7-Minute Bhagavatam

7-Minute Bhagavatam

Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.1.13-15
by
Gopiparanadhana Dasa
Language 
English
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Transcript 


Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.1.13, 1.1.14, and 1.1.15
Continuing the explanation of the first chapter of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam with verse thirteen:
tan naḥ śuśrūṣamāṇānām
 arhasy aṅgānuvarṇitum
yasyāvatāro bhūtānāṁ
 kṣemāya ca bhavāya ca
“O Sūta Gosvāmī, we are eager to learn about the Personality of Godhead and His incarnations. Please explain to us those teachings imparted by previous masters [ācāryas], for one is uplifted both by speaking them and by hearing them.”
Kṛṣṇa is the original form of God, and in His descent to earth five thousand years ago He proved Himself the most powerful and attractive. But as expressed by the single, generic form avatāro in this verse, every one of His self-same Viṣṇu expansions is all-auspicious. Any person who sees or simply hears about any of these avatāras obtains both kṣema, or protection, and bhava, or success in life. Or, as Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī comments, kṣema is liberation from material bondage, in the face of which bhava, or prosperity, is automatically available.
Now text fourteen:
āpannaḥ saṁsṛtiṁ ghorāṁ
 yan-nāma vivaśo gṛṇan
tataḥ sadyo vimucyeta
 yad bibheti svayaṁ bhayam
“Living beings who are entangled in the complicated meshes of birth and death can be freed immediately by even unconsciously chanting the holy name of Kṛṣṇa, which is feared by fear personified.”
Vivaśa means “helpless,” and Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī points out the underlying derivation of this meaning. Vaśa indicates “under control.” In the terrible entanglement of material life, saṁsṛtiṁ ghorām, all souls are totally under the control of higher forces, which to all appearances are hostile or indifferent to their happiness. Deluded by false hopes, most are unaware of how unfavorable these forces actually are. But the sages here mention the one true hope: salvation by taking shelter of the Personality of Godhead. Taking shelter is most easily achieved by helplessly calling out His names. Offenseless chanting done even once earns liberation from birth and death, as demonstrated in the histories of unintentional chanters of hari-nāma like Ajāmila. Ajāmila meant to call his own son, not the Supreme Lord Nārāyaṇa. He and others who chanted nāmābhāsa for other reasons than worshiping the Lord were all saved, as long as they were free from offenses against the Lord and His devotees.
Śrīla Prabhupāda has correctly translated the phrase yan-nāma, “whose name,” as “the holy name of Kṛṣṇa,” since the sages’ two verses ago focused our attention on Him, the son of Vasudeva and Devakī. Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī explains that because Kṛṣṇa is the source of all avatāras, all the names of avatāras are in the final issue His names. Not only the names of God but the names of all creatures and material objects are also originally Kṛṣṇa’s names. Everyone and everything exists only in relationship to Him. He is the Supreme Soul embodying all existence, spiritual, material, and marginal. Someone’s name is used conventionally as if it refers to his body, because his body is all that others can perceive, but factually the name belongs to the ātmā who possesses the body. In other words, Kṛṣṇa is the svarūpa, or essential identity, of everything.
Fear personified fears Kṛṣṇa. The original personification of fear is Mahākāla, the form of Lord Viṣṇu who controls material time. Even He respects Kṛṣṇa’s authority, what to speak of the respect shown by Mṛtyu, the demigod who causes death, and by Yamarāja and the Yama-dūtas.
Now text fifteen:
yat-pāda-saṁśrayāḥ sūta
 munayaḥ praśamāyanāḥ
sadyaḥ punanty upaspṛṣṭāḥ
 svardhuny-āpo ’nusevayā
“O Sūta, those great sages who have completely taken shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord can at once sanctify those who come in touch with them, whereas the waters of the Ganges can sanctify only after prolonged use.”
Even those born thousands of years after Kṛṣṇa’s presence on the earth are not deprived of the benefits of contact with Him because He continues to extend Himself through His names and devotees. Since the Lord wants every fallen soul to return to Him, not just a chosen few, He sends various agents to this world to free whomever they can from ignorance and wayward desires, enabling the objects of their mercy to again feel their natural attraction to the Lord. Mother Gaṅgā has been serving as such an agent on the earth for millions of years, and she unreservedly purifies all who bathe in her, no matter how sinful they may be. But to be fully rectified may require many repetitions of gaṅgā-snāna, especially for those who after bathing immediately roll again in the dirt of their bad habits.  
Even more effective at purifying are the specially empowered servants of the Supreme Lord who teach pure Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The rarest of the Lord’s devotees, who knows His most inner desires, is called Prabhupāda, the direct representative of His lotus feet. That devotee is perfectly fixed in praśama, total dedication to the happiness of Kṛṣṇa and His glorification. As Kṛṣṇa told Uddhava, śamo man-niṣṭhatā buddheḥ: “Peace of mind is to have one’s intelligence fixed in Me.” The perfect pure devotee’s mind is always immersed in the delights of Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes, as in ancient times the minds of great sages like Śrī Śukadeva were fixed on Him. Even a moment’s association with such a devotee can save one forever from material suffering.