7-Minute Bhagavatam

7-Minute Bhagavatam

Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.3
by
Gopiparanadhana Dasa
Language 
English
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Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.2.3
Continuing the explanation of the second chapter of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam with verse three:
yaḥ svānubhāvam akhila-śruti-sāram ekam
 adhyātma-dīpam atititīrṣatāṁ tamo ’ndham
saṁsāriṇāṁ karuṇayāha purāṇa-guhyaṁ
 taṁ vyāsa-sūnum upayāmi guruṁ munīnām
“Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto him [Śuka], the spiritual master of all sages, the son of Vyāsadeva, who, out of his great compassion for those gross materialists who struggle to cross over the darkest regions of material existence, spoke this most confidential supplement to the cream of Vedic knowledge, after having personally assimilated it by experience.”
Although as described in the previous verse Śrī Śukadeva was indifferent to everything of this world – even to having the greatest sage as his father – nonetheless, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam had such an effect on him that it made him want to help the fallen souls of this world by sharing the Bhāgavatam with them. Sūta Gosvāmī remembers this amazing compassion of his guru here at the beginning of his narration at Naimiṣāraṇya, and since he remembers this appreciation constantly, he will echo it again in different words at the end of the twelfth canto, in the verse beginning sva-sukha-nibhṛta.
Sūta praises Śukadeva as the “the spiritual master of all sages,” and with the word upayāmi expresses that he is Śukadeva’s disciple and is approaching him for shelter. In the last chapter of this canto, Sūta will recount how the greatest sages came to be present at Śrī Śukadeva’s narration of the Bhāgavatam. These included Śukadeva’s father Vyāsa and his father’s guru Nārada, both of whom were happy to sit and hear at Śukadeva’s feet.
The great son of Vyāsa came to the shore of the Gaṅgā not only out of concern for King Parīkṣit but because he felt compassion for those who were not yet born: the miserable people of Kali-yuga. In this age, which began during the long sacrifice at Naimiṣāraṇya, materialism pervades so completely that hardly anyone can avoid being dragged into it. A very few try to hold on to the enlightenment offered by philosophy to keep themselves afloat, but as Śrī Śukadeva knew from his own experience, for the real satisfaction of the self something more effective than impersonal knowledge is needed. Śukadeva broadcast Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam for the good of anyone who wants to be saved from spiritual darkness.
Śrī Sūta says several things here to characterize the Bhāgavatam:
Svānubhāvam: The Bhāgavatam was not simply memorized by Śukadeva; it was the very focus of his life, inspiring in him full remembrance of the pleasure pastimes of Kṛṣṇa and His devotees. Or, taking another meaning of svānubhāvam – as an adjective describing the Bhāgavatam itself – the influence (anubhāva) of this book is unique (sva).
Akhila-śruti-sāram: Sāra means, literally, “cream extracted from milk,” or more figuratively, “essence.” The Vedic śrutis are the foundation of all spiritual knowledge. The Upaniṣads distill the philosophical conclusions of the śrutis in regard to the Absolute Truth. The Vedānta-sūtras of Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana Vyāsa reconcile and explain most essentially the ideas of the Upaniṣads. And Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the cream of this cream of the cream of all the śrutis, the natural commentary on Vedānta written by the same author.
Ekam: Because the Bhāgavatam alone can satisfy the aspirations of the most perfect spiritualists – the devotees who envy no one – it has no equal among scriptures.
Adhyātma-dīpam: The spiritual reality underlying phenomenal existence is called adhyātma, which is realized impersonally, as localized in the heart, and most fully as the supreme object of love. With the help of the brilliant light of the Bhāgavatam, Śrī Śukadeva realized the ultimate fullness of this reality, cultivating in his heart the confidential loving pastimes of Kṛṣṇa. This realization of ajita-rucira-līlā attuned his heart perfectly to Kṛṣṇa’s own feelings, causing him to want to reveal the same secrets of kṛṣṇa-līlā even to those trapped in the blindness of ignorance. No mere sage could have this compassion. The other great impersonalist of this age, Śaṅkarācārya, commented on Vedānta-sūtras to bewilder atheists but refrained from commenting on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Some of his followers dared to interpret the Bhāgavatam in an impersonal way and others neglected it, saying that in contrast to the eternal Upaniṣads it was written by Vyāsadeva only five thousand years ago, or else denying even the authority of Vyāsa and ascribing the Bhāgavatam to someone much more recent.
Sūta Gosvāmī, however, knows well all the Purāṇas, and he claims here that Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is purāṇa-guhyam, the most confidential Purāṇa. Guhyam also means “to be kept hidden” – hidden particularly from Māyāvādīs and materialists uninterested in getting out of illusion. Śrīla Vyāsadeva also kept the Bhāgavatam hidden from others, as described in the twenty-second chapter of the ninth canto; he passed over all his prominent disciples, headed by Paila, whom he had made the first authority on the Ṛg Veda, and instead entrusted this most precious essence of the Vedas to Śukadeva.