Srimad Bhagavatam Chapter 1 TEXT 3
nigama-kalpa-taror galitaà phalaà
pibata bhägavataà rasam älayam
muhur aho rasikä bhuvi bhävukäù
nigama—the Vedic literatures; kalpa-taroù—the desire-tree; galitam—fully matured; phalam—fruit; çuka—Çréla Çukadeva Gosvämé, the original speaker of Çrémad-Bhägavatam; mukhät—from the lips of; amåta—nectar; drava—semi-solid and soft and therefore easily swallowable; saàyutam—perfect in all respects; pibata—do relish it; bhägavatam—the book dealing in the science of the eternal relation with the Lord; rasam—juice (that which is relishable); älayam—until liberation, or even in a liberated condition; muhuù—always; aho—O; rasikäù—those who are full in the know ledge of mellows; bhuvi—on the earth; bhävukäù—expert and thoughtful.
Srimad Bhagvatam Chapter 1 TEXT 3 TRANSLATION
Know, O thoughtful men, that Çrémad-Bhägavatam is the mature fruit of the tree of Vedic literatures. It emanated from the lips of Çré Çukadeva Gosvämé. Therefore this nectarean fruit is all the more relishable by liberated souls.
Srimad Bhagvatam Chapter 1 TEXT 3 PURPORT
In the two previous çlokas it has been definitely proved that the Çrémad-Bhägavatam is the sublime literature which surpasses all other Vedic scriptures due to its transcendental qualities. It is transcendental to all mundane activities and mundane knowledge. In this çloka it is stated that Çrémad-Bhägavatam is not only a superior literature, but that it is the ripened fruit of all Vedic literatures. In other words, it is the cream of all Vedic knowledge. Considering all this, patient and submissive hearing is definitely essential. With great respect and attention, one should receive the message and lessons imparted by the Çrémad-Bhägavatam.
The Vedas are compared to the desire tree because they contain all things knowable by man. They deal with mundane necessities as well as spiritual realization. The Vedas contain regulated principles of knowledge covering social, political, religious, economic, military, medicinal, chemical, physical and metaphysical subject matter and all that may be necessary to keep the body and soul together. Above and beyond all this are specific directions for spiritual realization. Regulated knowledge involves a gradual raising of the living entity to the spiritual platform, and the highest spiritual realization is to know that the Personality of Godhead is the reservoir of all spiritual tastes or rasas.
Every living entity, beginning from Brahmä, the first-born living being within the material world, down to the insignificant ant, desires to relish some sort of taste derived from sense perceptions. These sensual pleasures are technically called rasas. Such rasas are of different varieties. In the revealed scriptures the following twelve varieties of rasas are enumerated: 1) raudra (anger) 2) adbhuta (wonder) 3) çåìgära (conjugal love) 4) häsya (comedy) 5) véra (chivalry) 6) dayä (mercy) 7) däsya (servitorship) 8) sakhya (fraternity) 9) bhayänaka (horror) 10) vébhatsa (shock) 11) çänta (neutrality) 12) vätsalya (parenthood).
The sum total of all these rasas is called affection or love. Primarily, such signs of love are manifested in adoration, service, friendship, eternal affection, and conjugal love. And when these five are absent, love is present indirectly in anger, wonder, comedy, chivalry, fear, shock and so on. For example, when a man is in love with a woman, the rasa is called conjugal love. But when such love affairs are disturbed there may be wonder, anger, shock, or even horror. Sometimes love affairs between two persons culminate in ghastly murder scenes. Such rasas are displayed between man and man and between animal and animal. There is no possibility of an exchange of rasa between a man and an animal or between a man and any other species of living beings within the material world. The rasas are exchanged between members of the same species. But as far as the spirit souls are concerned, they are one qualitatively with the Supreme Lord. Therefore, the rasas were originally exchanged between the spiritual living being and the spiritual whole, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The spiritual exchange or rasa is fully exhibited in spiritual existence between living beings and the Supreme Lord.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is therefore described in the Çruti mantras, Vedic hymns, as “the fountainhead of all rasas.” When one associates with the Supreme Lord and exchanges one’s constitutional rasa with the Lord, then the living being is actually happy.
