Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.2.3 , Rome , 1974-05-27
Nitāi: Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. [devotees repeat] [leads chanting of verse, etc.]
adhyātma-dīpam atititīrṣatāṁ tamo 'ndham
saṁsāriṇāṁ karuṇayāha purāṇa-guhyaṁ
taṁ vyāsa-sūnum upayāmi guruṁ munīnām
Prabhupāda: [commenting, as Nitāi is chanting whole verse without devotees chanting responsively] No. They will not be able to follow.
Nitāi: I'm just going..., doing it myself.
Prabhupāda: Oh. All right.
Nitāi: I'm just chanting three times.
Prabhupāda: All right.
Prabhupāda: Let them give chance to...
Devotee: We don't have books.
Prabhupāda: Yaḥ svānubhāvam, like that.
adhyātma-dīpam atititīrṣatāṁ tamo 'ndham
saṁsāriṇāṁ karuṇayāha purāṇa-guhyaṁ
taṁ vyāsa-sūnum upayāmi guruṁ munīnām
"Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto him, Śuka, the spiritual master of all sages, the son of Vyāsadeva, who, out of his causeless compassion for those gross materialists who struggle to cross over the darkest region of material existence, spoke this Purāṇa, supplement to the Vedas, the cream of Vedic knowledge, after having personally assimilated it by experience."
adhyātma-dīpam atititīrṣatāṁ tamo 'ndham
saṁsāriṇāṁ karuṇayāha purāṇa-guhyaṁ
taṁ vyāsa-sūnum upayāmi guruṁ munīnām
So Sūta Gosvāmī is offering respect to the spiritual master, Śukadeva Gosvāmī. When we offer respect to the spiritual master, or anyone, we glorify his transcendental quality. That is glorification. Just like we offer respect to Kṛṣṇa, glorify Him. So this is very important process, to glorify the spiritual master by his activities, what he is actually doing. That is glorification.
So what Śukadeva Gosvāmī did? Svānubhāvam. He first of all heard from his father, Vyāsadeva, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and realized it. Not a professional Bhāgavata reciter. Just like in India now there are a class of men, especially in Vṛndāvana, the gosvāmīs, they make a business. Therefore there are many, many very artistic Bhāgavata reciter, but they could not turn even one man to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, because they are not self-realized, svānubhāvam. Of course, we have tried our best, so in few years there are so many Kṛṣṇa conscious persons come out. This is the secret. Unless one is svānubhāvam, self-realized, life is Bhāgavata, he cannot preach Bhāgavata. That is not... That will not be effective. A gramophone will not help. Therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu's secretary, Svarūpa Dāmodara, recommended, bhāgavata pora giyā bhāgavata-sthāne, that "If you want to read Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, you must approach a person who is life living Bhāgavata." Bhāgavata pora giyā bhāgavata-sthāne. Otherwise, there is no question of Bhāgavata realization.
So Śukadeva Gosvāmī learned from his father, Vyāsadeva, mahā-bhāgavata, and he realized it. Svānubhāvam. What is this book? Akhila-śruti-sāram ekam. Akhila means "all, universal." There are many scriptures, many religious scriptures, especially the Vedas. Śruti means Veda. Śruti is learned by hearing, not by reading. You can understand Vedic principle even though you are illiterate, provided you hear them, aural reception. God has given you the ear, and if you try to hear submissively, to receive something, then it will be fruitful. Submissive. Śruti-gatāṁ tanu-vāṅ-mano..., jñāne prayāsam. This is the Brahmā's realization when he met Kṛṣṇa. So he said this verse, jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva, namanta eva san-mukharitāṁ bhavadīya-vārtām [SB 10.14.3]. People who are endeavoring to understand the Absolute Truth by dint of his puffed-up knowledge, they will never be able to. They will never be able. Jñāne prayāsam. One has to give up this illegitimate attempt to understand the Absolute Truth by his personal knowledge. That is not possible.
Kṛṣṇa is not so cheap thing that by exercising your brain you can manufacture a way to understand Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa says, nāhaṁ prakāśaḥ sarvasya yogamāyā-samāvṛtaḥ [Bg. 7.25] = "I am not exposed to everyone. I am covered by yogamāyā. People will not be able to understand Me." "So many jñānīs, yogīs, karmīs, they cannot understand?" No. Then? Kṛṣṇa says, bhaktyā mām abhijānāti yāvān yaś cāsmi tattvataḥ [Bg. 18.55] = "Only through devotional service." Devotional service means submission, surrender. First of all surrender. Sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja [Bg. 18.66] = "You cannot understand Me by your so-called karma, jñāna, yoga or dhyāna. No, it is not possible." Bhaktyā mām abhijānāti. Bhaktyā means to surrender.
