The Mood of Approaching Srimad Bhagavatam

Dearest Vaishnavas,
Please accept my humble obeisances!!! All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga!!! All glories to Srila Prabhupada!!!

In Srimad Bhagavatam, while answering to the question of His mother Devahuti, Lord Kapiladev describes the pure devotees. The Lord says in verse 3.25.25

satāṁ prasaṅgān mama vīrya-saṁvido
bhavanti hṛt-karṇa-rasāyanāḥ kathāḥ
taj-joṣaṇād āśv apavarga-vartmani
śraddhā ratir bhaktir anukramiṣyati

In the association of pure devotees, discussion of the pastimes and activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is very pleasing and satisfying to the ear and the heart. By cultivating such knowledge one gradually becomes advanced on the path of liberation, and thereafter he is freed, and his attraction becomes fixed. Then real devotion and devotional service begin.

Srila Prabhupada writes in the purport that the process of advancing in Krishna consciousness and devotional service is described here. The first point is that one must seek the association of persons who are Krishna conscious and who engage in devotional service. Without such association one cannot make advancement. Simply by theoretical knowledge or study one cannot make any appreciable advancement. One must give up the association of materialistic persons and seek the association of devotees because without the association of devotees one cannot understand the activities of the Lord. 

Srila Prabhupada advises us to seek the association of devotees, who are Krishna conscious and are engaged in devotional service. But how should we approach the association of devotees? 

I heard in one of the lecture by Maharaj where he was talking about the episode of Manigriva and Nala Kuvera, that they were associating with Lord Shiva who was actually a great vaishnava but they were not taking his association for being the humble servant of the servants but taking the advantage of his association for pride and prestige. Indeed they were using their relationship with such a great soul just to increase their prestige and not only that, but they were bathing (naked) in the river Ganges, the Ganges purifies everyone but they did not go to the Ganges to be purified, they went to the Ganges to commit sinful activities. They were not associating with Lord Shiva to hear the glories of the Lord and His holy name. And that how ultimately they got cursed. 

Maharaj mentioned that therefore how we approach the association of devotees is very important and explained that we should associate with devotees in a humble mood of service, hear from them submissively, render service to them and take their instruction as our life and soul, hear the glories of Srimad Bhagavatam everyday and chant the holy name. 

We were also fortunate to receive the lecture on this verse by another senior devotee who mentioned that we have to hear from satam (pure devotees, truthful devotees), and in their association we can understand the personal feature of the Absolute Truth. Association with devotees is real association; it is association with the Absolute Truth, which is absolutely real.He further explained that satisfied (as mentioned in the verse) means that I am satisfied just by hearing and chanting about Krishna in the association of devotees and that I don't want anything else--yet I feel that I can never get enough of that association. I can never chant enough. I can never hear enough. I want more and more and more, because it is so pleasing. And I am satisfied doing that only. I need nothing more to amuse or entertain myself. 

This is very important. Few days back we were discussing that the mood of coming to the Srimad Bhagavatam or Bhagavad Gita class should be that of a patient who goes to the hospital and not that of a tourist who goes to the hotel. There is a big difference in the two. The tourist goes to the hotel for entertainment while the patient goes to the hospital to get cured. He realises that he is in diseased condition and know that the doctor and medicines can certainly cure him. So he is very desperate when he approaches the hospital. Similarly when we approach the association of devotees, we should have this mood. It is not that we go to Bhagavat Saptah for some entertainment (for us saptah should mean seven days of a week and not seven days of a year ie. nityam bhaagavat sevayaa). We should approach the Bhagavatas (the book bhagavat as well as person bhagavat) not for entertainment but for purification in the mood of a patient and not that of the tourist. 

We pray at the lotus feet of Guru Maharaj, Srila Prabhupada and Lord so that we should never take the association of devotees for granted and also develop the humble mood while we approach the book bhagavat as well as person bhagavat. 

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev,
Rasamrta das
Abu Dhabi.