After his birth upon the lotus flower that had grown from Lord Vishnu's navel, Brahma could not ascertain his origin. He could understand the necessity for creating the cosmic manifestation, but he could not conceive of the proper directions for executing the task. Being thus perplexed, Lord Brahma got down from his lotus seat and began to search within the water below, and while doing so, he thought over the matter of creation very deeply.
Lord Brahma then heard the two syllables, "ta" and "pa", joined together, as if vibrated from the sky nearby. He returned to his lotus seat and executed austerities as instructed. After one thousand celestial years the supreme Lord became very pleased with Brahma and so He revealed to him His personal abode, Vaikuntha, which is adored by all self-realized souls, and is free from all kinds of miseries and illusion.
Lord Brahma could see the Supreme Lord Narayana, seated upon His throne and surrounded by His foremost associates like Nanda, Sunanda, Prabala and Arhana, as well as His innumerable energies and opulences. Due to full transcendental ecstasy, his eyes filled with tears of love. Brahma bowed down before the Lord with great reverence, and in turn, the Lord considering him worthy of acting as his unalloyed servant, shook hands with him.
Then, while slightly smiling, the Lord said, "You have been able to see Me in My transcendental abode as a result of your having sincerely performed penance. It was I who had instructed you to undergo austerities at the time when you were perplexed, for such penance is itself the creative potency.
Lord Brahma replied,"O Lord, you are situated in every one's heart and thus you are fully aware of a living entities desires and how to fulfill them. I wish that you will explain to me how You create this mundane manifestation, although Your form is completely spiritual. I want to learn about this because I will act instrumentally in devotional service by recreating the universe and generating the living entities. I know that I will have to create many varieties of living beings, so I prey that , by Your mercy, I shall not become proud, thinking myself to be supreme, and thus fall into delusion."
The Supreme Lord gave him the knowledge in the form of shlokas, which is known as "CATUH SHLOKI" Bhagavatam.
Jnanam paramaguhyam me yad vijnana samanvitam
Sarahasyam tadangam ca grhana gaditam maya
Yavanaham yathabhavo yadrupagunakarmakah
Tathaiva tattvavijnanamastu te madanugrahat
Ahamevasamevagre nanyad yatsadasatparam
Pascadaham yadetatca yoavashishyeta soasmyaham
Rteartham yatprateeyeta na prateeyeta ca atmani
Tadvidyad atmano mayam yathaabhaso yatha tamah
Yatha mahanti bhutani bhuteshuuccavaceshvanu
Pravishtanyapravishtani tatha teshu na teshvaham
Etavadeva jignyasyam00 tattva jignyasuna atmanah
Anvayavyatirekabhyam yat sat sarvatra sarvada[
Etanmatam samatishtha paramena samadhina
Bhavan kalpavikalpeshu na vimuhyati karhicit
Iti srimadbhagavate mahapurane ashtadashasahasryam samhitayam
Vaiyasikyam dvitiya skandhebhagavadbrahmasamvade catuhshloki bhagavatam
The Supreme Lord said,"knowledge of Me is very confidential and it is revealed only to one who is engaged in pure devotional service. Now, let the understanding of My transcendental form , qualities and pastimes awaken in your heart, by My mercy. It is only I who existed before the creation, all that is now manifested is also I, and after the annihilation, only I, the personality of Godhead, will remain."
"O Brahma, whatever appears to be of value, but has no connection with Me, should be understood as simply a manifestation of the illusory energy, like a reflection that appears in darkness. Just as the material elements enter into every created entity, and yet exist beyond the cosmic manifestation. So I exist within everything, and yet, at the same time, I am outside of everything. A person who is searching for the truth must certainly go on inquiring unceasingly until he reaches this point of knowledge. Just follow this conclusion with fixed concentration, and then pride will never be able to disturb you."
After saying this the Supreme Lord suddenly disappeared, and thereafter,Brahma began to re-create the universe, full of living entities, as it had been before. Later on, Lord Brahma explained the ten characteristics of the catuh-shloki Bhagavatam to his dearest son, Narada. Then, in disciplic succession, Narada taught the srimad Bhagavatam to Shrila vyasadeva. Vyasa maharshi taught it to Shuka maharshi.