So here it is, śruti-sāram ekam. This Bhāgavata is the śruti-sāram, just like cream. You churn the milk, two maunds of milk, you get, say, five kilos, kg, of butter, the sāram, essence. Essence. If you simply try to see where is the essence... You have to churn it. Then in the milk there is. You may possess lots of milk, but from the milk you have to take the cream. That is intelligence. The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the cream of Vedic knowledge. Therefore it is said that nigama-kalpa-taror galitaṁ phalam idam [SB 1.1.3]. Nigama. Nigama means Vedas, and kalpa-taru... Vedas is just like desire tree. Desire tree means whatever you want, you can have it from Vedic knowledge. Just like in India, the Āyur-veda. Āyur-veda means this is material thing. But still it is in the Veda. Dhanur-veda, military science. There are so many Vedas. Veda means knowledge. So the Vedic knowledge is so perfect that anything you want, material or spiritual, you will get the knowledge perfect. That is Veda. Veda is not ordinary thing. And it is learned by hearing. Tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum eva abhigacchet, śrotriyaṁ brahma-niṣṭham [MU 1.2.12].
Vedic knowledge... Formerly, there was no need of books. Nowadays, at the present moment, our memory is not so sharp due to Kali-yuga. Therefore Vyāsadeva wrote in books, in words, because he foresaw that "The people in this age, they will be dull-headed rascals. Therefore, if they get this knowledge recorded in writing, they may be able to derive some benefit." Otherwise, formerly Vedic knowledge was never book reading. No. Śruti. Śruti means hearing. This disciple is so powerful that once he hears from the spiritual master, his memory is recorded immediately. Memory. Therefore brahmacārī record. If you remain brahmacārī, then your brain will be so nice that as soon as you hear something, it will be memorized. This is benefit of brahmacārī. And if the students are allowed to be sexually, I mean to say, indulgent, then where is the brain? This is very scientific, to remain brahmacārī, to understand from the guru by simply by hearing, once hearing.
So, there was a case... Of course, that... One Englishman chastised another Indian by calling him so many ill names, "damn rascal," "fool," like that. So he complained in the court that "This man has insulted me." "So where is the witness?" So the witness... The complainer said, "There was a brāhmaṇa who was witness. He was taking bath in the Ganges." So he was summoned. The brāhmaṇa was so sharp in memory, he exactly said, just like gramophone record, tape record, whatever he said. He said, "I do not know what is the meaning of this, but these words were said." So people were so sharp in memory. That is brāhmaṇa. Once heard from the spiritual master... The spiritual master means śrotriyam: he has also nicely heard from his spiritual master. Therefore Vedic knowledge, factually, it is received simply by hearing. There was no necessity of becoming literate. Illiterate, it doesn't matter, because it is after all received through the aural reception. Therefore it is called śruti. And śruti-sāram ekam. And of all the Vedic literature, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the essence.
Śrī Vyāsadeva first of all described the Vedas in four Vedas, and describes further in Upaniṣad, further in Purāṇas. The Purāṇas... Some of the rascals says that Purāṇas are not written by Vyāsadeva. They are rascals. The Purāṇas are also, explained further, supplementary. Purāṇa. Purāṇa means "which completes." Another Purāṇa means "the very old, historical." So Purāṇas, they are mentioned, "the Vedic instruction through the history." Just like Vedic instruction, Mahābhārata. Mahābhārata is history, but the whole Vedic literature is there, ideal king, how kingdom... Politics, practically it is politics, but it is based on Vedic literature. And the Bhagavad-gītā is introduced in the Mahābhārata. So the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the essence of all Vedic literature. Śruti-sāram ekam. This is the only one. You cannot present another. Ekam. As God is one, similarly, to understand Him, there is only one literature. That is Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Bhagavad-gītā is the preliminary study of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Śruti-sāram ekam. Śruti-sāra... Adhyātma-dīpam.
Adhyātma-dīpam means... Just like ātmā, the soul, is within this body, but due to our darkness knowledge, insufficient knowledge, we cannot understand ātmā, Paramātmā. We cannot understand. So in the darkness as you require a torchlight, similarly, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is just like the torchlight. You can see ātmā and Paramātmā. Adhyātma-dīpam. Dīpam means light, lamp. So why it is required? Atititīrṣatām. Just like light is required by a person who wants to go through the light..., er, go through the darkness but go to the light. Suppose here is light and there is tunnel, and in the tunnel you require some light, to go to the other part of the light. Similarly, this world, this material world, is full of darkness. That is the difference between material world and spiritual world.
