Blog Description

This blog is for sharing one of the six loving exchanges between vaishnavas - bhajana katha sravanam alapa - sharing and discussing bhajan topics with devotees.

It is also my humble attempt to follow the instruction my gurudeva would give at the end of every class: take these pastimes and instructions into your heart. Therefore in the hopes that it will make some impression in my heart, I am sharing lecture notes, quotes, book excerpts, and other words from the brahma-madhva-gaudiya sampradaya and vaisnava/is around the world.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Spotless Authority

om ajnana timirandhasya jnananjana salakaya
caksur unmilitam yena tasmai sri gurave namah

O Gurudeva, you are so merciful. I offer my humble pranama unto you and am praying from the core of my heart that, with the torchlight of divine knowledge, you open my eyes which have been blinded by the darkness of ignorance.

I am about to begin memorizing the following verse, which Srila Gurudeva wanted all his disciples to learn:

aradhyo bhagavan vrajesa-tanayas tad-dhama vrndavanam ramya kacid upasana vraja-vadhu-vargena va kalpita srimad bhagavatam pramanam amalam prema pum-artho mahan sri-caitanya mahaprabhor matam idam tatradarah na parah

"The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna, the son of Nanda Maharaja, is worshipped along with His transcendental abode Vrndavana. The most pleasing form of worship for the Lord is that which was performed by the gopis of Vrndavana. Srimad Bhagavatam is the spotless authority on everything and pure love of Godhead is the ultimate goal of life for all men. These statements, for which we have the highest regard, are the opinion of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu."

- (Caitanya-matta-manjusa by Srila Viswanatha Cakravarti Thakura)

The Srimad Bhagavatam is the spotless authority on everything! wow! That is amazing. To think, we have the answers right there in that book. It will show us how to get the goal of life. Srila Prabhupada said this - he says it in his Preface to the 1st Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam - that by reading Srimad Bhagavatam, in order, by the end "one will know God perfectly well."

How merciful are the Lord and His devotees, to give us this gem? It is spotless, without flaw. We can consult it on anything. And ANYONE can read it! Prabhupada says further in his Preface that, "The only qualification one needs to study this great book of transcendental knowledge is to proceed step by step cautiously, and not jump forward haphazardly as with an ordinary book."

So, it is important that we read the Srimad Bhagavatam in order. Then we can reap full benefit.

Further glorification of Srimad Bhagavatam from the Bhagavatam itself:

"On the other hand, that literature which is full with descriptions of the transcendental glories of the name, fame, form and pastimes of the unlimited Supreme Lord is a transcendental creation meant to bring about a revolution in the impious life of a misdirected civilization. Such transcendental literatures, even though irregularly composed, are heard, sung, and accepted by purified men who are thoroughly honest."

(Bhagavatam, 1.5.11, namanty anantasya yaso...)

I feel so fortunate to have heard Srila Gurudeva speak on this gem so many times. And yet, how much have I heard, and really taken in? Even so, I know I am fortunate to have had the transcendental power of his voice, his sweet harikatha, enter my ears, and I can only aspire to hear one day properly, to "take it in to [my] heart," as he instructed us to at the end of each class of his. And! Just today, I heard from one didi that these transcendental personalities like Srila Gurudeva and Srila Prabhupada, they give us the power to follow their instructions. So we know that even if we can't follow in this life, in some lifetime we can, and we should try for sooner rather than later, right? Srila Rupa Goswami tells us in his Upadesamrta to have both enthusiasm and patience in the path to bhakti (two of the six favorable qualities, Verse 3).

There is so much more to be said on that Bhagavatam verse, especially about the esteemed gopis of Sri Vrndavana dhama, and the topmost gopi, Srimati Radhika. I am not qualified to say anything. Here is more from Srila Gurudeva on the meaning of that verse, aradhyo bhagavan...

"Here, vraja-vadhu means the mood in which the gopis of Vraja worship Krsna, and the Srimad Bhagavatam is the immaculate scriptural evidence to verify this.

"We are so happy to invite all the vaisnavas just after Kartika to join in this program at Gopinath Bhavan on the bank of the Yamuna River. We have only one request. Listen attentively to drink this nectar. The benefit of hearing Srimad Bhagavatam is inestimable. The topmost achievement of the human form of life is krsna-prema."

Jai! Gaura Premanande!

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