Srila Prabhupada on Srimad Bhagavatam, Part 10

BY: SUN STAFF


Feb 07, 2011 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial exploration of Srila Prabhupada's preaching on Srimad Bhagavatam.

Today we continue with our presentation of the Introduction to Srila Prabhupada's original Srimad Bhagwatam. Over the last several segments of this series we have been exploring the main portion of the Introduction -- 'A short life sketch and teachings of Lord Chaitanya, the Preacher of Srimad Bhagwatam'. Today's excerpt begins with Lord Caitanya's tirtha-yatra preaching tour of South India, describes his discourse with Ramananda Roy on the bank of the Godavari River, and His return to Jagannath Puri.


A short life sketch and teachings of Lord Chaitanya,
the Preacher of Srimad Bhagwatam

From Srimad Bhagwatam, Vol. I, First Part
(Continued)

"The Lord then proceeded towards South India for some time and converted every one He met on the way to become a devotee of Lord Sri Krishna. Such devotees also converted many others to the cult of devotional service or Bhagwat Dharma of the Lord and thus He reached on the bank of the Godavari where He met Srila Ramananda Roy the Governor of Madras on behalf of Maharaj Prataprudra the king of Orissa. His talks with Ramananda Roy is very much important in the matter of higher realisation of transcendental knowledge and the conversation forms itself a small booklet. We shall however try to give herewith a gist of the conversation as follows :-

Sri Ramananda Roy was a self realised soul although outwardly he belonged to a caste lower than the Brahmin in social convention. He was neither in renounced order of life and besides that he was a high government servant in the State. Still Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepted him as one of the liberated soul on the strength of high order of realisation of transcendental knowledge. Similarly the Lord appointed Srila Haridas Thakur a vetern devotee of the Lord hailing from the Mohamedan family. And there are many other great devotees of the Lord who hailed from different communities sects and castes of the then social status of life. But the Lord's only critarian was to see the standard of devotional service of the particular person. He was not concerned with the outward dress of a man but He was concerned only with the inner soul and it its activities. Therefore the whole missionary activities of the Lord are to be understood as standing on the spiritual plane and as such the cult of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu or the cult of Bhagwat Dharma has nothing to do with mundane affairs of sociology, politics, economic development or any such spheres of life. Srimad Bhagwat is purely transendental urge of the soul.

When he met Shri Ramananda Roy on the bank of the Godavari the conversation began with the subject matter of Varnashram Dhrama followed by the Hindus. Srila Ramananda Roy said that by following the principles of Varnashran Dharma or the system of four castes and four orders of human life it should be followed by every one in order to realise transcendence. In the opinion of the Lord the system of Varna Ashram Dharma is superficial only and it has very little to do with the highest realisation of spiritual values. Because the highest perfection of life is to get detached from the material attachment and proportionately realise the transcedental loving service of the Lord. The personality of Godhead recognises a living being who is progressing in that line. Devotional service is, therefore, the culmination of the culture of all knowledge. When Sri Kishna the Supreme Personality of Godhead appeared for the deliverance of all fallen souls, He advised for clear cut deliverance of all living entities as follows. The Supreme Absolute Personality of Godhead from whom all living entities have emanated, must be worshipped by all by their respective engagements, because every thing that we see is also the expansion of His energy only. That is the way of real perfection and is approved by all bonafide Acharyas past and present. The system of Varnasharam is more or less based on the principles of moral and ethical rules. There is very little realisation of the transcendence as such the Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu rejected it as superficial and asked Ramananda Roy to go further up.

Sri Ramananda Roy then suggested renunciation of the fruitive actions unto the Lord. The Bhagwat Geeta advices in this connection as followes. "Whatever you do, whatever you eat and whatever you give as well as whatever you may perform in penance, all must be offered to Me alone". This dedication on the part of the worker suggests the Personality of Godhead a step higher than the impersonal conception of the Varnashram system but still the relation of the living being and the Lord is not distinct in that way. The Lord therefore rejected this porposition and asked Ramananda Roy to go further on.

Roy then suggested renunciation of the Varnashram Dharma and acceptance of devotional service. The Lord did not approve of this suggestion also for the reason that all of a sudden one may not renounce his position and that will not bring in the desired result.

