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Śrīmad Bhāgavata Puranam – Introduction -4

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Śrīmad Bhāgavata Puranam


As long as the Lord remained at Purī, thousands of His devotees used to come to see Him during the Ratha-yātrā car festival of Lord Jagannātha. And during the car festival, the washing of the Guṇḍicā temple under the direct supervision of the Lord was an important function. The Lord’s congregational sakīrtana movement at Purī was a unique exhibition for the mass of people. That is the way to turn the mass mind towards spiritual realization. The Lord inaugurated this system of mass sakīrtana, and leaders of all countries can take advantage of this spiritual movement in order to keep the mass of people in a pure state of peace and friendship with one another. This is now the demand of the present human society all over the world.
After some time the Lord again started on His tour towards northern India, and He decided to visit Vndāvana and its neighboring places. He passed through the jungles of Jharikhaṇḍa (Madhya Bhārata), and all the wild animals also joined His sakīrtana movement. The wild tigers, elephants, bears and deer all together accompanied the Lord, and the Lord accompanied them in sakīrtana. By this He proved that by the propagation of the sakīrtana movement (congregational chanting and glorifying of the name of the Lord) even the wild animals can live in peace and friendship, and what to speak of men who are supposed to be civilized. No man in the world will refuse to join the sakīrtana movement. Nor is the Lord’s sakīrtana movement restricted to any caste, creed, color or species. Here is direct evidence of His great mission: He allowed even the wild animals to partake in His great movement.
On His way back from Vndāvana He first came to Prayāga, where He met Rūpa Gosvāmī along with his younger brother, Anupama. Then He came down to Benares (Vārāasī). For two months, He instructed Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī in the transcendental science. The instruction to Sanātana Gosvāmī is in itself a long narration, and full presentation of the instruction will not be possible here. The main ideas are given as follows.
Sanātana Gosvāmī (formerly known as Sākara Mallika) was in the cabinet service of the Bengal government under the regime of Nawab Hussain Shah. He decided to join with the Lord and thus retired from the service. On His way back from Vndāvana, when He reached Vārāasī, the Lord became the guest of Śrī Tapana Miśra and Candraśekhara, assisted by a Mahārāṣṭra brāhmaa. At that time Vārāasī was headed by a great sannyāsī of the Māyāvāda school named Śrīpāda Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī. When the Lord was at Vārāasī, the people in general became more attracted to Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu on account of His mass sakīrtana movement. Wherever He visited, especially the Viśvanātha temple, thousands of pilgrims would follow Him. Some were attracted by His bodily features, and others were attracted by His melodious songs glorifying the Lord.
The Māyāvādī sannyāsīs designate themselves as Nārāyaa. Vārāasī is still overflooded with many Māyāvādī sannyāsīs. Some people who saw the Lord in His sakīrtana party considered Him to be actually Nārāyaa, and this report reached the camp of the great sannyāsī Prakāśānanda.
In India there is always a kind of spiritual rivalry between the Māyāvāda and Bhāgavata schools, and thus when the news of the Lord reached Prakāśānanda he knew that the Lord was a Vaiṣṇava sannyāsī, and therefore he minimized the value of the Lord before those who brought him the news. He deprecated the activities of the Lord because of His preaching the sakīrtana movement, which was in his opinion nothing but religious sentiment. Prakāśānanda was a profound student of the Vedānta, and he advised his followers to give attention to the Vedānta and not to indulge in sakīrtana.
One devotee brāhmaa, who became a devotee of the Lord, did not like the criticism of Prakāśānanda, and he went to the Lord to express his regrets. He told the Lord that when he uttered the Lord’s name before the sannyāsī Prakāśānanda, the latter strongly criticized the Lord, although the brāhmaa heard Prakāśānanda uttering several times the name Caitanya. The brāhmaa was astonished to see that the sannyāsī Prakāśānanda could not vibrate the sound Kṛṣṇa even once, although he uttered the name Caitanya several times.
The Lord smilingly explained to the devotee brāhmaa why the Māyāvādī cannot utter the holy name of Kṛṣṇa. “The Māyāvādīs are offenders at the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, although they utter always brahma, ātmā or caitanya, etc. And because they are offenders at the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, they are actually unable to utter the holy name of Kṛṣṇa. The name Kṛṣṇa and the Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa are identical. There is no difference in the absolute realm between the name, form or person of the Absolute Truth because in the absolute realm everything is transcendental bliss. There is no difference between the body and the soul for the Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa. Thus He is different from the living entity, who is always different from his outward body. Because of Kṛṣṇa’s transcendental position, it is very difficult for a layman to actually know the Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa, His holy name and fame, etc. His name, fame, form and pastimes all are one and the same transcendental identity, and they are not knowable by the exercise of the material senses.
