7-Minute Bhagavatam

7-Minute Bhagavatam

Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.1.5-7
by
Gopiparanadhana Dasa
Language 
English
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Transcript 


Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.1.5, 1.1.6, and 1.1.7
Continuing the explanation of the first chapter of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam with verse five:
ta ekadā tu munayaḥ
 prātar huta-hutāgnayaḥ
sat-kṛtaṁ sūtam āsīnaṁ
 papracchur idam ādarāt
“One day, after finishing their morning duties by burning a sacrificial fire and offering a seat of esteem to Śrīla Sūta Gosvāmī, the great sages made inquiries, with great respect, about the following matters.”
At Naimiṣāraṇya Sūta Gosvāmī spoke Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam last, after the Mahābhārata and other Purāṇas had already been recited. The sacrifice had already been going on for many days. The earlier event of Śrīla Sūta’s arrival at the sacrificial arena and the sages’ inviting him to accept the speaker’s seat is described at the beginning of the Mahābhārata. Sūta had been present on the banks of the Gaṅgā at Hastināpura when Śrī Śukadeva spoke the Bhāgavatam. Śukadeva had studied the Bhāgavatam under his father, Vyāsa. As a faithful hearer and repeater, Sūta Gosvāmī thus deserved the seat reserved for the true representatives of Vyāsadeva. Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana Vyāsa appeared just before the start of Kali-yuga and edited all the Vedic literatures; therefore all spiritual masters who depend on these scriptures in this age are his śikṣā disciples; the members of the Vaiṣṇava sampradāya descending from Lord Brahmā also belong to Śrīla Vyāsa’s line of dīkṣā.
Now verse six:
ṛṣaya ūcuḥ
tvayā khalu purāṇāni
 setihāsāni cānagha
ākhyātāny apy adhītāni
 dharma-śāstrāṇi yāny uta
“The sages said: Respected Sūta Gosvāmī, you are completely free from all vice. You are well versed in all the scriptures famous for religious life, and in the Purāṇas and the histories as well, for you have gone through them under proper guidance and have also explained them.”
The sages first acknowledge Ugraśravā Sūta’s qualification to be speaking to them. One who is going to sit on the vyāsāsana and speak Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam should first become fit to serve in the role of ācārya. Śaunaka and the other sages affirm that Śrī Sūta is indeed qualified: he is pure in his behavior and well versed in the essential scriptural foundation of transcendental knowledge. As a child of the degraded Sūta class, descended from a kṣatriya man who married a brāhmaṇa woman, Ugraśravā was denied the privilege of studying and teaching the Vedic śrutis. But the prescribed occupation of Sūtas is either chariot-driving or reciting Purāṇas and epic histories like the Mahābhārata and Rāmāyaṇa. Other secondary literatures, like the Dharma-śāstra law books of Manu and other sages, are also within the occupational domain of the Sūtas. Ugraśravā was the most competent of his class, having learned well from his father, from Śrīla Vyāsadeva himself, and from several granddisciples of Vyāsa who specialized in the Purāṇic texts. At Naimiṣāraṇya Śrī Sūta had already proven himself an expert expounder of these scriptures.
Śrīla Prabhupāda distinguishes between the proper method of śravaṇaṁ kīrtanam and the faithless reading of sacred texts by dilettantes and critical scholars. The standard procedure taught by Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu that lays the correct foundation for the practice of pure devotional service is to hear the Gītā and Bhāgavatam and the names of Kṛṣṇa recited and explained by pure devotees, and then to solidify one’s understanding by again reciting and explaining them to others.
Now verse seven:
yāni veda-vidāṁ śreṣṭho
 bhagavān bādarāyaṇaḥ
anye ca munayaḥ sūta
 parāvara-vido viduḥ
“Being the eldest learned Vedāntist, O Sūta Gosvāmī, you are acquainted with the knowledge of Vyāsadeva, who is the incarnation of Godhead, and you also know other sages who are fully versed in all kinds of physical and metaphysical knowledge.”
The inner message of the Vedas cannot be understood by merely reciting them or using their mantras in ritual yajñas, and certainly not by a speculative approach. Only the philosophy established in Bādarāyaṇa Vyāsa’s Vedānta-sūtras reveals the underlying theism of all Vedic literature, commenting especially on the explicit depiction of the Absolute Truth in the Upaniṣads.
Jaimini’s Mīmāṁsā is based on Vedic authority but interprets the Vedas only ritualistically. The other four traditional philosophies pay little or no attention to the Vedas. Gautama’s Nyāya deals with epistemology, the study of how to obtain valid knowledge. The atheist Kapila’s Sāṅkhya and Kaṇāda’s Vaiśeṣika are two different models of the categories of material existence, while the theistic Sāṅkhya of Devahūti-putra Kapila is nondifferent from Vedānta. Patañjali taught a system of meditational yoga that pays only minor lip service to meditation on the Supreme Person, and Aṣṭāvakra was an earlier impersonal interpreter of Vedānta, long before Śaṅkarācārya.
Vyāsadeva and his faithful disciples are considered the best knowers of the real teachings of the Vedas because they properly understand the Absolute Truth, both in its higher (personal) form and its lower (impersonal) form.