Herein, the ultimate source is explained. According to the Vedic literatures, Brahma, who may be compared to the sun, is not the ultimate creator. It is stated in this sloka that Brahma was taught Vedic knowledge by the Personality of Godhead. One may argue that Brahma, being the original living being, could not be inspired because there was no other being living at that time. Herein it is stated that the Supreme Lord inspired the secondary creator, Brahma, in order that Brahma could carry out his creative functions. So, the supreme intelligence behind all creations is the Absolute Godhead, Sri Krsna. In Bhagavad-gita, Lord Sri Krsna states that it is He only who superintends the creative energy, prakrti, which constitutes the totality of matter. Therefore, Sri Vyasadeva does not worship Brahma, but the Supreme Lord, who guides Brahma in his creative activities.
In this sloka, the particular words abhijnah and svarat are significant.
[P’pada has been discussing this, now he introduces the exact words from the Text]
These two words distinguish the Supreme Lord from all the other living entities. No other living entity is either abhijnah or svarat. That is, no one is either fully cognizant or fully independent. Even Brahma has to meditate upon the Supreme Lord in order to create. Then what to speak of great scientists like Einstein! The brains of such a scientist are certainly not the products of any human being. Scientists cannot manufacture such a brain, and what to speak of foolish atheists who defy the authority of the Lord? Even Mayavadi impersonalists who flatter themselves that they can become one with the Lord are neither abhijnah or svarat. Such impersonalists undergo severe austerities to acquire knowledge to become one with the Lord. But ultimately they become dependent on some rich disciple who supplies them with money to build monasteries and temples. Atheists like Ravana or Hiranyakasipu had to undergo severe penances before they could flout the authority of the Lord. But ultimately, they were rendered helpless and could not save themselves when the Lord appeared before them as cruel death. This is also the case with the modern atheists who also dare to flout the authority of the Lord. Such atheists will be dealt with similarly, for history repeats itself. Whenever men neglect the authority of the Lord, nature and her laws are there to penalize them.
This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gita in the well-known verse yada yada hi dharmasya glanih. "Whenever there is a decline of dharma and a rise of adharma, O Arjuna, then I incarnate Myself." (Bg. 4.7) That the Supreme Lord is all-perfect is confirmed in all sruti-mantras. It is said in the sruti-mantras that the all-perfect Lord threw a glance over matter and thus created all living beings. The living beings are parts and parcels of the Lord, and He impregnates the vast material creation with seeds of spiritual sparks, and thus the creative energies are set in motion to enact so many wonderful creations.
An atheist may argue that God is no more expert than a watchmaker, but of course God is greater because He can create machines in duplicate male and female forms. The male and female forms of different types of machineries go on producing innumerable similar machines without God's further attention. If a man could manufacture such a set of machines that could produce other machines without his attention, then he could approach the intelligence of God. But that is not possible, for each machine has to be handled individually. Therefore, no one can create as well as God.
Another name for God is asamaurdhva, which means that no one is equal to or greater than Him.
Param satyam, or the Supreme Truth, is He who has no equal or superior.
This is confirmed in the sruti-mantras. It is said that before the creation of the material universe there existed the Lord only, who is master of everyone. That Lord instructed Brahma in Vedic knowledge. That Lord has to be obeyed in all respects.
Anyone who wants to get rid of the material entanglement must surrender unto Him.
This is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gita. Unless one surrenders unto the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord, it is certain that he will be bewildered. When an intelligent man surrenders unto the lotus feet of Krsna and knows completely that Krsna is the cause of all causes, as confirmed in Bhagavad-gita, then only can such an intelligent man become a mahatma, or great soul. But such a great soul is rarely seen. Only the mahatmas can understand that the Supreme Lord is the primeval cause of all creations. He is parama or ultimate truth because all other truths are relative to Him. He is omniscient. For Him, there is no illusion.
Some Mayavadi scholars argue that Srimad-Bhagavatam was not compiled by Sri Vyasadeva. And some of them suggest that this book is a modern creation written by someone named Vopadeva. In order to refute such meaningless arguments, Sri Sridhara Svami points out that there is reference to the Bhagavatam in many of the oldest Puranas. This first sloka of the Bhagavatam begins with the Gayatri mantra. There is reference to this in the Matsya Purana, which is the oldest Purana. In that Purana, it is said with reference to the Gayatri mantra in the Bhagavatam that there are many narrations of spiritual instructions beginning with the Gayatri mantra. And there is the history of Vrtrasura. Anyone who makes a gift of this great work on a full moon day attains to the highest perfection of life by returning to Godhead.
There is reference to the Bhagavatam in other Puranas also, where it is clearly stated that this work was finished in twelve cantos, which include eighteen thousand slokas. In the Padma Purana also there is reference to the Bhagavatam in a conversation between Gautama and Maharaja Ambarisa.
