Divinity and Divine Service
Srimad Bhagavatam Chapter 2 TEXT 1
pratipüjya vacas teñäà
vyäsaù uväca—Vyäsa said; iti—thus; sampraçna—perfect inquires; saàhåñöaù—perfectly satisfied; vipräëäm—of the sages there; raumaharñaëiù—the son of Romaharñaëa, namely Ugraçravä; pratipüjya—after thanking them; vacaù—words; teñäm—their; pravaktum—to reply to them; upacakrame—attempted.
Srimad Bhagavatam Chapter 2 TEXT 1 TRANSLATION
Ugraçravä [Süta Gosvämé], the son of Romaharñaëa, being pleased with the questions of the brähmaëas, thanked them and attempted to reply.
Srimad Bhagavatam Chapter 2 TEXT 1 PURPORT
The sages of Naimiñäraëya asked Süta Gosvämé six questions, and so he is answering them one by one.
Srimad Bhagavatam Chapter 2 TEXT 2
yaà pravrajantam anupetam apeta-kåtyaà
dvaipäyano viraha-kätara äjuhäva
putreti tanmayatayä taravo ‘bhinedus
taà sarva-bhüta-hådayaà munim änato ‘smi
sütaù—Süta Gosvämé; uväca—said; yam—whom; pravrajantam—while going away for the renounced order of life; anupetam—without being reformed by the sacred thread; apeta—not undergoing ceremonies; kåtyam—prescribed duties; dvaipäyanaù—Vyäsadeva; viraha—separation; kätaraù—being afraid of; äjuhäva—exclaimed; putra iti—O my son; tanmayatayä—being absorbed in that way; taravaù—all the trees; abhineduù—responded; tam—unto him; sarva—all; bhüta—living entities; hådayam—heart; munim—sage; änataù asmi—offer obeisances.
Srimad Bhagavatam Chapter 2 TEXT 2 TRANSLATION
Çréla Süta Gosvämé said: Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto that great sage [Çukadeva Gosvämé] who can enter the hearts of all. When he went away to take up the renounced order of life [sannyäsa], leaving home without undergoing the sacred thread ceremony, his father, Vyäsadeva, cried out to him, “Oh, my son!” Indeed, only the trees echoed in response to the begrieved father.
Srimad Bhagavatam Chapter 2 TEXT 2 PURPORT
The institution of varëa and äçrama prescribes many regulative duties to be observed by its followers. Such duties enjoin that a candidate willing to study the Vedas must approach a bona fide spiritual master and request acceptance as his disciple. The sacred thread is the sign of those who are competent to study the Vedas from the äcärya or the bona fide spiritual master. Çré Çukadeva Gosvämé did not undergo such a purificatory ceremony because he was a liberated soul from his very birth.
Generally, a man is born as an ordinary being, and by the purificatory processes he is born for the second time. When he sees a new light and seeks direction for spiritual progress, he approaches a spiritual master to instruct him in the Vedas. The spiritual master accepts only the sincere inquirer as his disciple and gives him the sacred thread. In this way a man becomes twice-born, or a dvija. After qualifying as a dvija one may study the Vedas, and after becoming well versed in the Vedas one becomes a vipra. A vipra or a qualified brähmaëa thus realizes the Absolute and makes further progress in spiritual life until he reaches the Vaiñëava stage. The Vaiñëava stage is the postgraduate status of a brähmaëa. A progressive brähmaëa must necessarily become a Vaiñëava, for a Vaiñëava is a self-realized, learned brähmaëa.
