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Sukadeva Gosvami Speaks Srimad-Bhagavatam

"So sravanam is so perfect also. Pariksit Maharaja attained perfection simply by hearing seven days. Similarly, Sukadeva Gosvami, he also attained perfection by speaking seven days to Pariksit Maharaja. Sravanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam."

Srila Prabhupada Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam, 02-22-73, Auckland

"In this sloka, it is definitely stated that spiritual rasa, which is relished even in the liberated stage, can be experienced in the literature of the Srimad-Bhagavatam due to its being the ripened fruit of all Vedic knowledge. By submissively hearing this transcendental literature, one can attain the full pleasure of his heart's desire. But one must be very careful to hear the message from the right source. Srimad-Bhagavatam is exactly received from the right source. It was brought by Narada Muni from the spiritual world and given to his disciple Sri Vyasadeva. The latter in turn delivered the message to his son Srila Sukadeva Gosvami, and Srila Sukadeva Gosvami delivered the message to Maharaja Pariksit just seven days before the King's death. Srila Sukadeva Gosvami was a liberated soul from his very birth. He was liberated even in the womb of his mother, and he did not undergo any sort of spiritual training after his birth. At birth no one is qualified, neither in the mundane nor in the spiritual sense. But Sri Sukadeva Gosvami, due to his being a perfectly liberated soul, did not have to undergo an evolutionary process for spiritual realization. Yet despite his being a completely liberated person situated in the transcendental position above the three material modes, he was attracted to this transcendental rasa of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is adored by liberated souls who sing Vedic hymns. The Supreme Lord's pastimes are more attractive to liberated souls than to mundane people. He is of necessity not impersonal because it is only possible to carry on transcendental rasa with a person.

In the Srimad-Bhagavatam the transcendental pastimes of the Lord are narrated, and the narration is systematically depicted by Srila Sukadeva Gosvami. Thus the subject matter is appealing to all classes of persons, including those who seek liberation and those who seek to become one with the supreme whole.

In Sanskrit the parrot is also known as suka. When a ripened fruit is cut by the red beaks of such birds, its sweet flavor is enhanced. The Vedic fruit which is mature and ripe in knowledge is spoken through the lips of Srila Sukadeva Gosvami, who is compared to the parrot not for his ability to recite the Bhagavatam exactly as he heard it from his learned father, but for his ability to present the work in a manner that would appeal to all classes of men.

The subject matter is so presented through the lips of Srila Sukadeva Gosvami that any sincere listener that hears submissively can at once relish transcendental tastes which are distinct from the perverted tastes of the material world. The ripened fruit is not dropped all of a sudden from the highest planet of Krsnaloka. Rather, it has come down carefully through the chain of disciplic succession without change or disturbance. Foolish people who are not in the transcendental disciplic succession commit great blunders by trying to understand the highest transcendental rasa known as the rasa dance without following in the footsteps of Sukadeva Gosvami, who presents this fruit very carefully by stages of transcendental realization. One should be intelligent enough to know the position of Srimad-Bhagavatam by considering personalities like Sukadeva Gosvami, who deals with the subject so carefully. This process of disciplic succession of the Bhagavata school suggests that in the future also Srimad-Bhagavatam has to be understood from a person who is factually a representative of Srila Sukadeva Gosvami. A professional man who makes a business out of reciting the Bhagavatam illegally is certainly not a representative of Sukadeva Gosvami. Such a man's business is only to earn his livelihood. Therefore one should refrain from hearing the lectures of such professional men. Such men usually go to the most confidential part of the literature without undergoing the gradual process of understanding this grave subject. They usually plunge into the subject matter of the rasa dance, which is misunderstood by the foolish class of men. Some of them take this to be immoral, while others try to cover it up by their own stupid interpretations. They have no desire to follow in the footsteps of Srila Sukadeva Gosvami.

One should conclude, therefore, that the serious student of the rasa should receive the message of Bhagavatam in the chain of disciplic succession from Srila Sukadeva Gosvami, who describes the Bhagavatam from its very beginning and not whimsically to satisfy the mundaner who has very little knowledge in transcendental science. Srimad-Bhagavatam is so carefully presented that a sincere and serious person can at once enjoy the ripened fruit of Vedic knowledge simply by drinking the nectarean juice through the mouth of Sukadeva Gosvami or his bona fide representative."

Srimad-Bhagavatam 1:1:3

"Sravanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam--this is bhagavata-marga. And arcanam vandanam dasyam sakhyam atma-nivedanam--that is pancaratrika, arcanam. So out of the nine--nine, eight, seven, six, five--whatever you do, that is sufficient because absolute. Any item, even one item, you can, if you perform perfectly, that is sufficient. But there are nine alternative items. Just like Haridasa Thakura, he simply chanted, sravanam kirtanam. He did not establish any Deity, but he got perfection. There were many others. Just like Pariksit Maharaja. At the last stage of his life he simply concentrated in hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam. Sravanam. So if sravana is perfect, that is sufficient. Any one of the nine items, if it is done perfectly, that is sufficient. Pariksit Maharaja, he did not go to the temple. He sat on the bank of the Ganges, and he was very serious because he knew that "I am going to die within seven days. Let me finish as soon as possible simply hearing of Srimad-Bhagavatam." He was intelligent. Otherwise... Not that simply he was hearing. He was questioning, as you have seen in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. So he was very scholar. It means as the spiritual master, Sukadeva Gosvami, was a great scholar in Sanskrit, the king was also a great scholar. Therefore quickly he was reciting, and he was understanding. And as soon as there was some difficulty, he was immediately questioning.

So both the spiritual master and the disciple, they became perfect simply by sravanam kirtanam. This is Bhagavata-marga. Simply by hearing and chanting. The spiritual master chanted, recited Srimad-Bhagavatam, and that is being imitated."

Srila Prabhupada Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam, 02-13-71, Gorakhpur

Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.