Category: SrimadBhagavatam

Collection of discourses by Sri Swamiji on Srimad Bhagavatam. These are rare gems, and covers Bhagavatam 'moolam' (core) which cannot be found elsewhere.

Bhagawatam 231: Maharishi Sanat-kumara preaches; benefits of singing divine glories.

Haraye namah

Maharishi Sanat-kumara said, “O King, you are a learned scholar. Yet, with the intention that entire mankind should benefit you have questioned wisely. This is exactly the way noble saintly persons think!

Saṅgamaḥ khalu sādhūnām ubhayeṣā ca sammata

Yat-sambhāṣaa-sampraśnaḥ sarveṣā vitanoti śam

Meeting holy saints is a delightful experience to both the speaker and listener. Meeting holy saints and questioning them wisely leads to the well-being of one and all.

O king, you have deep love towards hearing glories of the lotus feet of Lord Madhusudana. This is the truth! It is extremely difficult to possess such strong desire towards hearing divine glories. It is your fortune that you are blessed with it.

Love towards Srihari destroys lustful and other desires as well as afflictions such as likes and dislikes. It purifies the mind. One should develop detachment with this world, which is non-Self (anātma). He should be firmly dedicated towards the Supreme Lord who is devoid of traits and who is the Self. This is the only tool that will take the individual towards auspiciousness. This is what the Shastras decisively dictate.

Sā śraddhayā bhagavad-dharma-caryayā jijñāsayādhyātmika-yoga-niṣṭhayā

Yogeśvaropāsanayā ca nityaṁ puṇya-śrava-kathayā puyayā ca

The spiritual aspirant should always abide by those dharmas that are loved by the Supreme Lord and which bring joy to Him. He should be desirous of acquiring Self-knowledge. With total dedication he should, at all times, practice to remain steadfast in the Self. He should eternally be engrossed in worshipping Lord Srihari, who is the Lord of Yogis.

Singing the glories of the Lord purifies the mind. Hence everyday he should sing or listen to the glories of the Supreme Lord. By following these techniques he will develop dedication towards the all-pervading Lord.

People who are attached to this material world are always inclined towards wealth and sensory pleasures and hence persistently chase them. The spiritual aspirant should not entertain friendship with individuals who are filled with material desires. He should simultaneously stay away from wealth and objects of sensory pleasures.

He should taste the nectar called divine glories and remain contented. Otherwise he should remain totally fixed in the inner Self and in this state of oneness with God he should enjoy inner bliss. The spiritual aspirant who follows these techniques will develop steady and firm dedication towards the Self.

The spiritual aspirant should abide by the saintly dharmas such as non-violence (ahimsa), control over inner mind (sama) and control over external organs (dama). He should be completely focused on his goal of attaining Self-realization. He should drink the nectar called divine glories, which bestows liberation. He should be immersed in recollection of those glories and enjoy bliss.

The five disciplines of non-violence (ahimsa), non-stealing, celibacy, truthfulness and non-possessiveness (aparigraha) are known as Yama. The five disciplines of inner and outer cleanliness, contentment, penance, Self-study and Self-surrender are known as Niyama. The spiritual aspirant should abide by these disciplines without any expectation.

He should not condemn others. He should not strive and earn for selfish material desires. Moreover he should with a balanced outlook tolerate dualities such as happiness-sorrows, heat-cold and others. The aspirant who adheres to these disciplines will obtain Self-realization and liberation.

The devotee should slowly and gradually increase singing of divine glories and extolling them with total devotion. Divine glories are ornamental decorations to the ears of ardent devotees. The aspirant who follows these disciplines will be detached from this material world. Very easily he will be firmly established in devotion to the formless, traitless Lord.

The aspirant who walks on the path suggested by his Guru will instantly develop devotion towards the Supreme Lord! Instantly knowledge and dispassion intensify within him. Just as fire that emerges from the wood reduces it to ashes, his subtle body will be destroyed totally. The question of re-birth does not arise for a subtle body that has been burnt in the fire of knowledge.

