Be Chaste to Bhagavatam - Part 1

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

In his Krishna-lila-stava, Srila Sanatana Goswami has written,

mad-eka-bandho mat-sańgin mad-guro man-mahā-dhana
man-nistāraka mad-bhāgya mad-ānanda namo'stu te

Sanatana Goswami offers his respects to Srimad Bhagavatam, by saying: O holy Bhagavata, You are my only company, my only friend, and my guru. You are my greatest treasure, my personal savior, the emblem of my highest fortune, the very form of ecstasy. I offer my obeisances to You.

This verse depicts the life and soul of our most beloved Gurudev HH Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj. On the occasion of the first disappearance anniversary of our most beloved Gurudev, a program was organized in the Bhaktivedanta hospital in Mumbai, on 25th January 2011. On that occasion, our beloved God brother HG Devakinandan Prabhuji gave an excellent speech sharing his experiences of how our beloved Guru Maharaj relished Srimad Bhagavatam and what are his instructions on the same for all of us to relish Srimad Bhagavatam. The following is a humble effort to transcribe the same for all our benefit. 

1. The Mood of approaching Srimad Bhagavatam: In Srimad Bhagavatam verse 2.8.2 Parikshit Maharaj makes the following inquiry to Sukadev Goswami.

etad veditum icchāmi tattvaṁ tattva-vidāṁ vara
harer adbhuta-vīryasya kathā loka-sumaṅgalāḥ

The King said: I wish to know. Narrations concerning the Lord, who possesses wonderful potencies, are certainly auspicious for living beings in all planets.

PURPORT: "Srimad-Bhagavatam, which is full of narrations of the activities of the Supreme Lord, is auspicious for all living beings residing in every planet. One who takes it as belonging to a particular sect is certainly mistaken. Srimad-Bhagavatam is certainly a very dear scripture for all the devotees of the Lord, but it is auspicious even for the nondevotees also because it explains that even the nondevotees hovering under the spell of material energy can be delivered from such clutches if they hear the narration of the Srimad-Bhagavatam with devotion and attention from the right source representing the Lord by disciplic succession."

This verse, Maharaj explained to us together with the next four verses that come (SB 2.8.3,4, 5 and 6) are seminal verses that Srila Jiva Goswami commented on for the glories of Srimad Bhagavatam. Srila Jiva Goswami emphasized on certain verses in Srimad Bhagavatam to make us understand and appreciate the glories of Srimad Bhagavatam and these verses from 2.8.2 – 6, actually give us in a nutshell, how we can approach Bhagavatam, what mood we should have when we approach Bhagavatam. The starting point we should always remember in Bhagavatam is that in order to really appreciate Bhagavatam, we must be convinced that there is no need for any other scripture or any other recourse or solution except Bhagavatam. That is why in the first canto of the first chapter of Srimad Bhagavatam, right in the beginning, after Sukadev Goswami has glorified Krishna, he then begins by saying in SB 1.1.2:

dharmaḥ projjhita-kaitavo ’tra paramo nirmatsarāṇāṁ satāṁ
vedyaṁ vāstavam atra vastu śivadaṁ tāpa-trayonmūlanam
śrīmad-bhāgavate mahā-muni-kṛte kiṁ vā parair īśvaraḥ
sadyo hṛdy avarudhyate ’tra kṛtibhiḥ śuśrūṣubhis tat-kṣaṇāt

Completely rejecting all religious activities which are materially motivated, this Bhagavata Purana propounds the highest truth, which is understandable by those devotees who are fully pure in heart. The highest truth is reality distinguished from illusion for the welfare of all. Such truth uproots the threefold miseries. This beautiful Bhagavatam, compiled by the great sage Vyasadeva [in his maturity], is sufficient in itself for God realization. What is the need of any other scripture? As soon as one attentively and submissively hears the message of Bhagavatam, by this culture of knowledge the Supreme Lord is established within his heart.

Maharaj emphasized very much that if we are really to be convinced that Srimad Bhagavatam is the one and only way and Sukadev Goswami himself has said very clearly at the start that what is the need of any other scripture for God-realization? So this point is something that devotees must take to heart. Maharaj gave the example that at the beginning of our spiritual life we are compared to be like a man and woman who are looking for a wife or husband in marriage. In the beginning, we may look at so many men or we may look at so many ladies just to decide whom we are going to settle down with. But the moment we have decided the one person whom we are settling down with, then henceforth all other persons we might have seen – we might have seen 100 or 200 people, but all of them are completely erased from our lives and the man and the woman, they become chaste.

Chastity begins actually not in this material world, but it begins in the spiritual world. When you read BG 14.26, the word that is very nicely used to describe chastity is avyabhicaarena. The word vyabhicaarena means to be unchaste and avyabhicaarena means chaste and if you read that verse in Bhagavad Gita 14.26:

māṁ ca yo ’vyabhicāreṇa bhakti-yogena sevate
sa guṇān samatītyaitān brahma-bhūyāya kalpate

One who engages in full devotional service, unfailing in all circumstances, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman.

It means unadulterated and unflinching attachment to devotional service and to nothing else and definitely not to the benefits accruing from devotional service. This point is the same for approaching Srimad Bhagavatam. So Maharaj always emphasized to us that one must become chaste in devotional service and just like a woman is chaste to her husband and she becomes very powerful and a man becomes very powerful because he is chaste to his wife, then how much more we will be imbued with the blessings of Srimad Bhagavatam and Krishna if we become chaste only to Them because Bhagavatam and Krishna are nondifferent. 

Krishna willing, we shall continue the transcription of the other points spoken by Prabhuji in the upcoming offerings. 

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