Verse: Srimad Bhagvatam 1.1.1
Date: February 22nd, 2010
Place: ISKCON Ujjain, India
Transcription: His Grace Suhrid-Krishna Dasa
Editing: Ranga Radhika Dasi
So today we decided to read chapter by chapter Srimad-Bhagavatam starting from the first Canto, first chapter. So the first verse of the first chapter is the Mangalacharana, invocation. The invocation is to invite auspiciousness or beg for the Lord’s mercy that the mission can be properly accomplished. So this begins with Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya and then it is describing who is that Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the Absolute Truth
janmady asya yato ‘nvayad itaratas cartheshv abhijnah svarat
tene brahma hrida ya adi-kavaye muhyanti yat surayah
tejo-vari-mridam yatha vinimayo yatra tri-sargo ‘mrisha
dhamna svena sada nirasta-kuhakam satyam param dhimahi
[Srimad Bhagavatam 1.1.1]
So after offering obeisances to the Supreme Personality of Godhead Vasudeva, Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya, being described that janmady asya, janma-adi asya means, janma means birth or it can also imply the birth of the entire universe. Janmady asya yato ‘nvayad itaratas cartheshv abhijnah svarat. So the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the direct and indirect cause of the creation, maintenance and destruction. I offer my respectful obeisances unto son of Vasudeva, the all pervading Personality of Godhead. I meditate upon Lord Sri Krishna, so this I meditate upon is actually the last word dhima, the last word of this verse is dhimahi which means I meditate upon. Upon whom? Who is the Absolute Truth, Sri Krishna, and the primary cause of all causes of the creation, sustenance and destruction of the manifested universes. So janmady asya yatah and annayad itaratas, He is directly and indirectly, annayad itaratas cartheshv abhijnah svarat, He is directly and indirectly conscious of all manifestations and He is independent, svarat, because there is no other cause beyond Him. He doesn’t have to depend upon anybody for anything. He is completely independent because there is no cause beyond Him.
It is He only who first imparted the Vedic knowledge unto the heart of Brahma. Tene brahma hrida ya adi-kavaye muhyanti yat surayah. Muhyanti yat surayah – He imparted this knowledge in the heart of Brahma, the knowledge that bewilders even the great sages and demigods. By Him, even the great sages and demigods are placed in illusion, as one is bewildered by His illusory representation of water seen in fire or land seen on water. So illusory representation, tejo-vari-mridam, the illusion that has been caused by teja means fire, vari means water and mridam means earth. So this entire creation is an illusion caused by earth, water and fire. All that has been manifested is nothing but a combination of earth, water and fire. Of course there is beyond that, there is air in ether but the air in ether does not have the manifested form. Air can be felt but air cannot be seen, but up to fire, it can be seen. Earth we can see, water we can see, fire we can see but beyond fire, we cannot see. Can we see air? No. Tejo-vari-mridam yatha vinimayo yatra tri-sargo ‘mrisha. And here Prabhupada in the translation gives another very beautiful point that he is deriving this concept that tejo-vari-mridam as water seen in fire, or reflection seen on water. These are two illusions. Where is water seen in fire? In a mirage. The sand becomes very hot, so the hot sand is like fire, but what one sees in that hot sand? He sees water. And in a pool of water one sees the reflection of the tree. What is that reflection? Is it real? No, it’s a reflection. So these are the two analogies of illusion.
“By Him even the great sages and demigods are placed into illusion as one is bewildered by the illusory representation of water seen in fire, or land seen on water. Only because of Him do the material universes temporarily manifested by the reactions of the three modes of nature appear factual although they are unreal. I therefore meditate upon Him Lord Sri Krishna who is eternally existent in the transcendental abode which is forever free from the illusory representation of the material world. I meditate upon Him for He is the Absolute Truth.”