Spiritual ignorance (avidya), sense of I-ness, likes, dislikes and fear of death are the five afflictions of the subtle body. They become the cause of re-births. Before obtaining Spiritual Knowledge the individual considers himself and Parabrahma to be two separate entities. However with Spiritual Knowledge the subtle body is destroyed. Along with it, the sense of I-ness and attachments are also destroyed. With this, the differences are dissolved.

In a dream a person sees varied living beings and objects. However soon upon waking up the dream dissolves and gets absorbed into him. Likewise, the Jnani who is Supremely Knowledgeable now no longer sees the world as different from him. The thought that he has a separate existence from this world disappears in him”.

Srikrishnāya namah.

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Bhagawatam 230: Arrival of the four Kumaras into the assembly; Prithu reverentially worships them

Namo vivṛddha-sattvāya puruṣāya mahīyase

Yo brahma kṣatram āviśya bibhartīdaṁ sva-tejasā 

Obeisance to Srihari the embodiment of goodness (sattva) and the most supreme amongst all beings (Purusottama)! He has retained his illumination within Brahmins and Kshatriyas and through them He is protecting this universe.

With this the twenty-first chapter of the fourth canto comes to an end.

Fourth Canto Chapter Twenty-two

In this chapter, the meeting between Emperor Prithu and the four Kumāras is covered.

Maitreya Maharishi said to Vidura, “While the citizens were extolling King Prithu, the valourous noble being, four Maharishis who resembled the Sun in brightness arrived.

Prithu along with his attendants noticed them who were descending from heaven and who, with their gazes were purifying all those present in the assembly. Looking at the brightness on their faces, King Prithu recognized them.

As anxiously as the mind, the leader of the senses, tries to pull back into itself the life-force and sense perceptions that are departing from the body, Prithu stood up. Instantly his attendants and all assembled guests also stood up.

Prithu who had deep regard and reverence for these saints was immediately predisposed towards them. With great humility he reverentially bowed before them, offered them customary water offerings and seats to sit. After they accepted their seats and sat comfortably on them, Prithu worshipped them. He washed their feet and sprinkled that holy water on his head such that his hair was drenched. Through his supreme actions he taught people how the attitude and behavior of noble beings should be.

Sanaka and other Maharishis are the brothers of Lord Rudra. When they sat on their golden seats they shone like the fire in the sacrificial fire-pit. Prithu who was totally dedicated towards them was extremely pleased with their arrival. He addressed them and said,

“How fortunate we are! O supreme saints your arrival symbolizes auspiciousness. I have no idea what kind of meritorious deeds I would have performed to be blessed with your darshan, which is impossible for even great saints.

There is nothing which a person, who has pleased Vedic scholars, Shiva and Vishnu together with their attendants, cannot get in this world or in the next. In other words, he can obtain everything in this world and next if he pleases Shiva, Vishnu and Vedic scholars.

Human beings are unable to recognize the Self, which is the witness that resides within. They are unable to understand about Mahat and other principles that are responsible for this creation. Similarly, although you travel across all the planes, ordinary persons are unable to recognize you.

Adhanā api te dhanyāḥ sādhavo gṛha-medhina

Yad-gṛhā hy arha-varyāmbu- tṛṇa-bhūmīśvarāvarā

Householders are very happy when Mahatmas visit their house and drink water offered to them. Together with their servants they take great pleasure in offering services to Mahatmas who are seated in their homes. Such householders become fortunate even though they may be poor.

Ganga was born from the lotus feet of Lord Srihari. A home could be filled with all types of opulence but if the feet of Lord Srihari’s devotees are not washed in that home, it is like a tree in which snakes reside. No one approaches a tree on which snakes live. No one dares to pluck its fruits. The tree could be vast and could provide adequate shelter. It could be replete with fruits. But yet, as none utilize these benefits, its existence is a sheer waste.

O great saints, I welcome you reverentially. You are supremely knowledgeable. Right from infancy you have shown great inclination towards liberation and have taken up intense austerities.

O great saints, we are deluded into believing that enjoying sensory pleasures is the only goal of life. To us, such sensory pleasures themselves are the four-fold aims of life (puruśārthas). Engaging in fruitive actions and reaping their resultant benefits, we are trapped in this bondage known as repeated births and deaths. Life is nothing but a storehouse of grief. Is there any hope of liberation for us, who are totally submerged in these bondages?