These Çruti mantras indicate that every living being has its constitutional position which is endowed with a particular type of rasa which is to be exchanged with the Personality of Godhead. In the liberated condition only, this primary rasa is experienced in full. In the material existence, the rasa is experienced in the perverted form, which is temporary. And thus the rasas of the material world are exhibited in the material form of raudra (anger) and so on.
Therefore, one who attains full knowledge of these different rasas, which are the basic principles of activities, can understand the false representations of the original rasas which are reflected in the material world. The learned scholar seeks to relish the real rasa in the spiritual form. In the beginning he desires to become one with the Supreme. Thus, intelligent transcendentalists cannot go beyond this conception of becoming one with the spirit whole, without knowing of the different rasas.
In this çloka, it is definitely stated that spiritual rasa, which is relished even in the liberated stage, can be experienced in the literature of the Çrémad-Bhägavatam due to its being the ripened fruit of all Vedic knowledge. By submissively hearing this transcendental literature, one can attain the full pleasure of his heart’s desire. But, one must be very careful to hear the message from the right source. Çrémad-Bhägavatam is exactly received from the right source. It was brought by Närada Muni from the spiritual world and given to his disciple Çré Vyäsadeva. The latter in turn delivered the message to his son Çréla Çukadeva Gosvämé, and Çréla Çukadeva Gosvämé delivered the message to Mahäräja Parékñit just seven days before the King’s death. Çréla Çukadeva Gosvämé was a liberated soul from his very birth. He was liberated even in the womb of his mother, and he did not undergo any sort of spiritual training after his birth. At birth no one is qualified, neither in the mundane nor the spiritual sense. But Çré Çukadeva Gosvämé, due to his being a perfectly liberated soul, did not have to undergo an evolutionary process for spiritual realization. Yet despite his being a completely liberated person situated in the transcendental position above the three material modes, he was attracted to this transcendental rasa of the Supreme Personality of Godhead who is adored by liberated souls who sing Vedic hymns. The Supreme Lord’s pastimes are more attractive to liberated souls than to mundane people. He is of necessity not impersonal because it is only possible to carry on transcendental rasa with a person.
In the Çrémad-Bhägavatam the transcendental pastimes of the Lord are narrated, and the narration is systematically depicted by Çréla Çukadeva Gosvämé. Thus the subject matter is appealing to all classes of persons, including those who seek liberation and those who seek to become one with the supreme whole.
In Sanskrit the parrot is also known as çuka. When a ripened fruit is cut by the red beaks of such birds, its sweet flavor is enhanced. The Vedic fruit which is mature and ripe in knowledge is spoken through the lips of Çréla Çukadeva Gosvämé, who is compared to the parrot not for his ability to recite the Bhägavatam exactly as he heard it from his learned father, but for his ability to present the work in a manner that would appeal to all classes of men.
The subject matter is so presented through the lips of Çréla Çukadeva Gosvämé that any sincere listener that hears submissively can at once relish transcendental tastes which are distinct from the perverted tastes of the material world. The ripened fruit is not dropped all of a sudden from the highest planet of Kåñëaloka. Rather, it has come down carefully through the chain of disciplic succession without change or disturbance. Foolish people who are not in the transcendental disciplic succession commit great blunders by trying to understand the highest transcendental rasa known as the rasa dance without following in the footsteps of Çukadeva Gosvämé, who presents this fruit very carefully by stages of transcendental realization. One should be intelligent to know the position of Çrémad-Bhägavatam by considering personalities like Çukadeva Gosvämé, who deals with the subject so carefully. This process of disciplic succession of the Bhägavata school suggests that in the future also Çrémad-Bhägavatam has to be understood from a person who is factually a representative of Çréla Çukadeva Gosvämé. A professional man who makes a business out of reciting the Bhägavatam illegally is certainly not a representative of Çukadeva Gosvämé. Such a man’s business is only to earn his livelihood. Therefore one should refrain from hearing the lectures of such professional men. Such men usually go to the most confidential part of the literature without undergoing the gradual process of understanding this grave subject. They usually plunge into the subject matter of the rasa dance, which is misunderstood by the foolish class of men. Some of them take this to be immoral, while others try to cover it up by their own stupid interpretations. They have no desire to follow in the footsteps of Çréla Çukadeva Gosvämé.
