7-Minute Bhagavatam

7-Minute Bhagavatam

Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.1.3, Part One
by
Gopiparanadhana Dasa
Language 
English
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Transcript 


Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.1.3, Part One
Continuing the explanation of the first chapter of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam with the third verse:
nigama-kalpa-taror galitaṁ phalaṁ
 śuka-mukhād amṛta-drava-saṁyutam
pibata bhāgavataṁ rasam ā-layaṁ
 muhur aho rasikā bhuvi bhāvukāḥ
“O expert and thoughtful men, relish Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the mature fruit of the desire tree of Vedic literatures. It emanated from the lips of Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī. Therefore this fruit has become even more tasteful, although its nectarean juice was already relishable for all, including liberated souls.”
This is the third maṅgalācaraṇa verse of the Bhāgavatam, which I will take two sessions to discuss. The first verse praised the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa, whom the Bhāgavatam reveals, and the second verse praised the Bhāgavatam itself as the most perfect scripture. This third verse expresses that studying the Bhāgavatam is more than a beneficial duty; it is also the sweetest pleasure. Thus the first two verses described the aiśvarya of this Bhāgavatam, including its power to capture the Supreme Lord, while this verse describes its mādhurya.
The word veda indicates knowledge, and Vedic knowledge is practical, not just a theoretical indulgence. People approach the Vedas for help in fulfilling their desires, and the Vedas willingly satisfy them. Whatever anyone wants is provided, whether it is good karma for material success, knowledge for liberation, or the means to attain love of God. Different parts of the Vedic scriptures specialize in supplying these different needs. The whole body of literature is a coherent organism, like a sacred tree, and each of its parts serves the life of the whole. The lower Vedic methods of karma and jñāna are meant to raise conditioned souls gradually to real spiritual life. And as the most glorious part of a tree is its sweet fruit, so the most precious Vedic text is Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
Not only is the Bhāgavatam the fruit growing at the peak of the desire tree of the nigama, or Vedas, that fruit is also perfectly ripened. It is ready to be offered for the Lord’s enjoyment just as it is. Galita literally means “oozing with juice.” It also means “fallen from above.” Thus Śrīdhara Svāmī reads from the word galitam that rather than falling precipitously from the top and crashing to the ground, spoiled, this fruit has been carefully taken down intact from one branch to another through the disciplic succession of gurus’ students and their students. And going back to the first meaning of galita, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī explains that this fully ripened fruit is extremely sweet – or, in other words, that the message of the scripture Bhāgavatam is very satisfying because it reveals itself systematically with perfect lucidity. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī adds that a fruit that is allowed to ripen to completion on the tree is much more relishable than one that has been picked prematurely. If someone ignores the guidance of the disciplic succession of spiritual masters and tries to understand Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam rashly by his own speculation, the fruit will break and he will lose the opportunity to enjoy its true taste.
The fruits of some trees take months or even more than a year to ripen naturally, but agents of nature, like birds, sometimes quicken the process. Parrots are known for pecking on fruits with their sharp beaks, leaving small holes in the fruits’ skin. This promotes oxidation of the pulp inside. A transcendental parrot has touched his mouth to the Bhāgavatam fruit on the tree of the Vedic paramparā. Thus not without good reason did Śrīla Vyāsadeva name his son Śuka. Vyāsadeva, who speaks these invocation verses, here suggests that the fruit which originated in Vaikuṇṭha and was passed down to him by his guru Nārada he now entrusts to his son. From Śuka’s mouth, the fruit will descend to the earth in an even sweeter form than it was received.
The sublime mystery of Śukadeva Gosvāmī’s participation in the transmission of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is that he did not add anything to it – not one word or syllable. He simply repeated what he heard like a parrot. Still, the Bhāgavatam became much sweeter just by being touched by his mouth.
Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī explains that this fruit, which is a special form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself, has thrown itself down from the tree of the Vedas; it is not to be found any more in the original nigama of the Vedic hymns, but has now been put in the care of Śukadeva. Vyāsadeva, recognizing the special sweetness of this fruit, has placed it lovingly in his own son’s mouth. A mango super-ripened by the peck of a parrot becomes soft (drava) and sweet like nectar (amṛta). The nectar of hearing and repeating Bhāgavatam gives everyone involved a taste of the highest bliss. It is not the ordinary bliss of Brahman or Paramātmā realization but the immortal nectar of Kṛṣṇa’s pleasure pastimes, relished in the various flavors of pure bhakti.
The discussion of this verse continues in the next session.