O great saints, you are totally established in the Self. You eternally enjoy inner bliss. It is not apt to enquire about your welfare because segregations such as ‘this is auspicious; that is inauspicious’ do not exist in your mind. You are those supreme personalities who come to the aid of the down trodden. Therefore, with implicit faith in you, I am putting forth my doubt.

Sampṛcche bhava etasmin kṣema kenāñjasā bhavet  – What is the shortest and easiest route for an individual to obtain auspiciousness in this world?

Supreme Lord Srihari is birthless. Even though He exists as the Self within all living beings, He makes himself visible only to those valourous persons who have the actual experiential knowledge of permanent and impermanent objects in this creation. Only they realize Him to be the inner Self.

In order to bless devotees such Lord Srihari moves everywhere in the form of accomplished beings like you. This is undoubtedly true.”

In this way, Emperor Prithu in a grave voice uttered melodious, friendly and pleasant words. Hearing this, Maharishi Sanat-kumara with a charming pleasant face that was filled with affection, addressed Emperor Prithu and said,

“sādhu pṛṣṭaṁ mahārāja sarva-bhūta-hitātmanā

bhavatā viduṣā cāpi sādhūnāṁ matir īdṛśī

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Bhagawatam 229: Prithu beseeches his citizens to abide by their dharma and worship the Lord (contd..)

Prithu continued, “The Supreme Lord Srihari, the enjoyer of Yagna offerings, is the father for all the three worlds. Exponents of Veda worship this Lord as their family deity and thereby they inherently illumine with qualities of patience, penance and knowledge. The glory of an empire comes from its immense treasures. May the might of the warriors (Kshatriyas) never influence the inherent illumination of such Vedic Brahmin scholars!

Lord Srihari who is a personification of completeness and who is over and above time personally worships Self-realized Jnanis, who are engrossed in worshipping Him. He is the Lord for Indra and other Devatas. By worshipping the feet of Vedic scholars, Supreme Lord Srihari has obtained never ending opulence in the form of Goddess Lakshmi. Moreover He has obtained the fame by which He can render the world pure.

Yat-sevayāśeṣa-guhāśayaḥ sva-rāḍ Vipra-priyas tuṣyati kāmam īśvara

Tad eva tad-dharma-parair vinītaiḥ Sarvātmanā brahma-kulaṁ nievyatām

Srihari resides within the cave called the intellect of every living being. Self-realized people love him dearly and in turn He loves them dearly. When such Self-realized persons (Brahma-vettas) are served, the Supreme Lord who is the independent Self-illuminating Lord of the creation is extremely happy.

Therefore, those devotees who are deeply inclined towards offering services to the Lord, must necessarily worship Self-realized persons with total humility. With the belief that everything is contained within them and with total dedication they must offer services.

The mind of the individual who associates with Self-realized saints and who serves them with dedication will quickly turn pure. He obtains the ultimate state of liberation in which this repeated cycle of re-births is totally destroyed.

Brahmins are the face through which offerings can be made to the Devatas in the sacrificial fire. Serving such learned Brahmins is equivalent of serving all Gods in entirety. There is no easier path than this to worship the Devatas.

Exponents in various principle-essences (tattva-vetta) chant the divine names of Indra and other venerable deities. In order to ensure that the offerings reach the Gods, they dedicatedly perform homa and make the offerings through the fire known as the mouths of Self-realized persons (Brahma-vettas). It means they offer food to the Self-realized persons. Lord Srihari very joyfully accepts the offerings thus made. The pleasure that the Lord derives upon consuming food through the mouths of the Self-realized persons far exceeds the pleasure that He derives when offerings are made in the homa fire.

The statements from the Upanishads, which pave the way for the transcendental knowledge attained by supreme sages (parama-hamsa), teach the supreme essence known as Srihari. In Vedas there can be no scope for any mistake.  This is because it has originated directly from the Supreme Lord. It is birthless. Just as our reflection is seen in a mirror, the Supreme Essence can be directly found in the Vedas.