The king was advised therein to read regularly Srimad-Bhagavatam if he desired liberation from material bondage. Under the circumstances, there is no doubt about the authority of the Bhagavatam.
Within the past five hundred years, many erudite scholars and acaryas like Jiva Gosvami, Sanatana Gosvami, Visvanatha Cakravarti, Vallabhacarya, and many other distinguished scholars even after the time of Lord Caitanya made elaborate commentaries on the Bhagavatam. And the serious student would do well to attempt to go through them to better relish the transcendental messages.
Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura specifically deals with the original and pure sex psychology (adi-rasa), devoid of all mundane inebriety. The whole material creation is moving under the principle of sex life. In modern civilization, sex life is the focal point for all activities. Wherever one turns his face, he sees sex life predominant. Therefore, sex life is not unreal. Its reality is experienced in the spiritual world. The material sex life is but a perverted reflection of the original fact. The original fact is in the Absolute Truth, and thus the Absolute Truth cannot be impersonal. It is not possible to be impersonal and contain pure sex life. Consequently, the impersonalist philosophers have given indirect impetus to the abominable mundane sex life because they have overstressed the impersonality of the ultimate truth. Consequently, man without information of the actual spiritual form of sex has accepted perverted material sex life as the all in all. There is a distinction between sex life in the diseased material condition and spiritual sex life.
This Srimad-Bhagavatam will gradually elevate the unbiased reader to the highest perfectional stage of transcendence. It will enable him to transcend the three modes of material activities: fruitive actions, speculative philosophy, and worship of functional deities as inculcated in Vedic verses.
vedyam vastavam atra vastu sivadam tapa-trayonmulanam
srimad-bhagavate maha-muni-krte kim va parair isvarah
sadyo hrdy avarudhyate 'tra krtibhih susrusubhis tat-ksanat
SYNONYMS dharmah--religiosity; projjhita--completely rejected; kaitavah-- covered by fruitive intention; atra--herein; paramah--the highest; nirmatsaranam--of the one-hundred-percent pure in heart; satam--devotees; vedyam--understandable; vastavam--factual; atra--herein; vastu-- substance; sivadam--well-being; tapa-traya--threefold miseries; unmulanam--causing uprooting of; srimat--beautiful; bhagavate--the Bhagavata Purana; maha-muni--the great sage (Vyasadeva); krte--having compiled; kim--what is; va--the need; paraih--others; isvarah--the Supreme Lord; sadyah--at once; hrdi--within the heart; avarudhyate-- become compact; atra--herein; krtibhih--by the pious men; susrusubhih--by culture; tat-ksanat--without delay.
TRANSLATION Completely rejecting all religious activities which are materially motivated, this Bhagavata Purana propounds the highest truth, which is understandable by those devotees who are fully pure in heart. The highest truth is reality distinguished from illusion for the welfare of all. Such truth uproots the threefold miseries. This beautiful Bhagavatam, compiled by the great sage Vyasadeva [in his maturity], is sufficient in itself for God realization. What is the need of any other scripture? As soon as one attentively and submissively hears the message of Bhagavatam, by this culture of knowledge the Supreme Lord is established within his heart.
ASA-Note - [Text One gave us the elements of the current bad situation and Text Two gives us the solution, SB?]
PURPORT Religion includes four primary subjects, namely pious activities, economic development, satisfaction of the senses, and finally liberation from material bondage. [Here Srila Prabhupada discusses Dharma, the first wordd in the sloka]. Irreligious life is a barbarous condition. Indeed, human life begins when religion begins. Eating, sleeping, fearing, and mating are the four principles of animal life. These are common both to animals and to human beings. But religion [Dharma]is the extra function of the human being. Without religion, human life is no better than animal life.
Therefore, in human societies there is some form of religion which aims at self-realization and which makes reference to man's eternal relationship with God.
In the lower stages of human civilization, there is always competition to lord it over the material nature or, in other words, there is a continuous rivalry to satisfy the senses. Driven by such consciousness, man turns to religion. He thus performs pious activities or religious functions in order to gain something material. But if such material gains are obtainable in other ways, then so-called religion is neglected. This is the situation in modern civilization. Man is thriving economically, so at present he is not very interested in religion.
Churches, mosques or temples are now practically vacant. Men are more interested in factories, shops, and cinemas than in religious places which were erected by their forefathers. This practically proves that religion is performed for some economic gains. Economic gains are needed for sense gratification. Often when one is baffled in the pursuit of sense gratification, he takes to salvation and tries to become one with the Supreme Lord. Consequently, all these states are simply different types of sense gratification. In the Vedas, the above-mentioned four activities are prescribed in the regulative way so that there will not be any undue competition for sense gratification.