“The transcendental relationship of the pastimes of the Lord is the source of still more bliss than one can experience by realization of Brahman or by becoming one with the Supreme. Had it not been so, then those who are already situated in the transcendental bliss of Brahman would not have been attracted by the transcendental bliss of the pastimes of the Lord.”
After this, a great meeting was arranged by the devotees of the Lord in which all the sannyāsīs were invited, including the Lord and Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī. In this meeting both the scholars (the Lord and Prakāśānanda) had a long discourse on the spiritual values of the sakīrtana movement, and a summary is given below.
The great Māyāvādī sannyāsī Prakāśānanda inquired from the Lord as to the reason for His preferring the sakīrtana movement to the study of the Vedānta-sūtra. Prakāśānanda said that it is the duty of a sannyāsī to read the Vedānta-sūtra. What caused the Lord to indulge in sakīrtana?
After this inquiry, the Lord submissively replied: “I have taken to the sakīrtana movement instead of the study of Vedānta because I am a great fool.” The Lord thus represented Himself as one of the numberless fools of this age who are absolutely incapable of studying the Vedānta philosophy. The fools’ indulgence in the study of Vedānta has caused so much havoc in society. The Lord thus continued: “And because I am a great fool, My spiritual master forbade Me to play with Vedānta philosophy. He said that it is better that I chant the holy name of the Lord, for that would deliver Me from material bondage.
“In this Age of Kali there is no other religion but the glorification of the Lord by utterance of His holy name, and that is the injunction of all the revealed scriptures. And My spiritual master has taught Me one śloka [from the Bhan-nāradīya Purāa]:
harer nāma harer nāma harer nāmaiva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva nāsty eva gatir anyathā
“So on the order of My spiritual master, I chant the holy name of Hari, and I am now mad after this holy name. Whenever I utter the holy name I forget Myself completely, and sometimes I laugh, cry and dance like a madman. I thought that I had actually gone mad by this process of chanting, and therefore I asked My spiritual master about it. He informed Me that this was the real effect of chanting the holy name, which produces a transcendental emotion that is a rare manifestation. It is the sign of love of God, which is the ultimate end of life. Love of God is transcendental to liberation [mukti], and thus it is called the fifth stage of spiritual realization, above the stage of liberation. By chanting the holy name of Kṛṣṇa one attains the stage of love of God, and it was good that fortunately I was favored with the blessing.”
On hearing this statement from the Lord, the Māyāvādī sannyāsī asked the Lord what was the harm in studying the Vedānta along with chanting the holy name. Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī knew well that the Lord was formerly known as Nimāi Paṇḍita, a very learned scholar of Navadvīpa, and His posing as a great fool was certainly to some purpose. Hearing this inquiry by the sannyāsī, the Lord smiled and said, “My dear sir, if you do not mind, I will answer your inquiry.”
All the sannyāsīs there were very much pleased with the Lord for His honest dealings, and they unanimously replied that they would not be offended by whatever He replied. The Lord then spoke as follows:
Vedānta-sūtra consists of transcendental words or sounds uttered by the transcendental Personality of Godhead. As such, in the Vedānta there cannot be any human deficiencies like mistake, illusion, cheating or inefficiency. The message of the Upaniads is expressed in the Vedānta-sūtra, and what is said there directly is certainly glorified. Whatever interpretations have been given by Śakarācārya have no direct bearing on the sūtra, and therefore such commentation spoils everything.
“The word Brahman indicates the greatest of all, which is full with transcendental opulences, superior to all. Brahman is ultimately the Personality of Godhead, and He is covered by indirect interpretations and established as impersonal. Everything that is in the spiritual world is full of transcendental bliss, including the form, body, place and paraphernalia of the Lord. All are eternally cognizant and blissful. It is not the fault of the Ācārya Śakara that he has so interpreted Vedānta, but if someone accepts it, then certainly he is doomed. Anyone who accepts the transcendental body of the Personality of Godhead as something mundane certainly commits the greatest blasphemy.”
The Lord thus spoke to the sannyāsī almost in the same way that He spoke to the Bhaṭṭācārya of Purī, and by forceful arguments He nullified the Māyāvāda interpretations of the Vedānta-sūtra. All the sannyāsīs there claimed that the Lord was the personified Vedas and the Personality of Godhead. All the sannyāsīs were converted to the cult of bhakti, all of them accepted the holy name of the Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and they dined together with the Lord in the midst of them. After this conversion of the sannyāsīs, the popularity of the Lord increased at Vārāasī, and thousands of people assembled to see the Lord in person. The Lord thus established the primary importance of Śrīmad-Bhāgavata-dharma, and He defeated all other systems of spiritual realization. After that everyone at Vārāasī was overwhelmed with the transcendental sakīrtana movement.
