Perfect Segue

Srimad Bhagavatam

This morning I was marveling at how beautifully Srila Prabhupada segues [def: an uninterrupted transition from one song to another. 2. go on without a pause.] from the First Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam into the Second Canto. This Srimad Bhagavatam, is truly one of the most amazing books in existence today!

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. (SB 1.19.37)

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. (SB 1.19.38)

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… (SB 1.19.40) [End of First Canto]

[Start of Second Canto]…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. (SB 2.1.1)

…That very Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam I shall recite before you because you are the most sincere devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa. One who gives full attention and respect to hearing Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam achieves unflinching faith in the Supreme Lord, the giver of salvation. (SB 2.1.10)

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. (from purport to SB 1.19.37)

Full translation and purports

Srimad Bhagavatam
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
End of First Canto–Start of Second Canto

TEXT 37

ataḥ pṛcchāmi saṁsiddhiṁ
yogināṁ paramaṁ gurum
puruṣasyeha yat kāryaṁ
mriyamāṇasya sarvathā

ataḥ—therefore; pṛcchāmi—beg to inquire; saṁsiddhim—the way of perfection; yoginām—of the saints; paramam—the supreme; gurum—the spiritual master; puruṣasya—of a person; iha—in this life; yat—whatever; kāryam—duty; mriyamāṇasya—of one who is going to die; sarvathā—in every way.

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

yac chrotavyam atho japyaṁ
yat kartavyaṁ nṛbhiḥ prabho
smartavyaṁ bhajanīyaṁ vā
brūhi yad vā viparyayam

yat—whatever; śrotavyam—worth hearing; atho—thereof; japyam—chanted; yat—what also; kartavyam—executed; nṛbhiḥ—by the people in general; prabho—O master; smartavyam—that which is remembered; bhajanīyam—worshipable; vā—either; brūhi—please explain; yad vā—what it may be; viparyayam—against the principle.

TRANSLATION

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 39

nūnaṁ bhagavato brahman
gṛheṣu gṛha-medhinām
na lakṣyate hy avasthānam
api go-dohanaṁ kvacit

nūnam—because; bhagavataḥ—of you, who are powerful; brahman—O brāhmaṇa; gṛheṣu—in the houses; gṛha-medhinām—of the householders; na—not; lakṣyate—are seen; hi—exactly; avasthānam—staying in; api—even; go-dohanam—milking the cow; kvacit—rarely.

TRANSLATION

O powerful brāhmaṇa, it is said that you hardly stay in the houses of men long enough to milk a cow.

PURPORT

Saints and sages in the renounced order of life go to the houses of the householders at the time they milk the cows, early in the morning, and ask some quantity of milk for subsistence. A pound of milk fresh from the milk bag of a cow is sufficient to feed an adult with all vitamin values, and therefore saints and sages live only on milk. Even the poorest of the householders keep at least ten cows, each delivering twelve to twenty quarts of milk, and therefore no one hesitates to spare a few pounds of milk for the mendicants. It is the duty of householders to maintain the saints and sages, like the children. So a saint like Śukadeva Gosvāmī would hardly stay at the house of a householder for more than five minutes in the morning. In other words, such saints are very rarely seen in the houses of householders, and Mahārāja Parīkṣit therefore prayed to him to instruct him as soon as possible. The householders also should be intelligent enough to get some transcendental information from visiting sages. The householder should not foolishly ask a saint to deliver what is available in the market. That should be the reciprocal relation between the saints and the householders.

TEXT 40

sūta uvāca

evam ābhāṣitaḥ pṛṣṭaḥ
sa rājñā ślakṣṇayā girā
pratyabhāṣata dharma-jño
bhagavān bādarāyaṇiḥ

sūtaḥ uvāca—Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī said; evam—thus; ābhāṣitaḥ—being spoken; pṛṣṭaḥ—and asked for; saḥ—he; rājñā—by the King; ślakṣṇayā—by sweet; girā—language; pratyabhāṣata—began to reply; dharma-jñaḥ—one who knows the principles of religion; bhagavān—the powerful personality; bādarāyaṇiḥ—son of Vyāsadeva.

TRANSLATION

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.

SECOND CANNTO

TEXT 1

śrī-śuka uvāca

varīyān eṣa te praśnaḥ
kṛto loka-hitaṁ nṛpa
ātmavit-sammataḥ puṁsāṁ
śrotavyādiṣu yaḥ paraḥ

śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; varīyān—glorious; eṣaḥ—this; te—your; praśnaḥ—question; kṛtaḥ—made by you; loka-hitam—beneficial for all men; nṛpa—O King; ātmavit—transcendentalist; sammataḥ—approved; puṁsām—of all men; śrotavya-ādiṣu—in all kinds of hearing; yaḥ—what is; paraḥ—the supreme.

