7-Minute Bhagavatam

7-Minute Bhagavatam

Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.7-8
by
Gopiparanadhana Dasa
Language 
English
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Transcript 


Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.2.7 and 1.2.8
Continuing the explanation of the second chapter of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam with verse seven:
vāsudeve bhagavati
 bhakti-yogaḥ prayojitaḥ
janayaty āśu vairāgyaṁ
 jñānaṁ ca yad ahaitukam
“By rendering devotional service unto the Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, one immediately acquires causeless knowledge and detachment from the world.”
What does the soul experience when he achieves full satisfaction? Indifference to all inferior objects of sense enjoyment and intense cognizance of the sweetness found in Kṛṣṇa’s beautiful form and personality. Especially when devotional service is executed in the most excellent way (prayojitaḥ rather than just yojitaḥ), the devotee becomes connected to Kṛṣṇa by loving bonds of servitude, friendship, and more intimate relationships.
The Supreme Lord called Vāsudeva here and Adhokṣaja in the previous verse is the same Kṛṣṇa mentioned in the verse before that. When one is awakened to bhakti on the level of attraction to Kṛṣṇa as a person, his practice of the methods of hearing and so on can begin in earnest. That bhakti-yoga automatically gives birth to knowledge and detachment, freeing the devotee from the need to strive separately for either. And Bhaktidevī does this quickly – as soon as the devotee simply begins to hear seriously.
This knowledge is understanding of the Personality of Godhead’s identity and qualities, followed naturally by the loss of interest in everything irrelevant to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. As causeless knowledge it cannot be produced by the mechanics of dry speculation but only as revelation that the Upaniṣads and other revealed scriptures grant to the faithful. Nor is this the knowledge that leads to such selfish achievements as impersonal liberation. The only cause of bhakti is bhakti, and the only purpose of bhakti is more bhakti.
So it is wrong to think that bhakti is for people unfit for ritual sacrifices and the cultivation of Upaniṣadic knowledge. The Upaniṣads do recommend the disciplines of sacrifice, charity, and so on for purification, which qualifies one to receive spiritual knowledge, but in fact bhakti is the essence of that knowledge. Pure Bhakti is self-sufficient, but she graciously engages her sons Jñāna and Vairāgya in assisting devotees in their progress along her path.
Now verse eight:
dharmaḥ svanuṣṭhitaḥ puṁsāṁ
 viṣvaksena-kathāsu yaḥ
notpādayed yadi ratiṁ
 śrama eva hi kevalam
“The occupational activities a man performs according to his own position are only so much useless labor if they do not provoke attraction for the message of the Personality of Godhead.”
Isn’t it the first duty of every civilized human being to live and act according to the rules of the Vedic social system of varṇas and āśramas? Yes, but only when following that system awakens interest in hearing about the Personality of Godhead and engaging in the various other modes of His service. Even perfectly fulfilling one’s varṇāśrama obligations is a wasted effort without Kṛṣṇa consciousness, as is the pursuit of impersonal liberation. Freedom from the trap of repeated birth and death is in reality only obtainable by the favor of the “fountainhead of all liberties,” the Supreme Lord, who is not only free from all kinds of restrictions but eager to share His freedom.
But isn’t the Lord’s devotees’ labor for this freedom also hard work? Yes, but it is not useless hard work, like the attempts of materialists and impersonalists.
But doesn’t Vedic karma have desirable results like the attainment of heaven? No, as the word eva (“only”) here expresses, there is no real benefit from karma – it is only hard work – because its promised benefits are all temporary and limited.
The word yadi (“of”) is used in such a way in this verse as to indicate a sense of contempt, urging us to abandon our own ideas of what our obligations are and simply take to the supreme dharma of hearing and chanting about Kṛṣṇa. Even if those who cultivate karma and jñāna are sometimes seen to finally achieve Kṛṣṇa consciousness, that is only because Bhakti has chosen to enter their hearts. Karma and jñāna can succeed only when combined with bhakti, but bhakti is independent of both.