The Secret of Relishing Bhagavatam - Part 6

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances! All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev!

This is the conclusion of the series titled "The Secret of Relishing Bhagavatam" which is a transcription of the class by HG Devakinandan prabhuji on Srimad Bhagavatam 1.3.44. In the previous offerings we saw that,

1. We should hear Bhagavatam from a bonafide source.
2. We should hear Bhagavatam with rapt attention.
3. We should hear Bhagavatam submissively.
4. We should depend on the mercy of Krishna and Guru.
5. We should realize Bhagavatam.
6. We should be anxious to receive the message of Bhagavatam.
7. We should be chaste to Bhagavatam.
8. We should follow the three ways to study Bhagavatam.
9. We should reject the material intentions.
10. We should understand that Srimad Bhagavatam is centered on hearing.

11. The scientific process by which hearing Bhagavatam can become realization: This process is given in three verse of SB 2.8.4, 5 and 6 and it is very important that we remember these verses,

śṛṇvataḥ śraddhayā nityaṁ gṛṇataś ca sva-ceṣṭitam
kālena nātidīrgheṇa bhagavān viśate hṛdi

Persons who hear Srimad-Bhagavatam regularly and are always taking the matter very seriously will have the Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna manifested in their hearts within a short time.

Here the emphasis is on sva ceshtitam – seriously by one’s own endeavor. Endeavor must be there if you want to approach Srimad Bhagavatam because Krishna is available free but He is not cheap. And when we sincerely endeavor to approach Srimad Bhagavatam, Krishna enters through our ears in the form of sound vibration and sits in the lotus of our hearts,

praviṣṭaḥ karṇa-randhreṇa svānāṁ bhāva-saroruham
dhunoti śamalaṁ kṛṣṇaḥ salilasya yathā śarat

The sound incarnation of Lord Krishna, the Supreme Soul [i.e. Srimad-Bhagavatam], enters into the heart of a self-realized devotee, sits on the lotus flower of his loving relationship, and thus cleanses the dust of material association, such as lust, anger and hankering. Thus it acts like autumnal rains upon pools of muddy water.

The lotus flower on which Krishna sits in our heart is actually our loving relationship with Him. When we take up Krishna consciousness our room is full of dust, but because the dust is very settled and it is so dirty, we think the room is clean. We are so used to the dirt in the room that it appears to be normal. That is a very bad sign. But when Krishna settles in the heart, the dust has to fly. When the dust is flying, we feel that all the trouble in the world is coming only when I have taken up reading Srimad Bhagavatam. Actually the trouble is not because of reading Bhagavatam. We are just beginning to see what is already been there but we were not able to see, because we became so used to it all. But now He is giving you the eyes to see because you started hearing Srimad Bhagavatam. So devotees are not to get discouraged when difficulties come. The difficulties are the cleansing process, the vaccuming service the Lord is doing in their hearts. So we should not wilt away during difficulties but instead we should become fixed up that we are on the right track. This way our heart will become cleansed. The next verse says what happens to the devotee whose heart is thus cleansed by the process of bhakti,

dhautātmā puruṣaḥ kṛṣṇa- pāda-mūlaṁ na muñcati
mukta-sarva-parikleśaḥ pānthaḥ sva-śaraṇaṁ yathā

A pure devotee of the Lord whose heart has once been cleansed by the process of devotional service never relinquishes the lotus feet of Lord Krishna, for they fully satisfy him, as a traveler is satisfied at home after a troubled journey.

When our heart is thus cleansed by the process of devotional service, we thoroughly relish it no matter what happens in our life, and we will never even once think of leaving the shelter of Lord Krishna's lotus feet. This is the stage when our hearing of Bhagavatam gets transformed into realization.

12. Srimad Bhagavatam is the practical way to attract Krishna's mercy: In the relationship with devotees, the center should be Bhagavatam and Krishna. Whenever there is social intercourse between devotees (bhūtānāṁ yan mithaḥ kaliḥ) they fight. Intimacy in devotee relationship means throwing Bhagavatam out. Keeping Sirmad Bhagavatam in the center means genuine friendly relationship between devotees. Srimad Bhagavatam even has impact in our relationship with family, with devotees and Krishna. Thus Srimad Bhagavatam is the most practical way to attract Krishna’s mercy.

13. The practical way to study Bhagavatam: While describing the life of Svayambhuva Manu, Srimad Bhagavatam says in 3.22.35,

ayāta-yāmās tasyāsan yāmāḥ svāntara-yāpanāḥ
śṛṇvato dhyāyato viṣṇoḥ kurvato bruvataḥ kathāḥ

Consequently, although his duration of life gradually came to an end, his long life, consisting of a Manvantara era, was not spent in vain, since he ever engaged in hearing, contemplating, writing down and chanting the pastimes of the Lord.

This is the only verse where Srila Prabhupada is giving us a direct hint on how to study Srimad Bhagavatam. First we hear and then we contemplate on what we hear and then cement it by writing it down and then speak about it. This is a very practical way.

Our heartfelt thanks to HG Devakinandan prabhuji for revealing the secret of receiving Srimad Bhagavatam in our hearts.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev,
Vaijayantimala devi dasi
Abu Dhabi.