Bhagawatam 074: Qualities of a true devotee

The spiritual aspirant, who develops devotion towards the Supreme Lord and who worships Him in the manner described above, will get a chance to associate and live amongst the most supreme devotees of the Lord! This is the greatest fruit! Through this he will develop unflinching devotion towards the Supreme Lord. Due to such devotion he will be blessed with liberation!

For the mind to be happy and contented it is imperative to listen to the stories of Srihari! Due to the knowledge gained through this, likes and dislikes that originate out of the triguṇās (sattva, rajas and tamo gunas) will be washed away totally. In a mind that is contented and happy, dispassion (vairagya) emerges. The mind then stops chasing these worldly pleasures.

What is the use of extensive worship if the mind endlessly continues to chase the worldly pleasures? What should be done to prevent it from chasing these worldly pleasures? Here the plan to arrest the mind is being explained.

In a mind that has developed dispassion, bhakti yoga emerges! This path of devotion (bhakti yoga) paves the way for liberation! This is what Mahatmas declare. The one who has tasted the nectar and sweetness in these stories of Srihari which bestow contentment, peace, devotion and liberation, cannot stay away from them.

When Maharishi Suta narrated this declaration of Maharishi Śuka to Maharishi Śounaka, the latter enquired as follows:

“O Maharishi, after hearing this declaration of Maharishi Śuka, what else did Emperor Parikshit enquire further from him? O learned sage! We are extremely desirous of hearing this. Please be compassionate enough to preach this to us”.

kathā hari-kathodarkāḥ satāṁ syu sadasi dhruvam –Every word/ topic discussed in the assembly of great sages pertains only to Lord Srihari.

Parikshit, the grandson of the Pandavas, was an ardent devotee of Lord Srihari. Even in his infancy and childhood when he would play with dolls, he would be engaged only in those games that pertained to Lord Srihari.

Maharishi Śuka, the son of Maharishi Vyasa, was also a supreme devotee of Lord Srikrishna. In a conversation between two ardent devotees of the Lord, topics pertaining to Srihari would necessarily have arisen.

Āyur harati vai puṁsām udyann astaṁ ca yann asau

Tasyarte yat-kṣao nīta uttama-śloka-vārtayā

The Lord Sun, by its rising and setting every day, decreases the lifespan of everyone excepting those who spend at least a little of their time daily in glorifying the deeds of the Supreme Lord.

That tongue which does not glorify the stories of that Supreme Lord who has been glorified by the Vedas themselves, is like the wasteful tongue of a frog which is capable of only croaking uselessly. That head which does not bow in front of Supreme Lord Srihari, even though it may be covered by rich clothing and heavy crown, is only a heavy burden to the body. There is no use of such a head.

The eyes of those human beings, who do not visit the sacred pilgrim centres that pertain to Lord Srihari are like the eye-shaped spots found on the peacock’s feathers.  Even those spots on the peacock’s feathers are called ‘eyes’ can these eyespots see anything?

Those legs which do not walk to pilgrim centres can be compared to tree trunks. He, who has not even once in his life, applied the dust from the feet of holy devotees’ of the Lord upon his head, can be compared to a living corpse. Tulasi (basil) leaves, due to the merit of being offered at the lotus feet of the Lord, have become famous as ‘vishnupadi’. He, who does not enjoy the aroma of Tulasi leaves that have been taken from the lotus feet of the Lord, is a corpse who breathes.

The person whose heart does not melt upon listening to the holy names of Lord Srihari is stone-hearted. When listening to holy names of the Lord, tears of joy should flow from the eyes! At the same time the body should experience horripilation!

O Maharishi Suta! Parikshit’s questions are supremely wonderful! Please preach to us all that which was taught by Maharishi Śuka, the master in Self-knowledge and a supreme devotee of the Lord, to Emperor Parikshit. Your words bring great joy to our mind” said Maharishi Śounaka.

With this the third chapter of the second canto comes to an end.

Narayana! Sriman Narayana!

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