Srimad Bhagavatam 10.87.10-13 - Death Is unavoidable (download mp3)
by Srivas Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
tvayi drastum tad-isvaram
srutayo yatra serate
tatra hayam abhut prasnas
tvam mam yam anuprcchasi
At that time you happened to be visiting the Lord on Svetadvipa — that Supreme Lord in whom the Vedas lie down to rest during the period of universal annihilation. A lively discussion arose among the sages on Janaloka as to the nature of the Supreme Absolute Truth. Indeed, the same question arose then that you are asking Me now.
api cakruh pravacanam
ekam susrusavo ’pare
Although these sages were all equally qualified in terms of Vedic study and austerity, and although they all saw friends, enemies and neutral parties equally, they chose one of their number to be the speaker, and the rest became eager listeners.
sva-srstam idam apiya
sayanam saha saktibhih
tad-ante bodhayam cakrus
tal-lingaih srutayah param
yatha sayanam samrajam
pratyuse ’bhetya su-slokair
Sri Sanandana replied: After the Supreme Lord withdrew the universe He had previously created, He lay for some time as if asleep, and all His energies rested dormant within Him. When the time came for the next creation, the personified Vedas awakened Him by chanting His glories, just as the poets serving a king approach him at dawn and awaken him by reciting his heroic deeds.
At the time of creation, the Vedas are the first emanation from the breathing of Lord Maha-Visnu, and in personified form they serve Him by waking Him from His mystic sleep. This statement made by Sanandana implies that Sanaka and the other sages had asked him the same question that Narada had asked Narayana Rsi and Maharaja Pariksit had asked Sukadeva Gosvami. Sanandana refers the question back to the example of the personified Vedas themselves in their address to Lord Maha-Visnu. Even though the Vedas knew that the Lord, being omniscient, does not need to be informed of His glories, they enthusiastically took this opportunity to praise Him.