One should conclude, therefore, that the serious student of the rasa should receive the message of Bhägavatam in the chain of disciplic succession from Çréla Çukadeva Gosvämé, who describes the Bhägavatam from its very beginning and not whimsically to satisfy the mundaner who has very little knowledge in transcendental science. Çrémad-Bhägavatam is so carefully presented that a sincere and serious person can at once enjoy the ripened fruit of Vedic knowledge simply by drinking the nectarean juice through the mouth of Çukadeva Gosvämé or his bona fide representative.
Srimad Bhagvatam Chapter 1 TEXT 4
naimiñe—in the forest known as Naimiñäraëya; animiña-kñetre—the spot which is especially a favorite of Viñëu (who does not close His eyelids); åñayaù—sages; çaunaka-ädayaù—headed by the sage Çaunaka; satram—sacrifice; svargäya—the Lord who is glorified, in heaven; lokäya—and for the devotees who are always in touch with the Lord; sahasra—one thousand; samam—years; äsata—performed.
Srimad Bhagvatam Chapter 1 TEXT 4 TRANSLATION
Once, in a holy place in the forest of Naimiñäraëya, great sages headed by the sage Çaunaka assembled to perform a great thousand-year sacrifice for the satisfaction of the Lord and His devotees.
Srimad Bhagvatam Chapter 1 TEXT 4 PURPORT
The prelude of the Çrémad-Bhägavatam was spoken in the previous three çlokas Now the main topic of this great literature is being presented. Çrémad-Bhägavatam, after its first recitation by Çréla Çukadeva Gosvämé, was repeated for the second time at Naimiñäraëya.
In the Väyavéya Tantra, it is said that Brahmä, the engineer of this particular universe, contemplated a great wheel which could enclose the universe. The hub of this great circle was fixed at a particular place known as Naimiñäraëya. Similarly, there is another reference to the forest of Naimiñäraëya in the Varäha Puräëa, where it is stated that by performance of sacrifice at this place, the strength of demoniac people is curtailed. Thus brähmaëas prefer Naimiñäraëya for such sacrificial performances.
The devotees of Lord Viñëu offer all kinds of sacrifices for His pleasure. The devotees are always attached to service of the Lord, whereas fallen souls are attached to the pleasures of material existence. In Bhagavad-gétä, it is said that anything performed in the material world for any reason other than for the pleasure of Lord Viñëu causes further bondage for the performer. It is enjoined therefore that all acts must be performed sacrificially for the satisfaction of Viñëu and His devotees. This will bring everyone peace and prosperity.
The great sages are always anxious to do good to the people in general, and as such the sages headed by Çaunaka and others assembled at this holy place of Naimiñäraëya with a program of performing a great and continuous chain of sacrificial ceremonies. Forgetful men do not know the right path for peace and prosperity. However, the sages know it well, and therefore for the good men they are always anxious to perform acts which may bring about peace in the world. They are sincere friends to all living entities, and at the risk of great personal inconvenience they are always engaged in the service of the Lord for the good of all people. Lord Viñëu is just like a great tree, and all others, including the demigods, men, Siddhas, Cäraëas, Vidyädharas and other living entities, are like branches, twigs and leaves of that tree. By pouring water on the root of the tree, all the parts of the tree are automatically nourished. Only those branches and leaves which are detached cannot be so satisfied. Detached branches and leaves dry up gradually despite all watering attempts. Similarly, human society, when it is detached from the Personality of Godhead like detached branches and leaves, is not capable of being watered, and one attempting to do so is simply wasting his energy and resources.
The modern materialistic society is detached from its relation to the Supreme Lord. And all its plans which are being made by atheistic leaders are sure to be baffled in every step. Yet they do not wake up to this.
