Sun Feature Series for 2011


Srila Prabhupada and his Srimad Bhagwatams, Delhi

Jan 06, 2011 — CANADA (SUN) —

Since the Sampradaya Sun's launch in July 2005, we have done many unique presentations in the Feature section of the daily Sun. Many have been serial presentations of published works by other authors, and a number have been comprised of our own research and writing. Following two lengthy serials – 'Worship of Lord Brahma' and 'Caitanya Mahaprabhu's Tirtha Yatra' – we ran a triad series through much of 2010, rotating to a new topic every three segments. These included 'The Mughal Influence on Vaisnavism', 'Corporate ISKCON', and the 'Prasadam' series. Today, we would like to introduce the next tri-series, which will no doubt run for several months into the new year.

Srila Prabhupada on Srimad Bhagavatam

We are very pleased to announce the first of the new Features – a serial presentation of HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada's preaching on the Srimad Bhagavatam. The Srimad-Bhagavatam, or Bhagavata Purana, is considered to be post-graduate compared to Bhagavad-gita, which presents the fundamentals of our philosophy. The commentaries on Srimad-Bhagavatam begin to reflect the differentiations between the main sampradayas.

Srila Prabhupada also published the Krsna books, from the Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam. While the Bhagavatam presents the Tenth Canto teachings in sastra-like format, Srila Prabhupada's Krsna book presents them in more of a story format, interweaving the complete philosophy in commentary on the stories. As the Sampradaya Acarya, Srila Prabhupada published the Krsna books to dispel any misconceptions that our sampradaya teaches anything that might be misconstrued as mundane sexuality or Sahajiya teachings."

As our name suggests -- the Sampradaya Sun -- we have an underlying theme here, which is to present Srila Prabhupada as the Sampradaya Acarya. We feel that the most significant aspects of Srila Prabhupada's ISKCON lila pastimes are not so much that he opened many temples or made so many disciples within a relatively short period of time throughout the world. Rather, what distinguishes Sampradaya Acaryas is their contribution to the siddhanta, and their presentation of siddhanta to the world – their preaching of Krsna Conscious philosophy. Srila Prabhupada's literary contribution in this regard is a significant element of what distinguishes him as a Sampradaya Acarya, as was the case with Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur.

Long before Srila Prabhupada began his ISKCON lila period, in the latter part of his life, he was writing prolifically and without any assistance, produced and published the three volumes of Srimad Bhagwatam which he brought to the West on the Jaladuta. On top of that, he had also translated and purported the Bhagavad-gita, although that manuscript was unfortunately stolen in India.

As soon as Srila Prabhupada began his society in America, one of the first engagements he allowed his early disciples to participate in was to have them assist him in his translation and commentary on the sastra. Today, so many years later, we feel that it's incumbent upon us to try in a humble way to impress upon the readers just how dedicated, expert and empowered Srila Prabhupada was in this field of endeavour. Towards that end, we are embarking upon a major project – this serial presentation of Srila Prabhupada's preaching of Srimad Bhagavatam -- and we invite our readers to participate in whatever way they feel motivated.

Our goal is to work methodically through the Srimad Bhagavatam, beginning with the first canto, chapter one, pulling together all of Srila Prabhupada's lectures and comments on each of the verses. We'll offer our own commentary on the various approaches Srila Prabhupada takes in different lectures referring to the same verse, and we'll look at the instances where Srila Prabhupada referenced a Bhagavatam verse in a lecture or conversation on some other topic or book of sastra.

We are fortunate to have all three editions of Srila Prabhupada's original Bhagwatams in our asrama, and we will present that original text, as well. Overall, we will attempt to bring focus to the Bhagavatam slokas and commentaries that Srila Prabhupada particularly emphasized throughout his preaching, as we consider them in context in the orderly presentation of Srimad Bhagavatam, and also as referenced elsewhere in his writings and lectures.

We invite the suggestions of our readers on others elements or approaches that can be dovetailed into this presentation and again, we invite all our readers to participate by offering their own realizations on Srila Prabhupada's preaching of Sri Srimad Bhagavatam.

Krsna and Friends
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust

Krsna's Vrindavan Associates

The second of our rotating triad Feature series will be an in-depth presentation of Sri Krsna's transcendental associates from His Vrindavan lila pastimes. In the Philosophy wing of we have provided a brief description of some of these associates – the cowherd boys, the gopis, other childhood friends, well-wishers and the elders of Vraja, animals playmates, etc.

In this series, we will attempt to offer a more detailed presentation of these divine individuals, whose pastimes with Krsna in His kaumara, pauganda and kaisora ages are given in various pieces of Vaisnava literature.

There are so many moods and pastimes to get immersed in such as the following, described in Nectar of Devotion, chapter 42:

    "Krsna played with His intimate friends sometimes by fighting or wrestling with their arms, sometimes by playing ball and sometimes by playing chess. Sometimes they carried one another on their shoulders, and sometimes they exhibited their expertness at whirling logs. And the cowherd friends used to please Krsna by sitting together with Him on couches or on swings, by lying together on their beds, by joking together and by swimming in the pool. All these activities are called anubhava. Whenever all the friends would assemble in the company of Krsna, they would immediately engage in all these functions, especially in dancing together. Regarding their wrestling, one friend once asked Krsna, "My dear friend, O killer of the Agha demon, You are very proudly wandering among Your friends trying to exhibit Your arms as very strong. Is it that You are envious of me? I know that You cannot defeat me in wrestling, and I also know that You were sitting idly for a long time because You were hopeless of defeating me."