It was further suggested by Roy that attainment of spiritual realisation freed from the material conception of life is the topmost achievement by a living being. The Lord rejected this suggestion also because on the plea of such spiritual realisation many havoc may be done by the unscupulous persons and therefore all of a sudden this is not possible. The Roy then suggested sincere association of self realised souls and to hear submissively the transcendental message of the pastimes of the Personality of Godhead from any wordly position. This suggestion of Sri Ramananda Roy was welcomed by the Lord This suggestion was made following the foot prints of Brahmaji who said that the Personality of Godhead is known as 'Ajita' or the One Who cannot be conquered or approached by any one. But such Ajita also becomes Jita (conquered) by one method which is very simple and easy. The simple method is that one has to give up the arrogant attitude of declaring oneself as God Himself. One must be very meek and submissive and try to live peacefully by lending the ear to the speeches of the transcendentally self realised soul Who speaks on the message of Bhagwat Dharma or the Religion of Glorifying the Supreme Lord and His: devotees. To glorify a great merit is a natural instinct for living being but artificially they have learnt not to glorify the Lord. Perfection of life is attained simply by glorifying the Lord in association* of self-realised devotee of the Lord. Self realised devotee is he who surrenders unto the Lord fully without any further attachment for material prosperity. Material prosperity and sense enjoyment and advancement of learning thereof, are all activities of ignorance in the human society. Peace and friendship are impossible propositions in the light of a detached society from the association of God and His devotees. It is imperative, therefore, that one should sincerely seek for the association of pure devotees and hear them patiently by submissive aural reception from any position of life. The position of a person in the higher or lower status of life does not hamper in the path of self realisation. The only thing one has to do is to hear from self-realised soul with a routine programme. And the speaker may deliver lectures from the standard of Vedic literatures following the foot prints of the bygone Acharya who realised the Absolute Truth. Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu recommended this simple method of self realization generally known as Bhagwat Dharma. Srimad Bhagwatam is perfect guide for this purpose.

_______________________
* The League of Devotees (Sarbabhouma Bhagwat Samaj) is registered for this purpose.

Above these topic of the Lord with Sri Ramananda Roy, there were still more elevated spiritual talks between the two great personalities and we purposely withhold those topics for the present not only on the point of increasing the volume of this book but also on the point of principle. Up to this point one has to come to the spiritual plane and further talks with Ramananda Roy may be heard when one has duly passed the entrance examination. We shall try to depict further talks of Srila Ramananda Roy with the Lord, in a separate booklet at suitable opportunity. (Chaitanya Charitamrita Essay and Text).

At the conclusion of this meeting of the Lord with Sri Ramananda Roy the latter was advised by the Lord to retire from the service and come to Puri so that they can live together and relish transcendental mellows. Some time after Sri Ramananda Roy retired from the Government service and took pension from the king. He came back to Puri at his residence and all along he was one of the most confidential devotees of the Lord. There was another gentleman at Puri of the name Shikhi Maity who was also equally confidential like Ramananda Roy. The Lord used to discuss most confidential talks on spiritual values with three or four companions at Puri and passed eighteen years in that way and in spiritual trance which were recorded by His private Secretarry Sri Damodar Goswami one of the abovementioned four confidential devotees.

The Lord extensively travelled all over the southern part of India. The great saint of Maharastra known as saint Tukaram was also initiated by the Lord. Saint Tukaram after initiation from the Lord overflodded the whole of Maharastra Province with Samkirtan movement and the transcendental flow is still rolling on in the south western part of great Indian peninsula.

The Lord excavated from the south Indian portion two very important old literatures namely the Brahma Samhita* andKrishna Karnamrita and these two valuable books are authorised studies for the person in the devotional line. The Lord thus returned to Puri after south Indian tour.