Çréla Çukadeva Gosvämé was a Vaiñëava from the beginning; therefore, there was no need for him to undergo all the processes of the varëäçrama institution. Ultimately the aim of varëäçrama-dharma is to turn a crude man into a pure devotee of the Lord, or a Vaiñëava. Anyone, therefore, who becomes a Vaiñëava accepted by the first-class Vaiñëava or uttama-adhikäré Vaiñëava is already considered a brähmaëa, regardless of his birth or past deeds. Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu accepted this principle and recognized Çréla Haridäsa Öhäkur as the äcärya of the holy name, although Öhäkur Haridäsa appeared in a Mohammedan family. In conclusion, Çréla Çukadeva Gosvämé was born a Vaiñëava, and, therefore, brahminism was included in him. He did not have to undergo any ceremonies. Any low born person—be he a Kiräta, Hüëa, Ändhra, Pulinda, Pulkasa, Äbhéra, Çumbha, Yavana, Khasädi or even lower—can be delivered to the highest transcendental position by the mercy of Vaiñëavas. Çréla Çukadeva Gosvämé was the spiritual master of Çré Süta Gosvämé, and therefore he offers his respectful obeisances unto him before he begins his answers to the questions of the sages at Naimiñäraëya.
Srimad Bhagavatam Chapter 2 TEXT 3
yaù svänubhävam akhila-çruti-säram ekam
adhyätma-dépam atititérñatäà tamo ‘ndham
saàsäriëäà karuëayäha puräëa-guhyaà
taà vyäsa-sünum upayämi guruà munénäm
yaù—he who; svanubhävam—self-assimiliated (experienced); akhila—all around; çruti—Vedas; säram—cream; ekam—the only one; adhyätma—transcendental; dépam—torchlight; atititérñatäm—desiring to overcome; tamaù andam—deeply dark material existence; saàsäriëäm—of the materialistic men; karuëayä—out of causeless mercy; äha—said; puräëa—supplementary to the Vedas; guhyam—very confidential; tam—unto him; vyäsa sünum—the son of Vyäsadeva; upayämi—let me offer my obeisances; gurum—spiritual master; munénäm—of the great sages.
Srimad Bhagavatam Chapter 2 TEXT 3 TRANSLATION
Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto him [Çuka], the spiritual master of all sages, the son of Vyäsadeva, who, out of his great compassion for those gross materialists who struggle to cross over the darkest regions of material existence, spoke this Puräëa [supplement to the Vedas], the cream of Vedic knowledge, after having personally assimilated it by experience.
Srimad Bhagavatam Chapter 2 TEXT 3 PURPORT
In this prayer, Çréla Süta Gosvämé practically summarizes the complete introduction of Çrémad-Bhägavatam. Çrémad-Bhägavatam is the natural supplementary commentary on the Vedänta-sütras. The Vedänta-sütras or the Brahma-sütras were compiled by Vyäsadeva with a view to presenting just the cream of Vedic knowledge. Çrémad-Bhägavatam is the natural commentary on this cream. Çréla Çukadeva Gosvämé was a thoroughly realized master of the Vedänta-sütra, and consequently he also personally realized the commentary, Çrémad-Bhägavatam. And just to show his boundless mercy upon bewildered materialistic men who want to cross completely over nescience, he recited for the first time this confidential knowledge.
There is no point in arguing that a materialistic man can be happy. No materialistic creature—be he the great Brahmä or an insignificant ant-can be happy. Everyone tries to make a permanent plan for happiness, but everyone is baffled by the laws of material nature. Therefore the materialistic world is called the darkest region of God’s creation. Yet the unhappy materialists can get out of it simply by desiring to get out. Unfortunately they are so foolish that they do not want to escape. Therefore they are compared to the camel who relishes thorny twigs because he likes the taste of the twigs mixed with blood. He does not realize that it is his own blood and that his tongue is being cut by the thorns. Similarly, to the materialist his own blood is as sweet as honey, and although he is always harassed by his own material creations, he does not wish to escape. Such materialists are called karmés. Out of hundreds of thousands of karmés, only a few may feel tired of material engagement and desire to get out of the labyrinth. Such intelligent persons are called jïänés. The Vedänta-sütra is directed to such jïänés. But Çréla Vyäsadeva, being the incarnation of the Supreme Lord, could foresee the misuse of the Vedänta-sütra by unscrupulous men, and, therefore, he personally supplemented the Vedänta-sütra with the Bhägavata Puräëa. It is clearly said that this Bhägavatam is the original commentary on the Brahma-sütras. Çréla Vyäsadeva also instructed the Bhägavatam to his own son, Çréla Çukadeva Gosvämé, who was already at the liberated stage of transcendence. Çréla Çukadeva realized it personally and then explained it. By the mercy of Çréla Çukadeva, the Bhägavata-Vedänta-sütra is available for all those sincere souls who want to get out of material existence.