[Translation SB 1.1.1]
So, it has been pointed out that who should we meditate upon or what should we meditate upon. Meditation is important but what should we meditate upon? We should meditate upon the cause of all causes, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Nowadays all kinds of meditation that is going on in the name of so-called transcendental meditation, but what do they meditate on? Actually meditation is not a big thing. Everyone is meditating, all the time. Some meditations are interrupted and sometimes it is uninterrupted. Meditation has two types: savikalpa samadhi and nirvikalpa samadhi (meditation with interruptions and meditation without interruptions). But everyone is meditating. What they are meditating? Everyone is meditating on money and women. That is the meditation of the materialistic person: kamini and kanchana. That is what everyone is meditating. So meditation is not a big thing. To try to meditate is not a big thing. They are trying to make their meditation nirvikalpa, uninterrupted meditation, but they are meditating sometimes on this, sometimes they are meditating on that. But they are meditating all the time. But here when we approach the Vedic scriptures then we understand that what is the real object of our meditation. The real object of meditation is Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore this Astanga yoga system has one aspect called pratyahara – withdraw. Mind is meditating on matter but now this mind has to be withdrawn from matter and to be projected onto Krishna, Krishna’s lotus feet. So that is the important consideration.
So then it is going to the next verse which is actually the beginning of Srimad-Bhagavatam or the main topic of Srimad-Bhagavatam is beginning here.
dharmah projjhita-kaitavo ‘tra paramo nirmatsaranam satam
vedyam vastavam atra vastu sivadam tapa-trayonmulanam
srimad-bhagavate maha-muni-krte kim va parair isvarah
sadyo hrdy avarudhyate ‘tra krtibhih susrusubhis tat-ksanat
So dharmah projjhita-kaitavo ‘tra paramo nirmatsaranam satam, when all kinds of kaitavo dharma, cheating religions, all kinds of cheating religions are completely given up, projjhita, when all kinds of cheating religions are completely given up and as a result of that the heart becomes completely purified, paramo nirmatsaranam satam. When the heart becomes completely purified, then vedyam vastavam atra vastu sivadam tapa-trayonmulanam, then only one becomes capable or qualified to understand the Absolute Truth. Vedyam vastavam atra vastu, he becomes qualified, when the heart becomes pure then only we are able to understand the Absolute Truth, the vastavam vastu, which causes sivadam, which brings total peace and tranquility. And tapa-trayonmulanam, and as a result of that the three-fold miseries of material existence, adhyatmika, adhidaivika and adhibhautika, these threefold miseries are uprooted, unmulanam. Mula means root and unmulanam uprooted.
Now this point has been specified here, uprooted, when the tree is uprooted completely with the root then there is no possibility for it to grow. One may cut the tree but then again the branches may grow. But when the tree is completely uprooted then the possibility of its growing is not there. So similarly, this process of understanding and accepting the Supreme Personality of Godhead and surrendering unto Him by giving up all kinds of kaitavo dharma, kaitavo dharma means cheating religions. What are the cheating religions? The cheating religions are the religious activities that are motivated for material enjoyment. So Karma Kanda and Jnana Kanda have been considered cheating religions. Karma Kanda is directly cheating. Why? Because in the name of religion they are performing various types of pious activities and what is the objective? To enjoy the material nature. And then Jnana Kanda is get out of this material nature because it is the place of suffering. But that is not the goal of life! Dharma, the goal of dharma is to surrender. Sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhokshaje. [SB 1.2.6] Dharma is surrender unto the lotus feet and rendering devotional service unto Him. That is the real dharma, paro dharma. Sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhokshaje ahaituky apratihata yayatma suprasidati. Because of that, as a result of that, atma suprasidati. The atma, the soul becomes completely satisfied. That is the real dharma. Other activities are satisfying the senses, gratifying the senses – the dharma of gratifying senses, sense gratification. The first is gratify the senses and then when you cannot succeed in gratifying the senses then get out. This is a place of suffering. No matter how much I am trying to enjoy I am only suffering. So this is a very dangerous place. It’s a place of suffering. So get out of here. So that is bhukti and mukti, enjoyment and liberation. We are trying to enjoy and when we cannot enjoy then get out of this material nature. This material nature is a dangerous place to be. If you stay, as long as you stay here you will suffer. Yes, you will suffer but why will you suffer? Because you have not surrendered to the Supreme Lord, that’s why you have to suffer. But when you surrender to the Supreme Lord then there is no suffering.
