Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances! All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev!
This is in continuation of the previous mail transcribing the speech by HG Devakinandan prabhuji in the Bhaktivedanta Hospital, Mumbai, on the occasion of the first disappearance anniversary of our most beloved Gurudev HH Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj. In the previous offering we saw the point:
1. The mood of approaching Srimad Bhagavatam: The starting point we should always remember 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.
We shall continue to see the other points.
2. The purpose of studying Srimad Bhagavatam: Sometimes in this material world it is very easy for us to be distracted and because we are trying to find material solutions to the material problems, we do not realize that the material solutions very often become worse than the material problems. That is why Prahlada Maharaj says in Srimad Bhagavatam verse 7.9.17,duḥkhauṣadhaṁ tad api duḥkham - Although there are many remedies by which to get out of miserable life, any such remedies in the material world are more miserable than the miseries themselves. Even though we may be reading Srimad Bhagavatam, but if we read Bhagavatam to find a solution to our material lives, and if we forget that the purpose of Srimad Bhagavatam is always to be chaste to Krishna, then we miss out on the point. One who genuinely wants to serve the Supreme Lord in His form of Bhagavatam, for him, Bhagavatam tells us, all other matters automatically come. The byproducts of bhakti are the temples. The byproduct of bhakti is the people coming to the congregation. The byproduct of bhakti is all the wonderful activities that attract the people, but the actual essence of bhakti is the glorification of the Lord which is done in disciplic succession. In his purport to Srimad Bhagavatam verse 2.8.2, Srila Prabhupada gives a very wonderful formula to approach Krishna. He says that one should approach Bhagavatam with attention and devotion and hear from the right source in disciplic succession. This is the magic formula for the starting point of relishing Srimad Bhagavatam. The moment we deviate from this simple following, then like unchaste husbands and wives who look to others and who think perhaps I can derive more pleasure there, then immediately that marriage has not become sacrosanct. It has become touched. It has become impure. That is why Maharaj always told us that when we approach Bhagavatam, the mood to approach Srimad Bhagavatam should be on the very basis that, except for Krishna, there is no one else in our lives. Bhagavatam is all in all for us. This mood of chastity is the starting point of all attraction.
3. The royal road for relishing Bhagavatam: If you look further down in the verses that come after this, Sukadev Goswami states in 2.8.4:
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.
This is the way or the royal road to approach and relish Bhagavatam. The first point we should always not forget is to first start hearing. śṛṇvataḥ. But how we hear is very important. Srila Prabhupada says, one who hears with sincerity, even though he may not be up to the mark, he may not be qualified, but if he has the qualification of eagerly wanting to hear, earnestly wanting to hear, that person's starting point of Bhagavatam actually begins. Srila Prabhupada writes in his purport to Srimad Bhagavatam verse 1.1.2, "The desire to sincerely hear is the first qualification."
4. Attention leads to attraction for Bhagavatam: So if you really want to start to understand how to put Bhagavatam into practice, Maharaj emphasized that we must first give full-hearted attention to Srimad Bhagavatam. Sometimes we are in a hurry. We start reading Bhagavatam and we think, immediately within a few months or a year, we must get taste. But the taste is not there, not on account of anything, but because there is no attention. Kunti Mata prays in Srimad Bhagavatam verse 1.8.42
tvayi me ’nanya-viṣayā matir madhu-pate ’sakṛt
ratim udvahatād addhā gaṅgevaugham udanvati
O Lord of Madhu, as the Ganges forever flows to the sea without hindrance, let my attraction be constantly drawn unto You without being diverted to anyone else.
Ananya means 'except for You, there should be no one else'. Everyone else is there. We have family, we have work, and we have everything. But like how all of you are doing in the Bhaktivedanta hospital, you are putting Krishna in the centre of your operations, Krishna in the centre of your dealings with patients, Krishna as the start of your life, before you begin your day. Just starting the day with Krishna, Maharaj said, and in between remembering Krishna and at the end of the day coming before Their Lordships, seeking pardon that, "Please forgive me that for the whole day I had to work to keep body and soul together. Now let me glorify You again." That mood of always keeping Krishna in the centre, will go a long way to first make us become fixed in being attentive to Krishna. That is why Kunti Mata says, 'matir madhu-pate ’sakṛt'. She says that first, one must become attentive (matir) to Krishna. When you become attentive, then she says, ratih(attraction) – after matih only there can be ratih.
When we asked Maharaj how to start becoming attracted to Bhagavatam. Maharaj said, "You must be attentive first and then you will become attracted. You should remember. Be attentive to someone and you become attracted to him." He gave a simple example. Supposing husband and wife are married and the husband does not pay attention to the needs of the wife. He will never be attracted to her. Similarly, when we were studying, I very well remember, the subjects I paid most attention to, I eventually became attracted to. The subjects I did not want to pay attention to, I lost the taste for it and once I lost the taste for it, I always used to think why I am not doing well? The reason for the lack of performance is because there was no attention. So how can there be an attraction? So there is no quick and easy way to become attracted to Bhagavatam. It is by sitting down and approaching the sound incarnation of the Lord in a serious manner. Maharaj's life was very much like that.
Prabhuji went on to explain how Maharaj was attentive to Srimad Bhagavatam and the same shall be transcribed and offered in the upcoming offerings.
Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev,
Vaijayantimala devi dasi,
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