Exponents of Veda perform penance with absolute dedication. Setting aside unnecessary discussions, they chant Veda with absolute Self-control. Thus they absorb it with absolute concentration of mind and retain it firmly within their intellect. Staying away from prohibited actions they understand the meaning of the Vedic statements.

O venerable assembly! As long as I live I will wear the dust from the feet of these Vedic scholars and decorate my crown with it. By doing this daily, my sins will get totally destroyed. All good qualities will serve such a person.

All treasures hover around the person who has a good character, noble qualities, who does not forget help received from others and who serves his elders. May Lord Janardhana who associates with cows, devotees and Brahmins, be pleased with me!” said Emperor Prithu

Hearing these words the minds of the fore-fathers, Devatas, priests and noble saints were overflowing with joy. They wholeheartedly applauded him.

Putreṇa jayate lokān iti satyavatī śrutiḥ

Brahma-daṇḍa-hata pāpo yad veno ’tyatarat tamaḥ

The Vedic statement that a father who begets a worthy son reaches heavenly planets after death is absolutely true. This is because although Vena was a sinner and was cursed by supreme sages, due to the meritorious deeds of Prithu he was released from hell.

Due to his constant criticism of Srihari, Hiranyakashipu feared he would land in hell. However due to the intense love and devotion towards Srihari shown by his son Prahlada, Hiranyakashipu escaped hell”.

The assembled guests said to Prithu, “O mighty emperor! You are a father to Mother Earth. May you be blessed with longevity! This is because you have single pointed devotion towards Supreme Lord Srihari.

O king, your reputation is very pure. It is a great fortune that you, an ardent devotee of Srihari are singing the glories of that Supreme Lord. By having you as our king we have become fortunate to have the Supreme Lord as our king and leader.

As a king it is not at all surprising when you issue orders to your subjects. It is but natural for compassionate kings like you to be affectionate towards your subjects. Your love towards your citizens who have sought shelter under you is commendable.

O king, coming under the sway of our destiny, we have lost our intelligence and are swimming in the ocean called repeated re-births. Today you have rescued us from this ocean of ignorance and brought us safely to the shore”.

Haraye namah.


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Bhagawatam 228: Prithu beseeches his citizens to abide by their dharma and worship the Lord

Haraye namah

Following the Yagna disciplines, Prithu was not wearing any ornaments on his body. He was wearing a black deer skin. For this reason his body was clearly visible.

Having completed his daily obligatory rituals, Prithu stood holding the darbha grass in his hand. With beautiful lotus-like eyes he observed the entire assembly. With his affectionate gaze he dispelled their grief totally. In a melodious voice that appeared to shower bliss upon everyone, he addressed them.

His speech was melodious, filled with experiential knowledge of many vast areas, worthy, pure, grave, filled with deep essence and unambiguous. Without any sense of urgency he calmly addressed them. It appeared as if he was sharing his experience for the benefit of all.

“O assembled guests! All of you are supremely noble souls who have arrived here. May you all be blessed with auspiciousness! Please listen to what I say. Noble persons who seek to understand dharma should unhesitatingly put for their doubts in the presence of great Mahatmas.

Maharishis have appointed me as the ruler for this land. Therefore, I am punishing the wicked and protecting the righteous. I am also providing livelihood to the people. Based on their status and eligibility I am ensuring that each person abides by the rules of dharma applicable to him/her. Simultaneously I am diligently abiding by my own dharma (swadharma).

Devatas state that those who discharge their duties while abiding by their swadharma obtain heavenly planets. Due to the grace of Lord Srihari, who resides as the inner witness, I too am eligible for obtaining these heavenly meritorious planes.

The king who extracts taxes from the citizens without offering them any protection acquires the sins of his citizens while he loses his merit (punya).

My dear citizens, please give up your inclination towards evil tendencies. Instead fix your mind upon Lord Srihari.

Lord Srihari cannot be understood through any visible or direct proofs. If you wish that your king should reach heavenly planets after his death, then please abide by your respective dharmic duties. By doing so, you are actually blessing me.

