Nārada Maharishi propagated devotion (bhakti) and established it all over the world. The celestial prophecy turned out to be true. Jnana and Vairāgya (supreme knowledge-dispassion), the sons of bhakti-devi were rejuvenated and regained their youth. Bhakti, Jnana and Vairāgya continued to live comfortably and happily. This is from the Srimad Bhāgawata māhatyam chapter of Pādma purāṇa.
One shudders to think of a society that is lacking in devotion (bhakti), knowledge (jnana) and dispassion (vairāgya). With the goal that the entire world should be happy and blissful, let us listen to the entire Srimad Bhāgawatam. Let us obtain the grace of the Supreme Lord.
Before beginning to understand Srimad Bhāgawatam, let us at first chant the Dhyāna ślokas.
Vyāsāya Viśnu rūpāya vyāsa rūpāya viśṇavē
Namovai Braḥma-nidhaye vāśisṭāya namōnamaḥ ǀǀ
Yogindrāya namas tasmai śukāya Braḥma-rūpiṇe
Samsāra darpa dasṭam yo viśṇurāta mamūmucat ǀǀ
Kāla-vyāla mukhā-grāsa-trasa-nirnāśā hētave
Srimad Bhāgawatam śāśtraṃ kalou keereṇa bhāśitaṃ ǀǀ
Sacchidānanda rūpāya viśwotpatyādi hetave
Tāpatraya vināśāya śri kriśnāya vayaṃ nu maḥ ǀǀ
Janmady asyā yato ‘nvayad itaratas carthesv abhijnah svarāt
tene brahma hrda ya ādi-kavaye muhyanti yat surayah
tejo-vāri-mrdam yatha vinimayo yatra trisargo’mrśa
dhāmna svena sadā nirasta-kuhakam satyam param dhimahi ǀǀ
Every object in this creation is in the state of existence (sat). But one object does not reside within another. We understand that this world was born out of Parabrahma who inherently is the form of existence (sat). It dwells (sthiti) in Him and once again merges back into Him.
On His own will the omniscient Paramātma, who Self-illumines without any expectation, taught the knowledge of the Vedas to four faced Brahma. Even great souls get stupefied in matters pertaining to this Supreme Lord.
Just as fire, water, earth emerged from Him whose inherent form is existence only (sat), this world too which is their effect form (kārya roopa) and which in reality does not exist, becomes apparent (visible). Māya (illusion) and its defects cannot touch that Lord who is a form of pure consciousness. In other words, He destroys those defects. I contemplate upon such Parabrahma who is a form of truth.
dharmaḥ projjhita-kaitavo ‘tra paramo nirmatsarāṇāṁ satāṁ
vedyaṁ vāstavam atra vastu śivadaṁ tāpa-trayonmūlanam
śrīmad-bhāgavate mahā-muni-kṛte kiṁ vā parair īśvaraḥ
sadyo hṛdy avarudhyate ‘tra kṛtibhiḥ śuśrūṣubhis tat-kṣaṇāt
In this Srimad Bhāgawatam, which has been composed by eminent Maharishi Vedavyasa, the profound dharma (rule of righteousness) called karma-phala-tyāga (giving up the fruits of action) is being taught!The Supreme knowledge as taught by great saints who are non-envious; that Supreme Knowledge which is the eternal truth; which causes welfare and which drives away afflictions, is being taught in this text. By reading other Scriptures, the Supreme Lord does not remain permanently seated in the heart. However upon listening to Bhāgawatam with deep interest, dedication and desire, Paramātma firmly and instantaneously seats himself in one’s hearts!
Nigama-kalpa-taror galitaṁ phalaṁ śuka-mukhād amṛta-drava-saṁmitam
Pibata bhāgavataṁ rasam ālayaṁ muhur aho rasikā bhuvi bhāvukāḥ
How astonishing! The fruit called Bhāgawatam, which is filled with the essence called Supreme Bliss, emerged from the wish fulfilling tree called Veda. It was thrown to the ground through the parrot beak of Maharishi Śuka. Those humans who understand the importance of this essence, who have deep inclination and deep devotion towards it must chew this fruit filled with essence, again and again until they attain the essence called liberation!
Until here we have understood the significance of Bhāgawatam through these auspicious verses that bring out its glory. We have also discussed that this Bhāgawatam has emerged from the parrot beaked Maharishi Śuka. It is a well known fact that a fruit which has been tasted by a parrot is always sweet. In this case Maharishi Śuka experienced the essence of this fruit called Bhāgawatam. In those who hold on to it, the five sense organs attain contentment and experience inherent bliss. The homes and the surroundings where Bhāgawatam is recited always remain peaceful. The radiance of Goddess Lakshmi flows greatly there.
Sri krishnāya Paramatmane namah.
First Canto Chapter 1
In this 1st Canto, there are 19 chapters (adhyaya). First chapter covers the story wherein Śounaka and other Maharishis, seated in the Naimiśāranya forest, enquire about Srimad Bhāgawatam from Śuka Maharishi.
Naimiśaranaya is the sacred forest where Sri Mahavishnu and the Devatas, who exist in the form of consciousness (chaitanya), eternally reside! Maharishi Śounaka and other saints wanted to know about Sri Mahavishnu whose glories are sung eternally in heaven and who is sought after by worthy people on earth capable of contemplating upon Him. With this intent they began a Satra Yaga ritual which would go on for a 1000 years.