Srila Prabhupada on Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.3,
Part Four


Jun 29, 2011 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial exploration of Srila Prabhupada's preaching on Srimad Bhagavatam.

Following is the translation to SB 1.2.3 and beneath that, a breakdown of the statements contained therein. Under each statement, we have listed the essential points Srila Prabhupada made in his two lectures on this sloka, as paraphrased in the previous segments.

As we always note, each one of Srila Prabhupada's comments contains so much information, they could rightly be applied to more than one statement from the sloka. We are simply dividing them by the most obvious correlations in order to point out the comprehensiveness of Srila Prabhupada's instructions on a single verse.

    SB 1.2.2 Translation

    "Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto him [Suka], the spiritual master of all sages, the son of Vyasadeva, who, out of his great compassion for those gross materialists who struggle to cross over the darkest regions of material existence, spoke this most confidential supplement to the cream of Vedic knowledge, after having personally assimilated it by experience."

Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto him

    He's offering respect to Sukadeva Gosvami because he has assimilated the whole Vedic knowledge. Sruti-sara. Sara means essence.

    yah svanubhavam akhila-sruti-saram ekam (SB 1.2.3). Suta Gosvami is offering respect to the spiritual master, Sukadeva Gosvami. When we offer respect to the spiritual master or anyone, we glorify his transcendental qualities. This is very important process, glorify the spiritual master by his activities.

[Suka], the spiritual master of all sages, the son of Vyasadeva,

    Tam vyasa-sunum upayami gurum muninam (SB SB 1.2.3). "He's not only my guru, but he is guru, spiritual master, of great sages and saintly persons."

    Vyasadeva also considered his son greater than himself. When Sukadeva Gosvami appeared in the assembly, all the munis stood up to receive him, even Vyasadeva. gurum muninam. He is spiritual master of all saintly persons.

    Sukadeva first heard from his father, Vyasadeva, Srimad-Bhagavatam, and realized it. Not a professional Bhagavata reciter.

    In India now there are a class of men, especially in Vrndavana, the gosvamis. They make a business, many very artistic Bhagavata reciters, but they could not turn even one man to Krsna consciousness, because they are not self-realized, svanubhavam.

    Svarupa Damodara recommended, bhagavata pora giya bhagavata-sthane -- "If you want to read Srimad-Bhagavatam, you must approach a person who is life living Bhagavata." Otherwise, there is no question of Bhagavata realization.

    The book Sukadeva Gosvami learned from his father, Vyasadeva -- Akhila-sruti-saram ekam (SB 1.2.3). Akhila means "all, universal."

who, out of his great compassion

    This is the business of the saintly persons. They are very much compassionate to these materialistic men, samsarinam. Samsari means they are perpetually rotating, wandering, within this darkness in different forms of life. Caitanya Mahaprabhu says, ei rupe brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jiva (Cc. Madhya 19.151).

    Samsarinam karunayaha purana-guhyam (SB SB 1.2.3). He first of all spoke Srimad-Bhagavatam, being compassionate to the people suffering from these material pangs.

    To get out of this miserable condition, Sukadeva says, here it is, says, karunaya aha (SB 1.2.3). Karunaya means "out of compassion." People are suffering. This is Vaisnava. Vaisnava takes so much trouble to speak to the rascals and dulls about God consciousness. Why? Out of compassion.

    Titiksavah karunikah (SB 3.25.21). Just like Lord Jesus Christ. He was being crucified. Still, he was saying, "My father, they do not know what they are doing." He is so much compassionate that "These rascals do not know what they are doing, rascals. Still, I request You to forgive them." This is Vaisnava. Personally he is suffering, but he is still compassionate.

for those gross materialists who struggle to cross over the darkest regions of material existence,

    Yah svanubhavam akhila-sruti-saram ekam adhyatma-dipam (SB 1.2.3). This Srimad-Bhagavatam is just like the lamp in the darkness to see Krsna. It is meant for those who are desiring to get out of this world of ignorance. Tamo 'ndham.

    Andha means blind or darkness. So our materialistic way of life is described as grha andha-kupam (SB 7.5.5).

    Family life is just like a dark well. We are already in the darkness, and another darkness is to fall in the dark well. If one falls down in the dark well, it is very difficult to get out because he may cry very loudly and people may not hear. You may simply die without any help.

