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The six question of the sages which lay the foundation for the entire Bhagavatam.
Namas-kriyatmaka : paying obeisances to one’s teacher(s) or worshipable deity or both
Asir-Vadatmaka : praying to Lord for his blessings upon the readers
Vastu-nirdesatmaka : summarizing the subject matter of the book
Anubandha-catustaya : the four essential elements of a book; connection between book and subject (sambandha), the subject itself (visaya), what the reader will gain by reading this (prayojana) and the qualification (adhikara) for understanding the book.
One should hear the pastimes, names, and glories of the Lord from the Srimad Bhagavatam, in which all material forms of religion are rejected, from a bona fide spiritual master. One should become fixed in devotional service, and not allow his mind to be deflected to anything else. Patiently and submissively hearing the Srimad Bhagavatam immediately re-establishes a soul in his eternal relationship with Krsna. All other goals are rejected in the Bhagavatam. (1-3)
One must hear the Bhagavatam from a bona fide representative of Vyasadeva. (4-8)
If both the speaker and the hearer are qualified, the hearer will easily understand the Absolute Truth, Sri Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. (9-13)
Hearing of the ever-fresh pastimes, names, and glories of Krsna will attract one away from the horrible Kali yuga trap of the material world to the eternal blissful spiritual realm. (14-20)
Because of the shortness of life that Kali Yuga brings, one should fear the dangers of Kali, accept the shelter of a bona fide spiritual master, and adopt the process recommended by Lord Caitanya for self realization in Kali Yuga: hearing and chanting Krsna's glories as told in the Bhagavad-gita and the Srimad-Bhagavatam. (21-23)
1 . “Please…explain to us, in an easily understandable way, what
you have ascertained to be the absolute and ultimate good for the people in general.” (Text 1.1.9) Answer: (Text 1.2.6)
2 . “There are many variety of scriptures…Therefore, O Sage, please select the essence of all these scriptures and explain it for the good of all living beings, by such instructions their hearts may be fully satisfied.” (Text 1.1.11) Answer: (1.2.7)
3 . “You know for what purpose the Personality of Godhead appeared in the womb of Devaki as the son of Vasudeva.” (Text 1.1.12) Answer: (1.2.34 and Tenth Canto)
4 . “[The Lords] transcendental acts are magnificent and gracious, and great learned sages like Narada sing of them. Please, therefore, speak to us, who are eager to hear about the adventures He performs in his various incarnations.” (Text 1.1.17) Answer: (1.2.30)
5 . “O wise Suta, please narrate to us the transcendental pastimes of the Supreme Godhead’s multi-incarnations. Such auspicious adventures and pastimes of the Lord, the Supreme Controller, are performed by His internal powers.” (Text 1.1.18) Answer: First Canto, Third Chapter.
6 . “Since, Sri Krishna, the Absolute Truth, the master of all mystic powers, has departed for His own abode, please tell us to whom the religious principles have now gone for shelter.” (Text 1.1.23) Answer: (1.3.43)
Bhagavatam’s first three text form a prelude to the book.
The first text defines the Absolute Truth.
The second describes the Bhagavatam and defines actual religion.
The third invites humanity to taste the Bhagavatam’s sweetness.
oḿ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya janmādy asya yato 'nvayād itarataś cārtheṣv abhijñạh svarāṭ tene brahma hṛdā ya ādi-kavaye muhyanti yat sūrayaḥ tejo-vāri-mṛdāḿ yathā vinimayo yatra tri-sargo 'mṛṣā dhāmnā svena sadā nirasta-kuhakaḿ satyaḿ parám dhīmahi Defining the Absolute Truth
“ O my Lord, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, son of Vasudeva, O all-pervading Personality of Godhead, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. I meditate upon Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa because He is the Absolute Truth and the primeval cause of all causes of the creation, sustenance and destruction of the manifested universes. He is directly and indirectly conscious of all manifestations, and He is independent because there is no other cause beyond Him. It is He only who first imparted the Vedic knowledge unto the heart of Brahmājī, the original living being. By Him even the great sages and demigods are placed into illusion, as one is bewildered by the illusory representations of water seen in fire, or land seen on water. Only because of Him do the material universes, temporarily manifested by the reactions of the three modes of nature, appear factual, although they are unreal. I therefore meditate upon Him, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is eternally existent in the transcendental abode, which is forever free from the illusory representations of the material world. I meditate upon Him, for He is the Absolute Truth.” (SB 1.1.1)
In introduction to the SB, Prabhupad immediately differentiates the Absolute Truth, which is the goal of Bhagavatam to describe, from the common understanding of God.