Material world means darkness, wherein you cannot understand what is God, what you are. That is material world. They are very busy in this material world, but they do not know where they are going. Andhā yathāndhair upanīyamānāḥ [SB 7.5.31]. Actually, they are darkness. The material world is darkness. The so-called scholars and teachers, they are also in the darkness, and they are leading other people in the darkness. Because it is darkness, therefore we require sunshine, moonshine and this electricity. As soon as it is covered, the sun is covered, you can experience it is darkness. At night it is darkness. Actually, it is darkness. But by the grace of Kṛṣṇa, He has arranged the light. But there is another world, where there is no need of, na tad bhāsayate sūryo na śaśāṅko na pāvakaḥ [Bg. 15.6]. There is another world where there is no need of these things, lighting agent, either sunshine or moonshine. But God is so kind that in each and every universe, it is full of darkness. Now you see how brilliant sun is there. This is His kindness. Yasya prabhā prabhavato jagad-aṇḍa-koṭiḥ. Yac-cakṣur eṣa savitā sakala-grahāṇām [Bs. 5.40]. Therefore the sun is described as the eye of all the planets. Because you have got very nice, good planet, very nice city, Rome and London and America, this and that. That's all right. But as soon as it is dark, you cannot see anything. The mercy of sunshine, Kṛṣṇa's mercy, is there; therefore you can see, you can enjoy.
Therefore sun is described, yac-cakṣur eṣa savitā. Savitā means sun. Yac-cakṣuḥ. Savitā is that actually the eyes. Yac-cakṣur eṣa savitā sakala-grahāṇām. Without sunshine, you cannot see, in any part of the universe, in any planet. So factually, the sun is supposed to be the eye of... One eye is the sun, another eye is the moon, of the Absolute, virāḍ-rūpa. So when He sees, then you can see. Without His seeing, you cannot see. We are very much proud, "Can you show me God?" "And what can you see, rascal? Unless God sees, you cannot see. Why you are so much proud of seeing, 'We have not seen. We have not seen'? And what you can see?" They are so rascal that these teeny eyes, they are proud of, they can see God. They can see this thing, they can see... But first of all understand what you can see, without seeing by the God. God sees by the sun. Then you can see. So your seeing power is so dependent, and you are so much proud that you can see. Just see how much the whole world is full of rascals. Do they not say, "We have not seen God"? And what you can see? You cannot see even yourself, and what you will see, God? You are seeing your father and mother, and when they die, you are crying, "Oh, my father has gone." Where he has gone? He is lying here. Why do you say, "My father has gone"? "No, he has gone." What do you mean by "gone"? You have always seen the body of the father. That is lying here. Why do you say? That means you have never seen your father. You have never seen your brother.
So this is our position. We cannot see. Still, we are proud, "Can you show me God?" He does not think his incapability, that "I cannot see even our daily necessities of life without the sunlight." Therefore here it is said, adhyātma-dīpam. It is the light. If you want to see God, then you have to see through this light. And for whom this seeing is necessity? It is not necessary for the ordinary rascals. It is necessary, atititīrṣatāṁ tamo 'ndham: one who is sober to think that "Why we are put into the darkness?" We require light. Unless God gives us the light, sunlight, we are always in night. We cannot see. Tamo 'ndham. So those who are intelligent, that "Why shall I remain in this darkness? If there is light..." Just like in daytime, if there is a dark room we are staying, and if we hear that "Why I shall stay in this darkness? There is light, enough sunlight, outside," immediately we will be busy, "Let me go to the light. Why shall I remain in this dark room?" Similarly, the sober man, intelligent man, he will think that "I am put into this material world, which is full of darkness. Is there any light where can I go?" That is intelligence. Daily he is... In the northern part of the hemisphere, there is six months no light. So it is intelligence, that... Why we are discovering so many electricity light? Because we want light. So therefore intelligent persons should be that "This material world is by nature dark. Whether there is another nature, where there is only light?"