_______________________
*Summary of Srimad Bhagwatam.

On His return to Puri all the anxious devotees of the Lord got back their life and the Lord remained there with continued pastimes of His transcendental realisations. The most important incidence during that time was to grant audience to the King Prataprudra. King Prataprudra was a great devotee of the Lord and he considered himself as one of the servants of the Lord entrusted with service of sweeping the temple. This submissive attitude of the king was very much appreciated by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The King requested both Bhattacharya and Roy to arrange for his meeting with the Lord. When however He was so requested by the two stalwart devotees of the Lord, He flatly refused to keep the request even though the same was put forward through the good office of such personal associates like Ramananda Roy and Sarbabhouma Bhattacharya. The reason is that it is dangerous for a Sanyasi to be in intimate touch with wordly men of L. s. p. and that also with woman. The Lord was an ideal Sanyasi. No woman could approach the Lord even for offering respects. Women's seats were accomodated far away from the Lord. As an ideal teacher and Acharya He was very strict in the routine work of a Sanyasi. Apart from His part of Divine Incarnatoin, the Lord was an ideal character as a human being. His behaviour with respective persons were always above suspicion. In His dealing as Acharya He was harder than the thunderbolt and softer than the rose. One of His associate Junior Haridas committed a great mistake by lustful glancing over a young woman and the Lord as Supersoul, could detect this misgivings in the mind of Junior Haridas. He was at once chucked off from His association and was never accepted again even thoungh He was implored to excuse Haridas for the mistake. Junior Haridas afterwards committed suicide in frustration of being disassociated from the company of the Lord and the news of suicide was duly informed to the Lord. The Lord even up to that time was not forgetful of the offence and He said that Haridas had rightly met with the proper punishment. On the Principles of the order of life and discipline the Lord knew no compromise and therefore even though He knew that the King was a great devotee, He refused to see the King only for the reason of the king's becoming a L. s. man. By these examples the Lord wanted to emphasise on the point of behaviour by a transcendentalist. A transcendentalist has nothing to do with women and money and he (the transcendentalist) must always refrain from such intimate relations. The King was however favoured by the Lord by the expert arrangement of the devotees. This means that the beloved devotee of the Lord can favour a neophyte more liberally than the Lord. Pure devotees, therefore, never commit offence at the feet of another pure devotee. Offence at the lotus feet of the Lord is some times excused by the merciful Lord but offence at the feet of a devotee is very much dangerous for one who actually wants to make progress in the devotional service As long as the Lord remained at Puri thousands of His devotees used to come and see Him during the car-festival ceremony of Lord Jagannath. And during the carfestival ceremony, the washing of the Gundicha temple under the direct supervision of the Lord, was an important function. The Lord's congregational Samkirtan movement at Puri was an unique exhibition for the mass of people and that is the way of turning the mass mind towards spiritual realization. The Lord inaugurated this system of mass Samkirtan Movement and leaders of all country may take advantage of this spiritual movement inorder to keep the mass of people in pure state of peace and friendship with one another which is now the demand of the present human society all over the world."

[End of this section of Srimad Bhagwatam]


Our comments on the above excerpt:

First, we would like to point out that all the phrases shown in bold text above, from the original Bhagwatam, were later produced in the first BBT edition of Srimad Bhagavatam without any bolding. In fact, even the PDF versions available online of the original Bhagwatams do not show the text, although it is there in the original hardcopy editions.

Of all the various differences in grammar, typography, etc. between the two editions, we find these instances of Srila Prabhupada's original bold text to be some of the interesting and important. In many cases, the act of bolding text appears to make an even more emphatic statement than capitalization.

And on the subject of capitalization, we again find a number of examples where Srila Prabhupada capitalized words in his original Bhagwatam which were changed to lower case letters in the later edition:

    'Ajita' or the One Who cannot be conquered
    becomes Jita (conquered)
    self realised soul Who speaks
    Religion of Glorifying

We also find a number of instances where Srila Prabhupada's original spelling of names and titles were revised, from the Bhagvatam version (left) to the Bhagavatam version (right):

    Ramananda Roy | Ramananda Raya
    Maharaj Prataprudra | Maharaja Prataparudra
    Varnashram/Varnasharam | varnasrama
    Bhagwat Geeta | Bhagavad-gita
    Shikhi Maity | Sikhi Mahiti
    Krishna Karnamrita | Krsna-karnamrta
    Sarbabhouma | Sarvabhauma

There are quite a number of misspellings of general words in the original Bhagwatam in this section, which of course were corrected in the BBT edition. This reminds us of the fact that there was a significant difference in the publishing process between the two editions. As we understand it, Srila Prabhupada provided a hand-written manuscript to his Delhi publisher, who would have manually set the type for the printing press. We do not know if Srila Prabhupada was given a galley copy for editing and proofreading purposes. Either way, it's very likely that a number of misspellings were made by the typesetters. And for an author who is doing his own galley proofing, it can be quite challenging to catch spelling errors when you've already written the word once, correctly.

There are a few other small but interesting differences in the texts we'd like to point out:

    The word "cult" has been replaced with a different term on a number of occasions previously mentioned,but in today's segment the term was kept as it referred to "the cult of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu or the cult of Bhagwat Dharma";

    "a gist of the conversation" is changed to "a summary";

    " wordly men of L. s. p." [pounds sterling] became "worldly money-conscious men"; and "a L. s. man" became a "dollar-and-cent man";

    "relish transcendental mellows" became "relish a transcendental relationship"; and

    "the car-festival ceremony of Lord Jagannath" became "the Ratha-yatra car festival of Lord Jagannatha".

Following are the instances found in today's excerpt from 'A short life sketch' wherein some degree of change in meaning might be ascribed to the revisions (blue from Bhagwatam, red from Bhagavatam):

    other great devotees of the Lord who hailed from different communities sects and castes of the then social status of life.

    other great devotees of the Lord who came from different communities, sects and castes.


