces, approached the arena of sacrifice carrying in their hands the required articles to offer in the sacrifice.
When everything was complete, there was heard the vibration of mṛdaṅgas, conchshells, kettledrums and other musical instruments. Professional dancers, both male and female, began to dance. The sūtas and māgadhas, who were professional singers, began to offer prayers by singing. And the Gandharvas and their wives, whose voices were very sweet, began to sing many auspicious songs. Vasudeva anointed his eyes with black cosmetic, smeared butter over his body and then, along with his eighteen wives, headed by Devakī, sat before the priests to be purified by the abhiṣeka ceremony. While the ceremony was being observed strictly according to the principles of the scriptures, Vasudeva resembled the moon encircled by stars. Because he was being initiated for the sacrifice, he was dressed in a deerskin, but all his wives were dressed with very nice saris, bangles, necklaces, ankle bells, earrings and many other ornaments. Vasudeva looked very beautiful surrounded by his wives, exactly like the King of heaven when he performs such sacrifices.