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Śrīmad Bhāgavata Puranam – Introduction -3

Posted by gopalakrishna

Śrīmad Bhāgavata Puranam

 “The Buddhists are called atheists because they have no respect for the Vedas, but those who defy the Vedic conclusions, as above mentioned, under the pretense of being followers of the Vedas are verily more dangerous than the Buddhists.
“Śrī Vyāsadeva very kindly compiled the Vedic knowledge in his Vedānta-sūtra, but if one hears the commentation of the Māyāvāda school (as represented by the Śakara sampradāya) certainly he will be misled on the path of spiritual realization.
“The theory of emanations is the beginning subject of the Vedānta-sūtra. All the cosmic manifestations are emanations from the Absolute Personality of Godhead by His inconceivable different energies. The example of the touchstone is applicable to the theory of emanation. The touchstone can convert an unlimited quantity of iron into gold, and still the touchstone remains as it is. Similarly, the Supreme Lord can produce all manifested worlds by His inconceivable energies, and yet He is full and unchanged. He is pūra [complete], and although an unlimited number of pūras emanate from Him, He is still pūra.
“The theory of illusion of the Māyāvāda school is advocated on the ground that the theory of emanation will cause a transformation of the Absolute Truth. If that is the case, Vyāsadeva is wrong. To avoid this, they have skillfully brought in the theory of illusion. But the world or the cosmic creation is not false, as maintained by the Māyāvāda school. It simply has no permanent existence. A nonpermanent thing cannot be called false altogether. But the conception that the material body is the self is certainly wrong.
Praava [om], or the okāra in the Vedas, is the primeval hymn. This transcendental sound is identical with the form of the Lord. All the Vedic hymns are based on this praava okāra. Tat tvam asi is but a side word in the Vedic literatures, and therefore this word cannot be the primeval hymn of the Vedas. Śrīpāda Śakarācārya has given more stress on the side word tat tvam asi than on the primeval principle okāra.
The Lord thus spoke on the Vedānta-sūtra and defied all the propaganda of the Māyāvāda school.* The Bhaṭṭācārya tried to defend himself and his Māyāvāda school by jugglery of logic and grammar, but the Lord defeated him by His forceful arguments. He affirmed that we are all related with the Personality of Godhead eternally and that devotional service is our eternal function in exchanging the dealings of our relations. The result of such exchanges is to attain premā, or love of Godhead. When love of Godhead is attained, love for all other beings automatically follows because the Lord is the sum total of all living beings.
The Lord said that but for these three items — namely, eternal relation with God, exchange of dealings with Him and the attainment of love for Him — all that is instructed in the Vedas is superfluous and concocted.
The Lord further added that the Māyāvāda philosophy taught by Śrīpāda Śakarācārya is an imaginary explanation of the Vedas, but it had to be taught by him (Śakarācārya) because he was ordered to teach it by the Personality of Godhead. In the Padma Purāa it is stated that the Personality of Godhead ordered His Lordship Śiva to deviate the human race from Him (the Personality of Godhead). The Personality of Godhead was to be so covered so that people would be encouraged to generate more and more population. His Lordship Śiva said to Devī: “In the Kali-yuga, I shall preach the Māyāvāda philosophy, which is nothing but clouded Buddhism, in the garb of a brāhmaa.
After hearing all these speeches of the Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the Bhaṭṭācārya was struck with wonder and awe and regarded Him in dead silence. The Lord then encouraged him with assurance that there was no cause to wonder. “I say that devotional service unto the Personality of Godhead is the highest goal of human life.” He then quoted a śloka from the Bhāgavatam (1.7.10),and assured him that even the liberated souls who are absorbed in the spirit and spiritual realization also take to the devotional service of the Lord Hari because the Personality of Godhead has such transcendental qualities that He attracts the heart of the liberated soul too.
Then the Bhaṭṭācārya desired to listen to the explanation of the “ātmārāmaśloka from the Bhāgavatam (1.7.10). The Lord first of all asked Bhaṭṭācārya to explain it, and after that He would explain it. The Bhaṭṭācārya then explained the śloka in a scholarly way with special reference to logic. He explained the śloka in nine different ways chiefly based on logic because he was the most renowned scholar of logic of the time.
The Lord, after hearing the Bhaṭṭācārya, thanked him for the scholarly presentation of the śloka, and then, at the request of the Bhaṭṭācārya, the Lord explained the śloka in sixty-four different ways without touching the nine explanations given by the Bhaṭṭācārya.