O fore-fathers, Devatas, Maharishis, please accept these pure words of mine. This is because the person who adheres to the dharma, the person who teaches dharma and the person who actively encourages dharma also get an equal share in the results which he enjoys in heavenly planes.

O venerable ones, knowledgeable persons authoritatively state that Lord Yagneshwara showers the results for all actions. This is undoubtedly true. This is because both in this world and the next certain places which illumine brightly can be spotted.

From this we know that there is one single primary force which blesses the individual with dharma, materialistic earnings (artha), fulfillment of desires (kāma), liberation (moksha) and attaining heavenly planes after death, based on the his/her eligibility. This force is Srihari, the Supreme Lord who holds a mace in his hand.

Great emperors such as Swāyambhuva Manu, Uttānapāda, Dhruva, Priyavrata, my grandfather Anga and others have accepted His existence. Lord Brahma, Shiva, Prahlada, Bali also accept His existence.

Vena, the grandson of Mrtyu, did not accept the existence of the Lord. Having disregarded dharma he and his associates fell to those pitiable states where grief was inevitable.

In those who undertake penance and other rituals to alleviate the sufferings caused by these worldly afflictions, the desire to serve the Lord’s lotus feet intensifies day by day. This desire washes away their mental impurities which had accumulated over many, many births.

Therefore, with the desire to serve Lord Srihari, the individual should wash away all the mind’s impurities and should surrender to His lotus feet! Such a person develops detachment which in turn leads to Self-realization. With this his mind becomes strong. He will be freed from this repeated sorrow-filled re-births.

All of you are innocent. You have all attained accomplishment (siddhi) based on your individual capacities and eligibilities. Please continue your assigned duties diligently. Through these duties worship the Lord. In your mind meditate upon Him. Through your speech glorify Him. Through your body, offer obeisance to Him. The lotus feet of this Lord is Kāmadhenu, the wish-fulfilling cow, which will fulfill all your desires.

The Supreme Lord Srihari is devoid of traits. He is non-dual. He is an embodiment of all knowledge. Yet, in this world He makes himself available through Puroḍāśa and other ingredients offered in the Yagna, through all the rituals pertaining to the Yagna and through the mantras chanted during Yagna. Yagna is composed of many important divisions.

The Lord’s illusory power is māya shakti. Time causes a disturbance within this illusory power. The  subtle impressions of past actions (karma vāsana), destiny (prārabdha karma, the portion of the accumulated karma that should be experienced within a birth), māya shakti and time combine together to create the individual’s body.

Fire which engulfs logs of wood appears to have acquired the shape of the wood. Similarly, the all-pervading Lord merges with the individual’s intellect (buddhi) which is in the form of objects. Hence it appears as if he is enjoying the fruits of fruitive actions.

My citizens are adhering to their own dharma with firm determination and endlessly worshipping Srihari. Through this they are blessing me. This is my great fortune”.

Srikrishnāya namah

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Bhagawatam 227: The Supreme Lord blesses Prithu

Haraye namah

Pleased with the prayers offered by Prithu, the first king in this creation, the Supreme Lord said,

“O King, may you always be blessed with such firm devotion towards me! Purely due to God’s grace you were able to acquire such selfless devotion towards me. With this wisdom, you will be able to cross over my illusion, which otherwise is impossible to transcend.

Mad-ādeśa-karo lokaḥ sarvatrāpnoti śobhanam – With absolute dedication complete the duties that I have assigned to you. The person who diligently abides by My orders will obtain auspiciousness in all the worlds!”

In this way Lord Srihari appreciated Prithu and accepted his prayers. He then got ready to leave for Vaikunta.

Prithu considered all the Devatas, Saints, Gandharvas, accomplished siddhas, cāranās, nāgās, kinnaras, apsarasās, humans, birds and all other species of living beings, who had contributed and participated in the Yagna to be forms of the Supreme Lord. He folded his hands and with total dedication offered obeisance to them. He greeted and duly honoured them all. With great satisfaction all of them left for their respective abodes.

As Prithu, together with the priests, was watching Him in great joy, Lord Srihari departed to Vaikunta.

