7-Minute Bhagavatam

7-Minute Bhagavatam

Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.1.16-17
by
Gopiparanadhana Dasa
Language 
English
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Transcript 


Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.1.16 and 1.1.17
Continuing the explanation of the first chapter of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam with verse sixteen:
ko vā bhagavatas tasya
 puṇya-ślokeḍya-karmaṇaḥ
śuddhi-kāmo na śṛṇuyād
 yaśaḥ kali-malāpaham
“Who is there, desiring deliverance from the vices of the age of quarrel, who is not willing to hear the virtuous glories of the Lord?”
The modern age of Kali is complicated by elaborate mechanisms for fulfilling the selfish wants of strong individuals and nations. In recent centuries leaders have discovered the profitability of peace, and business corporations have assumed power supported by the diplomatic efforts of governments. In more barbaric times, simple genocide was usually more profitable, but as time moves on the exploitation of nature and of the weak by the powerful becomes more sophisticated and seemingly benign, warfare being gradually replaced with marketplace competition. Most recently, the masses in prosperous countries are kept docile with sense indulgence and cheap entertainment, while the poorer elements are sent to fight far-off wars against those who are even less fortunate. The result of these developments is alienation and loss of empathy. Thus impersonalism goes hand in hand with materialism, each nourishing the other.
Here, the sages headed by Śaunaka make a revolutionary call for driving away the evils of this age. The force that can bring this deliverance is hearing the glories of the Personality of Godhead. The selfless devotees of Lord Caitanya will be the vanguard of the liberation movement of hari-kathā, and those who are intelligent and honest will welcome them with gratitude. Who would not want to hear hari-kathā? Only those who stubbornly refuse to be freed of their ignorance and envy.
The wonderful activities of the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa are glorified in auspicious poetry, especially in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam’s Tenth Canto. The Bhāgavatam broadcasts more explicitly than any other scripture Kṛṣṇa’s fame as the victor over Brahmā, Śiva, and Indra and as the enjoyer of the rāsa dance. Just by hearing about Kṛṣṇa and His pastimes from pure devotees who base their talks on the Bhāgavatam, any sincere person in this age who wants it will be able to have his heart cleansed and experience the full satisfaction about which the sages were inquiring (yenātmā suprasīdati).
Now text seventeen:
tasya karmāṇy udārāṇi
 parigītāni sūribhiḥ
brūhi naḥ śraddadhānānāṁ
 līlayā dadhataḥ kalāḥ
“His transcendental acts are magnificent and gracious, and great learned sages like Nārada sing of them. Please, therefore, speak to us, who are eager to hear about the adventures He performs in His various incarnations.”
The word udāra has two different meanings: “of large scope” and “generous.” From our mundane viewpoint, the creation and maintenance of our universe by the Puruṣa avatāras is an amazing feat, even though material creation is actually the least magnificent thing God does. For the devotees with pure spiritual vision, everything the Supreme Lord does in any of His forms is wonderful. In all His pastimes, even when He is destroying enemies, He always acts very generously toward His devotees.
Śrīla Prabhupāda identifies the sūris as “learned and self-realized souls.” They are the transcendental poets in the recognized Vaiṣṇava sampradāyas who eloquently sing about Kṛṣṇa and His avatāras. These poets are not just sentimental emoters but scholars of philosophy, history, and science of the highest rank.
Kalā means “fraction.” Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s avatāras are nondifferent from Him, and each is complete in all opulence. In these viṣṇu-tattva expansions, however, Kṛṣṇa displays only some aspects of His glories. He doesn’t become anything less in His avatāras, but He more or less hides Himself. The pastime avatāras are usually called aṁśas, and derivative expansions like the three Viṣṇus who create the material worlds are called kalās. Another kind of kalā of the Supreme Lord is represented by the empowered demigods, especially Brahmā and Śiva, who count as His guṇa-avatāras. The word dadhataḥ, “assuming,” is in the present tense, which shows that Kṛṣṇa’s incarnations and their activities are all eternal and that He is absolutely complete in Himself, easily expanding any opulence that suits His pleasure without having to depend on anyone else.