    When he met Shri Ramananda Roy on the bank of the Godavari the conversation began with the subject matter of Varnashram Dhrama followed by the Hindus.

    When He met Sri Ramananda Raya on the bank of the Godavari, the varnasrama-dharma followed by the Hindus was mentioned by the Lord.


    The system of Varnasharam is more or less based on the principles of moral and ethical rules.

    The system of varnasrama is more or less based on moral and ethical principles.


    The Bhagwat Geeta advices in this connection as followes. "Whatever you do, whatever you eat and whatever you give as well as whatever you may perform in penance, all must be offered to Me alone".

    The Bhagavad-gita (9.27) advises in this connection: "Whatever you do, whatever you eat and whatever you give, as well as whatever you perform in penance, offer to Me alone."


    all of a sudden one may not renounce his position and that will not bring in the desired result.

    all of a sudden one should not renounce his position, for that may not bring in the desired result.


    The Roy then suggested sincere association of self realised souls and to hear submissively the transcendental message of the pastimes of the Personality of Godhead from any wordly position.

    The Raya then suggested sincere association of self-realized souls and hearing submissively the transcendental message of the pastimes of the Personality of Godhead.

In the following pair, note that the footnote was omitted from the later Bhagavatam edition. The corresponding asterisk remains in the later edition, although it appeas at a different point in the sentence.

    To glorify a great merit is a natural instinct for living being but artificially they have learnt not to glorify the Lord. Perfection of life is attained simply by glorifying the Lord in association* of self-realised devotee of the Lord. Self realised devotee is he who surrenders unto the Lord fully without any further attachment for material prosperity. Material prosperity and sense enjoyment and advancement of learning thereof, are all activities of ignorance in the human society. Peace and friendship are impossible propositions in the light of a detached society from the association of God and His devotees. It is imperative, therefore, that one should sincerely seek for the association of pure devotees and hear them patiently by submissive aural reception from any position of life.

    _______________________
    * The League of Devotees (Sarbabhouma Bhagwat Samaj) is registered for this purpose.

    To glorify a great man is a natural instinct for living beings, but they have not learned to glorify the Lord. Perfection of life is attained simply by glorifying the Lord in association with a self-realized devotee of the Lord.* The self-realized devotee is he who surrenders unto the Lord fully and who does not have attachment for material prosperity. Material prosperity and sense enjoyment and their advancement are all activities of ignorance in human society. Peace and friendship are impossible for a society detached from the association of God and His devotees. It is imperative, therefore, that one sincerely seek the association of pure devotees and hear them patiently and submissively from any position of life.


    we purposely withhold those topics for the present not only on the point of increasing the volume of this book but also on the point of principle. Up to this point one has to come to the spiritual plane and further talks with Ramananda Roy may be heard when one has duly passed the entrance examination.

    we purposely withhold those topics for the present because one has to come to the spiritual plane before further talks with Ramananda Raya can be heard. We have presented further talks of Srila Ramananda Raya with the Lord in another book (Teachings of Lord Caitanya).


    The Lord used to discuss most confidential talks on spiritual values with three or four companions at Puri and passed eighteen years in that way and in spiritual trance which were recorded by His private Secretarry Sri Damodar Goswami one of the abovementioned four confidential devotees.

    The Lord used to hold confidential talks on spiritual values with three or four companions at Puri, and He passed eighteen years in that way in spiritual trance. His talks were recorded by His private secretary Sri Damodara Gosvami, one of the four most intimate devotees.

Again, we find a difference in footnoting. A footnote appearing in the original Bhagwatam was omitted from the later BBT edition.

    The Lord excavated from the south Indian portion two very important old literatures namely the Brahma Samhita* andKrishna Karnamrita and these two valuable books are authorised studies for the person in the devotional line. The Lord thus returned to Puri after south Indian tour.

    _______________________
    *Summary of Srimad Bhagwatam.

    The Lord excavated from South India two very important old literatures, namely the Brahma-samhita and Krsna-karnamrta, and these two valuable books are authorized studies for the person in the devotional line. The Lord then returned to Puri after His South Indian tour.


    the request even though the same was put forward through the good office of such personal associates like Ramananda Roy and Sarbabhouma Bhattacharya.

    the request, even though it was put forward by personal associates like Ramananda Raya and Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya.


    the Lord as Supersoul, could detect this misgivings in the mind of Junior Haridas. He was at once chucked off from His association

    The Lord as Supersoul could detect this lust in the mind of Junior Haridasa, who was at once banished from the Lord's association


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