While the Lord was camping at Vārāasī, Sanātana Gosvāmī also arrived after retiring from office. He was formerly one of the state ministers in the government of Bengal, then under the regime of Nawab Hussain Shah. He had some difficulty in getting relief from the state service, for the Nawab was reluctant to let him leave. Nonetheless he came to Vārāasī, and the Lord taught him the principles of devotional service. He taught him about the constitutional position of the living being, the cause of his bondage under material conditions, his eternal relation with the Personality of Godhead, the transcendental position of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, His expansions in different plenary portions of incarnations, His control of different parts of the universe, the nature of His transcendental abode, devotional activities, their different stages of development, the rules and regulations for achieving the gradual stages of spiritual perfection, the symptoms of different incarnations in different ages, and how to detect them with reference to the context of revealed scriptures.
The Lord’s teachings to Sanātana Gosvāmī form a big chapter in the text of Śrī Caitanya-caritāmta, and to explain the whole teachings in minute details will require a volume in itself. These are treated in detail in our book Teachings of Lord Caitanya.
At Mathurā, the Lord visited all the important places; then He reached Vndāvana. Lord Caitanya appeared in the family of a high-caste brāhmaa, and over and above that, as a sannyāsī He was the preceptor for all the varas and āśramas. But He used to accept meals from all classes of Vaiṣṇavas. At Mathurā the Sanoiyā brāhmaas are considered to be in the lower status of society, but the Lord accepted meals in the family of such a brāhmaa also because His host happened to be a disciple of the Mādhavendra Purī family.
At Vndāvana the Lord took bath in twenty-four important bathing places, or ghātas. He traveled to all the twelve important vanas (forests). In these forests all the cows and birds welcomed Him, as if He were their very old friend. The Lord also began to embrace all the trees of those forests, and by doing so He felt the symptoms of transcendental ecstasy. Sometimes He fell unconscious, but He was made to regain consciousness by the chanting of the holy name of Kṛṣṇa. The transcendental symptoms that were visible on the body of the Lord during His travel within the forest of Vndāvana were all unique and inexplicable, and we have just given a synopsis only.
Some of the important places that were visited by the Lord in Vndāvana were Kāmyavana, Ādīśvara, Pāvana-sarovara, Khadiravana, Śeaśāyī, Khela-tīrtha, Bhāṇḍīravana, Bhadravana, Śrīvana, Lauhavana, Mahāvana, Gokula, Kāliya-hrada, Dvādaśāditya, Keśī-tīrtha, etc. When He saw the place where the rāsa dance took place, He at once fell down in trance. As long as He remained at Vndāvana, He made His headquarters at Akrūra-ghāa.
From Vndāvana His personal servitor Kṛṣṇadāsa Vipra induced Him to go back to Prayāga to take bath during the Māgha Mela. The Lord acceded to this proposal, and they started for Prayāga. On the way they met with some Pathans, amongst whom there was a learned Moulana. The Lord had some talks with the Moulana and his companions, and the Lord convinced the Moulana that in the Koran also there are descriptions of Bhāgavata-dharma and Kṛṣṇa. All the Pathans were converted to His cult of devotional service.
When He returned to Prayāga, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and his youngest brother met Him near Bindu-mādhava temple. This time the Lord was welcomed by the people of Prayāga more respectfully. Vallabha Bhaṭṭa, who resided on the other bank of Prayāga in the village of Āāila, was to receive Him at his place, but while going there the Lord jumped in the River Yamunā. With great difficulty He was picked up in an unconscious state. Finally He visited the headquarters of Vallabha Bhaṭṭa. This Vallabha Bhaṭṭa was one of His chief admirers, but later on he inaugurated his own party, the Vallabha sampradāya.
On the bank of the Daśāśvamedha-ghāa at Prayāga for ten days continually the Lord instructed Rūpa Gosvāmī in the science of devotional service to the Lord. He taught the Gosvāmī the divisions of the living creatures in the 8,400,000 species of life. Then He taught him about the human species. Out of them He discussed the followers of the Vedic principles, out of them the fruitive workers, out of them the empiric philosophers, and out of them the liberated souls. He said that there are only a few who are actually pure devotees of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī was the younger brother of Sanātana Gosvāmī, and when he retired from service he brought with him two boatfuls of gold coins. This means that he brought with him some hundreds of thousands of rupees accumulated by the labor of his service. And before leaving home for Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, he divided the wealth as follows: fifty percent for the service of the Lord and His devotees, twenty-five percent for relatives and twenty-five percent for his personal needs in case of emergency. In that way he set an example for all householders.
