The Appearance of Sukadeva Gosvami

Srimad-Bhagavatam
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Canto 1:”Creation”
SB 1.19: The Appearance of Sukadeva Gosvami

The great sage Śukadeva Gosvāmī was certainly inspired by Lord Kṛṣṇa to appear voluntarily before Mahārāja Parīkṣit, the great devotee of the Lord, just to give him the teachings of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. One can achieve the nucleus of the devotional service of the Lord by the mercy of the spiritual master and the Personality of Godhead. The spiritual master is the manifested representative of the Lord to help one achieve ultimate success. One who is not authorized by the Lord cannot become a spiritual master. Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī is an authorized spiritual master, and thus he was inspired by the Lord to appear before Mahārāja Parīkṣit and instruct him in the teachings of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.

Simply by such questioning and hearing, one can achieve the highest perfectional stage of life.

Text 37
You are the spiritual master of great saints and devotees. I am therefore begging you to show the way of perfection for all persons, and especially for one who is about to die.

Purport
Unless one is perfectly anxious to inquire about the way of perfection, there is no necessity of approaching a spiritual master. A spiritual master is not a kind of decoration for a householder. Generally a fashionable materialist engages a so-called spiritual master without any profit. The pseudo- spiritual master flatters the so-called disciple, and thereby both the master and his ward go to hell without a doubt. Mahārāja Parīkṣit is the right type of disciple because he puts forward questions vital to the interest of all men, particularly for the dying men. The question put forward by Mahārāja Parīkṣit is the basic principle of the complete thesis of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Now let us see how intelligently the great master replies.

Text 38
Please let me know what a man should hear, chant, remember and worship, and also what he should not do. Please explain all this to me.

Text 40
Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī said: The King thus spoke and questioned the sage, using sweet language. Then the great and powerful personality, the son of Vyāsadeva, who knew the principles of religion, began his reply.

Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī 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.

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 Kṛṣṇa is the original Supreme Person, any question about Him is original and perfect. Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said that the highest perfection of life is to achieve the transcendental loving service of Kṛṣṇa. Because questions and answers about Kṛṣṇa elevate one to that transcendental position, the questions of Mahārāja Parīkṣit about Kṛṣṇa philosophy are greatly glorified. Mahārāja Parīkṣit wanted to absorb his mind completely in Kṛṣṇa, and such absorption can be effected simply by hearing about the uncommon activities of Kṛṣṇa. For instance, in the Bhagavad-gītā it is stated that simply by understanding the transcendental nature of Lord Kṛṣṇa’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 Kṛṣṇa. So Mahārāja Parīkṣit requested Śukadeva Gosvāmī to narrate the activities of Kṛṣṇa so that he could engage his mind in Kṛṣṇa. The activities of Kṛṣṇa are nondifferent from Kṛṣṇa Himself. As long as one is engaged in hearing such transcendental activities of Kṛṣṇa, he remains aloof from the conditional life of material existence. The topics of Lord Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa. Wherever the Ganges waters go, they purify the land and the person who bathes in them. Similarly, kṛṣṇa-kathā, or the topics of Kṛṣṇa, are so pure that wherever they are spoken, the place, the hearer, the inquirer, the speaker and all concerned become purified. (SB 2.1: The First Step in God Realization)

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