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ŚB 11.3.42


एवं प्रश्न‍मृषीन् पूर्वमपृच्छं पितुरन्तिके ।
नाब्रुवन् ब्रह्मण: पुत्रास्तत्र कारणमुच्यताम् ॥ ४२ ॥


evaṁ praśnam ṛṣīn pūrvam
apṛcchaṁ pitur antike
nābruvan brahmaṇaḥ putrās
tatra kāraṇam ucyatām


evam — similar; praśnam — a question; ṛṣīn — to the sages; pūrvam — previously; apṛccham — I asked; pituḥ — of my father (Ikṣvāku Mahārāja); antike — in front; na abruvan — they did not speak; brahmaṇaḥ — of Lord Brahmā; putrāḥ — the sons; tatra — of that; kāraṇam — the reason; ucyatām — please say.


Once in the past, in the presence of my father, Mahārāja Ikṣvāku, I placed a similar question before four great sages who were sons of Lord Brahmā. But they did not answer my question. Please explain the reason for this.


According to Śrīla Śrīdhara Svāmī the words brahmaṇaḥ putrāḥ, “the sons of Brahmā,” refer to the four Kumāras headed by Sanaka Ṛṣi. Śrīla Madhvācārya has quoted a verse from the Tantra-bhāgavata stating that the reason the four sons of Lord Brahmā, although mahājanas and experts in the science of devotional service, declined to answer King Nimi was that they wanted to demonstrate clearly that even those who are expert in the cultivation of speculative knowledge cannot understand the actual science of pure devotional service. Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī has further commented that the sages avoided answering the question from the King because at that time King Nimi was a young boy and therefore not mature enough to understand the answer fully.