In this age, the congregational chanting of the holy names of the Lord is the prescribed method for waking up. The ways and means are most scientifically presented by Lord Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu, and intelligent persons may take advantage of His teachings in order to bring about real peace and prosperity. Çrémad-Bhägavatam is also presented for this same purpose, and this will be explained more specifically later in the text.
Srimad Bhagvatam Chapter 1 TEXT 5
ta ekadä tu munayaù
sat-kåtaà sütam äsénaà
papracchur idam ädarät
te—the sages; ekadä—one day; tu—but; munayaù—sages; prätaù—morning; huta—burning; huta-agnayaù—the sacrificial fire; sat-kåtam—due respects; sütam—Çré Süta Gosvämé; äsénam—seated on; papracchuù—made inquiries; idam—on this (as follows); ädarät—with due regards.
Srimad Bhagvatam Chapter 1 TEXT 5 TRANSLATION
One day, after finishing their morning duties by burning a sacrificial fire and respectfully offering a seat to Çréla Süta Gosvämé, the great sages made earnest inquiries about the following matters.
Srimad Bhagvatam Chapter 1 TEXT 5 PURPORT
Morning is the best time to hold spiritual services. The great sages offered the speaker of the Bhägavatam an elevated seat of respect called the Vyäsäsana, or the seat of Çré Vyäsadeva. Çré Vyäsadeva is the original spiritual preceptor for all men. And all other preceptors are considered to be his representatives. A representative is one who can exactly present the viewpoint of Çré Vyäsadeva. Çré Vyäsadeva impregnated the message of Bhägavatam unto Çréla Çukadeva Gosvämé, and Çré Süta Gosvämé heard it from him (Çré Çukadeva Gosvämé). All bona fide representatives of Çré Vyäsadeva in the chain of disciplic succession are to be understood to be Gosvämés. These Gosvämés restrain all their senses, and they stick to the path made by the previous äcäryas. The Gosvämés do not deliver lectures on the Bhägavatam capriciously. Rather, they execute their services most carefully, following their predecessors who delivered the spiritual message unbroken to them.
Those who listen to the Bhägavatam may put questions to the speaker in order to elicit the clear meaning, but this should not be done in a challenging spirit. One must submit questions with a great regard for the speaker and the subject matter. This is also the way recommended in Bhagavad-gétä. One must learn the transcendental subject by submissive aural reception from the right sources. Therefore these sages addressed the speaker Süta Gosvämé with great respect.
Srimad Bhagvatam Chapter 1 TEXT 6
tvayä khalu puräëäni
äkhyätäny apy adhétäni
dharma-çästräëi yäny uta
åñayaù—the sages; ücuù—said; tvayä—by you; khalu—undoubtedly; puräëäni—the supplements to the Vedas with illustrative narrations; sa-itihäsäni—along with the histories; ca—and; anagha—freed from all vices; äkhyätäni—explained; api—although; adhétäni—well read; dharma-çästräëi—scriptures giving right directions to progressive life; yäni—all these; uta—said.
Srimad Bhagvatam Chapter 1 TEXT 6 TRANSLATION
The sages said: Respected Süta Gosvämé, you are completely free from all vice. You are well versed in all religious scriptures, the Puräëas and histories, for you have gone through them under proper guidance and have also explained them.
Srimad Bhagvatam Chapter 1 TEXT 6 PURPORT
A Gosvämé, or the bona fide representative of Çré Vyäsadeva, must be free from all kinds of vices. The four major vices of Kali-yuga are 1.) illicit connection with women, 2.) animal slaughter, 3.) intoxication, 4.) speculative gambling of all sorts. A Gosvämé must be free from all these vices before he can dare sit on the Vyäsäsana. No one should be allowed to sit on the Vyäsäsana who is not spotless in character and who is not freed from the above mentioned vices. He should not only be freed from all such vices, but he must also be well versed in all revealed scriptures or in the Vedas. The Puräëas are also parts of the Vedas. And histories like the Mahäbhärata or Rämäyaëa are also parts of the Vedas. The äcärya or the gosvämé must be well acquainted with all these literatures. To hear and explain them is more important than reading them. One can only assimilate the knowledge of the revealed scriptures by hearing and explaining. Hearing is called çravaëa, and explaining is called kértana. The two processes of çravaëa and kértana are of primary importance to progressive spiritual life. Only one who has properly grasped the transcendental knowledge from the right source by submissive hearing can properly explain the subject.