“ The conception of God and the conception of Absolute Truth are not on the same level. The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam hits on the target of the Absolute Truth. The conception of God indicates the controller, whereas the conception of the Absolute Truth indicates the summum bonum or the ultimate source of all energies.” Purport from Intro.
“ He is directly and indirectly conscious of all manifestations.”
Just as one knows directly and indirectly the sensations of one’s body.
Krishna is simultaneously the substance, the subjective experiencer, and the objective observer.
“ Whatever happens to the body quickly becomes known to the embodied. Similarly the creation is the body of the Absolute Whole. Therefore, the Absolute knowns everything directly and indirectly that happens in creation.” purport
“ It is he only who first imparted the Vedic knowledge unto the heart of Brahmaji, the original living being.”
Transference of knowledge through the heart.
“ To those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.” (10.10)
“ Out of compassion for them, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance.” (BG 10.11)
“ I am seated in everyone's heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness.” (BG 15.15)
6. muhyanti yat surayah- “[By Him] even the great sages and demigods are placed into illusion…” 7. tejo-vari-mrdam yatha “[as one is bewildered by] the illusory representation of water seen in fire or land seen on water.” 8. vinimayo yatra tri-sargo “Only because of Him do the material universes, temporarily manifested by the reactions of the three modes of material nature,…” 9. ‘mrsa “appear factual [although they are unreal]
“ This cosmic creation results from interaction of three modes of nature, and the temporary manifestations are so created as to present an illusion of reality to the bewildered mind of the conditioned soul, who appears in so many species of life, including the higher demigods…In actuality, this is no reality in the manifested world. There appears to be reality, however, because of the true reality which exist in the spiritual world, where the Personality of Godhead eternally exist which His transcendental paraphernalia.” purport
“ Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura specifically deals with the original and pure sex pyschology (adi-rasa), devoid of all mundane inebriety…The material sex life is but a perverted reflection of the original fact. The original fact is in the Absolute Truth, and thus the Absolute Truth cannot be impersonal. It is not possible to be impersonal and contain pure sex life. Consequently, the impersonalist philosophers have given indirect impetus to the abominable mundane sex life because they have overstressed the impersonality of the ultimate truth. Consequently, man without information of the actual spiritual form of sex has accepted the perverted material sex life as the all in all.” purport SB 1.1.1
“ The demigods prayed: O Lord, You never deviate from Your vow, which is always perfect because whatever You decide is perfectly correct and cannot be stopped by anyone. Being present in the three phases of cosmic manifestation — creation, maintenance and annihilation — You are the Supreme Truth. Indeed, unless one is completely truthful, one cannot achieve Your favor, which therefore cannot be achieved by hypocrites. You are the active principle, the real truth, in all the ingredients of creation, and therefore you are known as antaryāmī, the inner force. You are equal to everyone, and Your instructions apply for everyone, for all time. You are the beginning of all truth. Therefore, offering our obeisances, we surrender unto You. Kindly give us protection.” (SB 10.2.26)
“ Completely rejecting all religious activities which are materially motivated, this Bhāgavata Purāṇa propounds the highest truth, which is understandable by those devotees who are fully pure in heart. The highest truth is reality distinguished from illusion for the welfare of all. Such truth uproots the threefold miseries. This beautiful Bhāgavatam, compiled by the great sage Vyāsadeva [in his maturity], is sufficient in itself for God realization. What is the need of any other scripture? As soon as one attentively and submissively hears the message of Bhāgavatam, by this culture of knowledge the Supreme Lord is established within his heart.” SB 1.1.2
“ The proper method for receiving this transcendental message is to hear it submissively. A challenging attitude cannot help one realize this transcendental message. One particular word is used herein for proper guidance. This word is susrusu. One must be anxious to hear this transcendental message. The desire to sincerely hear is the first qualification.” purport 1.1.2
“ Completely rejecting all religious activities which are materially motivated, this Bhagavata Purana propounds the highest truth, which is understandable by those devotees who are fully pure at heart.”
