Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 2


Chapter One
The First Step in God Realization

INVOCATION TEXT
om namo bhagavate vasudevaya

SYNONYMS

om–O my Lord; namah–my respectful obeisances unto You; bhagavate– unto the Personality of Godhead; vasudevaya — unto Lord Krsna, the son of Vasudeva.

TRANSLATION

O my Lord, the all-pervading Personality of Godhead, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You.

PURPORT

Vasudevaya means “to Krsna, the son of Vasudeva.” Since by chanting the name of Krsna, Vasudeva, one can achieve all the good results of charity, austerity and penances, it is to be understood that by the chanting of this mantra, om namo bhagavate vasudevaya, the author or the speaker or any one of the readers of Srimad-Bhagavatam is offering respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Lord, Krsna, the reservoir of all pleasure. In the First Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, the principles of creation are described, and thus the First Canto may be called “Creation.”
Similarly, in the Second Canto, the post-creation cosmic manifestation is described. The different planetary systems are described in the Second Canto as different parts of the universal body of the Lord. For this reason, the Second Canto may be called “The Cosmic Manifestation.” There are ten chapters in the Second Canto, and in these ten chapters the purpose of Srimad-Bhagavatam and the different symptoms of this purpose are narrated. The first chapter describes the glories of chanting, and it hints at the process by which the neophyte devotees may perform
meditation on the universal form of the Lord. In the first verse, Sukadeva Gosvami replies to the questions of Maharaja Pariksit, who asked him about one’s duties at the point of death. Maharaja Pariksit was glad to receive Sukadeva Gosvami, and he was proud of being a descendant of Arjuna, the intimate friend of Krsna. personally, he was very humble and meek, but he expressed his gladness that Lord Krsna was very kind to his grandfathers, the sons of Pandu, especially his own grandfather, Arjuna. And because Lord Krsna was always pleased with Maharaja Pariksit’s
family, at the verge of Maharaja Pariksit’s death Sukadeva Gosvami was sent to help him in the process of self-realization. Maharaja Pariksit was a devotee of Lord Krsna from his childhood, so he had natural affection for Krsna. Sukadeva Gosvami could understand his devotion. Therefore, he welcomed the questions about the King’s duty. Because the King hinted that worship of Lord Krsna is the ultimate function of every living entity, Sukadeva Gosvami welcomed the suggestion and said, “Because you have raised questions about Krsna, your question is most glorious.” The translation of the first verse is as follows.

TEXT 1

TEXT

sri-suka uvaca variyan esa te prasnah krto loka-hitam nrpa
atmavit-sammatah pumsam srotavyadisu yah parah

SYNONYMS

sri-sukah uvaca–Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said; variyan–glorious; esah– this; te–your; prasnah–question; krtah–made by you; loka-hitam– beneficial for all men; nrpa–O King; atmavit–transcendentalist; sammatah–approved; pumsam–of all men; srotavya-adisu–in all kinds of hearing; yah–what is; parah–the supreme.

TRANSLATION

Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: My dear King, your question is glorious because it is very beneficial to all kinds of people. The answer to this question is the prime subject matter for hearing, and it is approved by all transcendentalists.

PURPORT

Even the very question is so nice that it is the best subject matter for hearing. Simply by such questioning and hearing, one can achieve the highest perfectional stage of life. Because Lord Krsna is the original Supreme Person, any question about Him is original and perfect. Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said that the highest perfection of life is to achieve the transcendental loving service of Krsna. Because questions and answers about Krsna elevate one to that transcendental position, the questions of Maharaja Pariksit about Krsna philosophy are greatly glorified. Maharaja Pariksit wanted to absorb his mind completely in Krsna, and such absorption can be effected simply by hearing about the uncommon activities of Krsna. For instance, in the Bhagavad-gita it is stated that simply by understanding the transcendental nature of Lord Krsna’s appearance, disappearance, and activities, one can immediately return home, back to Godhead, and never come back to this miserable condition of material existence. It is very auspicious, therefore, to hear always about Krsna. So Maharaja Pariksit requested Sukadeva Gosvami to narrate the activities of Krsna so that he could engage his mind in Krsna. The activities of Krsna are nondifferent from Krsna Himself. As long as one is engaged in hearing such transcendental activities of Krsna, he remains aloof from the conditional life of material existence. The topics of Lord Krsna are so auspicious that they purify the speaker, the hearer and the inquirer. They are compared to the Ganges waters, which flow from the toe of Lord Krsna. Wherever the Ganges waters go, they purify the land and the person who bathes in them. Similarly, krsna- katha, or the topics of Krsna, are so pure that wherever they are spoken, the place, the hearer, the inquirer, the speaker and all concerned become purified.

TEXT 2

TEXT

srotavyadini rajendra nrnam santi sahasrasah apasyatam atma-tattvam
grhesu grha-medhinam

SYNONYMS

srotavya-adini–subject matters for hearing; rajendra–O Emperor; nrnam–of human society; santi–there are; sahasrasah–hundreds and thousands; apasyatam–of the blind; atma-tattvam–knowledge of self, the ultimate truth; grhesu–at home; grha-medhinam–of persons too materially engrossed.

TRANSLATION

Those persons who are materially engrossed, being blind to the knowledge of ultimate truth, have many subject matters for hearing in human society, O Emperor.

