Janamejaya said, ’I have heard from thee the glory of the divine and Supreme Soul. I have heard also of the birth of the Supreme Deity in the house of Dharma, in the form of Nara and Narayana. I have also heard from thee the origin of the Pinda from the mighty Baraha (Boar) (which form the supreme Deity had assumed for raising by the submerged Earth). I have heard from thee about those deities and Rishis that were ordained for the religion of Pravritti and of those that were ordained for the religion of Nivritti. Thou hast also, O regenerate one, discoursed to us on other topics. Thou hast said also unto us of that vast form, with the Equine head, of Vishnu, that partaker of the libations and other offerings made in sacrifices,—.the form, viz., that appeared in the great ocean on the North-East. That form was beheld by the illustrious Brahman, otherwise known by the name of Parameshthi. What, however, were the exact features, and what the energy, the like of which among all great objects, had never appeared before, of that form which Hari, the upholder of the universe, displayed on that occasion? What did Brahman do, O ascetic, after having seen that foremost of deities, him whose likeness had never been seen before, him who was of immeasurable energy, him who had the Equine head, and him who was Sacredness itself? O regenerate one, this doubt hath arisen in our mind about this ancient subject of knowledge. O thou of foremost intelligence, for what reason did he supreme Deity assume that form and display himself in it unto Brahman? Thou hast certainly sanctified us by discoursing unto us on these diverse sacred subjects!’
Sauti said, I shall recite to thee that ancient history, which is perfectly consistent with the Vedas, and which the illustrious Vaisampayana recited unto the son of Parikshit on the occasion of the great Snake-sacrifice. Having heard the account of the mighty form of Vishnu, equipt with the horse-head, the royal son of Parikshit too had entertained the same doubt and put the same questions to Vaisampayana.
Janamejaya said, “Tell me, O best of men, for what reason did Hari appear in that mighty form equipt with a horse-head and which Brahma, the Creator, beheld on the shores of the great northern Ocean on the occasion referred to by yourself?”