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The Supreme Incarnates to help jivatmas attain moksha. As Krishna, He gave the world the Bhagavad Gita. But He also let Bhishma tell Yudhishthira about the power of His names. Bhishma had already set an example for everyone through his virtuous behavior. Sages have established rules that we must follow to reach His feet.

If He himself has taken avataras to show us the right way, why did he send wise men to instruct us? Although he led an exemplary life as Rama, we could reject it by saying that He was able to keep dharma because He was the Supreme. But if a fellow person would advise us and show us how to live life according to dharma, then we will probably pay attention. That was why He sent rishis to this world to give us important lessons in life, Velukkudi Krishnan said in a treatise. Saunaka was such a rishi who summed up steps that he had to follow in life to reach Him and get rid of repeated births and deaths once and for all. Saunaka’s advice is compiled under the title Vishnu dharma, and it came in response to questions from King Sataneeka.

Sataneeka had an illustrious origin. He came in the line from Pariskhit. Parikshit, knowing that he only had a few days left to live, listened to Suka’s story about Srimad Bhagavatam. Parikshit’s son was Janamejaya and Janamejaya’s son was Sataneeka. Kings always pay attention to what the sages told them, for they had to rule according to dharma. They therefore pay attention to rishis.

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Sage Vaisampayana tells the story of the Mahabharata to King Janamejaya. The son of Janamejaya turns to sage Saunaka for answers to his questions. In Vishnu dharma there are stories within the main story, conversations within the main conversation.

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