    This materialistic way of life, without any knowledge of the outside world... Outside world means just like we are within this universe. Just like a coconut shell. Within the coconut shell it is darkness, and without it is light. As in within coconut there is half water, similarly, within this universe there is half water. On that water, Garbhodakasayi Visnu, is lying. But outside the universe there is light.

    Here, within the universe, because it is covered, light is required. Sunlight and moonlight is required. Electricity is required. But in the spiritual world there is no necessity of light. They're self effulgent, therefore tamo 'ndham.

    Those who are actually serious about going out of this darkness and come to the light, tamasi ma jyotir gama (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad): "Don't remain in this darkness. Come to the light."

    Atititirsatam tamo 'ndham (SB 1.2.3). Those who are actually serious to go out of this darkness to light, for them this is the lamp, this Srimad-Bhagavatam is given by Sukadeva Gosvami.

    Materialistic way of life, they have no knowledge that there is life after death. We should prepare for what kind of body we shall have next life. Instead, they are being carried away by the waves of material nature.

    Bhaktivinoda Thakura therefore sings, (miche) mayar bose jaccho bhese' khaccho habudubu bhai (Gitavali, BVT). Everyone is suffering, mayar bose. Under the influence of maya, the illusory energy, they are being carried away by the waves of the three modes of material nature, and suffering.

    Krsna says, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja (Bg 18.66): "You are suffering; you simply surrender unto Me." So what Krsna says, the Bhagavata also says the same thing.

    If you are really anxious to become free from the conditional life, then you have to take to adhyatma-sastra. You have to take knowledge from spiritual sources.

    Bahunam janmanam ante jnanavan mam prapadyate (Bg. 7.19). After many, many births they come to realize that, "This is not the way of solution. I must take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead."

    Atma, the soul, is within this body, but due to our darkness, insufficient knowledge, we cannot understand atma, Paramatma. You require a torchlight, similarly, Srimad-Bhagavatam is just like the torchlight. You can see atma and Paramatma. Adhyatma-dipam (SB 1.2.3).

    Andha yathandhair upaniyamanah (SB 7.5.31). The material world is darkness. The so-called scholars and teachers, they are also in the darkness, and they are leading other people in the darkness.

    Because it is darkness, therefore we require sunshine, moonshine and this electricity. There is another world where there is no need of these lighting agents, na tad bhasayate suryo na sasanko na pavakah (Bg 15.06).

    God is so kind that in each and every universe, it is full of darkness, but brilliant sun is there. This is His kindness. Yasya prabha prabhavato jagad-anda-kotih. Yac-caksur esa savita sakala-grahanam (Bs 5.40). Therefore the sun is described as the eye of all the planets. The mercy of sunshine, Krsna's mercy, is there. Therefore you can see. You can enjoy.

    Without sunshine, you cannot see, in any part of the universe, in any planet. One eye is the sun, another eye is the moon, of the Absolute, virad-rupa. So when He sees, then you can see. Without His seeing, you cannot see.

    God sees by the sun. Then you can see. So your seeing power is so dependent, and you are so much proud that you can see. Just see how much the whole world is full of rascals!

    So this is our position. We cannot see. Still, we are proud, "Can you show me God?" He does not think his incapability, that "I cannot see even our daily necessities of life without the sunlight." Therefore here it is said, adhyatma-dipam (SB 1.2.3). It is the light. If you want to see God, then you have to see through this light.

    atititirsatam tamo 'ndham (SB 1.2.3): one who is sober thinks that "Why we are put into the darkness?" We require light. Unless God gives us the light, sunlight, we are always in night. We cannot see. Those who are intelligent ask "Why shall I remain in this darkness? If there is light..."

    atititirsatam tamo 'ndham (SB 1.2.3). This Srimad-Bhagavatam is required for such intelligent person who wants to go out of this darkness to light. tamasi ma jyotir gama (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad): "Don't remain in the darkness. Just go out to the light."

    Why these people are in the darkness? Samsarinam They are undergoing the punishment. Because they have forgotten Krsna, they have defied the supremacy of Krsna. Just like one who defies the laws of the government, they are put into the jail, outlaws.

    krsna-bahirmukha hana bhoga vancha kare (Prema-vivarta). These rascals who have forgotten Krsna, God, to serve Him, and wants to remain independent, without serving, they are made servant of the prison house, maya. Just like the criminal.

