Human life is simply meant for self-realization, but due to this dangerous age, men have completely forgotten the aim of life.
In this age, the life span will gradually decrease. People will gradually lose their memory, finer sentiments, strength, and better qualities. A list of the anomalies for this age is given in the Twelfth Canto of this work. And so this age is very difficult for those who want to utilize this life for selfrealization.
The people are so busy with sense gratification that they completely forget about self-realization. Out of madness they frankly say that there is no need for self-realization because they do not realize that this brief life is but a moment on our great journey towards selfrealization.
The whole system of education is geared to sense gratification, and if a learned man thinks it over, he sees that the children of this age are being intentionally sent to the slaughterhouses of so-called education.
Learned men, therefore, must be cautious of this age, and if they at all want to cross over the dangerous ocean of Kali, they must follow the footsteps of the sages of Naimisaranya and accept Sri Suta Gosvami or his bona fide representative as the captain of the ship.
The ship is the message of Lord Sri Krsna in the shape of Bhagavadgita or the Srimad-Bhagavatam.
bruhi yogesvare krsne
svam kastham adhunopete
dharmah kam saranam gatah
SYNONYMS bruhi--please tell; yoga-isvare--the Lord of all mystic powers; krsne- -Lord Krsna; brahmanye--the Absolute Truth; dharma--religion; varmani-- protector; svam--own; kastham--abode; adhuna--nowadays; upete--having gone away; dharmah--religion; kam--unto whom; saranam--shelter; gatah-- gone.
TRANSLATION Since Sri Krsna, the Absolute Truth, the master of all mystic powers, has departed for His own abode, please tell us to whom the religious principles have now gone for shelter.
Essentially religion is the prescribed codes enunciated by the Personality of Godhead Himself.
Whenever there is gross misuse or neglect of the principles of religion, the Supreme Lord appears Himself to restore religious principles. This is stated in Bhagavad-gita. Here the sages of Naimisaranya are inquiring about these principles.
The reply to this question is given later. The Srimad-Bhagavatam is the transcendental sound representation of the Personality of Godhead, and thus it is the full representation of transcendental knowledge and religious principles.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the First Canto, First Chapter, of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, entitled "Questions by the Sages."
[The Content is Summarized in Three Verses, the Situation, Nimsar, Described, and the Questions Asked.] Chapter Two
Divinity and Divine Service
pratipujya vacas tesam
SYNONYMS vyasah uvaca--Vyasa said; iti--thus; samprasna--perfect inquiries; samhrstah--perfectly satisfied; vipranam--of the sages there; raumaharsanih--the son of Romaharsana, namely Ugrasrava; pratipujya-- after thanking them; vacah--words; tesam--their; pravaktum--to reply to them; upacakrame--attempted.
TRANSLATION Ugrasrava [Suta Gosvami], the son of Romaharsana, being fully satisfied by the perfect questions of the brahmanas, thanked them and thus attempted to reply.
PURPORT The sages of Naimisaranya asked Suta Gosvami six questions, and so he is answering them one by one.
yam pravrajantam anupetam apeta-krtyam
dvaipayano viraha-katara ajuhava putreti
tan-mayataya taravo 'bhinedus tam
sarva-bhuta-hrdayam munim anato 'smi
SYNONYMS sutah--Suta Gosvami; uvaca--said; yam--whom; pravrajantam--while going away for the renounced order of life; anupetam--without being reformed by the sacred thread; apeta--not undergoing ceremonies; krtyam--prescribed duties; dvaipayanah--Vyasadeva; viraha--separation; katarah--being afraid of; ajuhava--exclaimed; putra iti--O my son; tat-mayataya--being absorbed in that way; taravah--all the trees; abhineduh--responded; tam--unto him; sarva--all; bhuta--living entities; hrdayam--heart; munim--sage; anatah asmi--offer obeisances.
TRANSLATION Srila Suta Gosvami said: Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto that great sage [Sukadeva Gosvami] who can enter the hearts of all. When he went away to take up the renounced order of life [sannyasa], leaving home without undergoing reformation by the sacred thread or the ceremonies observed by the higher castes, his father, Vyasadeva, fearing separation from him, cried out, "O my son!" Indeed, only the trees, which were absorbed in the same feelings of separation, echoed in response to the begrieved father.
PURPORT The institution of varna and asrama prescribes many regulative duties to be observed by its followers. Such duties enjoin that a candidate willing to study the Vedas must approach a bona fide spiritual master and request acceptance as his disciple. The sacred thread is the sign of those who are competent to studythe Vedas from the acarya, or the bona fide spiritual master. Sri Sukadeva Gosvami did not undergo such purificatory ceremonies because he was a liberated soul from his very birth.