Çrémad-Bhägavatam is the one unrivalled commentary on Vedänta-sütra. Çrépäda Çaìkaräcärya intentionally did not touch it because he knew that it would be difficult for him to surpass the natural commentary. He wrote his Çäréraka-bhäñya, and his so-called followers deprecated the Bhägavatam as some “new” presentation. One should not be misled by such propaganda directed against the Bhägavatam by the Mäyäväda school. From this introductory çloka, the beginning student should know that Çrémad-Bhägavatam is the only transcendental literature meant for those who are paramahaàsas and completely freed from the material disease called malice. The Mäyävädés are envious of the Personality of Godhead despite Çrépäda Çaìkaräcärya’s admission that Näräyaëa, the Personality of Godhead, is above the material creation. The envious Mäyävädé cannot have access to the Bhägavatam, but those who are really anxious to get out of this material existence may take shelter of this Bhägavatam because it is uttered by the liberated Çréla Çukadeva Gosvämé. It is the transcendental torchlight by which one can see perfectly the transcendental Absolute Truth realized as Brahman, Paramätmä and Bhagavän.
Srimad Bhagavatam Chapter 2 TEXT 4
naraà caiva narottamam
devéà sarasvatéà vyäsaà
tato jayam udérayet
näräyaëam—the Personality of Godhead; namaskåtya—after offering respectful obeisances; naram ca eva—and Näräyaëa Åñi; narottamam—the supermost human being; devém—the goddess; sarasvatém—the mistress of learning; vyäsam—Vyäsadeva; tataù—thereafter; jayam—all that is meant for conquering; udérayet—be announced.
Srimad Bhagavatam Chapter 2 TEXT 4 TRANSLATION
Before reciting this Çrémad-Bhägavatam, which is our very means of conquest, I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Personality of Godhead, Näräyaëa, unto Nara-näräyaëa Åñi, the supermost human being, unto Mother Sarasvaté, the goddess of learning, and unto Çréla Vyäsadeva, the author.
Srimad Bhagavatam Chapter 2 TEXT 4 PURPORT
All the Vedic literatures and the Puräëas are meant for conquering the darkest region of material existence. The living being is in the state of forgetfulness of his relation with God due to his being overly attracted to material sense gratification from time immemorial. His struggle for existence in the material world is perpetual, and it is not possible for him to get out of it by making plans. If he at all wants to conquer this perpetual struggle for existence, he must reestablish his eternal relation with God. And one who wants to adopt such remedial measures must take shelter of literatures such as the Vedas and the Puräëas. Foolish people say that the Puräëas have no connection with the Vedas. However, the Puräëas are supplementary explanations of the Vedas intended for different types of men. All men are not equal. There are men who are conducted by the mode of goodness, others who are under the mode of passion and others who are under the mode of ignorance. The Puräëas are so divided that any class of men can take advantage of them and gradually regain their lost position and get out of the hard struggle for existence. Çréla Süta Gosvämé shows the way of chanting the Puräëas. This may be followed by persons who aspire to be preachers of the Vedic literatures and the Puräëas. Çrémad-Bhägavatam is the spotless Puräëa, and it is especially meant for them who are desirous to get out of the material entanglement permanently.
Srimad Bhagavatam Chapter 2 TEXT 5
munayaù sädhu påñöo ‘haà
yat kåtaù kåñëa-sampraçno
munayaù—of the sages; sädhu—this is relevant; påñöaù—questioned; aham—myself; bhavadbhiù—by all of you; loka—the world; maìgalam—welfare; yat—because; kåtaù—made; kåñëa—the Personality of Godhead; sampraçnaù—relevant question; yena—by which; ätmä—self; suprasédati—completely pleased.