Thus after hearing the explanation of the ātmārāma śloka from the Lord, the Bhaṭṭācārya was convinced that such a scholarly presentation is impossible for an earthly creature.* Before this, Śrī Gopīnātha Ācārya had tried to convince him of the divinity of the Lord, but at the time he could not so accept Him. But the Bhaṭṭācārya was astounded by the Lord’s exposition of the Vedānta-sūtra and explanations of the ātmārāma śloka, and thus he began to think that he had committed a great offense at the lotus feet of the Lord by not recognizing Him to be Kṛṣṇa Himself. He then surrendered unto Him, repenting for his past dealings with Him, and the Lord was kind enough to accept the Bhaṭṭācārya. Out of His causeless mercy, the Lord manifested before him first as four-handed Nārāyaa and then again as two-handed Lord Kṛṣṇa with a flute in His hand.
The Bhaṭṭācārya at once fell down at the lotus feet of the Lord and composed many suitable ślokas in praise of the Lord by His grace. He composed one hundred ślokas in praise of the Lord. The Lord then embraced him, and out of transcendental ecstasy the Bhaṭṭācārya lost consciousness of the physical state of life. Tears, trembling, throbbing of the heart, perspiration, emotional waves, dancing, singing, crying and all the eight symptoms of trance were manifested in the body of the Bhaṭṭācārya. Śrī Gopīnātha Ācārya became very glad and astonished by this marvelous conversion of his brother-in-law by the grace of the Lord.
Out of the hundred celebrated ślokas composed by the Bhaṭṭācārya in praise of the Lord, the following two are most important, and these two ślokas explain the mission of the Lord in gist.
1. Let me surrender unto the Personality of Godhead who has appeared now as Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He is the ocean of all mercy and has now come down to teach us material detachment, learning and devotional service to Himself.
2. Since pure devotional service of the Lord has been lost in the oblivion of time, the Lord has appeared to renovate the principles, and therefore I offer my obeisances unto His lotus feet.
The Lord explained the word mukti to be equivalent to the word Viṣṇu, or the Personality of Godhead. To attain mukti, or liberation from the bondage of material existence, is to attain to the service of the Lord.
The Lord then proceeded towards South India for some time and converted all He met on the way to become devotees of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Such devotees also converted many others to the cult of devotional service, or to the Bhāgavata-dharma of the Lord, and thus He reached the bank of the Godāvarī, where He met Śrīla Rāmānanda Rāya, the governor of Madras on behalf of Mahārāja Pratāparudra, the King of Orissa. His talks with Rāmānanda Rāya are very important for higher realization of transcendental knowledge, and the conversation itself forms a small booklet. We shall, however, give herewith a summary of the conversation.
Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya was a self-realized soul, although outwardly he belonged to a caste lower than the brāhmaa in social status. He was not in the renounced order of life, and besides that he was a high government servant in the state. Still, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu accepted him as a liberated soul on the strength of the high order of his realization of transcendental knowledge. Similarly, the Lord accepted Śrīla Haridāsa hākura, a veteran devotee of the Lord coming from a Mohammedan family. And there are many other great devotees of the Lord who came from different communities, sects and castes. The Lord’s only criterion was the standard of devotional service of the particular person. He was not concerned with the outward dress of a man; He was concerned only with the inner soul and its activities. Therefore all the missionary activities of the Lord are to be understood to be on the spiritual plane, and as such the cult of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, or the cult of Bhāgavata-dharma, has nothing to do with mundane affairs, sociology, politics, economic development or any such sphere of life. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the purely transcendental urge of the soul.