Generally, a man is born as an ordinary being, and by the purificatory processes he is born for the second time. When he sees a new light and seeks direction for spiritual progress, he approaches a spiritual master for instruction in the Vedas. The spiritual master accepts only the sincere inquirer as his disciple and gives him the sacred thread. In this way a man becomes twice-born, or a dvija.
After qualifying as a dvija one may study the Vedas, and after becoming well versed in the Vedas one becomes a vipra. A vipra, or a qualified brahmana, thus realizes the Absolute and makes further progress in spiritual life until he reaches the Vaisnava stage. The Vaisnava stage is the postgraduate status of a brahmana. A progressive brahmana must necessarily become a Vaisnava, for a Vaisnava is a self-realized, learned brahmana.
Srila Sukadeva Gosvami was a Vaisnava from the beginning; therefore, there was no need for him to undergo all the processes of the varnasrama institution. Ultimately the aim of varnasrama-dharma is to turn a crude man into a pure devotee of the Lord, or a Vaisnava. Anyone, therefore, who becomes a Vaisnava accepted by the first-class Vaisnava, or uttamaadhikari Vaisnava, is already considered a brahmana, regardless of his birth or past deeds.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted this principleand recognized Srila Haridasa Thakura as the acarya of the holy name, although Thakura Haridasa appeared in a Mohammedan family.
In conclusion, Srila Sukadeva Gosvami was born a Vaisnava, and, therefore, brahminism was included in him. He did not have to undergo any ceremonies. Any lowborn person--be he a Kirata, Huna, Andhra, Pulinda, Pulkasa, Abhira, Sumbha, Yavana, Khasa or even lower--can be delivered to the highest transcendental position by the mercy of Vaisnavas.
Srila Sukadeva Gosvami was the spiritual master of Sri Suta Gosvami, who therefore offers his respectful obeisances unto Srila Sukadeva Gosvami before he begins his answers to the questions of the sages at Naimisaranya.
yah svanubhavam akhila-sruti-saram ekam adhyatma-dipam atititirsatam tamo 'ndham samsarinam karunayaha purana-guhyam tam vyasa-sunum upayami gurum muninam
SYNONYMS yah--he who; sva-anubhavam--self-assimilated (experienced); akhila-- all around; sruti--the Vedas; saram--cream; ekam--the only one; adhyatma- -transcendental; dipam--torchlight; atititirsatam--desiring to overcome; tamah andham--deeply dark material existence; samsarinam--of the materialistic men; karunaya--out of causeless mercy; aha--said; purana-- supplement to the Vedas; guhyam--very confidential; tam--unto him; vyasasunum-- the son of Vyasadeva; upayami--let me offer my obeisances; gurum-- the spiritual master; muninam--of the great sages.
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.
PURPORT In this prayer, Srila Suta Gosvami practically summarizes the complete introduction of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Srimad-Bhagavatamis the natural supplementary commentary on the Vedanta-sutras.
The Vedanta-sutras, or the Brahma-sutras, were compiled by Vyasadeva with a view to presenting just the cream of Vedic knowledge. Srimad-Bhagavatam is the natural commentary on this cream.
 Srila Sukadeva Gosvami was a thoroughly realized master on the Vedanta-sutra, and consequently he also personally realized the commentary, Srimad-Bhagavatam.
 And just to show his boundless mercy upon bewildered materialistic men who want to cross completely over nescience, he recited for the first time this confidential knowledge.
 There is no point in arguing that a materialistic man can be happy. No materialistic creature--be he the great Brahma or an insignificant ant-- can be happy. Everyone tries to make a permanent plan for happiness, but everyone is baffled by the laws of material nature. Therefore the materialistic world is called the darkest region of God's creation.
Yet the unhappy materialists can get out of it simply by desiring to get out. Unfortunately they are so foolish that they do not want to escape. Therefore they are compared to the camel who relishes thorny twigs because he likes the taste of the twigs mixed with blood. He does not realize that it is his own blood and that his tongue is being cut by the thorns. Similarly, to the materialist his own blood is as sweet as honey, and although he is always harassed by his own material creations, he does not wish to escape. Such materialists are called karmis. Out of hundreds of thousands of karmis, only a few may feel tired of material engagement and desire to get out of the labyrinth. Such intelligent persons are called jnanis. The Vedanta-sutra is directed to such jnanis.
ButSrila Vyasadeva, being the incarnation of the Supreme Lord, could foresee the misuse of the Vedanta-sutra by unscrupulous men, and, therefore, he personally supplemented the Vedanta-sutra with the Bhagavata Purana.