Srimad Bhagavatam Chapter 2 TEXT 5 TRANSLATION
O sages, I have been justly questioned by you. Your questions are worthy because they relate to Lord Kåñëa and so are of relevance to the world’s welfare. Only questions of this sort are capable of completely satisfying the self.
Srimad Bhagavatam Chapter 2 TEXT 5 PURPORT
As it is stated hereinbefore, in the Bhägavatam the Absolute Truth is to be known, so the questions of the sages of Naimiñäraëya are proper and just because they pertain to Kåñëa, who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Absolute Truth. In Bhagavad-gétä the Personality of Godhead says that in all the Vedas there is nothing but the urge for searching after Him, Lord Kåñëa (Bg. 15.15). Thus the questions that pertain to Kåñëa are the sum and substance of all the Vedic inquiries.
The whole world is full of questions and answers. The birds, beasts and men are all busy in the matter of perpetual questions and answers. In the morning the birds in the nest become busy with questions and answers, and in the evening also the same birds come back and again become busy with questions and answers. The human being, unless he is fast asleep at night, is busy with questions and answers. The businessmen in the market are busy with questions and answers, and so also the lawyers in the court and the students in the schools and colleges. The legislators in the parliament are also busy with questions and answers, and the politicians and the press representatives are all busy with questions and answers. Although they go on making such questions and answers for their whole lives, they are not at all satisfied. Satisfaction of the soul can only be obtained by questions and answers on the subject of Kåñëa.
Kåñëa is our most intimate master, friend, father or son and object of conjugal love. Forgetting Kåñëa, we have created so many objects of questions and answers, but none of them are able to give us complete satisfaction. All things—but Kåñëa—give temporary satisfaction only, so if we are to have complete satisfaction we must take to the questions and answers about Kåñëa. We cannot live for a moment without being questioned or without giving answers. Because the Çrémad-Bhägavatam deals with questions and answers that are related to Kåñëa, we can derive the highest satisfaction only by reading and hearing this transcendental literature. One should learn the Çrémad-Bhägavatam and make an all-around solution to all problems pertaining to social, political or religious matters. Çrémad-Bhägavatam and Kåñëa are the sum total of all things.
Srimad Bhagavatam Chapter 2 TEXT 6
sa vai puàsäà paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhokñaje
saù—that; vai—certainly; puàsäm—for mankind; paraù—sublime; dharmaù—occupation; yataù—by which; bhaktiù—devotional service; adhokñaje—unto the Transcendence; ahaituké—causeless; apratihatä—unbroken; yayä—by which; ätmä—self; suprasédati—completely satisfied.
Srimad Bhagavatam Chapter 2 TEXT 6 TRANSLATION
The supreme occupation [dharma] for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted in order to completely satisfy the self.
Srimad Bhagavatam Chapter 2 TEXT 6 PURPORT
In this statement, Çré Süta Gosvämé answers the first question of the sages of Naimiñäraëya. The sages asked him to summarize the whole range of revealed scriptures and present the most essential part so that fallen people or the people in general might easily take it up. The Vedas prescribe two different types of occupation for the human being. One is called the pravåtti-märga, or the path of sense enjoyment, and the other is called the nivåtti-märga or the path of renunciation. The path of enjoyment is inferior, but the path of sacrifice for the supreme cause is superior. The material existence of the living being is a diseased condition of actual life. Actual life is spiritual existence, or brahma-bhüta existence where life is eternal, blissful and full of knowledge. Material existence is temporary, illusory and full of miseries. There is no happiness at all. There is just the futile attempt to get rid of the miseries, and temporary cessation of misery is falsely called happiness. Therefore, the path of progressive material enjoyment, which is temporary, miserable and illusory, is inferior. But devotional service of the Supreme Lord, which leads one to eternal, blissful and all-cognizant life, is called the superior quality of occupation. This is sometimes polluted when mixed with the inferior quality. For example, adoption of devotional service for material gain is certainly an obstruction to the progressive path of renunciation. Renunciation or abnegation for ultimate good is certainly a better occupation than enjoyment in the diseased condition of life. Such enjoyment only aggravates the symptoms of disease and increases its duration. Therefore devotional service of the Lord must be pure in quality, i.e., without the least desire for material enjoyment. One should, therefore, accept the superior quality of occupation in the form of devotional service of the Lord without any tinge of unnecessary desire, fruitive action and philosophical speculation. This alone can lead one to perpetual solace in His service.