Adṛṣṭāya namaskṛtya nṛpa sandarśitātmane

Avyaktāya ca devānāṁ devāya sva-puraṁ yayau

The formless Lord Srihari, who is not visible to the senses, revealed himself to Prithu in a form that was visible to the eyes. Prithu delighted in observing the Lord as long as He was visible. Thereafter he mentally offered obeisance to the Lord and returned to his capital city.

With this the twentieth chapter of the fourth canto comes to an end.

Fourth Canto Chapter Twenty-one

In this chapter, the message given by Emperor Prithu to his subjects is covered.

Maitreya Maharishi continued, “The citizens who came to know that the king was returning to the city excitedly decorated all doorways with exquisite pearl chains, flower garlands and beautiful clothing. Incense sticks which emitted delightful fragrances were arranged at every junction. They ensured that the fragrance permeated the entire area. They sprinkled sandalwood and agaru water on all the royal paths as well as the smaller roads.

They decorated the pathways with flowers, fruits, coloured rice (akshata), herbs, parched grain, lamps and other auspicious materials. Every junction was decorated with flowering banana plants, areca palm trees replete with nuts and bunches of many other fruits as well as flower garlands.

As the emperor entered the city young maidens wearing glittering earrings welcomed him. Holding lamps, puja materials and other auspicious items, the citizens came forward and received him warmly.

Emperor Prithu was a warrior who had crushed his ego. Professional singers were singing his praises. As a sign of welcome, the citizens blew conches. Royal attendants were beating kettle drums. As the priests were chanting Vedic hymns, the king entered the palace.

At every junction people worshipped the king, who was very famous and who always fulfilled the desires of the citizens. Prithu was very pleased with this welcome. In turn, he too offered respects and worshiped all the village leaders.

Due to his limitless meritorious deeds, Prithu was that exemplary person who was worthy of worship. He performed many good deeds for welfare of the people. In this way, he ruled the entire earth. After obtaining great success and fame, he reached the abode of the Supreme Lord. He was the first king in the creation. Due to his divine qualities, his fame further multiplied. All noble persons extolled his divine qualities” said Maitreya Maharishi.

Vidura, the supreme devotee of the Lord, reverentially worshipped Maitreya Maharishi, who was describing the greatness of Prithu, and enquired,

“When Maharishis appointed Prithu as the king, all the Devatas gifted him auspicious objects. He retained Vishnu’s sustenance power in his arms and extracted from the earth all the ingredients essential for sustenance. Even to-date all the kings, rulers and guardian deities are freely enjoying the remnants that were left after his extraction. Therefore, is it possible for any wise person to abstain from hearing the glories of this great king? Please enlighten me more about his disciplines and pious activities”.

Maitreya Maharishi then replied, “Prithu resided in the land located between Rivers Ganga and Yamuna. In his opinion, even merit (punya) was bondage. In order to free himself from this bondage i.e. in order to finish this merit, he enjoyed the royal luxuries, which had come to him on account of his past meritorious deeds (prarabdha).

He was the sole king for all the seven continents. Barring Vedic scholars and ardent devotees of Vishnu none could go against his dictates. With such authority he ruled his subjects.

Once he decided to conduct a great satra yāga. All Devatas, Brahmarishis, Devarishis and Rajarishis attended this Yāga. Emperor Prithu welcomed and honoured them. Standing amidst them all in that great assembly, he shone like the moon which is situated amidst the stars.

Prithu was of fair complexion. His hands and feet were long, strong and sturdy. His eyes are of reddish colour like the lotus. His nose is beautifully shaped. His charming, pleasant face bestows joy upon those who look at him. With proportionate, beautiful shoulders and with lovely rows of teeth he looks handsome.

With his broad chest and narrow abdomen he resembles a banyan leaf. His abdomen is wrinkled. His waist is wide. His thighs are golden complexioned. His navel was like a deep whirlpool. His feet were arched. His neck resembled a conch. He had thick, curly black hair. He was wearing a costly upper garment.

Following the disciplines for the rituals, he was not wearing any ornaments on his body. He was wearing a black deer skin.

Haraye namah.

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