So the real dharma is to surrender unto the Lord and become engaged in His devotional service. So this is what has been pointed out, tapa-trayonmulanam, then there won’t be any miseries. When one surrenders unto Krishna then there is no misery. When one gets to know who Krishna is and gets to know what is his relationship with Krishna, then there will be no suffering. And not only suffering, there won’t be any possibility of suffering, tapa-trayonmulanam. The threefold miseries are completely uprooted. And srimad-bhagavate maha-muni-krte kim va parair isvarah, this beautiful Bhagavatam compiled by the great sage Vyasadeva, in his maturity is sufficient in itself for God realization. So if we want to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Srimad-Bhagavatam is just sufficient. There is no need for anything else, kim va parair ishvarah. Srimad-bhagavate maha-muni krite. Srimad-Bhagavatam that has been compiled and presented by Mahamuni Vedavyasa is sufficient to give us the perfect understanding about the Supreme Personality of Godhead. What is the need of any other scripture? As soon as one attentively and submissively hears the message of Bhagavatam, by his culture of knowledge the Supreme Lord is established within his heart. Sadyo hrdy avarudhyate ‘tra krtibhih susrusubhis tat-ksanat, immediately the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the culture of the knowledge of the Supreme God will become established within his heart.
So these two verses of Srimad-Bhagavatam are giving the essential understanding of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Therefore these two verses are very important. How many of you memorized these two verses? Raise your hand. Okay, can I expect that tomorrow all hands will go up? Yeah? Okay, how many hands will go up tomorrow, let me see? Okay, so memorize these two verses. Then the third verse of this is describing, actually these three verses are the summary study of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Then the description is, the third verse is describing: what is Srimad-Bhagavatam? What is Srimad-Bhagavatam? Srimad-Bhagavatam is
nigama-kalpa-taror galitam phalam
pibata bhagavatam rasam alayam
muhur aho rasika bhuvi bhavukah
[altar curtains close] Jaya Sri Sri Radha Madana-Mohana ki jaya! Jaya Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai ki Jaya! Jaya Sri Sri Krishna Balarama ki Jaya! Gaura Premanande Hari Hari bol!
Nigama-kalpa-taror galitam phalam. Nigama is Vedic literatures. Vedic literatures have been described in two categories: agama and nigama. So this nigama-kalpa has been compared to a kalpa vriskha. Nigama-kalpa-taror galitam phalam. kalpa-taroh means of the desired tree. Desire tree, so the Vedas are like a desire tree and galitam phalam, galitam means ripened and phalam means fruit. The ripened fruit of this kalpa vriksha of the Vedas, desire tree of the Vedas. Now what is the desire tree? Desire tree is a kind of a tree that fulfils all desires. You go to a desire tree and ask something you will get it. If I go to a desire tree and ask for a big palace, the desire tree will give it to me. If I go and ask the desire tree for a mountain of gold, the desire tree will give it. You can go to a desire tree and ask to become the king of the earth planet, the desire tree can give it. So that is the desire fulfilling tree. This tree fulfills all the desires.
So Vedas are like that. You can go to the Vedas and say, “I want to become the king of the entire earth planet.” Then the Vedas will say, “Okay, just follow these instructions and you will become the king of the earth planet.” What are the instructions in the Vedas to become the king of the earth planet? Perform Ashvamedha Yajna, you perform a horse sacrifice, you will become the king of the earth planet. You want to become Indra, you can go and ask Vedas, the desire tree of Vedas, “I want to become Indra, I am not satisfied with just being the king of the earth planet. I want to become the king of heavenly planets.” Then the desire tree will also give you the instruction, “Okay, you perform one hundred horse sacrifices and you will get the position of Indra.” So this is how the Vedas can fulfill all our desires.
