Bhagavata-Dharma - Part 5

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

This is in continuation of the series, "Bhagavata Dharma" wherein we are learning few lessons from the conversation between Vasudev and Narada Muni in Dwaraka, as mentioned in 11th Canto, 2nd Chapter of Srimad Bhagavatam.  In the previous offerings we have seen 5 points based on Vasudev's inquiries. In this offering we shall see how Narada Muni responded to Vasudev.

Narada Muni felt very happy to hear the sincere inquiries of Vasudev about the eternal duty of living entity towards the Supreme Lord. Throughout Bhagavatam we find that devotees like Narada Muni, Sukadeva Goswami, Suta Goswami, Maitreya Muni, all of them feel very happy and pleased when they are asked questions about the Lord. They feel very thankful and grateful to the devotees who ask such questions, because they consider it as an opportunity to remember Krishna more. This is a very important lesson for us. Many a times when someone comes and inquires us about Krishna, we feel proud that, "This person is asking me, because I know better than everyone." The moment we start thinking like that, our fall-down begins. On the other hand when we see that Guru and Krishna has kindly sent that soul to remind us to remember about Krishna, then we will be able to discuss about Krishna with true relish and there by experience bliss. Also when we meet saintly people we should sincerely inquire about Krishna and devotional service and not waste their time by talking about our own glories, gossips, quarrels and problems.

Appreciating Vasudev for his valuable question, Narada Muni says that devotional service to Supreme Lord is so potent that it can purify the whole universe. He further says in Srimad Bhagavatam verse 11.2.12,

śruto ’nupaṭhito dhyāta ādṛto vānumoditaḥ
sadyaḥ punāti sad-dharmo deva-viśva-druho ’pi hi

Pure devotional service rendered to the Supreme Lord is spiritually so potent that simply by hearing about such transcendental service, by chanting its glories in response, by meditating on it, by respectfully and faithfully accepting it, or by praising the devotional service of others, even persons who hate the demigods and all other living beings can be immediately purified.

This is a beautiful verse wherein Narada Muni says how if we simply hear about bhakti, praise its glories, think about it, accept it with faith and respect, or even if we genuinely praise others doing it, then even if we are worst of sinners, still we will be purified. We have experience that the daily news we get in newspapers are about murders, thefts, politics, crimes, accidents and natural disasters. On repeated hearing, chanting and meditating on such topics, we become distressed, depressed and fearful. It has a very bad impact on our consciousness. Whereas on the other hand when we hear about pastimes of Lord killing the demons, for example the way Lord Nrsimhadev killed Hiranyakashipu, though it is explained in a very detailed manner like how He garlanded Himself with the intestine of Hiranyakashipu, how He tore open his stomach, plucked his heart and threw it away, still we love to read and hear about it again and again. It only enlivens us more and more and has a wonderful impact on our consciousness. That is the potency of Krishna's names and pastimes.

When we keep meditating on the bad happenings in the material world, we also tend to become bad and by thinking about good, we become good. For this reason, ever since Vedic times pregnant women are advised to refrain from hearing about such mundane topics. Instead they are encouraged to read Bhagavad Gita, Bhagavatam, Ramayan etc. And we also see practical examples of how children of such mothers turn out to be nice devotees since birth whereas children who don't have such opportunities tend to be violent and unruly. Narada Muni himself instructed Prahlad in this manner, when he was in the womb of his mother Kayadu. So although his father was demoniac, just by hearing about bhakti from Narada Muni, he became pure devotee of the Lord. Similarly, Dhruva Maharaj's mother chanted the glories of bhakti to him and later when he was further instructed by Narada Muni in the forest, he faithfully accepted the process of bhakti with great respect. So in the end both he and his mother were able to reach the abode of the Lord.

Bhakti is so potent that even if we are not practicing it, if we simply genuinely appreciate the devotional service done by others, then that cleanses all the anarthas in us and sows the seed for the awakening of dormant bhakti in us. Kunti Maharani also in her prayers confirms this point in verse 1.8.36 of Srimad Bhagavatam, "O Krishna, those who continuously hear, chant and repeat Your transcendental activities, or take pleasure in others' doing so, certainly see Your lotus feet, which alone can stop the repetition of birth and death." Initially if we find it difficult to chant 16 rounds, or read Bhagavad-gita, Bhagavatam, do deity worship, still we can attain perfection if we even simply appreciate others' doing the devotional service, because both by actually devotional service and by appreciating others' devotional service we please the Lord immensely.

Krishna willing we shall continue to learn more about Bhagavata Dharma from the conversations between Narada Muni and Vasudeva in the subsequent offerings.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Sudarshana devi dasi.