Srimad Bhagvatam Chapter 1 TEXT 7
yäni veda-vidäà çreñöho
anye ca munayaù süta
yäni—all that; veda-vidäm—scholars of the Vedas; çreñöhaù—seniormost; bhagavän—incarnation of Godhead; bädaräyaëaù—Vyäsadeva; anye—others; ca—and; munayaù—the sages; süta—O Süta Gosvämé; parävara-vidaù—amongst the learned scholars, one who is conversant with physical and metaphysical knowledge; viduù—one who knows.
Srimad Bhagvatam Chapter 1 TEXT 7 TRANSLATION
Being the eldest learned Vedäntist, O Süta Gosvämé, you are acquainted with the knowledge of Vyäsadeva, who is the incarnation of Godhead, and you also know other sages who are fully versed in all kinds of physical and metaphysical knowledge.
Srimad Bhagvatam Chapter 1 TEXT 7 PURPORT
Çrémad-Bhägavatam is a natural commentation on the Brahma-sütra or the Bädaräyaëa Vedänta-sütras. It is called natural because Vyäsadeva is author of both Vedänta-sütras as well as Çrémad-Bhägavatam or the essence of all Vedic literatures. Besides Vyäsadeva, there are other sages who are the authors of six different philosophical systems, namely Gautama, Kaëäda, Kapila, Pataïjali, Jaimini and Añöävakra. Theism is explained completely in the Vedänta-sütra, whereas in other systems of philosophical speculations, practically no mention is given to the ultimate cause of all causes. One can sit on the Vyäsäsana only after being conversant in all systems of philosophy so that one can present fully the theistic views of the Bhägavatam in defiance of all other systems. Çréla Süta Gosvämé was the proper teacher, and therefore the sages at Naimiñäraëya elevated him to the Vyäsäsana. Çréla Vyäsadeva is designated herein as the Personality of Godhead because he is the authorized incarnation.
Srimad Bhagvatam Chapter 1 TEXT 8
vettha tvaà saumya tat sarvaà
brüyuù snigdhasya çiñyasya
guravo guhyam apy uta
vettha—you are well conversant; tvam—your honor; saumya—one who is pure and simple; tat—those; sarvam—all; tattvataù—In fact; tat—their; anugrahät—by the favor of; brüyuù—will tell; snigdhasya—of the one who is submissive; çiñyasya—of the disciple; guravaù—the spiritual masters; guhyam—secret; api uta—endowed with.
Srimad Bhagvatam Chapter 1 TEXT 8 TRANSLATION
And because you are submissive, your spiritual masters have endowed you with all their favors. Therefore you can tell us all you have learned from them.
Srimad Bhagvatam Chapter 1 TEXT 8 PURPORT
The secret of success in spiritual life is in satisfying the spiritual master and thereby getting His sincere blessings. Çréla Viçvanätha Cakravarté Öhäkur has sung in his famous eight stanzas on the spiritual master as follows: “I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of my spiritual master. Only by his satisfaction can one please the Personality of Godhead, and when he is dissatisfied there is only havoc on the path of spiritual realization.” It is essential, therefore, that a disciple be very much obedient and submissive to the bona fide spiritual master. Çréla Süta Gosvämé fulfilled all these qualifications as a disciple, and therefore he was endowed with all favors by his learned and self-realized spiritual masters such as Çréla Vyäsadeva and others. The sages of Naimiñäraëya were confident that Çréla Süta Gosvämé was bona fide. Therefore they were anxious to hear from him.