PURPORT

In the revealed scriptures there are two nomenclatures for the householder’s life. One is grhastha, and the other is grhamedhi. The grhasthas are those who live together with wife and children but live transcendentally for realizing the ultimate truth. The grhamedhis, however, are those who live only for the benefit of the family members, extended or centralized, and thus are envious of others. The word medhi indicates jealousy of others. The grhamedhis, being interested in family affairs only, are certainly envious of others. Therefore, one grhamedhi is not on good terms with another grhamedhi, and in the extended form, one community, society or nation is not on good terms with another
counterpart of selfish interest. In the age of Kali, all the householders are jealous of one another because they are blind to the knowledge of ultimate truth. They have many subject matters for hearing–political, scientific, social, economic and so on–but due to a poor fund of knowledge, they set aside the question of the ultimate miseries of life, namely miseries of birth, death, old age and disease. Factually, the human life is meant for making an ultimate solution to birth, death, old age and disease, but the grhamedhis, being illusioned by the material nature, forget everything about self-realization. The ultimate solution to the problems of life is to go back home, back to Godhead, and thus, as stated in the Bhagavad-gita (8.16), the miseries of material existence– birth, death, old age and disease–are removed.
The process of going back home, back to Godhead, is to hear about the Supreme Lord and His name, form, attributes, pastimes, paraphernalia and variegatedness. Foolish people do not know this. They want to hear something about the name, form, etc., of everything temporary, and they do not know how to utilize this propensity of hearing for the ultimate good. Misguided as they are, they also create some false literatures about the name, form, attributes, etc., of the ultimate truth. One should not, therefore, become a grhamedhi simply to exist for envying others; one should become a real householder in terms of the scriptural injunctions.

TEXT 3

TEXT

nidraya hriyate naktam vyavayena ca va vayah diva carthehaya rajan
kutumba-bharanena va

SYNONYMS

nidraya–by sleeping; hriyate–wastes; naktam–night; vyavayena–sex indulgence; ca–also; va–either; vayah–duration of life; diva–days; ca–and; artha–economic; ihaya–development; rajan–O King; kutumba– family members; bharanena–maintaining; va–either.

TRANSLATION

The lifetime of such an envious householder is passed at night either in sleeping or in sex indulgence, and in the daytime either in making money or maintaining family members.

PURPORT

The present human civilization is primarily based on the principles of sleeping and sex indulgence at night and earning money in the day and spending the same for family maintenance. Such a form of human civilization is condemned by the Bhagavata school.
Because human life is a combination of matter and spirit soul, the whole process of Vedic knowledge is directed at liberating the spirit soul from the contamination of matter. The knowledge concerning this is called atma-tattva. Those men who are too materialistic are unaware of this knowledge and are more inclined to economic development for material enjoyment. Such materialistic men are called karmis, or fruitive laborers, and they are allowed regulated economic development or association of woman for sex indulgence. Those who are above the karmis, that is, the jnanis, yogis and devotees, are strictly prohibited from sex indulgence. The karmis are more or less devoid of atma-tattva knowledge, and as such, their life is spent without spiritual profit. The human life is not meant for hard labor for economic development, nor is it meant for sex indulgence like that of the dogs and hogs. It is specially meant for making a solution to the problems of material life and the miseries thereof. So the karmis waste their valuable human life by sleeping and sex indulgence at night, and by laboring hard in the daytime to accumulate wealth, and after doing so, they try to improve the standard of materialistic life. The materialistic way of life is described herein in a nutshell, and how foolishly men waste the boon of human life is described as follows.

TEXT 4

TEXT

dehapatya-kalatradisv atma-sainyesv asatsv api tesam pramatto nidhanam
pasyann api na pasyati

SYNONYMS

deha–body; apatya–children; kalatra–wife; adisu–and in everything in relation to them; atma–own; sainyesu–fighting soldiers; asatsu– fallible; api–in spite of; tesam–of all of them; pramattah–too attached; nidhanam–destruction; pasyan–having been experienced; api– although; na–does not; pasyati–see it.

TRANSLATION

Persons devoid of atma-tattva do not inquire into the problems of life, being too attached to the fallible soldiers like the body, children and wife. Although sufficiently experienced, they still do not see their inevitable destruction.

PURPORT

This material world is called the world of death. Every living being, beginning from Brahma, whose duration of life is some thousands of millions of years, down to the germs who live for a few seconds only, is struggling for existence. Therefore, this life is a sort of fight with material nature, which imposes death upon all. In the human form of life, a living being is competent enough to come to an understanding of this great struggle for existence, but being too attached to family members, society, country, etc., he wants to win over the invincible material nature by the aid of bodily strength, children, wife, relatives, etc. Although he is sufficiently experienced in the matter by dint of past experience and previous examples of his deceased predecessors, he does not see that the so-called fighting soldiers like the children, relatives, society members and countrymen are all fallible in the great struggle. One should examine the fact that his father or his father’s father has already died, and that he himself is therefore also sure to die, and similarly, his children, who are the would be fathers of their children, will also die in due course. No one will survive in this struggle with material nature. The history of human society definitely proves it, yet the foolish people still suggest that in the future they will be able to live perpetually, with the help of material science. This poor fund of knowledge exhibited by human society is certainly misleading, and it is all due to ignoring the constitution of the living soul. This material world exists only as a dream, due to our attachment to it. Otherwise, the living soul is always different from the material nature. The great ocean of material nature is tossing with the waves of time, and the so-called living conditions are something like foaming bubbles, which appear before us as bodily self, wife, children, society, countrymen, etc. Due to a lack of knowledge of self, we become victimized by the force of ignorance and thus spoil the valuable energy of human life in a vain search after permanent living conditions, which are impossible in this material world.
Our friends, relatives and so-called wives and children are not only fallible, but also bewildered by the outward glamor of material existence. As such, they cannot save us. Still we think that we are safe within the orbit of family, society or country. The whole materialistic advancement of human civilization is like the decoration of a dead body. Everyone is a dead body flapping only for a few days, and yet all the energy of human life is being wasted in the decoration of this dead body. Sukadeva Gosvami is pointing out the duty of the human being after showing the actual position of bewildered human activities. Persons who are devoid of the knowledge of atma-tattva are misguided, but those who are devotees of the Lord and have perfect realization of transcendental knowledge are not bewildered.

