7-Minute Bhagavatam

7-Minute Bhagavatam

Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.1.1, Part One
by
Gopiparanadhana Dasa
Language 
English
Duration 
8 min 32 sec
Listen to podcast 
Transcript 


This podcast series, The 7-minute Bhāgavatam, is an attempt to help elucidate the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam translations and purports of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda. Although I will make my explanations simple and concise, this will still be a serious commentary. I recommend that either before or after hearing the 7-minute Bhāgavatam sessions you read Śrīla Prabhupāda’s translations and purports for yourself.
Each session will take less than eight minutes. In it I may cover one or more verses or, in the case of especially important verses, I may take a few sessions to explain only one verse. Not every verse will necessarily be discussed. I will focus on the matters Śrīla Prabhupāda discusses, bringing in additional information from the commentaries of Śrīla Śrīdhara Svāmī, Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, and Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī. To keep the focus, however, I don’t plan to repeat everything the commentaries say.
The first three verses of the first chapter of the First Canto are the maṅgalācāraṇa invocation of the Bhāgavatam. Following the commentaries, Śrīla Prabhupāda has quite a bit to say in his purport to the very first verse. I’ll chant the verse and Prabhupāda’s translation, and then start my explanation, which will take four sessions.
oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya
janmādy asya yato ’nvayād itarataś cārtheṣv abhijñaḥ svarāṭ
 tene brahma hṛdā ya ādi-kavaye muhyanti yat sūrayaḥ
tejo-vāri-mṛdāṁ yathā vinimayo yatra tri-sargo ’mṛṣā
 dhāmnā svena sadā nirasta-kuhakaṁ satyaṁ paraṁ dhīmahi
“O my Lord, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, son of Vasudeva, O all-pervading Personality of Godhead, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. I meditate upon Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa because He is the Absolute Truth and the primeval cause of all causes of the creation, sustenance and destruction of the manifested universes. He is directly and indirectly conscious of all manifestations, and He is independent because there is no other cause beyond Him. It is He only who first imparted the Vedic knowledge unto the heart of Brahmājī, the original living being. By Him even the great sages and demigods are placed into illusion, as one is bewildered by the illusory representations of water seen in fire, or land seen on water. Only because of Him do the material universes, temporarily manifested by the reactions of the three modes of nature, appear factual, although they are unreal. I therefore meditate upon Him, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is eternally existent in the transcendental abode, which is forever free from the illusory representations of the material world. I meditate upon Him, for He is the Absolute Truth.”
According to Śrīla Śrīdhara Svāmī, Śrī Veda-vyāsa presented this invocation verse to make auspicious his commencement of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Although Śrīla Vyāsa compiled many other Purāṇas before this and felt sanctified in his heart from the experience, still he was not fully satisfied with himself. On Nārada’s advice He began to write Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. To remove any obstacles, he remembered in this verse the supreme Deity of the Bhāgavatam.
The mantra, oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya, offers obeisances to the Supreme Lord Vāsudeva. Some may chant this mantra to worship the Lord of Vaikuṇṭha, but Śrīla Prabhupāda in his translation identifies Vāsudeva as the primeval Lord Kṛṣṇa, the son of Vasudeva. In his purport, Prabhupāda promises that this identification will be justified later in the Bhāgavatam. In the third chapter of the First Canto, Śrī Sūta will lay down the rule of interpretation, kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam: No matter how things may appear superficially in various pastimes, Kṛṣṇa is the original Godhead. Over thirty avatāras of Viṣṇu are described throughout the Bhāgavatam, but Kṛṣṇa receives by far the most coverage, especially in the ninety chapters of the Tenth Canto. All signs in the Bhāgavatam indicate the supremacy of Kṛṣṇa, and Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī composed a long, weighty philosophical text, Śrī Kṛṣṇa-sandarbha, just to solidly prove this fact.
Some of the other forms of God are what Prabhupāda calls direct plenary portions of Kṛṣṇa and Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī in Śrī Laghu-bhāgavatāmṛta calls vilāsa expansions. These are forms of the Lord that do not quite show all of His personality, like Lord Nārāyaṇa. Nārāyaṇa is a vilāsa of Kṛṣṇa, and Vāsudeva in Vaikuṇṭha is a further vilāsa of Nārāyaṇa. Others are what Prabhupāda calls indirect plenary portions and Śrīla Rūpa calls svāṁśas. These forms show even less of Kṛṣṇa’s personality, like Lord Saṅkarṣaṇa and Lord Matsya. Still others are what Prabhupāda calls “portions of the portion” and Śrīla Rūpa calls āveśas – empowered jīvas like Śeṣa, Nārada, and the four Kumāras.
Śrīla Prabhupāda cites scriptural confirmation of Kṛṣṇa’s supremacy. The Chāndogya Upaniṣad, which belongs to the Chandoga branch of the Sāma Veda, mentions Kṛṣṇa and calls Him the son of Devakī. In the tenth chapter of the Bhagavad-gītā, after Kṛṣṇa has declared Himself the source of all the demigods and great sages, the beginningless, eternal Lord of all worlds, Arjuna ecstatically praises Him, saying that Nārada, Asita, Devala, Vyāsa, and all sages consider Him the Supreme. As for himself, Arjuna is ready to accept as true everything Kṛṣṇa tells him.
The discussion of this verse continues in the next session.