Therefore it is said, atititīrṣatāṁ tamo 'ndham. This Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is required for such intelligent person who wants to go out of this darkness to the light. The Vedic information is that tamasi mā jyotir gama: "Don't remain in the darkness. Just go out to the light." Jyotir gama. Jyoti means light. So Vedic injunction is that "Don't remain in the darkness. Go to the light." So when one becomes inquisitive how to go to the light, for him the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is required. Therefore it is said that atititīrṣatām. Titīrṣatām means to surpass, to overcome. Atiti..., desiring to overcome, atititīrṣatāṁ tamo 'ndham, this darkness, the position darkness. Who are in the darkness? Why these people are in the darkness? Saṁsāriṇām. They are undergoing the punishment. Because they have forgotten Kṛṣṇa, they have defied the supremacy of Kṛṣṇa, they are put into the darkness. Just like one who defies the laws of the government, they are put into the jail, outlaws. Similarly, kṛṣṇa-bhuliya jiva bhoga vāñchā kare [Prema-vivarta]. These rascals who have forgotten Kṛṣṇa, God, to serve Him, and wants to remain independent, without serving, they are made servant of the prison house, māyā. Just like the criminal = "We don't care for government's law. We can do anything." "All right, come in here. Force you. Sleep. Remain here." This is our position. Simply defying, "I don't care for God," you may not care, but māyā is there. He will give you kick and put you in the... That... You will learn how to care. You will learn how to care.
This is the position. These rascals, they have become godless, and suffering day and night threefold miseries---adhyātmika, adhidaivika, adhibhautika. Still, they are not coming to their senses. So blunt, so dull-headed, that "We are..." This is intelligence. When one comes to this understanding, that "I don't want all these sufferings. Why they are forced upon me?" then you can become a gentleman. Just like in the jail. Nobody wants to, I mean to say, what is called, breaking?
Nitāi: Breaking stones.
Prabhupāda: Ah, breaking stone. He doesn't want. But there is jail superintendent---"All right, you must break so many." And there is stick. "If you don't break, then..." So it is going on. Māyā. Māyā is kicking always, "You must do it." Prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni guṇaiḥ karmāṇi [Bg. 3.27]. "You wanted to eat anything and everything. All right, you take this body of hog and eat stool." That's all. This is māyā, prakṛti. He has given you a body. You have to suffer according to the body. Kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgo 'sya sad-asad-janma-yoniṣu [Bg. 13.22]. Why there are different types of bodies, different types of enjoyment? Everyone is in the material world. Why one has become hog, one has become dog, and one has become very rich man and demigod, very...? Why? Who is making arrangement? Who wants to become cat and dog? Who does not want to become king? But why this is arrangement? Who is doing this? These rascal cannot understand.
Therefore, to cover all this ignorance, they do not believe in the next birth. But wherefrom these varieties of life are coming? They have no brain. The so-called scientists, so-called... All bogus theory. Prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ. As you desire, you will be given this chance by prakṛti.
guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ
kartāham iti manyate
He is thinking that "I am independent," vimūḍha, rascal. Kartāham. He is not kartā. When there is death, you do not like to die. Why there is death? Why you are forced to die? What your scientists will say? "Oh, this is natural." But you cannot fight. You do not want to die, but death is forced. And even though you do not like, you say, "Oh, it is natural." You cannot explain why death is forced there, why birth is forced there. Janma-mṛtyu-jarā-vyādhi [Bg. 13.9]. You do not want to become old man. Why you are forced to become old man? You do not want to have disease. Why you are forced to accept disease? They have no sense. They are so dull-headed. They do not want any solution. But there is solution. Therefore it is called saṁsāriṇām. They are dull-headed rascal. They are undergoing the nature's process from one life to another. All miserable condition.
To get out of this miserable condition, Śukadeva says, here it is, says, karuṇayā āha. Karuṇayā means "out of compassion." People are suffering. This is Vaiṣṇava. Vaiṣṇava takes so much trouble to speak to the rascals and dulls about God consciousness. Why? Out of compassion. They are very compassionate. "Oh, so many people are suffering for want of knowledge. Let me try to give them some knowledge." Karuṇayā. This is Vaiṣṇava's qualification. He is very kind. Titikṣavaḥ kāruṇikāḥ. Titikṣavaḥ kāruṇikāḥ [SB 3.25.21]. Just like Lord Jesus Christ. He was being crucified. Still, he was saying, "My father, they do not know what they are doing." Is it not? He is so much compassionate that "These rascals do not know what they are doing, rascals. Still, I request You to forgive them." This is Vaiṣṇava. Personally he is suffering, but he is still compassionate. There was an article recently, that Jesus Christ, although he was crucified, he did not die. Yes. He went to Kashmir. Some historical references are there. So actually, when he was representative of God, son of God, how these rascals could kill him? It was a show only.