    Simply defying, "I don't care for God," you may not care, but maya is there. He will give you kick and put you in the..., You will learn how to care. You will learn how to care.

    These rascals have become godless, suffering day and night the threefold miseries--adhyatmika, adhidaivika, adhibhautika. Still, they are not coming to their senses. So blunt, so dull-headed. When one comes to the understanding, "I don't want all this sufferings. Why they are forced upon me?" then you can become a gentleman. Just like jail breaking.

    Maya is kicking always, "You must do it." Prakrteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani (Bg 3.27). "You wanted to eat anything and everything. All right, you take this body of hog and eat stool."

    This is maya, prakrti. He has given you a body. You have to suffer according to the body. Karanam guna-sango 'sya sad-asad-janma-yonisu (Bg 13.22).

    Why there are different types of bodies, different types of enjoyment? Everyone is in the material world. Why one has become hog, one has become dog, and one has become very rich man, and demigod? Who is making arrangement? Who wants to become cat and dog? Who does not want to become king? This the rascal cannot understand. Therefore, to cover all this ignorance, they do not believe in the next birth.

    Prakrteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani sarvasah (Bg 3.27). As you desire, you will be given this chance by prakrti.

    He is thinking that "I am independent," but why there is death? Why you are forced to die? What your scientists will say? "Oh, this is natural." But you cannot fight. You do not want to die, but death is forced.

    You cannot explain why death is forced there, why birth is forced there. Janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi (Bg 13.9). You do not want to become old man, to have disease. Why you are forced to accept? They are undergoing nature's process from one life to another. All miserable condition.

spoke this most confidential supplement to the cream of Vedic knowledge,

    Sometimes the Mayavadis say these Puranas are stories. No. They are not stories. Purana means filling up, supplementary, to complete it. Ramayana, Mahabharata, Purana, they are all belonging to the Vedic literature. Especially Srimad-Bhagavatam, which is called Maha-purana. Purana-guhyam. Very confidential Purana.

    There are three kinds of puranas. In the tamasika-purana there are recommendations for goddess Kali and other. In rajasika-purana there is recommendation for yajna or worshiping the demigods in the heavenly planet, Indra, Candra. But in the sattvika-purana, only Lord Visnu is recommended to be worshiped. This is called purana-guhyam because you won't find any recommendation for worshiping any other demigod. Only the absolute. Satyam param. The ultimate Absolute Truth, Krsna, om namo bhagavate vasudevaya.

    First of all, there was only one Veda, Atharva-veda. Then he divided according to the subject matter into four Vedas: Sama, Yajur, Atharva, Rg. Then he explained the Vedas by the Puranas, and he compiled Mahabharata

    Stri-sudra-dvija-bandhunam trayi na sruti-gocara (SB 1.4.25). Those who are less intelligent, woman, sudra, and dvija-bandhu... for them this Mahabharata.

    And at the end he compiled, he summarized the whole thing by writing Vedanta-sutra. Still, he was not happy, and under the direction of his spiritual master Narada he wrote the commentary of Vedanta-sutra, and that is Srimad-Bhagavatam.

    So here it is sruti-saram ekam (SB 1.2.3). This Bhagavata is the sruti-saram, just like cream. You churn the milk, two mounds of milk, you get butter, the saram, essence. You have to churn it. You may possess lots of milk, but from the milk you have to take the cream. That is intelligence. The Srimad-Bhagavatam is the cream of Vedic knowledge.

    nigama-kalpa-taror galitam phalam idam (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu). Vedas is just like desire tree. Whatever you want, you can have it from Vedic knowledge.

    Ayur-veda means this is material thing, but still it is in the Veda. Dhanur-veda, military science. There are so many Vedas. The Vedic knowledge is so perfect that anything you want, material or spiritual, you will get the knowledge perfect. And it is learned by hearing. Tad-vijnanartham sa gurum eva abhigacchet, srotriyam brahma-nistham (Mundaka Upanishad 1.2.12).

    Formerly, there was no need of books. Nowadays, our memory is not so sharp due to Kali-yuga. Therefore Vyasadeva wrote in books, in words, because he foresaw that "The people in this age, they will be dull-headed rascals.

    Sruti means hearing. This disciple is so powerful that once he hears from the spiritual master, his memory is recorded immediately. Therefore brahmacari record. If you remain brahmacari, then your brain will be so nice that as soon as you hear something, it will be memorized.