It is clearly said that this Bhagavatam is the original commentary on the Brahma-sutras. Srila Vyasadeva also instructed the Bhagavatam to his own son, Srila Sukadeva Gosvami, who was already at the liberated stage of transcendence. Srila Sukadeva realized it personally and then explained it. By the mercy of Srila Sukadeva, the Bhagavata-vedanta-sutra is available for all those sincere souls who want to get out of material existence.
Srimad-Bhagavatam is the one unrivaled commentary on Vedanta-sutra.
Sripada Sankaracarya intentionally did not touch it because he knew that the natural commentary would be difficult for him to surpass. He wrote his Sariraka-bhasya, and his so-called followers deprecated the Bhagavatamas some "new" presentation.
One should not be misled by such propaganda directed against the Bhagavatam by the Mayavada school. From this introductory sloka, the beginning student should know that Srimad- Bhagavatam is the only transcendental literature meant for those who are paramahamsas and completely freed from the material disease called malice. The Mayavadisare envious of the Personality of Godhead despite Sripada Sankaracarya's admission that Narayana, the Personality of Godhead, is above the material creation. The envious Mayavadicannot have access to the Bhagavatam, but those who are really anxious to get out of this material existence may take shelter of this Bhagavatam because it is uttered by the liberated Srila Sukadeva Gosvami.
It is the transcendental torchlight by which one can see perfectly the transcendental Absolute Truth realized as Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan.
naram caiva narottamam
devim sarasvatim vyasam
tato jayam udirayet
SYNONYMS narayanam--the Personality of Godhead; namah-krtya--after offering respectful obeisances; naram ca eva--and Narayana Rsi; nara-uttamam--the supermost human being; devim--the goddess; sarasvatim--the mistress of learning; vyasam--Vyasadeva; tatah--thereafter; jayam--all that is meant for conquering; udirayet--be announced.
TRANSLATION Before reciting this Srimad-Bhagavatam, which is the very means of conquest, one should offer respectful obeisances unto the Personality of Godhead, Narayana, unto Nara-narayana Rsi, the supermost human being, unto mother Sarasvati, the goddess of learning, and unto Srila Vyasadeva, the author.
PURPORT All the Vedic literatures and the Puranas are meant for conquering the darkest region of material existence.
The living being is in the state of forgetfulness of his relation with God due to his being overly attracted to material sense gratification from time immemorial. His struggle for existencein the material world is perpetual, and it is not possible for him to get out of it by making plans.
If he at all wants to conquer this perpetual struggle for existence, he must reestablish his eternal relation with God. And one who wants to adopt such remedial measures must take shelter of literatures such as the Vedas and the Puranas.
Foolish people say that the Puranas have no connection with the Vedas.
However, the Puranas are supplementary explanations of the Vedas intended for different types of men.
All men are not equal. There are men who are conducted by the mode of goodness, others who are under the mode of passion and others who are under the mode of ignorance.
The Puranas are so divided that any class of men can take advantage of them and gradually regain their lost position and get out of the hard struggle for existence.
Srila Suta Gosvami shows the way of chanting the Puranas. This may be followed by persons who aspire to be preachers of the Vedic literatures and the Puranas. Srimad-Bhagavatam is the spotless Purana, and it is especially meant for those who desire to get out of the material entanglement permanently.
munayah sadhu prsto 'ham
yat krtah krsna-samprasno
SYNONYMS munayah--O sages; sadhu--this is relevant; prstah--questioned; aham-- myself; bhavadbhih--by all of you; loka--the world; mangalam--welfare; yat--because; krtah--made; krsna--the Personality of Godhead; samprasnah- -relevant question; yena--by which; atma--self; suprasidati--completely pleased.
TRANSLATION O sages, I have been justly questioned by you. Your questions are worthy because they relate to Lord Krsnaand so are of relevance to the world's welfare. Only questions of this sort are capable of completely satisfying the self.
Since it has been stated hereinbefore that in the Bhagavatam the Absolute Truth is to be known, the questions of the sages of Naimisaranya are proper and just, because they pertain to Krsna, who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Absolute Truth.
In Bhagavad-gita (15.15) the Personality of Godhead says that in all the Vedas there is nothing but the urge for searching after Him, Lord Krsna.
Thus the questions that pertain to Krsna are thesum and substance of all the Vedic inquiries.
The whole world is full of questions and answers. The birds, beasts and men are all busy in the matter of perpetual questions and answers. In the morningthe birds in the nest become busy with questions and answers, and in the evening also the same birds come back and again become busy with questions and answers. The human being, unless he is fast asleep at night, is busy with questions and answers. The businessmen in the market are busy with questions and answers, and so also the lawyers in the court and the students in the schools and colleges. The legislators in the parliament are also busy with questions and answers, and the politicians and the press representatives are all busy with questions and answers.