Anyway, so the devotees, they are so compassionate that titikṣavaḥ, they suffer all kinds of odds in this material world. Still, they try to give information, "There is God, there is kingdom of God. You are suffering here. Please do this so that you can again come back to home, back to..." This is the Vaiṣṇava. Karuṇayā. Out of compassion. Karuṇayāha purāṇa-guhyam. Purāṇa. There are eight kinds..., eighteen types of Purāṇas. Out of that, Bhāgavata is also Purāṇa. This Purāṇa is very confidential. This is not ordinary. It is called spotless, "spotless Purāṇa." Because in this Purāṇa, in this history or in this supplementary of Vedic knowledge, there is only description of devotional service. Dharmaḥ projjhita. This dharma, this kind, religious, the Bhāgavata religion, is so perfect that all kinds of cheating types of religion is kicked out from it. Dharmaḥ projjhita-kaitavaḥ [SB 1.1.2]. They are not accepted, all cheating types of religion. There are so many religious..., not perfect knowledge even. Even they disobey... They cannot, without disobeying. Because it cannot train people to the perfection, they remain defective always. Big, big priests, big, big cardinals, what they are doing? They are simply disobeying. Christ says, "Thou shall not kill," so they are simply eating meat. That's all. "No intoxicants"---they are taking. They cannot be trained up. Even though so-called priests and the..., they are not trained up. They cannot take it up. Therefore Bhāgavata principle is so nice that little training... Svalpam apy asya dharmasya trāyate mahato bhayāt [Bg. 2.40]. Little training. Even the most fallen can be elevated to the highest position. This is Bhāgavatam. Perfect. Purāṇa-guhyam.
So who did it? Śukadeva Gosvāmī. He first of all explained Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam before Parīkṣit Mahārāja. So that is the beginning of Bhāgavata teaching. Therefore he learned it from his father, and śravaṇam, then kīrtanam. Śrī-viṣṇoḥ śravaṇe parīkṣid abhavad vaiyāsakiḥ kīrtane. This is also kīrtana. Śrī-viṣṇoḥ śravaṇe parīkṣit. Parīkṣit Mahārāja simply heard. And abhavad vaiyāsakiḥ kīrtane. This is kīrtana. The recitation of Bhāgavata by the devotee is also kīrtana. Kīrtana does not mean that as we generally do. No. This Bhāgavata recitation is also kīrtana. So it is said, abhavad vaiyāsakiḥ kīrtane. Vaiyāsaki. Vaiyāsaki means son of vyāsa-sūnum, as it is said, taṁ vyāsa-sūnum. Vyāsa-sūnum means Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the son of Vyāsadeva. Upayāmi: "Let me offer my respectful obeisances." Guruṁ munīnām: "He is guru, not only my guru, but he is guru of big, big thoughtful men," munīnām. Muni means thoughtful, philosopher. Guruṁ munīnām.
[reading purport:] "In this prayer, Śrīla Sūta Gosvāmī practically summarizes the complete introduction of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam." Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the essence of Vedic literature. That is explained here. "Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the natural supplementary commentary on the Vedānta-sūtra." As I told you that Vyāsadeva compiled; he divided. There was originally one Veda, Atharva-veda. Then he, just to divide it for different paths of understanding = Sāma-veda, Atharva-veda, Yajur-veda, Ṛg-veda. Then he explained the Vedas in the Purāṇas. Then again he summarized in the Vedānta-sūtra. The whole Vedānta knowledge was codified, codes. Janmādy asya yataḥ [SB 1.1.1]. Athāto brahma jijñāsā. Ānandamayo 'bhyāsāt [Vedānta-sūtra 1.1.12]. There are so many codes. So again these codes were explained in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. This is the [indistinct]. "Vedānta-sūtra, or the Brahma-sūtra, were compiled by Vyāsadeva with the view to presenting just the cream of Vedic knowledge. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the natural commentary on the cream. Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī was a thoroughly realized master of Vedānta-sūtra, and consequently, he also personally realized the commentary, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. And just to show his boundless mercy," karuṇayā, "boundless mercy upon bewildered materialistic men who want to cross completely over the nescience, he recited for the first time this confidential knowledge."
So it is meant for not ordinary men. It is very difficult, because they are not fit to understand Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. It is especially meant for persons who are eager to go out of this darkness, especially. Not only that person. But still, everyone is in darkness. We are trying. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is an attempt... [break] [end]