TEXT 5

TEXT

tasmad bharata sarvatma bhagavan isvaro harih
srotavyah kirtitavyas ca smartavyas cecchatabhayam

SYNONYMS

tasmat–for this reason; bharata–O descendant of Bharata; sarvatma– the Supersoul; bhagavan–the Supreme Personality of Godhead; isvarah–the controller; harih–the Lord, who vanquishes all miseries; srotavyah–is
to be heard; kirtitavyah–to be glorified; ca–also; smartavyah–to be remembered; ca–and; icchata–of one who desires; abhayam–freedom.

TRANSLATION

O descendant of King Bharata, one who desires to be free from all miseries must hear about, glorify and also remember the Personality of Godhead, who is the Supersoul, the controller and the savior from all miseries.

PURPORT

In the previous verse, Sri Sukadeva Gosvami has described how the foolish materially attached men are wasting their valuable time in the improvement of the material conditions of life by sleeping, indulging in sex life, developing economic conditions and maintaining a band of relatives who are to be vanquished in the air of oblivion. Being engaged in all these materialistic activities, the living soul entangles himself in the cycle of the law of fruitive actions. This entails the chain of birth and death in the 8,400,000 species of life: the aquatics, the vegetables, the reptiles, the birds, the beasts, the uncivilized man, and then again the human form, which is the chance for getting out of the cycle of fruitive action. Therefore, if one desires freedom from this vicious circle, then one must cease to act as a karmi or enjoyer of the results of one’s own work, good or bad. One should not do anything,
either good or bad, on his own account, but must execute everything on behalf of the Supreme Lord, the ultimate proprietor of everything that be. This process of doing work is recommended in the Bhagavad-gita (9.27) also, where instruction is given for working on the Lord’s account. Therefore, one should first of all hear about the Lord. When one has perfectly and scrutinizingly heard, one must glorify His acts and deeds, and thus it will become possible to remember constantly the transcendental nature of the Lord. Hearing about and glorifying the Lord are identical with the transcendental nature of the Lord, and by so doing, one will be always in the association of the Lord. This brings freedom from all sorts of fear. The Lord is the Supersoul (Paramatma) present in the hearts of all living beings, and thus by the above hearing and glorifying process, the Lord invites the association of all in His creation. This process of hearing about and glorifying the Lord is applicable for everyone, whoever he may be, and it will lead one to the ultimate success in everything in which one may be engaged by providence. There are many classes of human beings: the fruitive workers, the empiric philosophers, the mystic yogis, and ultimately, the unalloyed devotees. For all of them, one and the same process is applicable for achieving the desired success. Everyone wants to be free from all kinds of fear, and everyone wants the fullest extent of happiness in life. The perfect process for achieving this, here and now, is recommended in the Srimad- Bhagavatam, which is uttered by such a great authority as Srila Sukadeva Gosvami. By hearing about and glorifying the Lord, all a person’s activities become molded into spiritual activities, and thus all conceptions of material miseries become completely vanquished.

TEXT 6

TEXT

etavan sankhya-yogabhyam sva-dharma-parinisthaya
janma-labhah parah pumsam ante narayana-smrtih

SYNONYMS

etavan–all these; sankhya–complete knowledge of matter and spirit; yogabhyam–knowledge of mystic power; sva-dharma–particular occupational duty; parinisthaya–by full perception; janma–birth; labhah–gain;
parah–the supreme; pumsam–of a person; ante–at the end; narayana–the
Personality of Godhead; smrtih–remembrance.

TRANSLATION

The highest perfection of human life, achieved either by complete knowledge of matter and spirit, by practice of mystic powers, or by perfect discharge of occupational duty, is to remember the Personality of Godhead at the end of life.

PURPORT

Narayana is the transcendental Personality of Godhead beyond the material creation. Everything that is created, sustained, and at the end annihilated is within the compass of the mahat-tattva (material principle) and is known as the material world. The existence of Narayana, or the Personality of Godhead, is not within the jurisdiction of this mahat-tattva, and as such, the name, form, attributes, etc. of Narayana are beyond the jurisdiction of the material world. By the speculation of empiric philosophy, which discerns matter from spirit, or by cultivation of mystic powers, which ultimately helps the performer to reach any planet of the universe or beyond the universe, or by discharge of religious duties, one can achieve the highest perfection, provided one is able to reach the stage of narayana-smrti, or constant remembrance of the Personality of Godhead. This is possible only by the association of a
pure devotee, who can give a finishing touch to the transcendental activities of all jnanis, yogis, or karmis, in terms of prescribed duties defined in the scriptures. There are many historical instances of the achievement of spiritual perfection, such as that of the Sanakadi Rsis or the nine celebrated Yogendras, who attained perfection only after being situated in the devotional service of the Lord. None of the devotees of the Lord ever deviated from the path of devotional service by taking to other methods as adopted by the jnanis or yogis. Everyone is anxious to achieve the highest perfection of his particular activity, and it is indicated herein that such perfection is narayana-smrti, for which everyone must endeavor his best. In other words, life should be molded in such a manner that one is able to progressively remember the personality of Godhead in every step of life.

TEXT 7

TEXT

prayena munayo rajan nivrtta vidhi-sedhatah nairgunya-stha ramante sma
gunanukathane hareh

SYNONYMS

prayena–mainly; munayah–all sages; rajan–O King; nivrttah–above; vidhi–regulative principles; sedhatah–from restrictions; nairgunya- sthah–transcendentally situated; ramante–take pleasure in; sma– distinctly; guna-anukathane–describing the glories; hareh–of the Lord.

TRANSLATION

O King Pariksit, mainly the topmost transcendentalists, who are above the regulative principles and restrictions, take pleasure in describing the glories of the Lord.