Now if the desire tree is so wonderful, how wonderful is the fruit of that tree? The tree that can fulfill all our desires, now the fruit of that tree, how wonderful will that be? And that fruit is not only the wonderful fruit, it is the ripened fruit! And on top of that, that ripened fruit has been blended with the nectar from the lotus mouth of Srila Sukadeva Gosvami, suka-mukhad amrta-drava-samyutam, nectarean, nectar of Srila Sukadeva Gosvami’s lotus mouth. So that is what Srimad-Bhagavatam is: Srimad-Bhagavatam is the ripened fruit of the desire tree of the Vedas and it has been blended with the lotus mouth, the nectar from the lotus lips, lotus mouth of Sukadeva Gosvami, because Sukadeva Gosvami spoke the Srimad-Bhagavatam.
Srimad Bhagavatam was compiled by Vyasadeva. It was received by Brahma, then given to Narada. It was received by Brahma when he received the instruction from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Supreme Personality of Godhead personally instructed Brahma about Srimad-Bhagavatam through His catuh-sloki. Through four verses Krishna gave Brahma, Narayana gave Brahma the Srimad-Bhagavatam. At the beginning it was only four verses but then it expanded in the heart of Brahma in the form of realization. Then Brahma gave it to his son, Narada. Then Narada gave it to his disciple, Vyasadeva. Maha-muni-krte and Vyasadeva compiled it and then Sukadeva Gosvami received it from Vyasadeva. And now Sukadeva Gosvami is presenting it. Sukadeva Gosvami is a very, very exalted devotee of the Lord. Therefore Bhagavatam became even more relishable because it has been recited by Srila Sukadeva Gosvami. And that is why it has been described here as suka-mukhad amrta-drava-samyutam. And pibata bhagavatam rasam alayam, this Bhagavatam which is rasam alayam, alayam means residence or reservoir and rasa means mellow. So it is the abode of all mellows. There are twelve mellows, dvadasa rasa: santa, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya, madhura and hasya, adbhuta, vira, raudra, bhibatsa, bhayanka and karuna. Five principle mellows and seven secondary mellows. And Srimad-Bhagavatam is the rasam alayam, is the reservoir of all these mellows because Bhagavatam is describing about the Supreme Personality of Godhead who is the source of all these mellows. Those who know how to relish these mellows, who knows? The person bhagavata, the devotees of the Lord know how to relish these mellows and that’s why muhur aho rasika bhuvi bhavukah. Muhur aho, therefore they constantly relish this Srimad-Bhagavatam. Therefore the instruction is nityam bhagavata-sevaya, this Bhagavatam is to be relished constantly, nityam. [SB 1.2.18]
So then it is going to the description, the Bhagavatam now begins here
satram svargaya lokaya
So naimise ‘nimisa-ksetre, in Naimisaranya, rsayah saunakadayah, the sages headed by Saunaka rishi assembled there to perform satram svargaya lokaya, for the benefit of everybody, they performed a sahasra-samam asata, they assembled to perform a thousand-year long sacrifice for the benefit of everyone. So howmany sages assembled, how many? It has been described that sixty thousand sages assembled in Naimisaranya and Saunaka rishi was their lead, head. And
ta ekada tu munayah
sat-krtam sutam asinam
papracchur idam adarat
One day, one morning, ta ekada tu munayah pratar huta-hutagnayah, in the morning after offering their sacrifice they offered the elevated seat to Suta Gosvami, Ugrasrava Suta. And they, papracchur idam adarat, they asked him very fondly, adarat, with respect they asked, papracchur idam adarat, and they told him, Suta Gosvami
tvaya khalu puranani
akhyatany apy adhitani
dharma-sastrani yany uta
That you have studied, you are completely free from all vice, anagha, you are an anagha, you are free from sinful reactions and you are well versed in all the scriptures famous for religious life, and in the Puranas and the histories as well, for you have gone through them under proper guidance and have also explained them.
yani veda-vidam srestho
anye ca munayah suta
[Translation:] Being the eldest learned Vedantist, O Suta Gosvami, you are acquainted with the knowledge of Vyasadeva, who is the incarnation of Godhead, and you also know other sages who are fully versed in all kinds of physical and metaphysical knowledge.