But Srimad-Bhagavatam is transcendental to all these sense gratificatory activities. It is purely transcendental literature which can be understood only by the pure devotees of the Lord who are transcendental to competitive sense gratification. In the material world there is keen competition between animal and animal, man and man, community and community, nation and nation. But the devotees of the Lord rise above such competitions. They do not compete with the materialist because they are on the path back to Godhead where life is eternal and blissful. Such transcendentalists are nonenvious and pure in heart. In the material world, everyone is envious of everyone else, and therefore there is competition. But the transcendental devotees of the Lord are not only free from material envy, but are well-wishers to everyone, and they strive to establish a competitionless society with God in the center.
The contemporary socialist's conception of a competitionless society is artificial because in the socialist state there is competition for the post of dictator.
From the point of view of the Vedas or from the point of view of common human activities, sense gratification is the basis of material life. There are three paths mentioned in the Vedas. One involves fruitive activities to gain promotion to better planets. Another involves worshiping different demigods for promotion to the planets of the demigods, and another involves realizing the Absolute Truth and His impersonal feature and becoming one with Him.
The impersonal aspect of the Absolute Truth is not the highest. Above the impersonal feature is the Paramatma feature, and above this is the personal feature of the Absolute Truth, or Bhagavan.
Srimad-Bhagavatam gives information about the Absolute Truth in His personal feature. It is higher than impersonalist literatures and higher than the jnana-kanda division of the Vedas. It is even higher than the karma-kanda division, and even higher than the upasana-kanda division, because it recommends the worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krsna. In the karma-kanda, there is competition to reach heavenly planets for better sense gratification, and there is similar competition in the jnana-kanda and the upasana-kanda.
The Srimad-Bhagavatam is superior to all of these because it aims at the Supreme Truth which is the substance or the root of all categories. From Srimad-Bhagavatam one can come to know the substance as well as the categories. The substance is the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Lord, and all emanations are relative forms of energy. Nothing is apart from the substance, but at the same time the energies are different from the substance. This conception is not contradictory. Srimad-Bhagavatam explicitly promulgates this simultaneously-one-and-different philosophy of the Vedanta-sutra, which begins with the "janmady asya" sutra. This knowledge that the energy of the Lord is simultaneously one with and different from the Lord is an answer to the mental speculators' attempt to establish the energy as the Absolute. When this knowledge is factually understood, one sees the conceptions of monism and dualism to be imperfect.
Development of this transcendental consciousness grounded in the conception of simultaneously-one-and-different leads one immediately to the stage of freedom from the threefold miseries. The threefold miseries are (1) those miseries which arise from the mind and body, (2) those miseries inflicted by other living beings, and (3) those miseries arising from natural catastrophes over which one has no control.
Srimad-Bhagavatam begins with the surrender of the devotee unto the Absolute Person. The devotee is fully aware that he is one with the Absolute and at the same time in the eternal position of servant to the Absolute. In the material conception, one falsely thinks himself the lord of all he surveys, and therefore he is always troubled by the threefold miseries of life. But as soon as one comes to know his real position as transcendental servant, he at once becomes free from all miseries.
As long as the living entity is trying to master material nature, there is no possibility of his becoming servant of the Supreme. Service to the Lord is rendered in pure consciousness of one's spiritual identity; by service one is immediately freed from material encumbrances.
Srimad-Bhagavatam is a personal commentation on the Vedanta-sutra by Sri Vyasadeva. It was written in the maturity of his spiritual life through the mercy of Narada. Sri Vyasadeva is the authorized incarnation of Narayana, the Personality of Godhead. Therefore, there is no question as to his authority. He is the author of all other Vedic literatures, yet recommends the study of Srimad-Bhagavatam above all others. In other Puranas there are different methods set forth by which one can worship the demigods. But in the Bhagavatam only the Supreme Lord is mentioned. The Supreme Lord is the total body, and the demigods are the different parts of that body. Consequently, by worshiping the Supreme Lord, one does not need to worship the demigods. The Supreme Lord becomes fixed in the heart of the devotee immediately. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu has recommended the Srimad-Bhagavatam as the spotless Purana and distinguishes it from all other Puranas.
The proper method for receiving this transcendental message is to hear it submissively. A challenging attitude cannot help one realize this transcendental message. One particular word is used herein for proper guidance. This word is susrusu. One must be anxious to hear this transcendental message. The desire to sincerely hear is the first qualification.
Less fortunate persons are not at all interested in hearing this Srimad-Bhagavatam. The process is simple, but the application is difficult. Unfortunate people find enough time to hear idle social and political conversations, but when invited to attend a meeting of devotees to hear Srimad-Bhagavatam they suddenly become reluctant.
Sometimes professional readers of the Bhagavatam immediately plunge into the confidential topics of the pastimes of the Supreme Lord, which they seemingly interpret as sex literature. Srimad-Bhagavatam is meant to be heard from the beginning.