We have purposely denoted dharma as occupation because the root meaning of the word dharma is “that which sustains one’s existence.” A living being’s sustenance of existence is to coordinate his activities with his eternal relation with the Supreme Lord Kåñëa. Kåñëa is the central pivot of living beings, and He is the all-attractive living entity or eternal form amongst all other living beings or eternal forms. Each and every living being has his eternal form in the spiritual existence, and Kåñëa is the eternal attraction for all of them. Kåñëa is the complete whole, and everything else is His part and parcel. The relation is one of the servant and the served, and it is transcendental and is completely distinguished from our experience in material existence. This relation of servant and the served is the most congenial form of intimacy. One can realize it as devotional service progresses. Everyone should engage himself in that transcendental loving service of the Lord, even in the present conditional state of material existence. That will gradually give one the clue to actual life and please him to complete satisfaction.
Srimad Bhagavatam Chapter 2 TEXT 7
janayaty äçu vairägyaà
jïänaà ca yad ahaitukam
väsudeve—unto Kåñëa; bhagavati—unto the Personality of Godhead; bhakti-yogaù—contact of devotional service; prayojitaù—being applied; janayati—does produce; äçu—very soon; vairägyam—detachment; jïänam—knowledge; ca—and; yat—that which; ahaitukam—causeless.
Srimad Bhagavatam Chapter 2 TEXT 7 TRANSLATION
By rendering devotional service unto the Personality of Godhead, Çré Kåñëa, one immediately acquires causeless knowledge and detachment from the world.
Srimad Bhagavatam Chapter 2 TEXT 7 PURPORT
Those who consider devotional service of the Supreme Lord Çré Kåñëa to be something like material emotional affairs may argue that in the revealed scriptures, sacrifice, charity, austerity, knowledge, mystic powers and similar other processes of transcendental realization are recommended. According to them, bhakti, or devotional service of the Lord, is meant for those who cannot perform the high-grade activities. Generally it is said that the bhakti cult is meant for the çüdras, vaiçyas and the less intelligent woman class. But that is not the actual fact. The bhakti cult is the topmost of all transcendental activities, and therefore it is simultaneously sublime and easy. It is sublime for the pure devotees who are serious about getting in contact with the Supreme Lord, and it is easy for the neophytes who are just on the threshold of the house of bhakti. It is a great science to achieve the contact of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Çré Kåñëa, and it is open for all living beings, including the çüdras, vaiçyas, women or even those lower than the çüdras who are called low-born—so what to speak of the high-class men like the qualified brähmaëas and the great self-realized kings. The other high-grade activities designated as sacrifice, charity, austerity, etc., are all corollary factors following the pure and scientific bhakti cult.