So you know, yani veda-vidam srestho, veda-vidam, and you are the shrestha, among all the Vedantists, among all the knowers of the Vedas, Suta Gosvami has been identified as the best. And you have studied, you have received the mercy of badarayanah. Who is badarayanah? Badarayanah is Vyasadeva. And also, anye ca munayah suta paravara-vido viduh, and other sages as well. So in this way you have studied under the guidance of these exalted personalities. Therefore you know this subject completely [unclear]. And in this way – so I will just quickly go through the rest of the first chapter – in this way they all, headed by Saunaka rishi, the sages of Naimisaranya offered the seat to Suta Gosvami and they started to ask the questions. And the question was, “O learned one, in this iron age of Kali men have but short lives. In the age of Kali the people will have short lives, they will be quarrelsome, they will be lazy, they will be misguided, they will be unlucky and, above all, they will be always disturbed. And the Vedic knowledge is very vast and unless and until one has completely understood all the Vedas, one cannot possibly understand the purpose of the Vedas, the conclusion of the Vedas. So please tell me what should be done?”
suta janasi bhadram te
bhagavan satvatam patih
jato yasya cikirsaya
[Translation:] All blessings upon you, O Suta Gosvami. You know for what purpose the Personality of Godhead appeared in the womb of Devaki as the son of Vasudeva.
Then in this way they questioned about Krishna. They requested him to tell them about the name, form, quality and pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And then they described, “Living beings who are entangled in the complicated meshes of birth and death can be freed immediately by even unconsciously chanting the holy name of Krishna, which is feared by fear personified.” [SB 1.1.14] So they are requesting him to tell them about the names, the glories of the Holy Names of the Lord.
apannah samsrtim ghoram
yan-nama vivaso grnan
tatah sadyo vimucyeta
yad bibheti svayam bhayam
Even if, vivasah grnan, even if one chants the name of the Lord unconsciously – vivasah means unconsciously – even if one chants the name unconsciously just like Ajamila. He didn’t chant the Holy Name of the Lord as such, he just called his son’s name. He called his son by calling Narayana, but because unconsciously he chanted the Holy Name of the Lord, immediately Vishnudutas came and drove away Yamadutas and rescued him. So that is the potency of the Holy Name. So they are requesting him please describe the glory of the Holy Name of the Lord. It is so wonderful that even if one chants the name of the Lord unconsciously, yan-nama vivaso grnan tatah sadyo vimucyeta, immediately he becomes free from all material entanglements. And yad bibheti svayam bhayam, even death personified is afraid of the Holy Name of the Lord. The fear personified is afraid of the Holy Name of the Lord. And then it is described, they are asking, “Those great sages who have completely taken shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord can at once sanctify those who come in touch with them, whereas the waters of the Ganges can sanctify only after prolonged use. Who is there, desiring deliverance from the vices of the age of quarrel, who is not willing to hear the virtuous glories of the Lord? His transcendental acts are magnificent and gracious, and great learned sages like Narada sing of them. Please, therefore, speak to us, who are eager to hear about the adventures He performs in His various incarnations.” [SB 1.1.15-17]
[altar curtains open] Jaya Sri Sri Krishna Balarama ki jaya! Jaya Sri Sri Radha Madan-Mohan Lalita Visakha devi ki jaya! Jaya Sri Sri Gaura Nitai ki jaya! Srila Prabhupada ki jaya!
