7-Minute Bhagavatam

7-Minute Bhagavatam

Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.14-15
by
Gopiparanadhana Dasa
Language 
English
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Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.2.14 and 1.2.15
Continuing the explanation of the second chapter of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam with verse fourteen:
tasmād ekena manasā
 bhagavān sātvatāṁ patiḥ
śrotavyaḥ kīrtitavyaś ca
 dhyeyaḥ pūjyaś ca nityadā
“Therefore, with one-pointed attention, one should constantly hear about, glorify, remember, and worship the Personality of Godhead, who is the protector of the devotees.”
Fulfillment of human duties and obligations should lead to the real goal of life, bhagavad-bhakti; if they cannot do this, they should be put aside, and instead one should busy oneself directly with the practices of bhakti. The first, basic activities of bhakti are hearing and chanting the names and qualities of Lord Hari. Glorification of imperfect people accomplishes nothing of permanent value; it only helps one exploit and be exploited. But submitting to the Supreme Lord by hearing and chanting His glories leads to full freedom and self-realization. It is also good to offer the fruits of one’s work to the Lord or His devotees, because if such offerings are accepted with satisfaction one will be blessed with a taste for hearing and chanting.
Now verse fifteen:
yad-anudhyāsinā yuktāḥ
 karma-granthi-nibandhanam
chindanti kovidās tasya
 ko na kuryāt kathā-ratim
“With sword in hand, intelligent men cut through the binding knots of reactionary work [karma] by remembering the Personality of Godhead. Therefore, who will not pay attention to His message?”
Revolutions are usually violent, but liberation from the oppression of karma is won with the nonviolent sword of intense thinking about Kṛṣṇa. Fallen souls work like slaves without fair remuneration – for bare subsistence and scraps of happiness and trinkets of temporary possession. It takes courage to stand up against this bondage, but any human who is brave enough can take up the struggle. Success requires the Supreme Lord’s help. Any contact with Him – even if only remembering how wonderfully He acts – transforms one’s life into a spiritual existence. This adopting of spiritual life happens gradually, with progress through one stage of purification after another, and once faith in the process of practicing the Lord’s service becomes strong, increasing attraction to the process and to Him leads to liberation and the ecstasies of real spiritual life. How can one gain the firm faith in hari-kathā that makes one fit to enter this path of pure devotion? By using one’s ear and tongue to practice, with or without full conviction.
Although nondevotees generally consider cultivation of knowledge the means for achieving liberation, they are ignorant of the fact that bhakti is the real cause of mukti. Those who meditate on Brahman or Paramātmā need to first become devotees of the Lord for the perfection of their endeavors, and the performers of ritual sacrifice and even sinful materialists can also be saved by bhakti. To deliver the hopelessly unqualified populace of this age, the empowered servants of Caitanya Mahāprabhu teach the easiest method of pure bhakti: hearing about, glorifying, and remembering Kṛṣṇa. The main textbook they teach from is Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
To properly engage in the śravaṇam, kīrtanam, and smaraṇam of Lord Viṣṇu one must first have an interest in these activities. Those with no taste for them have too many other interests. Śrīla Sūta intends to describe step by step this whole process of devotional service, and first he suggests the worth of becoming attracted to hari-kathā with a logical proposition about the potency of the Lord’s qualities. Simply remembering these qualities severs one’s bondage to material life; why, therefore, should one not become interested in this process? The knot that ties us to the cycle of birth and death is our false identification with one material body after another. This bond of ahaṅkāra is so close to the conditioned soul and so imperceptible that he cannot even discern its presence, what to speak of free himself from it.
This verse and many other such declarations in the Bhāgavatam promise us, however, that hari-kathā easily cuts the knot. Someone who has earned a fortune by hard work may carefully economize, budgeting a certain amount for each day’s expenses and tying up his day’s allowance in a knot at his waist. This tying is called granthi-nibandhanam. Similarly, a conditioned soul has a predestined quota of enjoyment and suffering in his current life, his prārabdha-karma, and by analogy this is also called his granthi-nibandhanam. Hari-kathā is the only force powerful enough to break this knot.