PURPORT

The topmost transcendentalist is a liberated soul and is therefore not within the purview of the regulative principles. A neophyte, who is intended to be promoted to the spiritual plane, is guided by the
spiritual master under regulative principles. He may be compared to a patient who is treated by various restrictions under medical jurisdiction. Generally, liberated souls also take pleasure in describing the transcendental activities. As mentioned above, since Narayana, Hari, the Personality of Godhead, is beyond the material creation, His form and attributes are not material. The topmost transcendentalists or the liberated souls realize Him by advanced experience of transcendental knowledge, and therefore they take pleasure in the discussion of the transcendental qualities of the Lord’s pastimes. In the Bhagavad-gita (4.9), the personality of Godhead declares that His appearance and activities are all divyam, or transcendental. The common man, who is under the spell of material energy, takes it for granted that the Lord is like one of us, and therefore he refuses to accept the transcendental nature of the Lord’s form, name, etc. The topmost transcendentalist is not interested in anything material, and his taking interest in the matter of the Lord’s activities is definite proof that the Lord is not like one of us in the material world. In the Vedic literatures also, it is confirmed that the Supreme Lord is one, but that He is engaged in His transcendental pastimes in the company of His unalloyed devotees and that simultaneously He is present as the Supersoul, an expansion of Baladeva, in the heart of all living entities. Therefore, the highest perfection of transcendental realization is to take pleasure in hearing and describing the transcendental qualities of the Lord and not in merging into His impersonal Brahman existence, for which the impersonalist monist aspires. Real transcendental pleasure is realized in the glorification of the transcendental Lord, and not in the feeling of being situated in His impersonal feature. But there are also others who are not the topmost transcendentalists but are in a lower status, and who do not take pleasure in describing the transcendental activities of the Lord. Rather, they discuss such activities of the Lord formally with the aim of merging into His existence.

TEXT 8

TEXT

idam bhagavatam nama puranam brahma-sammitam
adhitavan dvaparadau pitur dvaipayanad aham

SYNONYMS

idam–this; bhagavatam–Srimad-Bhagavatam; nama–of the name; puranam-
-Vedic supplement; brahma-sammitam–approved as the essence of the Vedas; adhitavan–studied; dvapara-adau–at the end of the Dvapara-yuga; pituh– from my father; dvaipayanat–Dvaipayana Vyasadeva; aham–myself.

TRANSLATION

At the end of the Dvapara-yuga, I studied this great supplement of Vedic literature named Srimad-Bhagavatam, which is equal to all the Vedas, from my father, Srila Dvaipayana Vyasadeva.

PURPORT

The statement made by Srila Sukadeva Gosvami that the topmost transcendentalist, who is beyond the jurisdiction of regulations and restrictions, mainly takes to the task of hearing about and glorifying the Personality of Godhead, is verified by his personal example. Sukadeva Gosvami, being a recognized liberated soul and the topmost transcendentalist, was accepted by all of the topmost sages present in the meeting during the last seven days of Maharaja Pariksit. He cites from the example of his life that he himself was attracted by the transcendental activities of the Lord, and he studied Srimad-Bhagavatam from his great father, Sri Dvaipayana Vyasadeva. Srimad-Bhagavatam, or, for that matter, any other scientific literature, cannot be studied at home by one’s own intellectual capacity. Medical books of anatomy or physiology are available in the market, but no one can become a qualified medical practitioner simply by reading such books at home. One has to be admitted to the medical college and study the books under the guidance of learned professors. Similarly, Srimad-Bhagavatam, the postgraduate study of the science of Godhead, can only be learned by studying it at the feet of a realized soul like Srila Vyasadeva. Although Sukadeva Gosvami was a liberated soul from the very day of his birth, he still had to take lessons of Srimad-Bhagavatam from his great father, Vyasadeva, who compiled the Srimad-Bhagavatam under the instruction of another great soul, Sri Narada Muni. Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu instructed a learned brahmana to study Srimad-Bhagavatam from a personal bhagavata. Srimad- Bhagavatam is based on the transcendental name, form, attributes, pastimes, entourage and variegatedness of the Supreme Person, and it is spoken by the incarnation of the Personality of Godhead, Srila Vyasadeva. Pastimes of the Lord are executed in cooperation with His pure devotees, and consequently historical incidences are mentioned in this great literature because they are related to Krsna. It is called brahma- sammitam because it is the sound representative of Lord Krsna–like the Bhagavad-gita. Bhagavad-gita is the sound incarnation of the Lord because it is spoken by the Supreme Lord, and Srimad-Bhagavatam is the sound representative of the Lord because it was spoken by the incarnation of the Lord about the activities of the Lord. As stated in the beginning of this book, it is the essence of the Vedic desire tree and the natural commentation on the Brahma-sutras, the topmost philosophical thesis on the subject matter of Brahman. Vyasadeva appeared at the end of Dvapara- yuga as the son of Satyavati, and therefore the word dvapara-adau, or “the beginning of Dvapara-yuga,” in this context means just prior to the beginning of the Kali-yuga. The logic of this statement, according to Srila Jiva Gosvami, is comparable to that of calling the upper portion of the tree the beginning. The root of the tree is the beginning of the tree, but in common knowledge the upper portion of the tree is first seen. In that way the end of the tree is accepted as its beginning.

TEXT 9

TEXT

parinisthito ‘pi nairgunya uttama-sloka-lilaya grhita-ceta rajarse
akhyanam yad adhitavan

SYNONYMS

parinisthitah–fully realized; api–in spite of; nairgunye–in transcendence; uttama–enlightened; sloka–verse; lilaya–by the pastimes; grhita–being attracted; cetah–attention; rajarse–O saintly King; akhyanam–delineation; yat–that; adhitavan–I have studied.

TRANSLATION

O saintly King, I was certainly situated perfectly in transcendence, yet I was still attracted by the delineation of the pastimes of the Lord, who is described by enlightened verses.