TRANSLATION

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.

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 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.

TEXT 10

tad ahaṁ te ’bhidhāsyāmi
mahā-pauruṣiko bhavān
yasya śraddadhatām āśu
syān mukunde matiḥ satī

tat—that; aham—I; te—unto you; abhidhāsyāmi—shall recite; mahā-pauruṣikaḥ—the most sincere devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa; bhavān—your good self; yasya—of which; śraddadhatām—of one who gives full respect and attention; āśu—very soon; syāt—it so becomes; mukunde—unto the Lord, who awards salvation; matiḥ—faith; satī—unflinching.

TRANSLATION

That very Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam I shall recite before you because you are the most sincere devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa. One who gives full attention and respect to hearing Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam achieves unflinching faith in the Supreme Lord, the giver of salvation.

PURPORT

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is recognized Vedic wisdom, and the system of receiving Vedic knowledge is called avaroha-panthā, 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, Śukadeva Gosvāmī, is ready to recite exactly what he has learned from his great father Śrīla Vyāsadeva, and the disciple, Mahārāja Parīkṣit, is a great devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa. A devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa 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-gītā, in which it is clearly described that the Lord (Śrī Kṛṣṇa) is everything, and that to surrender unto Him solely and wholly makes one the most perfectly pious man. This unflinching faith in Lord Kṛṣṇa prepares one to become a student of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and one who hears Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam from a devotee like Śukadeva Gosvāmī is sure to attain salvation at the end, as Mahārāja Parīkṣit did. The professional reciter of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and the pseudodevotees whose faith is based on one week’s hearing are different from Śukadeva Gosvāmī and Mahārāja Parīkṣit. Śrīla Vyāsadeva explained Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam unto Śukadeva Gosvāmī from the very beginning of the janmādy asya [Bhāg. 1.1.1] verse, and so Śukadeva Gosvāmī also explained it to the Ding. Lord Kṛṣṇa is described as the Mahāpuruṣa in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (Canto Eleven) in His devotional feature as Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is Lord Kṛṣṇa 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 Mahāpuruṣa feature of Lord Kṛṣṇa.

dhyeyaṁ sadā paribhava-ghnam abhīṣṭa-dohaṁ
tīrthāspadaṁ śiva-viriñci-nutaṁ śaraṇyam
bhṛtyārti-haṁ praṇata-pāla bhavābdhi-potaṁ
vande mahā-puruṣa te caraṇāravindam

tyaktvā su-dustyaja-surepsita-rājya-lakṣmīṁ
dharmiṣṭha ārya-vacasā yad agād araṇyam
māyā-mṛgaṁ dayitayepsitam anvadhāvad
vande mahā-puruṣa te caraṇāravindam

(Bhāg. 11.5.33–34)

In other words, puruṣa means the enjoyer, and mahāpuruṣa means the supreme enjoyer, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead Śrī Kṛṣṇa. One who deserves to approach the Supreme Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is called the mahā-pauruṣika. Anyone who hears Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 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 Mahārāja Parīkṣit in the matter of hearing Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and there was none so qualified as Śukadeva Gosvāmī to recite the text of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Therefore, anyone who follows in the footsteps of either the ideal reciter or the ideal hearer, Śukadeva Gosvāmī and Mahārāja Parīkṣit respectively, will undoubtedly attain salvation like them. Mahārāja Parīkṣit attained salvation by hearing only, and Śukadeva Gosvāmī 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 Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, beginning with the janmādy asya [Bhāg. 1.1.1] verse up to the last one in the Twelfth Canto, was spoken by Śukadeva Gosvāmī for the attainment of salvation by Mahārāja Parīkṣit. In the Padma Purāṇa, it is mentioned that Gautama Muni advised Mahārāja Ambarīṣa to hear regularly Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam as it was recited by Śukadeva Gosvāmī, and herein it is confirmed that Mahārāja Ambarīṣa heard Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam from the very beginning to the end, as it was spoken by Śukadeva Gosvāmī. One who is actually interested in the Bhāgavatam, 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 Mahārāja Ambarīṣa or Mahārāja Parīkṣit and hear it from a bona fide representative of Śukadeva Gosvāmī.

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