Those who are fit to assimilate this work are mentioned in this sloka: "One becomes qualified to hear Srimad-Bhagavatam after many pious deeds."
The intelligent person, with thoughtful discretion, can be assured by the great sage Vyasadeva that he can realize the Supreme Personality directly by hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam. Without undergoing the different stages of realization set forth in the Vedas, one can be lifted immediately to the position of paramahamsa simply by agreeing to receive this message.
nigama-kalpa-taror galitam phalam
pibata bhagavatam rasam alayam
muhur aho rasika bhuvi bhavukah
SYNONYMS nigama--the Vedic literatures; kalpa-taroh--the desire tree; galitam-- fully matured; phalam--fruit; suka--Srila Sukadeva Gosvami, the original speaker of Srimad-Bhagavatam; mukhat--from the lips of; amrta--nectar; drava--semisolid and soft and therefore easily swallowable; samyutam-- perfect in all respects; pibata--do relish it; bhagavatam--the book dealing in the science of the eternal relation with the Lord; rasam-- juice (that which is relishable); alayam--until liberation, or even in a liberated condition; muhuh--always; aho--O; rasikah--those who are full in the knowledge of mellows; bhuvi--on the earth; bhavukah--expert and thoughtful.
TRANSLATION O expert and thoughtful men, relish Srimad-Bhagavatam, the mature fruit of the desire tree of Vedic literatures. It emanated from the lips of Sri Sukadeva Gosvami. Therefore this fruit has become even more tasteful, although its nectarean juice was already relishable for all, including liberated souls.
[SB in Texts One and Two gives liberation, but here it gives juice! Prabhupada’s Purport is nectarean.]
PURPORT In the two previous slokas it has been definitely proved that the Srimad-Bhagavatam is the sublime literature which surpasses all other Vedic scriptures due to its transcendental qualities. It is transcendental to all mundane activities and mundane knowledge. In this sloka it is stated that Srimad-Bhagavatam is not only a superior literature but is the ripened fruit of all Vedic literatures. In other words, it is the cream of all Vedic knowledge.
[It is Superior and the Summary] Considering all this, patient and submissive hearing is definitely essential. With great respect and attention, one should receive the message and lessons imparted by the Srimad-Bhagavatam.
The Vedas are compared to the desire tree because they contain all things knowable by man. They deal with mundane necessities as well as spiritual realization. The Vedas contain regulated principles of knowledge covering social, political, religious, economic, military, medicinal, chemical, physical and metaphysical subject matter and all that may be necessary to keep the body and soul together. Above and beyond all this are specific directions for spiritual realization. Regulated knowledge involves a gradual raising of the living entity to the spiritual platform, and the highest spiritual realization is knowledge that the Personality of Godhead is the reservoir of all spiritual tastes, or rasas.
Every living entity, beginning from Brahma, the first-born living being within the material world, down to the insignificant ant, desires to relish some sort of taste derived from sense perceptions. These sensual pleasures are technically called rasas. Such rasas are of different varieties. In the revealed scriptures the following twelve varieties of rasas are enumerated: (1) raudra (anger), (2) adbhuta (wonder), (3) srngara (conjugal love), (4) hasya (comedy), (5) vira (chivalry), (6) daya (mercy), (7) dasya (servitorship), (8) sakhya (fraternity), (9) bhayanaka (horror), (10) bibhatsa (shock), (11) santa (neutrality), (12) vatsalya (parenthood). The sum total of all these rasas is called affection or love.
Primarily, such signs of love are manifested in adoration, service, friendship, paternal affection, and conjugal love. And when these five are absent, love is present indirectly in anger, wonder, comedy, chivalry, fear, shock and so on.
For example, when a man is in love with a woman, the rasa is called conjugal love. But when such love affairs are disturbed there may be wonder, anger, shock, or even horror. Sometimes love affairs between two persons culminate in ghastly murder scenes.
Such rasas are displayed between man and man and between animal and animal. There is no possibility of an exchange or rasa between a man and an animal or between a man and any other species of living beings within the material world. The rasas are exchanged between members of the same species.
But as far as the spirit souls are concerned, they are one qualitatively with the Supreme Lord. Therefore, the rasas were originally exchanged between the spiritual living being and the spiritual whole, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The spiritual exchange or rasa is fully exhibited in spiritual existence between living beings and the Supreme Lord.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is therefore described in the sruti-mantras, Vedic hymns, as "the fountainhead of all rasas." When one associates with the Supreme Lord and exchanges one's constitutional rasa with the Lord, then the living being is actually happy. These sruti-mantras indicate that every living being has its constitutional position, which is endowed with a particular type of rasa to be exchanged with the Personality of Godhead. In the liberated condition only, this primary rasa is experienced in full. In the material existence, the rasa is experienced in the perverted form, which is temporary. And thus the rasas of the material world are exhibited in the material form of raudra (anger) and so on.