The principles of knowledge and detachment are two important factors on the path of transcendental realization. The whole spiritual process leads to perfect knowledge of everything material and spiritual, and the results of such perfect knowledge are that one becomes detached from material affection and becomes attached to spiritual activities. Becoming detached from material things does not mean becoming inert altogether, as men with a poor fund of knowledge think. Naiñkarma means not undertaking such activities that will produce good or bad effects. Negation does not mean negation of the positive. Negation of the nonessentials does not mean negation of the essential. Similarly, detachment from material forms does not mean nullifying the positive form. The bhakti cult is meant for realization of the positive form. When the positive form is realized, the negative forms are automatically eliminated. Therefore, with the development of the bhakti cult, with the application of the positive service to the positive form, one naturally becomes detached from inferior things, and he becomes attached to superior things. Similarly, the bhakti cult, being the supermost occupation of the living being, leads him out of material sense enjoyment. That is the sign of a pure devotee. He is neither a fool, nor is he engaged in the inferior energies, nor does he have material values. This is not possible by dry reasoning. It actually happens by the grace of the Almighty. In conclusion, one who is a pure devotee has all other good qualities, namely knowledge, detachment, etc., but one who has only knowledge or detachment is not necessarily well acquainted with the principles of the bhakti cult. Bhakti is the supermost occupation of the human being.
Srimad Bhagavatam Chapter 2 TEXT 8
dharmaù svanuñöhitaù puàsäà
notpädayed yadi ratià
çrama eva hi kevalam
dharmaù—occupation; svanuñöhitaù—executed in terms of one’s own position; puàsäm—of humankind; viñvaksena—Personality of Godhead (plenary portion); kathäsu—in the message of; yaù—what is; na—not; utpädayet—does produce; yadi—if; ratim—attraction; çramaù—useless labor; eva—only; hi—certainly; kevalam—entirely.
Srimad Bhagavatam Chapter 2 TEXT 8 TRANSLATION
Duties [dharma] executed by men, regardless of occupation, are only so much useless labor if they do not provoke attraction for the message of the Supreme Lord.
Srimad Bhagavatam Chapter 2 TEXT 8 PURPORT
There are different occupational activities in terms of man’s different conceptions of life. To the gross materialist who cannot see anything beyond the gross material body, there is nothing beyond the senses. Therefore his occupational activities are limited to concentrated and extended selfishness. Concentrated selfishness centers around the personal body—this is generally seen amongst the lower animals. Extended selfishness is manifested in human society and centers around the family, society, community, nation and world with a view to gross bodily comfort. Above these gross materialists are the mental speculators who hover aloft in the mental spheres, and their occupational duties involve making poetry, philosophy or propagating some ism with the same aim of selfishness limited to the body and the mind. But above the body and mind is the dormant spirit soul whose absence from the body makes the whole range of bodily and mental selfishness completely null and void. But less intelligent people have no information of the needs of the spirit soul.
Because foolish people have no information of the soul and how it is beyond the purview of the body and mind, they are not satisfied in the performance of their occupational duties. The question of the satisfaction of the self is raised herein. The self is beyond the gross body and subtle mind. He is the potent active principle of the body and mind. Without knowing the need of the dormant soul, one cannot be happy simply with emolument of the body and mind. The body and the mind are but superfluous outer coverings of the spirit soul. The spirit soul’s needs must be fulfilled. Simply by cleansing the cage of the bird, one does not satisfy the bird. One must actually know the needs of the bird himself.
The need of the spirit soul is that he wants to get out of the limited sphere of material bondage and fulfill his desire for complete freedom. He wants to get out of the covered walls of the greater universe. He wants to see the free light and the spirit. That complete freedom is achieved when he meets the complete spirit, the Personality of Godhead. There is a dormant affection for God within everyone; spiritual existence is manifested through the gross body and mind in the form of perverted affection for gross and subtle matter. Therefore we have to engage ourselves in occupational engagements that will evoke our divine consciousness. This is possible only by hearing and chanting the divine activities of the Supreme Lord, and any occupational activity which does not help one to achieve attachment for hearing and chanting the transcendental message of Godhead is said herein to be simply a waste of time. This is because other occupational duties (whatever ism they may belong to) cannot give liberation to the soul. Even the activities of the Salvationists are considered to be useless because of their failure to pick up the fountain-head of all liberties. The gross materialist can practically see that his material gain is limited only to time and space, either in this world or the other. Even if he goes up to the Svargaloka, he will find no permanent abode for his hankering soul. The hankering soul must be satisfied by the perfect scientific process of perfect devotional service.