Srimad Bhagvatam Chapter 1 TEXT 9
bhavatä yad viniçcitam
puàsäm ekäntataù çreyas
tan naù çaàsitum arhasi
tatra—thereof; tatra—thereof; aïjasä—made easy; äyuñman—blessed with good duration of life; bhavatä—by your good self; yat—whatever; viniçcitam—ascertained; puàsäm—for the people in general; ekäntataù—absolutely; çreyaù—ultimate good; tat—that; naù—to us; çaàsitum—to explain; arhasi—deserve.
Srimad Bhagvatam Chapter 1 TEXT 9 TRANSLATION
Please, therefore, being blessed with many years, explain to us what you ascertain to be the absolute and ultimate good for the people in general.
Srimad Bhagvatam Chapter 1 TEXT 9 PURPORT
In Bhagavad-gétä, worship of the äcärya is recommended. The äcäryas and the gosvämés are always well-wishers for the general public. They are especially spiritual well-wishers. Spiritual well-being is automatically followed by material well-being. The äcäryas therefore give directions in spiritual well-being for the people in general. Foreseeing the incompetencies of the people in this age of Kali, or the iron age of quarrel, the sages requested that Süta Gosvämé give a summary of all revealed scriptures because the people of this age are condemned in every respect. The sages, therefore, inquired of the absolute good, which is the ultimate good for the people. The condemned state of affairs of the people of this age is described as follows.
Srimad Bhagvatam Chapter 1 TEXT 10
kaläv asmin yuge janäù
manda-bhägyä hy upadrutäù
präyeëa—almost always; alpa—meager; äyuñaù—duration of life; sabhya—member of the learned society; kalau—in this age of Kali (quarrel); asmin—herein; yuge—age; janäù—the public; mandäù—lazy; sumanda-matayaù—misguided; manda-bhägyäù—unlucky; hi—and above all; upadrutäù—disturbed.
Srimad Bhagvatam Chapter 1 TEXT 10 TRANSLATION
O learned one, in this iron age of Kali men have but short lives. They are quarrelsome, lazy, misguided, unlucky and above all, always disturbed.
Srimad Bhagvatam Chapter 1 TEXT 10 PURPORT
The devotees of the Lord are always anxious for the spiritual improvement of the general public. When the sages of Naimiñäraëya analyzed the state of affairs of the people in this age of Kali, they foresaw that men would live short lives. In Kali-yuga, the duration of life is shortened not so much because of insufficient food but because of irregular habits. By keeping regular habits and eating simple food, any man can maintain his health. Overeating, over sense gratification, over dependence on another’s mercy, and artificial standards of living sap the very vitality of human energy. Therefore the duration of life is shortened.
The people of this age are also very lazy, not only materially but in the matter of self-realization. The human life is especially meant for self-realization. That is to say, man should come to know what he is, what the world is, and what the supreme truth is. Human life is a means by which the living entity can end all miseries of material existence which arise in the hard struggle for existence and by which he can return to Godhead, his eternal home. But, due to a bad system of education, men have no desire for self-realization. Even if they come to know about it, they unfortunately become victims of misguided teachers.
In this age, men are not only victims of different political creeds and parties, but also of many different types of sense-gratificatory diversions, namely cinemas, sports, gambling, clubs, mundane libraries, bad associations, smoking, drinking, cheating, pilfering, bickerings, and so on. Their minds are always disturbed and full of anxieties due to so many different engagements. In this age, many unscrupulous men manufacture their own religious faiths which are not based on any revealed scriptures, and very often people who are addicted to sense gratification are attracted by such institutions. Consequently, in the name of religion so many sinful acts are being carried on, and the people in general have neither peace of mind nor health of body. The student (brahmacäré) communities are no longer being maintained, and householders do not observe the rules and regulations of the gåhastha-äçrama. Consequently, the so-called vänaprastha and sannyäsés who come out of such gåhastha-äçramas are easily deviated from the rigid path. In the Kali-yuga the whole atmosphere is surcharged with faithlessness. Men are no longer interested in spiritual values. Material sense gratification is now the standard of civilization. For the maintenance of such material civilizations, man has formed complex nations and communities, and there is a constant strain of hot and cold wars between these different groups. It has become very difficult, therefore, to raise the spiritual standard due to the present distorted values of human society. The sages of Naimiñäraëya are anxious to disentangle all fallen souls, and here they are seeking the remedy from Çréla Süta Gosvämé.