When He met Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya on the bank of the Godāvarī, the varāśrama-dharma followed by the Hindus was mentioned by the Lord. Śrīla Rāmānanda Rāya said that by following the principles of varāśrama-dharma, the system of four castes and four orders of human life, everyone could realize Transcendence. In the opinion of the Lord, the system of varāśrama-dharma is superficial only, and it has very little to do with the highest realization of spiritual values. The highest perfection of life is to get detached from the material attachment and proportionately realize the transcendental loving service of the Lord. The Personality of Godhead recognizes a living being who is progressing in that line. Devotional service, therefore, is the culmination of the culture of all knowledge. When Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, appeared for the deliverance of all fallen souls, He advised the deliverance of all living entities as follows. The Supreme Absolute Personality of Godhead, from whom all living entities have emanated, must be worshiped by all their respective engagements, because everything that we see is also the expansion of His energy. That is the way of real perfection, and it is approved by all bona fide ācāryas past and present. The system of varāśrama is more or less based on moral and ethical principles. There is very little realization of the Transcendence as such, and Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu rejected it as superficial and asked Rāmānanda Rāya to go further into the matter.
Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya then suggested renunciation of fruitive actions unto the Lord. The Bhagavad-gītā (9.27) advises in this connection: “Whatever you do, whatever you eat and whatever you give, as well as whatever you perform in penance, offer to Me alone.” This dedication on the part of the worker suggests that the Personality of Godhead is a step higher than the impersonal conception of the varāśrama system, but still the relation of the living being and the Lord is not distinct in that way. The Lord therefore rejected this proposition and asked Rāmānanda Rāya to go further.
Rāya then suggested renunciation of the varāśrama-dharma and acceptance of devotional service. The Lord did not approve of this suggestion also for the reason that all of a sudden one should not renounce his position, for that may not bring in the desired result.
It was further suggested by Rāya that attainment of spiritual realization freed from the material conception of life is the topmost achievement for a living being. The Lord rejected this suggestion also because on the plea of such spiritual realization much havoc has been wrought by unscrupulous persons; therefore all of a sudden this is not possible. The Rāya then suggested sincere association of self-realized souls and hearing submissively the transcendental message of the pastimes of the Personality of Godhead. This suggestion was welcomed by the Lord. This suggestion was made following in the footsteps of Brahmājī, who said that the Personality of Godhead is known as ajita, or the one who cannot be conquered or approached by anyone. But such ajita also becomes jita (conquered) by one method, which is very simple and easy. The simple method is that one has to give up the arrogant attitude of declaring oneself to be God Himself. One must be very meek and submissive and try to live peacefully by lending the ear to the speeches of the transcendentally self-realized soul who speaks on the message of Bhāgavata-dharma, or the religion of glorifying the Supreme Lord and His devotees. To glorify a great man is a natural instinct for living beings, but they have not learned to glorify the Lord. Perfection of life is attained simply by glorifying the Lord in association with a self-realized devotee of the Lord.* The self-realized devotee is he who surrenders unto the Lord fully and who does not have attachment for material prosperity. Material prosperity and sense enjoyment and their advancement are all activities of ignorance in human society. Peace and friendship are impossible for a society detached from the association of God and His devotees. It is imperative, therefore, that one sincerely seek the association of pure devotees and hear them patiently and submissively from any position of life. The position of a person in the higher or lower status of life does not hamper one in the path of self-realization. The only thing one has to do is to hear from a self-realized soul with a routine program. The teacher may also deliver lectures from the Vedic literatures, following in the footsteps of the bygone ācāryas who realized the Absolute Truth. Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu recommended this simple method of self-realization generally known as Bhāgavata-dharma. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the perfect guide for this purpose.
Above these topics discussed by the Lord and Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya, there were still more elevated spiritual talks between the two great personalities, and we purposely withhold those topics for the present because one has to come to the spiritual plane before further talks with Rāmānanda Rāya can be heard. We have presented further talks of Śrīla Rāmānanda Rāya with the Lord in another book (Teachings of Lord Caitanya).