    This is the benefit of brahmacari. If the students are allowed to be sexually indulgent, then where is the brain? This is very scientific to remain brahmacari, to understand from the guru simply by hearing once.

    The spiritual master means srotriyam: he has also nicely heard from his spiritual master. Therefore Vedic knowledge, factually, it is received simply by hearing. There was no necessity of becoming literate. Illiterate, it doesn't matter.

    Sri Vyasadeva first of all described the Vedas in four Vedas, and describes further in Upanisad, further in Puranas.

    Some of the rascals says that Puranas are not written by Vyasadeva. They are rascal. The Puranas are also, explained further, supplementary, "which completes." Another purana means "the very old, historical."

    Mahabharata is history, but the whole Vedic literature is there, ideal king, how kingdom... practically it is politics. But it is based on Vedic literature. And the Bhagavad-gita is introduced in the Mahabharata. So the Srimad-Bhagavatam is the essence of all Vedic literature. Sruti-saram ekam (SB 1.2.3). This is the only one. You cannot present another.

    As God is one, similarly, to understand Him, there is only one literature. That is Srimad-Bhagavatam. Bhagavad-gita is the preliminary study of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Sruti-saram ekam. Adhyatma-dipam. (SB 1.2.3)

    There are eighteen types of Puranas. Out of that, Bhagavata is also Purana. This Purana is very confidential, it is not ordinary. It is called "spotless Purana" because in this Purana, in this history or supplementary of Vedic knowledge, there is only description of devotional service. Dharmah projjhita (SB 1.1.2).

    The Bhagavata religion is so perfect that all kinds of cheating types of religion are kicked out from it. Big, big priests, big, big cardinals. What they are doing? They are simply disobeying. Christ says, "Thou shalt not kill," so they are simply eating meat.

    Bhagavata principle is so nice that little training... Svalpam apy asya dharmasya trayate mahato bhayat (Bg 2.40), even the most fallen can be elevated to the highest position. Purana-guhyam.

    Sukadeva Gosvami first of all explained Srimad-Bhagavatam before Pariksit Maharaja. So that is the beginning of Bhagavata teaching. He learned it from his father, and sravanam, then kirtanam.

    Sri-visnoh sravane pariksid abhavad vaiyasakih kirtane (Cc Madhya 22.136). This is also kirtana. The recitation of Bhagavata by the devotee is also kirtana. Kirtana does not mean that as we generally do.

    Vyasadeva compiled, he divided. There was originally one Veda, Atharva-veda. Then he divided it for different paths of understanding... Sama-veda, Atharva-veda, Yajur-veda and Rg-veda. Then he explained the Vedas in the Puranas. Then again he summarized in the Vedanta-sutra.

    The whole Vedanta knowledge was codified, Janmady asya yatah, athato brahma-jijnasa. Anandamayo 'bhyasat (SB 1.1.1). There are so many codes. So again these codes were explained in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. This is the business.

    It is meant for not ordinary men. It is very difficult. Because they are not fit to understand Srimad-Bhagavatam. It is especially meant for persons who are eager to go out of this darkness, especially. Not only that person, everyone is in darkness. We are trying… This Krsna consciousness movement is an attempt...

after having personally assimilated it by experience.

    These are the qualifications of the spiritual master. What is that? Svanubhavam, "must assimilate personally."

    The Vedas are called sruti, absolute knowledge. It has to be learned by hearing, not by speculation. Tad-vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet srotriyam (Mundaka Upanisad 1.2.12). From sruti, the srotriya comes.

    Sukadeva Gosvami, after assimilating the whole Vedic literature, distributed it. That is another instinct. If you really have learned the essence of Vedic knowledge, automatically you'll be inclined to preach it. Sravanam kirtanam.

    vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah (Bg 15.15) -- the real purpose of Vedic knowledge is to search out where is Krsna.

    Although Sukadeva Gosvami was a liberated soul, still he was after Krsna. To become liberated is not the final stage. Liberated means one who understands that he is not this material body--he is liberated. But that much knowledge is not sufficient. One must act according to that.

    Even if we are liberated, if we are not engaged in the activities of liberation, then we are to be considered on the marginal stage, and marginal stage means we may fall down in this material condition. Aruhya krcchrena param padam tatah patanty adho 'nadrta-yusmad-anghrayah (SB 10.2.32). Krcchrena, with great difficulty.