The Lord taught the Gosvāmī about devotional service, comparing it to a creeper, and advised him to protect the bhakti creeper most carefully against the mad elephant offense against the pure devotees. In addition, the creeper has to be protected from the desires of sense enjoyment, monistic liberation and perfection of the haha-yoga system. They are all detrimental on the path of devotional service. Similarly, violence against living beings, and desire for worldly gain, worldly reception and worldly fame are all detrimental to the progress of bhakti, or Bhāgavata-dharma.
Pure devotional service must be freed from all desires for sense gratification, fruitive aspirations and culture of monistic knowledge. One must be freed from all kinds of designations, and when one is thus converted to transcendental purity, one can then serve the Lord by purified senses.
As long as there is the desire to enjoy sensually or to become one with the Supreme or to possess the mystic powers, there is no question of attaining the stage of pure devotional service.
Devotional service is conducted under two categories, namely primary practice and spontaneous emotion. When one can rise to the platform of spontaneous emotion, he can make further progress by spiritual attachment, feeling, love, and many higher stages of devotional life for which there are no English words. We have tried to explain the science of devotional service in our book The Nectar of Devotion, based on the authority of Bhakti-rasāmta-sindhu by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī.
Transcendental devotional service has five stages of reciprocation:
1. The self-realization stage just after liberation from material bondage is called the śānta, or neutral, stage.
2. After that, when there is development of transcendental knowledge of the Lord’s internal opulences, the devotee engages himself in the dāsya stage.
3. By further development of the dāsya stage, a respectful fraternity with the Lord develops, and above that a feeling of friendship on equal terms becomes manifest. Both these stages are called the sakhya stage, or devotional service in friendship.
4. Above this is the stage of parental affection toward the Lord, and this is called the vātsalya stage.
5. And above this is the stage of conjugal love, and this stage is called the highest stage of love of God, although there is no difference in quality in any of the above stages. The last stage of conjugal love of God is called the mādhurya stage.
Thus He instructed Rūpa Gosvāmī in devotional science and deputed him to Vndāvana to excavate the lost sites of the transcendental pastimes of the Lord. After this, the Lord returned to Vārāasī and delivered the sannyāsīs and instructed the elder brother of Rūpa Gosvāmī. We have already discussed this.
The Lord left only eight ślokas of His instructions in writing, and they are known as the Śikāṣṭaka. All other literatures of His divine cult were extensively written by the Lord’s principal followers, the Six Gosvāmīs of Vndāvana, and their followers. The cult of Caitanya philosophy is richer than any other, and it is admitted to be the living religion of the day with the potency for spreading as viśva-dharma, or universal religion. We are glad that the matter has been taken up by some enthusiastic sages like Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja and his disciples. We shall eagerly wait for the happy days of Bhāgavata-dharma, or prema-dharma, inaugurated by the Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
The eight ślokas completed by the Lord are:
1
Glory to the Śrī Kṛṣṇa sakīrtana, which cleanses the heart of all the dust accumulated for years and extinguishes the fire of conditional life, of repeated birth and death. This sakīrtana movement is the prime benediction for humanity at large because it spreads the rays of the benediction moon. It is the life of all transcendental knowledge. It increases the ocean of transcendental bliss, and it enables us to fully taste the nectar for which we are always anxious.
2
O my Lord, Your holy name alone can render all benediction to living beings, and thus You have hundreds and millions of names like Kṛṣṇa and Govinda. In these transcendental names You have invested all Your transcendental energies. There are not even hard and fast rules for chanting these names. O my Lord, out of kindness You enable us to easily approach You by chanting Your holy names, but I am so unfortunate that I have no attraction for them.
3
One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige, and ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.
4
O almighty Lord, I have no desire to accumulate wealth, nor do I desire beautiful women, nor do I want any number of followers. I only want Your causeless devotional service birth after birth.
5
O son of Mahārāja Nanda [Kṛṣṇa], I am Your eternal servitor, yet somehow or other I have fallen into the ocean of birth and death. Please pick me up from this ocean of death and place me as one of the atoms of Your lotus feet.
6
O my Lord, when will my eyes be decorated with tears of love flowing constantly when I chant Your holy name? When will my voice choke up, and when will the hairs of my body stand on end at the recitation of Your name?
7
O Govinda! Feeling Your separation, I am considering a moment to be like twelve years or more. Tears are flowing from my eyes like torrents of rain, and I am feeling all vacant in the world in Your absence.
8
I know no one but Kṛṣṇa as my Lord, and He shall remain so even if He handles me roughly in His embrace or makes me brokenhearted by not being present before me. He is completely free to do anything and everything, for He is always my worshipful Lord unconditionally.


