Prabhupāda: Five thousand years before. It was after the Battle of Kurukṣetra. The Battle of Kurukṣetra was fought about five thousand years ago, and the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam was written after writing Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, er, Mahābhārata. When Vyāsadeva was not satisfied in his heart even by writing Mahābhārata and Vedānta-sūtra, he was sitting morose, and he was thinking that, "I have written so many nice literature. Why I am not happy?"
At that time his spiritual master, Nārada, came, and he instructed him that "You have written the history of Mahābhārata. It is very nice. But there is some idea of Kṛṣṇa, or God, but not absolute. You write some book in which simply, absolutely about Kṛṣṇa is there." So under his instruction he wrote the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
Devotee (2): Did some time lapse between the actual . . . Vyāsa's conception of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and the actual writing down of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam? Was it passed orally, or was written down by Vyāsa Kṛṣṇa himself?
Prabhupāda: That doesn't matter. If you know something, if you write after some years, what is the difference? That is not very important thing. It was written for the persons . . . formerly there was no written literatures. Simply by hearing from the spiritual master, their memory was so sharp that they would grasp. But in this age, the memory is not such sharp.
Therefore written records are . . . so these written records were made by Vyāsadeva. All Vedic literature. Formerly, before Vyāsadeva, there was no written literature. Simply . . . this is called śruti. Śruti means simply by hearing. The student should learn simply by hearing. Their memory was so sharp.
But at the present age so many things are reducing gradually. The memory is reducing, the duration of life is reducing, the strength is reducing, and the mercy is reducing. So many things are reducing. We are thinking that we are making progress, but actually we are reducing. This is called māyā. We are making progress on the wrong side.
That means reducing. Everyone, you know that people are not so much merciful at the present moment. If a man is attacked by some rogue, nobody is going to help him. If a man's apartment is . . . there is a burglar, thief, nobody is going to help him. Or if a man is very poor, nobody is going to help him. It is dwindling. It is decreasing.
Similarly, duration of life. Your grandfather, your forefathers, they were living up to hundred years or more than that. And nowadays hardly they are living sixty or seventy years. Similarly, memory. The memory is also reducing. Knowledge is also reducing. This is the symptom of this age. Things will be reduced. Therefore Lord Caitanya is the most magnanimous.
He knows that, "People will not be very much alert in accepting spiritual knowledge after undergoing so much austerities and penances. Let them chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and take immediately." That is the special gift of Lord Caitanya. And Rūpa Gosvāmī therefore prayed Him, namo mahā-vadānyāya: "You are the greatest munificent incarnation." Kṛṣṇa prema-pradāya te (CC Madhya 19.53): "You are distributing love of Kṛṣṇa." So unfortunately, we are not ready to accept His benediction.