Bhagawatam 059: Maharishi Shounaka begs for very detailed explanation of Bhagawatam

In this Kali Yuga merely by wishing to participate in meritorious deeds, the person is blessed with punya (merit). On the other hand, only when a person actually indulges in sinful deeds he is tainted with sin. Merely planning sinful deeds does not taint a person with sin. Parikshit who was aware of this minute knowledge did not develop feelings of aversion towards Kali.

Just as a wolf enters a flock of sheep and gulps them up, Kali enters into persons who are not vigilant and overpowers them. Kali, who casts profound influence upon less intelligent persons who are not vigilant, is very intimidated of wise, intelligent beings and maintains distance from them. From this it is clear that the wise, who possess discriminatory capacities, need not fear Kali. He will not attack innocent harmless persons unnecessarily. Problems come as a result of past actions and not due to Kali. But where a person willingly becomes slack or treads the wrong path, Kali will enter and influence him.

Parikshit, who understood this principle thoroughly, believed that there was no necessity to fear a coward like Kali.

O great sages, based on your request, I have narrated to you the story of Parikshit which is deeply intertwined with the glories of Lord Vasudeva Srikrishna.

Yā yāḥ kathā bhagavataḥ kathanīyoru-karmaṇa

Guṇa-karmāśrayā pumbhiḥ saṁsevyās tā bubhūubhi

Human beings who seek to attain perfection and well-being, must mandatorily listen to all the divine pastimes of that Supreme Lord which explain His transcendental activities and His qualities.

Upon hearing this, the assembled saints questioned, “O Maharishi Suta! You have narrated the glories of Lord Srikrishna, which is nectarous to our human ears. We are soaked in bliss when these nectarous stories fall upon our ears. We pray that you should live for a very long period of time! We do not have the confidence that this Satra Yaga, which we have begun, will take us to the other shore. Due to this long Yagna, our bodies are completely covered with ash but then you are making us drink the nectar called the divine lotus feet of the Lord.

Even supreme states such as attaining liberation or enjoying the luxuries of heaven fail to compete with a few moments that are spent in the company of ardent devotees of Lord Vishnu.  Where even such supreme luxuries fail, what more needs to be said about ordinary worldly luxuries enjoyed by human beings?

Lord Srikrishna is the most-supreme and ultimate shelter for noble saints. Those who are adept in enjoying this supreme taste (rasa) never feel satisfied even after listening to His glories many times.

Even Lords such as Brahma, Shiva as well as the supreme masters of Yoga (Yogeshwara) fail to understand in totality, all the attributes of that Supreme Paramātma who inherently is devoid of attributes (nirguna).

Therefore O great saint! Please explain to us in minute detail the divine stories of Lord. We deeply yearn to listen to His stories, which is the only thing sought by all noble saints. You are that supreme learned devotee of the Lord who has taken up service to the Lord as the main purpose of life. Please explain this story in greater detail.

Parikshit, the wise, intelligent, supreme devotee of the Lord, in the name of liberation reached the lotus feet of Lord Srihari, who holds the Garuda-dhwaja. He achieved this through the knowledge imbibed from the teaching imparted by Maharishi Śuka.

Such a supremely pure text called Bhāgawata Purana, while explaining the stories of that Supreme Lord, also imparts knowledge! This sacred Bhāgawatam, which was taught by Śuka Maharishi to Parikshit, is exceedingly precious to all devotees of that Lord. Please explicitly explain in minute detail, the meaning contained in it, in a way that we understand”.

Maharishi Suta in response to this said in all humility, “Aha! How astonishing! How wonderful is your question! I was born to a high caste mother and a low caste father. Even then, today through this opportunity of serving great Mahatmas of your status, my life has been rendered fortunate.

When a person like me is blessed with the rare opportunity of conversing with supreme saints, his mental sufferings quickly get washed away”.

From this it is clear that Maharishi Suta was mentally agonizing that he was born in a low caste and that through conversing with these supreme saints he was now freed from that agony. When they expressed the desire to hear Bhagawatam from him, the pain in his heart was washed away. He believed that this was the result of the satsang that he had been having with these noble souls for the past many days. This is the proof that all defects get washed away when a person sings exclusively the glories of that Supreme Lord.

“The Supreme Lord is endowed with unlimited energy. His attributes are unending. For this reason He is addressed as Ananta (limitless). In terms of attributes (guṇās) there is none who can be superior to Him or at par with Him.

Lakshmi devi, Goddess of wealth and fortune, not paying attention to Brahma and others who ardently worship her, is engaged in offering services to Lord Srihari as this is most cherished by her. From this, the greatness of Srihari can easily be gauged.

It is not limited to this! The water that Lord Brahma offers at the lotus feet of Lord Srihari flows down and falls on Lord Shiva’s head. This holy water flows down to earth as Ganga and renders earth pure.

The title ‘Bhagawān’ is aptly suited only to Lord Srihari or Mukunda and to none else. Persons possessing excellent discriminatory capacities, through devotion to this Bhagawān, give up their deep inclination towards this physical body and this material world. They renounce the world by taking up Sanyasa ashrama, which is the most supreme amongst the ashramas (stages of life) and which is coupled with non-violence (ahimsa) and renunciation of action. They continue to remain in the natural state (swadharma) called Self-experience.

O great saints, you who possess the illumination akin to that of the Sun are asking me to explain about Srikrishna. The justice that I can do to this subject is limited to my knowledge and understanding of the same. Just as birds can fly only in accordance to the capacity of their wings, scholars can explain about Lord Vishnu only to the extent of their understanding.  After all, the glories of the Lord are as limitless and unending as the sky!

Krishna! Srihari!

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