PURPORT

The Absolute Truth is realized as the impersonal Brahman at the first instance by philosophical speculation and later as the Supersoul by further progress of transcendental knowledge. But if, by the grace of the Lord, an impersonalist is enlightened by the superior statements of Srimad-Bhagavatam, he is also converted into a transcendental devotee of the Personality of Godhead. With a poor fund of knowledge, we cannot adjust to the idea of the personality of the Absolute Truth, and the personal activities of the Lord are deplored by the less intelligent impersonalists; but reasons and arguments together with the transcendental process of approaching the Absolute Truth help even the staunch impersonalist to become attracted by the personal activities of the Lord. A person like Sukadeva Gosvami cannot be attracted by any mundane activity, but when such a devotee is convinced by a superior method, he is certainly attracted by the transcendental activities of the Lord. The Lord is transcendental, as are His activities. He is neither inactive nor impersonal.

TEXT 10

TEXT

tad aham te ‘bhidhasyami maha-paurusiko bhavan yasya sraddadhatam asu
syan mukunde matih sati

SYNONYMS

tat–that; aham–I; te–unto you; abhidhasyami–shall recite; maha- paurusikah–the most sincere devotee of Lord Krsna; bhavan–your good self; yasya–of which; sraddadhatam–of one who gives full respect and attention; asu–very soon; syat–it so becomes; mukunde–unto the Lord, who awards salvation; matih–faith; sati–unflinching.

TRANSLATION

That very Srimad-Bhagavatam I shall recite before you because you are the most sincere devotee of Lord Krsna. One who gives full attention and

respect to hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam achieves unflinching faith in the
Supreme Lord, the giver of salvation.

PURPORT

Srimad-Bhagavatam is recognized Vedic wisdom, and the system of receiving Vedic knowledge is called avaroha-pantha, or the process of receiving transcendental knowledge through bona fide disciplic succession. For advancement of material knowledge there is a need for personal ability and researching aptitude, but in the case of spiritual knowledge, all progress depends more or less on the mercy of the spiritual master. The spiritual master must be satisfied with the disciple; only then is knowledge automatically manifest before the student of spiritual science. The process should not, however, be misunderstood to be something like magical feats whereby the spiritual master acts like a magician and injects spiritual knowledge into his disciple, as if surcharging him with an electrical current. The bona fide spiritual master reasonably explains everything to the disciple on the authorities of Vedic wisdom. The disciple can receive such teachings not exactly intellectually, but by submissive inquiries and a service attitude. The idea is that both the spiritual master and the disciple must be bona fide. In this case, the spiritual master, Sukadeva Gosvami, is ready to recite exactly what he has learned from his great father Srila Vyasadeva, and the disciple, Maharaja Pariksit, is a great devotee of Lord Krsna. A devotee of Lord Krsna is he who believes sincerely that by becoming a devotee of the Lord one becomes fully equipped with everything spiritual. This teaching is imparted by the Lord Himself in the pages of the Bhagavad-gita, in which it is clearly described that the Lord (Sri Krsna) is everything, and that to surrender unto Him solely and wholly makes one the most perfectly pious man. This unflinching faith in Lord Krsna prepares one to become a student of Srimad-Bhagavatam, and one who hears Srimad-Bhagavatam from a devotee like Sukadeva Gosvami is sure to attain salvation at the end, as Maharaja Pariksit did. The
professional reciter of Srimad-Bhagavatam and the pseudodevotees whose faith is based on one week’s hearing are different from Sukadeva Gosvami and Maharaja Pariksit. Srila Vyasadeva explained Srimad-Bhagavatam unto Sukadeva Gosvami from the very beginning of the janmady asya verse, and so Sukadeva Gosvami also explained it to the Ding. Lord Krsna is described as the Mahapurusa in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (Canto Eleven) in His devotional feature as Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Lord Krsna Himself in His devotional attitude, descended on earth to bestow special favors upon the fallen souls of this age of Kali. There are two verses particularly suitable to offer as prayers to this Mahapurusa feature of Lord Krsna.

dhyeyam sada paribhava-ghnam abhista-doham tirthaspadam siva-virinci-nutam saranyam bhrtyarti-ham pranata-pala bhavabdhi-potam
vande maha-purusa te caranaravindam

tyaktva su-dustyaja-surepsita-rajya-laksmim dharmistha arya-vacasa yad agad aranyam
maya-mrgam dayitayepsitam anvadhavad vande maha-purusa te caranaravindam

(Bhag. 11.5.33-34)

In other words, purusa means the enjoyer, and mahapurusa means the supreme enjoyer, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krsna. One who deserves to approach the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna is called the maha- paurusika. Anyone who hears Srimad-Bhagavatam attentively from its bona fide reciter is sure to become a sincere devotee of the Lord, who is able to award liberation. There was none so attentive as Maharaja Pariksit in the matter of hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam, and there was none so qualified as Sukadeva Gosvami to recite the text of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Therefore, anyone who follows in the footsteps of either the ideal reciter or the ideal hearer, Sukadeva Gosvami and Maharaja Pariksit respectively, will undoubtedly attain salvation like them. Maharaja Pariksit attained salvation by hearing only, and Sukadeva Gosvami attained salvation only by reciting. Recitation and hearing are two processes out of nine devotional activities, and by strenuously following the principles, either in all or by parts, one can attain the absolute plane. So the complete text of Srimad-Bhagavatam, beginning with the janmady asya verse up to the last one in the Twelfth Canto, was spoken by Sukadeva Gosvami for the attainment of salvation by Maharaja Pariksit. In the Padma Purana, it is mentioned that Gautama Muni advised Maharaja Ambarisa to hear regularly Srimad-Bhagavatam as it was recited by Sukadeva Gosvami, and herein it is confirmed that Maharaja Ambarisa heard Srimad-Bhagavatam from the very beginning to the end, as it was spoken by Sukadeva Gosvami. One who is actually interested in the Bhagavatam, therefore, must not play with it by reading or hearing a portion from here and a portion from there; one must follow in the footsteps of great kings like Maharaja Ambarisa or Maharaja Pariksit and hear it from a bona fide representative of Sukadeva Gosvami.