    By theoretical knowledge (of Absolute Truth) you cannot escape. It must be practiced. So in our Krsna consciousness movement we are putting the candidate into practice.

    Without practice, simply knowledge is no good. Simply foolishly to become puffed up that "I am now liberated," no. That is not liberation. Ye 'nye 'ravindaksa vimukta-maninah. Vimukta-maninah (SB 10.2.32).

    The Mayavada sannyasis address themselves as "Narayana." In the Mayavada philosophy everyone thinks that he is God, Narayana. No. You cannot become Narayana. You can become Narayana's dasa, servant.

    Liberation means sufficient knowledge to understand that one is not this body. When one is liberated, his actual life begins. Actual life is to be engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. brahma-bhutah prasannatma na socati na kanksati (Bg 18.54).

    After being brahma-bhutah, not simply by knowing aham brahmasmi. One must realize, assimilate, how he is Brahman.

    Brahman means the same thing as the Absolute Truth. All living entities, being part and parcel of the Supreme Brahman, Krsna, certainly we are Brahman. But if one stops activities of Brahman realization, then he falls down.

    The Brahman activities are this devotional service… realization that everything belongs to Krsna. In the bhakti school, everything belongs to Krsna. We don't take anything as our own. That is called Vaisnava philosophy. Assimilate. Anubhava.

    Svanubhavam means personally convinced. Anubhavam. God can be realized at the present stage by anubhava. We cannot see God now, but anubhava, appreciating or understanding the nature of God and seeing God, there is no difference. Absolute.

    Someday, if you continue in that Krsna consciousness, presence of Lord in everything, then it will be possible to see Krsna eye to eye.

    Krsna is absolute, advaya-jnana. He is identified to everything. What is everything? Everything means manifestation of His energy.

    Energy is not different from the energetic. Sakti-saktimatayor abhedam. This svanubhava, when there is no darkness in your heart... What is Krsna, when you understand fully within your heart, at that time your actual liberation is attained.

    Sruti means Veda. Sruti is learned by hearing, not by reading. You can understand Vedic principle even though you are illiterate, provided you hear them, aural reception. God has given you the ear. And if you try to hear submissively, to receive something, then it will be fruitful.

    This is Brahma's realization when he met Krsna, he said, jnane prayasam udapasya namanta eva, namanta eva, san-mukharitam bhavadiya-vartam (SB 10.14.03). People who are endeavoring to understand the Absolute Truth by dint of his puffed-up knowledge, they will never be able to.

    Krsna is not so cheap thing that by exercising your brain you can manufacture a way to understand Krsna. Krsna says, naham prakasah sarvasya yogamaya-samavrtah (Bg 7.25): "I am not exposed to everyone. I am covered by yogamaya. People will not be able to understand Me." "So many jnanis, yogis, karmis, they cannot understand?"

    Krsna says, bhaktya mam abhijanati yavan yas casmi tattvatah (Bg 18.55): "Only through devotional service." Devotional service means submission, surrender. First of all surrender. Sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja (Bg 18.66): "You cannot understand Me by your so-called karma, jnana, or yoga, dhyana. No, it is not possible."

Sastric Citations

As a last step in considering Srila Prabhupada's preaching on Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.3, we will summarize the references he made to other sastric verses during his lectures, in the essential points we've covered. They include the following:


      Bg 2.40
      Bg 3.27
      Bg 7.19
      Bg 7.25
      Bg 13.9
      Bg 13.22
      Bg 15.06
      Bg 15.15
      Bg 18.54
      Bg 18.55
      Bg 18.66

    Srimad Bhagavatam:

      SB 1.1.1
      SB 1.1.2
      SB 1.4.25
      SB 3.25.21
      SB 7.5.5
      SB 7.5.31
      SB 10.2.32
      SB 10.14.03


      Madhya 19.151
      Madhya 22.136

    Brahma Samhita:

      BS 5.40

    Mundaka Upanisad 1.2.12


    Brihadaranyaka Upanishad



    Out of the numerous sastric references listed above that Srila Prabhupada made in his lectures on SB 1.2.3, there are five verses that he emphasized (other than references to SB 1.2.3 itself):

      Bhagavad-gita 3.27
      Bhagavad-gita 18.66
      Srimad Bhagavatam 10.2.32
      Mundaka Upanisad 1.2.12
      Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

    Bhaktivedanta Book Trust


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