Second Canto First Chapter
In this chapter, Maharishi Śuka explains the procedure for meditation (dhyana). The universal form of the Lord which aids in attaining state of meditation has been explained in this chapter.
Hearing the question of Emperor Parikshit, Maharishi Śuka replied as follows:
“Varīyān eṣa te praśnaḥ kṛto loka-hitaṁ nṛpa
Ātmavit-sammataḥ puṁsāṁ śrotavyādiṣu yaḥ paraḥ
O Emperor! Your question, ‘What is it that holds the most supreme position amongst topics heard, praised and remembered?’ is undoubtedly the most glorious one. This will lead to the well-being of the world. Even spiritually wise beings appreciate such question.
The ordinary householder is entangled in these worldly bondages such as wealth, spouse, children, home and earnings. Without his knowledge, in the process of completing such deeds, he commits many mistakes.
Those who are immersed completely in these worldly bondages fail to understand the essence of the Self. Such persons are engaged in innumerable worldly preoccupations. Such person wastes his night either for sleep or for bodily pleasures. Day is spent in earning wealth or in taking care of his family members.
A human being is eternally at war with lust and desires. In this war neither the body, children, spouse, tools nor army can ultimately help him win. To be frank, none of these tools are of real existence. On the contrary, at times they add to the damage. But the person, who is extremely attached to these material objects, fails to grasp the reality that his body and his other surroundings are of impermanent existence, even though he sees his father and other relatives dying before his eyes.”
Every day a person hears about some death. Difficulties of different types seize him. Yet he does not learn to be alert and wise. He does not understand that one day he too has to leave everything and go.
He leads his life immersed in enjoying impermanent objects and gets totally trapped in it. He believes this temporary world to be everything. He considers this to be liberation. Those which are impermanent, unreal and unripe he considers them to be permanent, real and ripe. He is deeply attached to this unreal false world. Although taking care of the body is just a small duty, he goes to the extreme and devotes himself to it.
Tasmād bhārata sarvātmā bhagavān harir īśvaraḥ
Śrotavyaḥ kīrtitavyaś ca smartavyaś cecchatābhayam
O Emperor belonging to the Bharata dynasty! Srihari is the only one who should be glorified by the person desirous of liberation! He alone should be remembered, heard about and praised. This is because He is the Lord of the entire universe! He is the one who resides within every being in the form of the Self!
Therefore every human being should, while discharging his duty without fail, engage in Karma Yoga (Yoga of action). He should be able to differentiate between the Self (atma) and non-Self (anātma) objects! He should strive to acquire Self-knowledge (atma jnana). Having led his entire life in this manner, at the time of death, he should focus exclusively upon Sriman Narayana. With this, he reaps supreme benefits and would have accomplished the purpose of life.
Prāyeṇa munayo rājan nivṛttā vidhi-ṣedhataḥ
Nairguṇya-sthā ramante sma guṇānukathane hareḥ
O great emperor! By giving up actions in totality (sarva karma sanyāsa), Maharishis go over and above the regulatory principles that dictate the lawful and prohibited actions (vidhi-niśedha). Although they would have fixed their mind exclusively upon the Supreme Parabrahma, who is formless and traitless, they take great delight in singing the glories of Lord Sriman Narayana and enjoy the resultant bliss”.
Maharishi Śuka opines that even great saints who have attained the Supreme transcendental Knowledge also spend their time singing the glories of Lord Narayana.
“In the beginning of Kali Yuga, I learnt Bhāgawata Mahāpurana, which is equivalent of the Vedas, from my father Maharishi Dwaipāyana Vedavyasa. O saintly king! My inner mind is perfectly fixed upon that transcendental Lord who is over and above the trigunas. Even then my mind is attracted towards the glories and pastimes of that Supreme Lord which are of the highest repute. For this reason I diligently studied the Bhāgawata Purana.
Do not consider this Bhāgawatam to be some ordinary composition. The mind is rendered pure in those who are fully attentive and dedicated towards it. Through this, the mind is fixed quickly upon Srihari, who instantaneously bestows liberation.
As you are particularly dear to Srikrishna I will recite to you this sacred Bhāgawatam. Elders have decidedly ascertained that, singing the glories of Lord Srihari is the ultimate tool not only for the Karma Yogis who have attained supreme dispassion and who seek the ultimate liberation, but also for the ordinary humans who seek comforts both in this world and the next”.
From this we understand the importance of Nāma sankeertana i.e. singing the glories of that Supreme Lord. How many ever times we hear His glorious namas, it is still inadequate.
Narayana! Hari Narayana!