Srimad Bhagvatam Chapter 1 TEXT 11
ataù sädho ‘tra yat säraà
brühi bhadräya bhütänäm
bhüréëi—multifarious; bhüri—many; karmäëi—duties; çrotavyäni—to be learned; vibhägaçaù—by division of subject matter; ataù—therefore; sädho—O sage; atra—herein; yat—whatever; säram—essence; samuddhåtya—by selection; manéñayä—best to your knowledge; brühi—please tell us; bhadräya—for the good of; bhütänäm—the living beings; yena—by which; ätmä—self; suprasédati—becomes fully satisfied.
Srimad Bhagvatam Chapter 1 TEXT 11 TRANSLATION
There are many varieties of scriptures, and in all of them there are many prescribed duties which can be learned only after many years of study. Therefore, O sage, please select the essential teachings of all these scriptures and explain them for the good of all living beings, that by such instruction their hearts may be satisfied.
Srimad Bhagvatam Chapter 1 TEXT 11 PURPORT
Ätmä or self is distinguished from matter and material elements. It is spiritual in constitution, and thus it is never satisfied by any amount of material planning. All scriptures and spiritual instructions are meant for the satisfaction of this self or ätmä. There are many varieties of approaches which are recommended for different types of living beings in different times and at different places. Consequently, the numbers of revealed scriptures are innumerable. There are different methods and prescribed duties recommended in these various scriptures. Taking into consideration the fallen condition of the people in general in this age of Kali, the sages of Naimiñäraëya suggested that Çré Süta Gosvämé relate the essence of all such scriptures because in this age it is not possible for the fallen souls to understand and undergo all the lessons of all these various scriptures in a varëa and äçrama system.
The varëa and äçrama society was considered to be the best institution for lifting the human being to the spiritual platform, but due to Kali-yuga it is not possible to execute the rules and regulations of these institutions. Nor is it possible for the people in general to completely sever relations with their families as the varëäçrama institution prescribes. The whole atmosphere is surcharged with opposition. And considering this, one can see that spiritual emancipation for the common man in this age is very difficult. The reason for the sages’ inquiry into this matter is explained in the following verse.
Srimad Bhagvatam Chapter 1 TEXT 12
süta jänäsi bhadraà te
bhagavän sätvatäà patiù
jäto yasya cikérñayä
süta—O Süta Gosvämé; jänäsi—you know; bhadram te—all blessings upon you; bhagavän—the Personality of Godhead; sätvatäm—of the pure devotees; patiù—protector; devakyäm—in the womb of Devaké; vasudevasya—by Vasudeva; jätaù—born of; yasya—for the purpose of; cikérñayä—executing.
Srimad Bhagvatam Chapter 1 TEXT 12 TRANSLATION
All blessings upon you, O Süta Gosvämé. You know for what purpose the Personality of Godhead appeared in the womb of Devaké as the son of Väsudeva.
Srimad Bhagvatam Chapter 1 TEXT 12 PURPORT
Bhagavän means the Almighty God who is the controller of all opulences, power, fame, beauty, knowledge and renunciation. He is the protector of His pure devotees. Although God is equally disposed to everyone, He is especially inclined to His devotees. Sat means the Absolute Truth. And persons who are servitors of the Absolute Truth are called sätvatas. And the Personality of Godhead who protects such pure devotees is known as the protector of the sätvatas. Bhadram or “blessings upon you” indicates the sages’ anxiety to know the Absolute Truth from the speaker. Lord Çré Kåñëa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, appeared to Devaké, the wife of Vasudeva. Vasudeva is the symbol of the transcendental position wherein the appearance of the Supreme Lord takes place.(Srimad Bhagavatam, Bhaktivedanta)