TEXT 11

TEXT

etan nirvidyamananam icchatam akuto-bhayam yoginam nrpa nirnitam harer namanukirtanam

SYNONYMS

etat–it is; nirvidyamananam–of those who are completely free from
all material desires; icchatam–of those who are desirous of all sorts of material enjoyment; akutah-bhayam–free from all doubts and fear;
yoginam–of all who are self-satisfied; nrpa–O King; nirnitam–decided truth; hareh–of the Lord, Sri Krsna; nama–holy name; anu–after someone, always; kirtanam–chanting.

TRANSLATION

O King, constant chanting of the holy name of the Lord after the ways of the great authorities is the doubtless and fearless way of success for all, including those who are free from all material desires, those who
are desirous of all material enjoyment, and also those who are self- satisfied by dint of transcendental knowledge.

PURPORT

In the previous verse, the great necessity for attaining attachment to Mukunda has been accredited. There are different types of persons who desire to attain success in different varieties of pursuits. Generally the persons are materialists who desire to enjoy the fullest extent of material gratification. Next to them are the transcendentalists, who have attained perfect knowledge about the nature of material enjoyment and thus are aloof from such an illusory way of life. More or less, they are satisfied in themselves by self-realization. Above them are the devotees of the Lord, who neither aspire to enjoy the material world nor desire to get out of it. They are after the satisfaction of the Lord, Sri Krsna. In other words, the devotees of the Lord do not want anything on their personal account. If the Lord desires, the devotees can accept all sorts of material facilities, and if the Lord does not desire this, the devotees can leave aside all sorts of facilities, even up to the limit of salvation. Nor are they self-satisfied, because they want the satisfaction of the Lord only. In this verse, Sri Sukadeva Gosvami recommends the transcendental chanting of the holy name of the Lord. By offenseless chanting and hearing of the holy name of the Lord, one becomes acquainted with the transcendental form of the Lord, and then with the attributes of the Lord, and then with the transcendental nature of His pastimes, etc. Here it is mentioned that one should constantly chant the holy name of the Lord after hearing it from authorities. This means that hearing from the authorities is the first essential. Hearing of the holy name gradually promotes one to the stage of hearing about His form, about His attributes, His pastimes and so on, and thus the necessity of the chanting of His glories develops successively. This process is recommended not only for the successful execution of devotional service, but also even for those who are materially attached. According to Sri Sukadeva Gosvami, this way of attaining success is an established fact, concluded not only by him, but also by all other previous acaryas. Therefore, there is no need of further evidence. The process is recommended not only for the progressive students in different departments of ideological success, but also for those who are already successful in their achievement as fruitive workers, as philosophers or as devotees of the Lord.
Srila Jiva Gosvami instructs that chanting of the holy name of the Lord should be loudly done, and it should be performed offenselessly as well, as recommended in the Padma Purana. One can deliver himself from the effects of all sins by surrendering himself unto the Lord. One can deliver himself from all offenses at the feet of the Lord by taking shelter of His holy name. But one cannot protect himself if one commits an offense at the feet of the holy name of the Lord. Such offenses are mentioned in the Padma Purana as being ten in number. The first offense is to vilify the great devotees who have preached about the glories of the Lord. The second offense is to see the holy names of the Lord in terms of worldly distinction. The Lord is the proprietor of all the universes, and therefore He may be known in different places by different names, but that does not in any way qualify the fullness of the Lord. Any nomenclature which is meant for the Supreme Lord is as holy as the others because they are all meant for the Lord. Such holy names are as powerful as the Lord, and there is no bar for anyone in any part of the creation
to chant and glorify the Lord by the particular name of the Lord as it is locally understood. They are all auspicious, and one should not distinguish such names of the Lord as material commodities. The third offense is to neglect the orders of the authorized acaryas or spiritual masters. The fourth offense is to vilify scriptures or Vedic knowledge. The fifth offense is to define the holy name of the Lord in terms of one’s mundane calculation. The holy name of the Lord is identical with the Lord Himself, and one should understand the holy name of the Lord to be nondifferent from Him. The sixth offense is to interpret the holy name. The Lord is not imaginary, nor is His holy name. There are persons with a poor fund of knowledge who think the Lord to be an imagination of the worshiper and therefore think His holy name to be imaginary. Such a chanter of the name of the Lord cannot achieve the desired success in the matter of chanting the holy name. The seventh offense is to commit sins intentionally on the strength of the holy name. In the scriptures it is said that one can be liberated from the effects of all sinful actions simply by chanting the holy name of the Lord. One who takes advantage of this transcendental method and continues to commit sins on the expectation of neutralizing the effects of sins by chanting the holy name of the Lord is the greatest offender at the feet of the holy name. Such an offender cannot purify himself by any recommended method of purification. In other words, one may be a sinful man before chanting the holy name of the Lord, but after taking shelter in the holy name of the Lord and becoming immune, one should strictly restrain oneself from committing sinful acts with a hope that his method of chanting the holy name will give him protection. The eighth offense is to consider the holy name of the Lord and His chanting method to be equal to some material auspicious activity. There are various kinds of good works for material benefits, but the holy name and His chanting are not mere auspicious holy services. Undoubtedly the holy name is holy service, but He should never be utilized for such purposes. Since the holy name and the Lord are of one and the same identity, one should not try to bring the holy name into the service of mankind. The idea is that the Supreme Lord is the supreme enjoyer. He is no one’s servant or order supplier. Similarly, since the holy name of the Lord is identical with the Lord, one should not try to utilize the holy name for one’s personal service.
The ninth offense is to instruct those who are not interested in chanting the holy name of the Lord about the transcendental nature of the holy name, if such instruction is imparted to an unwilling audience, the act is considered to be an offense at the feet of the holy name. The tenth offense is to become uninterested in the holy name of the Lord even after hearing of the transcendental nature of the holy name. The effect of chanting the holy name of the Lord is perceived by the chanter as liberation from the conception of false egoism. False egoism is exhibited by thinking oneself to be the enjoyer of the world and thinking everything in the world to be meant for the enjoyment of one’s self only. The whole materialistic world is moving under such false egoism of “I” and “mine,” but the factual effect of chanting the holy name is to become free from such misconceptions.