The Bhagavatam’s method is described dharma-projjhita kaitava tra: rejets dhama (“religion”) artha (economic, social success) kama (sense gratification) moska (liberation)
Understanding the A.T. and one’s relationship with him causes sivadam, auspiciousness and tapa-trayonmulanam, freedom from the threefold miseries.
How simply by understanding A.T. and one’s relationship to the A.T. can one be freed from threefold miseries.
Perspective of everything as Krishna’s mercy.
3. Srimad-bhagavate maha-muni-krte kim va parair
“ This Beautiful Bhagavatam, complied by the great sage Vyasadeva [in his maturity], is sufficient in itself for God realization. What is the need of any other scripture.
4. Isvarah sadyo hrdy avarudhyate tra krtibhih susrusubhis tat-ksanat
“ As soon as one attentively and submissively hears the message of Bhagavatam, by this culture of knowledge, the Supreme Lord is established within his heart.”
Harnessing the power of hearing
The power of seeing through the ears
Enlightenment attained by hearing
Special Invite: Taste test of Bhagavatam’s Sweetness! nigama-kalpa-taror galitaḿ phalaḿ śuka-mukhād amṛta-drava-saḿyutam Pibata bhāgavataḿ rasam ālayaḿ muhur aho rasikā bhuvi bhāvukāḥ
“ O expert and thoughtful men, relish Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the mature fruit of the desire tree of Vedic literatures. It emanated from the lips of Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī. Therefore this fruit has become even more tasteful, although its nectarean juice was already relishable for all, including liberated souls.” SB 1.1.3
“… Every living entity, beginning from Brahma, the first-born living being within the material world, down to the insignificant ant, desires to relish some sort of taste derived from sense perceptions. These sensual pleasures are technically called rasas…The sum total of all these rasas is called affection or love”
“… In this sloka, it is definitely stated that spiritual rasa, which is relished even in the liberated stage, can be experienced in the literature of the Srimad-Bhagavatam due to its being the ripened fruit of all Vedic knowledge. By submissively hearing this transcendental literature, one can attain the full pleasure of his heart’s desire.”
“ The subject matter is so presented through the lips of Srila Sukadeva Gosvami that nay sincere listener that hears submissively can at once relish transcendental tastes which are distinct from the perverted taste of the material world…Srimad Bhagavatam is so carefully presented that a sincere and serious person can at once enjoy the ripened fruit of Vedic Knowledge simply by drinking the nectarean juice through the mouth of Sukadeva Gosvami or his bona-fide representative.”
“ The Bhagavatam’s necterean juice is relishable by liberated souls and soul still to achieve liberation.”
Rasa “is originally exchanged between the spiritual living being and the spiritual whole, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The spiritual exchange or rasa is fully exhibited in spiritual existence between living beings and the Supreme Lord.”
“ When one associates with the Supreme Lord and exchanges one’s constitutional rasa with the Lord, then the living being is actually happy.
Spiritual rasa is present in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, and one who hears the Bhagavatam submissively from Sukadeva Gosvami or his bonfide-representative “can attain the full pleasure of his hearts desire.”
(SB 1.1.1) Absolute Truth is an Individual Person and also very substance of everything; illusory potency is real and bewilder even devas; the spiritual is the reality which give credence to the illusion (sambandha)
(SB 1.1.2) Hearing is the process; quality of hearing must be submissive and attentive; practice must throw of the cheating processes of religion (abhidheya)
(SB 1.1.3) Tasting the satisfaction of transcendental relationship with the supreme (prayojana)
“ O learned one, in this iron age of Kali men have but short lives. They are quarrelsome, lazy, misguided, unlucky and, above all, always disturbed.” (SB 1.1.10) (connecter)
“ There are many varieties of scriptures, and in all of them there are many prescribed duties, which can be learned only after many years of study in their various divisions. Therefore, O sage, please select the essence of all these scriptures and explain it for the good of all living beings, that by such instruction their hearts may be fully satisfied.” (SB 1.1.11) (Question 2)
“ In Kali-yuga, the duration of life is shortened not so much because of insufficient food but because of irregular habits…Overeating, over-sense gratification, overdependence on another's mercy, and artificial standards of living sap the very vitality of human energy. Therefore the duration of life is shortened.”