    All the friends were very daring and would risk any difficulty, because they were confident that Krsna would help them to be victorious in all adventures. They used to sit together and advise one another what to do, sometimes inducing one another to be engaged in welfare work. Sometimes they would offer betel nuts to one another, decorate one another's faces with tilaka or smear pulp of candana on one another's bodies. Sometimes, for the sake of amusement, they used to decorate their faces in strange ways. Another business of the friends was that each of them wanted to defeat Krsna. Sometimes they used to snatch His clothing or snatch away the flowers from His hands. Sometimes one would try to induce another to decorate his body for him, and failing this, they were always ready to fight, challenging one another to combat in wrestling. These were some of the general activities of Krsna and His friends."

By making a more in-depth study of the individual associates who engaged in such divine pastimes with the Lord, we will hope to enliven our Sun readers to further study and glorification of the Darling of Vrindavan.

Lord Caitanya takes Sannyasa

Lord Caitanya on Austerities

The third Feature series will be presented in three-part segments, rotated with the two themes described above. Here, we will focus on the preaching of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu on the subject of austerities.

We feel that this aspect of our philosophy as presented by Lord Caitanya should be looked at in all seriousness, for a number of reasons. One is that Srila Prabhupada, as the Sampradaya Acarya, displayed his ISKCON lila pastimes in a very particular way. But those who do not recognize Srila Prabhupada's exalted spiritual position may have a tendency to try and imitate or exploit some of his pastimes, using this as a way to justify sense gratification and ignoring this important issue of renunciation. This has led to a great deal of confusion and falldown in ISKCON, thereby disturbing the spreading of Krsna Consciousness.

The lecture below is one of many that can be discovered by anyone listening to Srila Prabhupada, who points out time and time again that both Lord Caitanya and His close associates had to give up a great deal of wealth, prestige, position, etc., in order to participate in the lila of Mahaprabhu. Much of what they renounced is sought after as the goal of all materialists.

In order to consider oneself a renunciate, we must first have something to renounce. So as followers of Lord Caitanya, we have to consider the fact that we can't begin our participation in Sri Caitanya's Sankirtana movement with nothing, accept a position of renunciation, then use that position to gain all sorts of material opulence. This is the opposite of what the Lord was showing by example and emphasizing in His preaching.

There is a wealth of instruction on the subject of austerities to be found in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta and Srila Prabhupada's transcendental purports thereon, and we will attempt to present this material in various formats in this Feature series.

The following lecture by Srila Prabhupada on vairagya-vidya offers a concise overview of this all-important aspect of Krsna Consciousness:

    Lecture by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
    on Bhagavad-gita 1.32-35, London, July 25, 1973:

    "This is the process. First of all he is taught to be vairagi. Vairagya. This whole Krsna consciousness movement may be called vairagya-vidya. So one of the verses written by Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya is: vairagya-vidya-nija-bhakti-yogam. This bhakti-yoga is vairagya-vidya, how to teach people to be detached from this material attraction. This is vairagya-vidya. In another place, in Srimad-Bhagavatam, it is said,

    vasudeve bhagavati bhakti-yogah prayojitah janayaty asu vairagyam jnanam ca yad ahaitukam [SB 1.2.7]

    In the human life, two things required: jnana and vairagya. Jnana means that "I am not this body." This is jnana. Not that so-called scientific knowledge, more attachment for this body. That is not… That is ajnana. That is not jnana. Jnana means how to achieve the status of vairagya. That is jnana. Jnana-vairagya-yuktaya. So the brahmacari is taught vairagya-vidya. Vairagya-vidya-nija-bhakti-yoga-siksartham ekah purusah puranah [Cc. Madya 6.254] Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya says that, "This Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who has taken sannyasa, very early age, only at the age of twenty-four years, a very young man. He has got His young wife at home, sixteen years old, and He has got His mother, old, seventy years old. So He has given up all responsibility, and there is no other male member in the family to look after them, the mother and the young wife. Still, He has taken sannyasa. So therefore He is the Purana-purusha, the Supreme Person, but He has come to teach us this vairagya-vidya." Vairagya-vidya-nija-bhakti-yoga-siksartham ekah purusah puranah [Cc. Madya 6.254]. Purushah puranah, Krsna. Krsna is described: purushah puranah. Sasvatam puranah. Divyam, adi- purusham. So purushah puranah. Vairagya-vidya-nija-bhakti-yogam: "He has come to teach the bhakti-yoga which is vairagya-vidya." Vairagya-vidya-nija-bhakti-yoga-siksartham ekah purusah puranah sri-krsna-caitanya-sarira-dhari [Cc. Madya 6.254]. "Now He has assumed the body of Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu." Tam aham prapadye: "I offer my respectful obeisances to this person. He has come to teach us vairagya-vidya."

    So vairagya-vidya. This family attachment, and just the opposite thing is vairagya-vidya, how to become detached. This is the whole process of Vedic civilization. Everyone has got this attachment for the body and expansion of the body. So vairagya-vidya means to be detached. That is called brahma-jnana. Brahma-bhutah prasannatma na socati na kanksati [Bg. 18.54]. That is brahma-jnana. As soon as you understand, aham brahmasmi, "I am not this body, I am spirit soul," this is called brahma-jnana. So long you do not get this knowledge, you are in ignorance. That ignorance, there are degrees. In the sattva-guna or in the modes of goodness, you can simply theoretically understand that "I am not this body." That is sattva-guna. Brahminical qualities."


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