TEXT 12

TEXT

kim pramattasya bahubhih paroksair hayanair iha varam muhurtam viditam ghatate sreyase yatah

SYNONYMS

kim–what is; pramattasya–of the bewildered; bahubhih–by many; paroksaih–inexperienced; hayanaih–years; iha–in this world; varam– better; muhurtam–a moment; viditam–conscious; ghatate–one can try for; sreyase–in the matter of the supreme interest; yatah–by that.

TRANSLATION

What is the value of a prolonged life which is wasted, inexperienced by years in this world? Better a moment of full consciousness, because that gives one a start in searching after his supreme interest.

PURPORT

Srila Sukadeva Gosvami instructed Maharaja Pariksit about the importance of the chanting of the holy name of the Lord by every progressive gentleman. In order to encourage the Ding, who had only seven remaining days of life, Srila Sukadeva Gosvami asserted that there is no use in living hundreds of years without any knowledge of the problems of life–better to live for a moment with full consciousness of the supreme interest to be fulfilled. The supreme interest of life is eternal, with full knowledge and bliss. Those who are bewildered by the external features of the material world and are engaged in the animal propensities of the eat-drink-and-be-merry type of life are simply wasting their lives by the unseen passing away of valuable years. We should know in perfect consciousness that human life is bestowed upon the conditioned soul to achieve spiritual success, and the easiest possible procedure to attain this end is to chant the holy name of the Lord. In the previous verse, we have discussed this point to a certain extent, and we may further be enlightened on the different types of offenses committed unto the feet of the holy name. Srila Jiva Gosvami Prabhu has quoted many passages from authentic scriptures and has ably supported the statements in the matter of offenses at the feet of the holy name. From Visnu-yamala Tantra, Srila Jiva Gosvami has proven that one can be liberated from the effects of all sins simply by chanting the holy name of the Lord. Quoting from the Markandeya purana, Sri Gosvamiji says that one should neither blaspheme the devotee of the Lord nor indulge in hearing others who are engaged in belittling a devotee of the Lord. A devotee should try to restrict the vilifier by cutting out his tongue, and being unable to do so, one should commit suicide rather than hear the blaspheming of the devotee of the Lord. The conclusion is that one should neither hear nor allow vilification of a devotee of the Lord. As far as distinguishing the Lord’s holy name from the names of the demigods, the revealed scriptures disclose (Bg. 10.41) that all extraordinarily powerful beings are but parts and parcels of the supreme energetic, Lord Krsna. Except for the Lord Himself, everyone is subordinate; no one is independent of the Lord. Since no one is more powerful than or equal to the energy of the Supreme Lord, no one’s name can be as powerful as that of the Lord. By chanting the Lord’s holy name, one can derive all the stipulated energy synchronized from all sources. Therefore, one should not equalize the supreme holy name of the Lord with any other name. Brahma, Siva or any other powerful god can never be equal to the Supreme Lord Visnu. The powerful holy name of the Lord can certainly deliver one from sinful effects, but one who desires to utilize this transcendental potency of the holy name of the Lord in one’s sinister activities is the most degraded person in the world. Such persons are never excused by the Lord or by any agent of the Lord. One should, therefore, utilize one’s life in glorifying the Lord by all means, without any offense. Such activity of life, even for a moment, is never to be compared to a prolonged life of ignorance, like the lives of the tree and other living entities who may live for thousands of years without prosecuting spiritual advancement.

khatvango nama rajarsir jnatveyattam ihayusah muhurtat sarvam utsrjya gatavan abhayam harim

SYNONYMS

khatvangah–King Khatvanga; nama–name; raja-rsih–saintly king; jnatva–by knowing; iyattam–duration; iha–in this world; ayusah–of one’s life; muhurtat–within only a moment; sarvam–everything; utsrjya– leaving aside; gatavan–had undergone; abhayam–fully safe; harim–the Personality of Godhead.

TRANSLATION

The saintly King Khatvanga, after being informed that the duration of his life would be only a moment more, at once freed himself from all material activities and took shelter of the supreme safety, the Personality of Godhead.

PURPORT

A fully responsible man should always be conscious of the prime duty of the present human form of life. The activities to meet the immediate necessities of material life are not everything. One should always be alert in his duty for attainment of the best situation in the next life. Human life is meant for preparing ourselves for that prime duty. Maharaja Khatvanga is mentioned herein as a saintly king because even within the responsibility of the state management, he was not at all forgetful of the prime duty of life. Such was the case with other rajarsis (saintly kings), like Maharaja Yudhisthira and Maharaja Pariksit. They were all exemplary personalities on account of their being alert in discharging their prime duty. Maharaja Khatvanga was invited by the demigods in the higher planets to fight demons, and as a king he fought the battles to the full satisfaction of the demigods. The demigods, being fully satisfied with him, wanted to give him some benediction for material enjoyment, but Maharaja Khatvanga, being very much alert to his prime duty, inquired from the demigods about his remaining duration of life. This means that he was not as anxious to accumulate some material benediction from the demigods as he was to prepare himself for the next life. He was informed by the demigods, however, that his life would last only a moment longer. The king at once left the heavenly kingdom, which is always full of material enjoyment of the highest standard, and coming down to this earth, took ultimate shelter of the all-safe Personality of Godhead. He was successful in his great attempt and achieved liberation. This attempt, even for a moment, by the saintly king, was successful because he was always alert to his prime duty. Maharaja Pariksit was thus encouraged by the great Sukadeva Gosvami, even though he had only seven days left in his life to execute the prime duty of hearing the glories of the Lord in the form of Srimad-Bhagavatam. By the will of the Lord, Maharaja Pariksit instantly met the great Sukadeva Gosvami, and thus the great treasure of spiritual success left by him is nicely mentioned in the Srimad-Bhagavatam.