Preface

We must know the present need of human society. And what is that need? Human society is no longer bounded by geographical limits to particular countries or communities. Human society is broader than in the Middle Ages, and the world tendency is toward one state or one human society. The ideals of spiritual communism, according to Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, are based more or less on the oneness of the entire human society, nay, of the entire energy of living beings. The need is felt by great thinkers to make this a successful ideology. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam will fill this need in human society. It begins, therefore, with an aphorism of Vedānta philosophy, janmādy asya yata, to establish the ideal of a common cause.
Human society, at the present moment, is not in the darkness of oblivion. It has made rapid progress in the fields of material comforts, education and economic development throughout the entire world. But there is a pinprick somewhere in the social body at large, and therefore there are large-scale quarrels, even over less important issues. There is need of a clue as to how humanity can become one in peace, friendship and prosperity with a common cause. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam will fill this need, for it is a cultural presentation for the respiritualization of the entire human society.
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam should be introduced also in the schools and colleges, for it is recommended by the great student-devotee Prahlāda Mahārāja in order to change the demoniac face of society.
kaumāra ācaret prājño
dharmān bhāgavatān iha

durlabha
mānua janma
tad apy adhruvam artha-dam
(Bhāg. 7.6.1)
Disparity in human society is due to lack of principles in a godless civilization. There is God, or the Almighty One, from whom everything emanates, by whom everything is maintained and in whom everything is merged to rest. Material science has tried to find the ultimate source of creation very insufficiently, but it is a fact that there is one ultimate source of everything that be. This ultimate source is explained rationally and authoritatively in the beautiful Bhāgavatam, or Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the transcendental science not only for knowing the ultimate source of everything but also for knowing our relation with Him and our duty toward perfection of the human society on the basis of this perfect knowledge. It is powerful reading matter in the Sanskrit language, and it is now rendered into English elaborately so that simply by a careful reading one will know God perfectly well, so much so that the reader will be sufficiently educated to defend himself from the onslaught of atheists. Over and above this, the reader will be able to convert others to accepting God as a concrete principle.
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam begins with the definition of the ultimate source. It is a bona fide commentary on the Vedānta-sūtra by the same author, Śrīla Vyāsadeva, and gradually it develops into nine cantos up to the highest state of God realization. The only qualification one needs to study this great book of transcendental knowledge is to proceed step by step cautiously and not jump forward haphazardly as with an ordinary book. It should be gone through chapter by chapter, one after another. The reading matter is so arranged with the original Sanskrit text, its English transliteration, synonyms, translation and purports so that one is sure to become a God-realized soul at the end of finishing the first nine cantos.
The Tenth Canto is distinct from the first nine cantos because it deals directly with the transcendental activities of the Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa. One will be unable to capture the effects of the Tenth Canto without going through the first nine cantos. The book is complete in twelve cantos, each independent, but it is good for all to read them in small installments one after another.
I must admit my frailties in presenting Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, but still I am hopeful of its good reception by the thinkers and leaders of society on the strength of the following statement of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.5.11):
tad-vāg-visargo janatāgha-viplavo
yasmin prati-ślokam abaddhavaty api

nāmāny anantasya yaśo ’
kitāni yac
ch
ṛṇvanti gāyanti gṛṇanti sādhava
“On the other hand, that literature which is full of descriptions of the transcendental glories of the name, fame, form and pastimes of the unlimited Supreme Lord is a transcendental creation meant for bringing about a revolution in the impious life of a misdirected civilization. Such transcendental literature, even though irregularly composed, is heard, sung and accepted by purified men who are thoroughly honest.”
O tat sat
 



Om Tat Sat
                                                        
(Continued...) 


(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)





नारायणस्तोत्रम् 

 


शरयूतीरविहार सज्जनऋषिमन्दार ॥ नारायण ॥ १६॥
विश्वामित्रमखत्र विविधपरासुचरित्र ॥ नारायण ॥ १७॥
ध्वजवज्राङ्कुशपाद धरणीसुतसहमोद ॥ नारायण ॥ १८॥
जनकसुताप्रतिपाल जय जय संसृतिलील ॥ नारायण ॥ १९॥
दशरथवाग्धृतिभार दण्डकवनसञ्चार ॥ नारायण ॥ २०॥


 

 


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