So nama, rupa, the virtuous glories of the Lord, His transcendental act are magnificent, nama, rupa, guna, lila. “His transcendental acts are magnificent and gracious and great learned sages like Narada sing of them, please, therefore, speak to us, who are eager to hear about the adventures He performs in His various incarnations. O wise Suta, please narrate to us the transcendental pastimes of the Supreme Godhead’s multi-incarnations. Such auspicious adventures and pastimes of the Lord, the supreme controller, are performed by His internal powers.” [SB 1.1.17-18]
vayam tu na vitrpyama
svadu svadu pade pade
We never tire of hearing the transcendental pastimes of the Personality of Godhead, who is glorified by hymns and prayers. Those who have developed a taste for transcendental relationships with Him relish hearing of His pastimes at every moment. Lord Sri Krishna, the Personality of Godhead, along with Balarama, played like a human being, and so masked He performed many superhuman acts. [SB 1.1.19-20]
krtavan kila karmani
saha ramena kesavah
And then they described that, kalim agatam ajnaya ksetre ‘smin vaisnave vayam. [SB 1.1.21] “We Vaishnavas”, so we can see all the sixty thousand sages assembled there, they all were Vaishnavas. Actually all the exalted personalities had a mature stage of spiritual advancement to become a devotee of Vishnu. Although initially they may not, but eventually they become. “So knowing well the age of Kali has already began, we are assembled here in this holy place to hear at great length the transcendental message of Godhead and in this way perform sacrifice. We think that we have met Your Goodness by the will of providence, just so that we may accept you as captain of the ship for those who desire to cross the difficult ocean of Kali, which deteriorates all the good qualities of a human being.” [SB 1.1.21-22]
So the age of Kali is very dangerous. The age of Kali deteriorates all the good qualities of the human being. People lose all the good qualities in this age. They become very, very degraded, they become very sinful. And now we have come here to become delivered from this dangerous situation by riding on a boat, riding on a ship that you are actually guiding, you are leading, you are the captain of the ship. So please take us across this ocean of dangerous material nature of the ship by guiding that ship properly. Since Sri Krishna, the Absolute Truth, the master of all mystic powers, has departed for His own abode, please tell us to whom the religious principles have now gone for shelter. [SB 1.1.23] Bruhi yogesvare krsne brahmanye dharma-varmani, dharma-varmani, He is the protector of dharma. Krishna is the protector of dharma. Svam kastham adhunopete dharmah kam saranam gatah. Now that Krishna has left, whose shelter dharma has taken of, because Krishna was the centre of dharma, the protector of dharma. And now that Krishna has left, who has dharma taken shelter of? And whom should we take shelter of? That is the purpose of the question. So thus ends the first chapter of the first Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, entitled “Questions by the Sages.”
So everyone understood the first chapter? Is it helpful to study like this? In this way we can get a total picture and it is important that we can understand, we can get the total picture of the topic.
Any questions? Yes, [unclear]? We have a mike?
BCS: Oh ya, right, you see Bhagavatam was compiled by Vyasadeva, then spoken by Sukadeva Gosvami and then spoken by Suta Gosvami and then again compiled by Vyasadeva. So we have to understand that this is, Vyasadeva is describing Suta Gosvami’s presentation. Because here he is saying suta mukhad amrita-drava-amrita, right? So obviously it is coming after Sukadeva Gosvami, so the way Suta Gosvami…. So we have to understand that Vyasadeva compiled again but as it was presented by Suta Gosvami with his understanding, I mean from his perspective. In a way, he is actually writing the dictation but at the same time he is giving his commentary.
So any other question?
Okay. So I was thinking, maybe tomorrow we will conduct the Bhagavatam class, morning class out in the open sunlight, in the sun, won’t that be nice? Because I was thinking that you all are freezing. [laughter] And even if you are not freezing, it will be nice to be in the sun. The morning sun in the winter here is so sweet. Now we have to figure out the way we should have it, like previously when we were in that community centre we used to go up on the roof sometimes. We can do that on the roof also here? On this roof or, anyway, Bimal-Krishna and Ganganarayana can figure out where we….
BCS: (speaks bengali) Okay, that is also another idea. Anyway, we will check it out. Haribol. Gaura-Premanande Hari Haribol! Srila Prabhupada ki jaya! Srimad-Bhagavatam ki jaya!