tavapy etarhi kauravya saptaham jivitavadhih upakalpaya tat sarvam tavad yat samparayikam

SYNONYMS

tava–your; api–also; etarhi–therefore; kauravya–O one born in the family of Kuru; saptaham–seven days; jivita–duration of life; avadhih– up to the limit of; upakalpaya–get them performed; tat–those; sarvam– all; tavat–so long; yat–which are; samparayikam–rituals for the next life.

TRANSLATION

Maharaja Pariksit, now your duration of life is limited to seven more days, so during this time you can perform all those rituals which are needed for the best purpose of your next life.

PURPORT

Sukadeva Gosvami, after citing the example of Maharaja Khatvanga, who prepared himself for the next life within a very short time, encouraged Maharaja Pariksit by saying that since he still had seven days at his disposal, he could easily take advantage of the time to prepare himself for the next life. Indirectly, the Gosvami told Maharaja Pariksit that be should take shelter of the sound representation of the Lord for the seven days still remaining in the duration of his life and thus get himself liberated. In other words, everyone can best prepare himself for the next life simply by hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam, as it was recited by Sukadeva Gosvami to Maharaja Pariksit. The rituals are not formal, but there are also some favorable conditions, which are required to be carried out, as instructed hereafter.

TEXT 15

TEXT

anta-kale tu purusa agate gata-sadhvasah
chindyad asanga-sastrena sprham dehe ‘nu ye ca tam

SYNONYMS

anta-kale–at the last stage of life; tu–but; purusah–a person; agate–having arrived; gata-sadhvasah–without any fear of death; chindyat–must cut off; asanga–nonattachment; sastrena–by the weapon of; sprham–all desires; dehe–in the matter of the material tabernacle; anu–pertaining; ye–all that; ca–also; tam–them.

TRANSLATION

At the last stage of one’s life, one should be bold enough not to be afraid of death. But one must cut off all attachment to the material body and everything pertaining to it and all desires thereof.

PURPORT

The foolishness of gross materialism is that people think of making a permanent settlement in this world, although it is a settled fact that one has to give up everything here that has been created by valuable human energy. Great statesmen, scientists, philosophers, etc., who are foolish, without any information of the spirit soul, think that this life of a few years only is all in all and that there is nothing more after death. This poor fund of knowledge, even in the so-called learned circles of the world, is killing the vitality of human energy, and the awful result is being keenly felt. And yet the foolish materialistic men do not care about what is going to happen in the next life. The preliminary instruction in the Bhagavad-gita is that one should know that the identity of the individual living entity is not lost even after the end of this present body, which is nothing but an outward dress only. As one changes an old garment, so the individual living being also changes his body, and this change of body is called death. Death is therefore a process of changing the body at the end of the duration of the present life. An intelligent person must be prepared for this and must try to have the best type of body in the next life. The best type of body is a spiritual body, which is obtained by those who go back to the kingdom of God or enter the realm of Brahman. In the second chapter of this canto, this matter will be broadly discussed, but as far as the change of body is concerned, one must prepare now for the next life. Foolish people attach more importance to the present temporary life, and thus the foolish leaders make appeals to the body and the bodily relations. The bodily relations extend not only to this body but also to the family members, wife, children, society, country and so many other things which end at the end of life. After death one forgets everything about the present bodily relations; we have a little experience of this at night when we go to sleep. While sleeping, we forget everything about this body and bodily relations, although this forgetfulness is a temporary situation for only a few hours. Death is nothing but sleeping for a few months in order to develop another term of bodily encagement, which we are awarded by the law of nature according to our aspiration. Therefore, one has only to change the aspiration during the course of this present body, and for this there is need of training in the current duration of human life. This training can be begun at any stage of life, or even a few seconds before death, but the usual procedure is for one to get the training from very early life, from the stage of brahmacarya, and gradually progress to the grhastha, vanaprastha and sannyasa orders of life. The institution which gives such training is called varnasrama- dharma, or the system of sanatana-dharma, the best procedure for making the human life perfect. One is therefore required to give up the attachment to family or social or political life just at the age of fifty years, if not earlier, and the training in the vanaprastha and sannyasa- asramas is given for preparation of the next life. Foolish materialists, in the garb of leaders of the people in general, stick to family affairs without attempting to cut off relations with them, and thus they become victims of nature’s law and get gross bodies again, according to their work. Such foolish leaders may have some respect from the people at the end of life, but that does not mean that such leaders will be immune to the natural laws under which everyone is tightly bound by the hands and feet. The best thing is, therefore, that everyone voluntarily give up family relations by transferring attachment from family, society, country, and everything thereof to the devotional service of the Lord. It is stated herein that one should give up all desires of family attachment. One must have a chance for better desires; otherwise there is no chance of giving up such morbid desires. Desire is the concomitant factor of the living entity. The living entity is eternal, and therefore his desires, which are natural for a living being, are also eternal. One cannot, therefore, stop desiring, but the subject matter for desires can be changed. So one must develop the desires for returning back home, back to Godhead, and automatically the desires for material gain, material honor and material popularity will diminish in proportion to the development of devotional service. A living being is meant for service activities, and his desires are centered around such a service attitude. Beginning from the top executive head of the state down to the insignificant pauper in the street, all are rendering some sort of service to others. The perfection of such a service attitude is only attained simply by transferring the desire of service from matter to spirit, or from Satan to God.

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