At the conclusion of this meeting, Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya was advised by the Lord to retire from service and come to Purī so that they could live together and relish a transcendental relationship. Some time later, Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya retired from the government service and took a pension from the King. He returned to his residence in Purī, where he was one of the most confidential devotees of the Lord. There was another gentleman at Purī of the name Śikhi Māhiti, who was also a confidant like Rāmānanda Rāya. The Lord used to hold confidential talks on spiritual values with three or four companions at Purī, and He passed eighteen years in that way in spiritual trance. His talks were recorded by His private secretary Śrī Dāmodara Gosvāmī, one of the four most intimate devotees.
The Lord extensively traveled all over the southern part of India. The great saint of Mahārāṣṭra known as Saint Tukārāma was also initiated by the Lord. Saint Tukārāma, after initiation by the Lord, overflooded the whole of the Mahārāṣṭra Province with the sakīrtana movement, and the transcendental flow is still rolling on in the southwestern part of the great Indian peninsula.
The Lord excavated from South India two very important old literatures, namely the Brahma-sahitā* and Kṛṣṇa-karāmta, and these two valuable books are authorized studies for the person in the devotional line. The Lord then returned to Purī after His South Indian tour.
On His return to Purī, all the anxious devotees of the Lord got back their life, and the Lord remained there with continued pastimes of His transcendental realizations. The most important incident during that time was His granting audience to King Pratāparudra. King Pratāparudra was a great devotee of the Lord, and he considered himself to be one of the servants of the Lord entrusted with sweeping the temple. This submissive attitude of the King was very much appreciated by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. The King requested both Bhaṭṭācārya and Rāya to arrange his meeting with the Lord. When, however, the Lord was petitioned by His two stalwart devotees, He flatly refused to grant the request, even though it was put forward by personal associates like Rāmānanda Rāya and Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya. The Lord maintained that it is dangerous for a sannyāsī to be in intimate touch with worldly money-conscious men and with women. The Lord was an ideal sannyāsī. No woman could approach the Lord even to offer respects. Women’s seats were accommodated far away from the Lord. As an ideal teacher and ācārya, He was very strict in the routine work of a sannyāsī. Apart from being a divine incarnation, the Lord was an ideal character as a human being. His behavior with other persons was also above suspicion. In His dealing as ācārya, He was harder than the thunderbolt and softer than the rose. One of His associates, Junior Haridāsa, committed a great mistake by lustfully glancing at a young woman. The Lord as Supersoul could detect this lust in the mind of Junior Haridāsa, who was at once banished from the Lord’s association and was never accepted again, even though the Lord was implored to excuse Haridāsa for the mistake. Junior Haridāsa afterwards committed suicide due to being disassociated from the company of the Lord, and the news of suicide was duly related to the Lord. Even at that time the Lord was not forgetful of the offense, and He said that Haridāsa had rightly met with the proper punishment.
On the principles of the renounced order of life and discipline, the Lord knew no compromise, and therefore even though He knew that the King was a great devotee, He refused to see the King, only because the King was a dollar-and-cent man. By this example the Lord wanted to emphasize the proper behavior for a transcendentalist. A transcendentalist has nothing to do with women and money. He must always refrain from such intimate relations. The King was, however, favored by the Lord by the expert arrangement of the devotees. This means that the beloved devotee of the Lord can favor a neophyte more liberally than the Lord. Pure devotees, therefore, never commit an offense at the feet of another pure devotee. An offense at the lotus feet of the Lord is sometimes excused by the merciful Lord, but an offense at the feet of a devotee is very dangerous for one who actually wants to make progress in devotional service.

Om Tat Sat

(My humble salutations to  H H Sri Swami Srila Prabhupada ji and  Bhaktivedanta dot Org  for this devotional collection)

(The Blog  is reverently for all the seekers of truth, lovers of wisdom and   to share the Hindu Dharma with others on the spiritual path and also this is purely  a non-commercial blog)



 पातकरजनीसंहर करुणालय मामुद्धर ॥ नारायण ॥ ११॥
अघबकक्षयकंसारे केशव कृष्ण मुरारे ॥ नारायण ॥ १२॥
हाटकनिभपीताम्बर अभयं कुरु मे मावर ॥ नारायण ॥ १३॥
दशरथराजकुमार दानवमदसंहार ॥ नारायण ॥ १४॥
गोवर्धनगिरिरमण गोपीमानसहरण ॥ नारायण ॥ १५॥


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