“ The people of this age are also very lazy…in the matter of self-realization…due to a bad system of education[.]”
“ Even if they come to know about it, they unfortunately become victims of misguided teachers.”
“ In this age, men are victims…of many different types of sense-gratificatory diversions, such as cinemas, sports, gambling, clubs, mundane libraries, bad association, smoking, drinking, cheating, pilfering, bickerings, and so on. Their minds are always disturbed and full of anxieties due to so many different engagements.”
“ Material sense gratification is now the standard of civilization. For the maintenance of such material civilizations, man has formed complex nations and communities, and there is a constant strain of hot and cold wars between these different groups.”
All scriptures and spiritual instructions are meant for the satisfaction of…ātmā. There are many varieties of approaches which are recommended for different types of living beings in different times and at different places. Consequently, the numbers of revealed scriptures are innumerable.”
“ O Sūta Gosvāmī, we are eager to learn about the Personality of Godhead and His incarnations.” (SB 1.1.13) (Connector)
Why are they eager to hear this subject?
“ Please explain to us those teachings imparted by previous masters [ācāryas], for one is uplifted both by speaking them and by hearing them.” (SB 1.1.13) (Connector)
“ Living beings who are entangled in the complicated meshes of birth and death can be freed immediately by even unconsciously chanting the holy name of Kṛṣṇa, which is feared by fear personified.” (SB 1.1.14) (Connector)
“ O Sūta, those great sages who have completely taken shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord can at once sanctify those who come in touch with them, whereas the waters of the Ganges can sanctify only after prolonged use.” (SB 1.1.15) (Connector)
Glorification of the devotees who speaks that which they are eagered to hear. Being infused by Krishna-sakti they are more powerful then holy places.
“ His transcendental acts are magnificent and gracious, and great learned sages like Nārada sing of them. Please, therefore, speak to us, who are eager to hear about the adventures He performs in His various incarnations.” (SB 1.1.17) (Question 4)
“ The conditions for hearing…are set forth herein. The first condition is that the audience must be very sincere and eager to hear. And the speaker must be in the line of disciplic succession from the recognized ācārya.”
“ The leaders of the people are very much anxious to live in peace and friendship, but they have no information of the simple method of hearing the glories of the Lord.”
How does this bring peace?
“ Kali-yuga is so saturated with vicious habits that there is a great fight at the slightest misunderstanding”
“ O wise Sūta, please narrate to us the transcendental pastimes of the Supreme Godhead's multi-incarnations. Such auspicious adventures and pastimes of the Lord, the supreme controller, are performed by His internal powers.” (SB 1.1.18) (Question 5)
“ We never tire of hearing the transcendental pastimes of the Personality of Godhead, who is glorified by hymns and prayers. Those who have developed a taste for transcendental relationships with Him relish hearing of His pastimes at every moment.” (1.1.19)
“ Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Personality of Godhead, along with Balarāma, played like a human being, and so masked He performed many superhuman acts.” (1.1.20)
“ Knowing well that the age of Kali has already begun, we are assembled here in this holy place to hear at great length the transcendental message of Godhead and in this way perform sacrifice.” (1.1.21)
“ We think that we have met Your Goodness by the will of providence, just so that we may accept you as captain of the ship for those who desire to cross the difficult ocean of Kali, which deteriorates all the good qualities of a human being.” (1.1.22)
Hear from right person is like taking shelter of a captain to get you across a tumultuous sea.
One is fortunate in Kali to meet such person, for they are rare, and there are many cheaters.
“ Since Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Absolute Truth, the master of all mystic powers, has departed for His own abode, please tell us to whom the religious principles have now gone for shelter.” (1.1.23) (Question 6)