Although they go on making such questions and answers for their whole lives, they are not at all satisfied. Satisfaction of the soul can only be obtained by questions and answers on the subject of Krsna.
Krsna is our most intimate master, friend, father or son and object of conjugal love. Forgetting Krsna, we have created so many objects of questions and answers, but none of them are able to give us complete satisfaction. All things--but Krsna--give temporary satisfaction only, so if we are to have complete satisfaction we must take to the questions and answers about Krsna.
We cannot live for a moment without being questioned or without giving answers. Because the Srimad-Bhagavatam deals with questions and answers that are related to Krsna, we can derive the highest satisfaction only by reading and hearing this transcendental literature. One should learn the Srimad-Bhagavatam and make an all-around solution to all problems pertaining to social, political or religious matters. Srimad-Bhagavatam and Krsna are the sum total of all things.
sa vai pumsam paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhoksaje
SYNONYMS sah--that; vai--certainly; pumsam--for mankind; parah--sublime; dharmah--occupation; yatah--by which; bhaktih--devotional service; adhoksaje--unto the Transcendence; ahaituki--causeless; apratihata-- unbroken; yaya--by which; atma--the self; suprasidati--completely satisfied.
TRANSLATION The supreme occupation [dharma] for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self.
PURPORT In this statement, Sri Suta Gosvami answers the first question of the sages of Naimisaranya. The sages asked him to summarize the whole range of revealed scriptures and present the most essential part so that fallen people or the people in general might easily take it up.
The Vedas prescribe two different types of occupation for the human being. One is called the pravrtti-marga, or the path of sense enjoyment, and the other is called the nivrtti-marga, or the path of renunciation. The path of enjoyment is inferior, and the path of sacrifice for the supreme cause is superior.
The material existence of the living being is a diseased condition of actual life. Actual life is spiritual existence, or brahmabhuta existence, where life is eternal, blissful and full of knowledge.
Material existence is temporary, illusory and full of miseries. There is no happiness at all. There is just the futile attempt to get rid of the miseries, and temporary cessation of misery is falsely called happiness.
Therefore, the path of progressive material enjoyment, which is temporary, miserable and illusory, is inferior. But devotional service to the Supreme Lord, which leads one to eternal, blissful and all-cognizant life, is called the superior quality of occupation.
This is sometimes polluted when mixed with the inferior quality. For example, adoption of devotional service for materialgain is certainly an obstruction to the progressive path of renunciation. Renunciation or abnegation for ultimate good is certainly a better occupation than enjoyment in the diseased condition of life. Such enjoyment only aggravates the symptoms of disease and increases its duration.
Therefore devotional service to the Lord must be pure in quality, i.e., without the least desire for material enjoyment. One should, therefore, accept the superior quality of occupation in the form of the devotional service of the Lord without any tinge of unnecessary desire, fruitive action and philosophical speculation. This alone can lead one to perpetual solace in His service.
We have purposely denoted dharma as occupation because the root meaning of the word dharma is "that which sustains one's existence." A living being's sustenance of existence is to coordinate his activities with his eternal relation with the Supreme Lord Krsna.
Krsna is the central pivot of living beings, and He is the all-attractive living entity or eternal form amongst all other living beings or eternal forms.
Each and living being has his eternal form in the spiritual existence, and Krsna is the eternal attraction for all of them.
Krsna is the complete whole, and everything else is His part and parcel. The relation is one of the servant and the served. It is transcendental and is completely distinct from our experience in material existence. This relation of servant and the served is the most congenial form of intimacy.
One can realize it as devotional service progresses.
Everyone should engage himself in that transcendental loving service of the Lord, even in the present conditional state of material existence. That will gradually give one the clue to actual life and please him to complete satisfaction. TEXT 7
janayaty asu vairagyam
jnanam ca yad ahaitukam
SYNONYMS vasudeve--unto Krsna; bhagavati--unto the Personality of Godhead; bhakti-yogah--contact of devotional service; prayojitah--being applied; janayati--does produce; asu--very soon; vairagyam--detachment; jnanam-- knowledge; ca--and; yat--that which; ahaitukam--causeless.
TRANSLATION By rendering devotional service unto the Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna, one immediately acquires causeless knowledge and detachment from the world.
PURPORT Those who consider devotional service to the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna to be something like material emotional affairs may argue that in the revealed scriptures, sacrifice, charity, austerity, knowledge, mystic powers and similar other processes of transcendental realization are recommended. According to them, bhakti, or the devotional service of the Lord, is meant for those who cannot perform the high-grade activities. Generally it is said that the bhakti cult is meant for thesudras, vaisyas and the less intelligent woman class.