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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhaktivinoda Thakura > Bhaktivinoda Vani Vaibhava > Bhaktivinoda Vani Vaibhava Part 1 > Srlmad-Bhagavatam




1. What is the mystery of the four original verses of Srimad-Bhdgavatam? According to which original principle was Sri Krsna-samhitd written?



tat sat satyam pararh dhimahi


The mystery behind four original Bhagavatam verses:


jnanam parama-guhyarh me—Knowledge about Me as described in the scriptures is very confidential:— Direct perception of the Absolute Truth.


yad vijnana-samanvitam—It has to be realized:— Indirect perception of the Absolute Truth.


sarahasyam—With devotional service:— The activities of the living entities and the Supreme Lord, known as the science of love.


tad-angam ca—The necessary paraphernalia for that process:— The confidential science of devotional service.

grhana gaditam maya—You may take it up carefully.


yavan aham—I Myself in My eternal form

yatha-bhavo—My transcendental existence.

yad-rupa-guna-karmakah—My color, qualities, and activities.

tathaiva tattva-vijnanam—By factual realization.

astu te mad-anugrahat—Let it be awakened within you out of My causeless mercy.

(Sri Krsna-sarhhita First Edition 1880)


2. How has Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura translated the four original verses of Srimad-Bhdgavatam?


aham evasam evagre  nanyad yat sad-asat param

pascad aham yad etac ca   yo 'vasisyeta so 'smy aham


(1) O Brahma! I, the Personality of Godhead, was existing before creation, when there was nothing but Myself. There was no material nature, the cause of this creation. That which you see now is also I, the Personality of Godhead, and after annihilation what remains will also be I, the Personality of Godhead.


rte 'rtham yat pratiyeta na pratlyeta catmani

tad vidyad atmano mayam yathabhaso yatha tamah


(2)O Brahma! That which appears to be of value, but has no relation to Me, has no reality. Know that it is My illusory energy, a reflection, which appears in darkness.

(For detailed explanation of the above two verses, please refer to Sri Krsna-sarhhita Chapters One and Two.)


yatha mahanti bhutani  bhutesuccavacesv anu

pravistany apravistani tatha tesu na tesy aham


(3) O Brahma! Please know that the universal elements enter into the cosmos; similarly, I Myself also exist within everything created, and at the same time I am outside of everything.

(For detailed explanation of this verse please refer to Sri Krsna-sarhhita Chapters Three, Four, Five, Six, and Nine)


etavad eva jijnasyam tattva-jijnasunatmanah

anvaya-vyatirekabhyam   yat syat sarvatra sarvada


(4)A person searching after the Supreme Absolute Truth,the Personality of Godhead, must certainly search in all circumstances, in all space and time, and both directly and indirectly.

(For detailed explanation of this verse please refer to Sri Krsna-sarhhita Chapters Seven, Eight, and Ten.) (Sri Krsna-sarhhita First Edition 1880)


3. Is Srimad-Bhagavatam a man-written, modern book?


Srimad-Bhagavatam is not a recent book. It is eternal and ancient like the Vedas. Respected Srldhara Svami has confirmed the eternality of the Bhagavatam by using the words tdrahkurah sajjanih. Srimad-Bhdgavatam has been accepted as the supreme fruit of the Vedic desire tree.


nigama-kalpa-taror galitam phalam suka-mukhad amrta-drava-sarhyutam

pibata bhagavatam rasam alayarh muhur aho rasika bhuvi bhavukah


"O expert and thoughtful men, relish Srimad-Bhdgavatam, the mature fruit of the desire tree of Vedic literatures. It emanated from the lips of Sri Sukadeva Gosvaml. Therefore this fruit has become even more tasteful, although its nectarean juice was already relishable for all, including liberated souls." (Bhag. 1.1.3)


From pranava (om) came Gayatri, from Gayatri came the Vedas, from the Vedas came the Brahma-sutra, and from the Brahma-sutra came Srimad-Bhagavatam, which is known as Paramahamsa-samhitd. Srimad-Bhagavatam, which has brightly risen like a sac-cid-ananda sun after being reflected through the samddhi of the author, consists of inconceivable topics related to the Supreme Truth. Those who have eyes should see, those who have ears should hear, and those who have minds should meditate on the topics of Srimad-Bhagavatam. People infected by the blindness of prejudice are deprived of the sweet taste of Srimad-Bhagavatam.

(Sri Krsna-samhitd introduction)


4.What is the true statement and commentary on Veddnta?


Srimad-Bhagavatam, composed by Vyasadeva, is the only commentary on Veddnta-sutra. All the conclusions of Srimad-Bhagavatam are the true conclusions of Veddnta. Srlman Mahaprabhu said that when the author himself writes the commentary the true meaning is derived. Therefore the commentary Srimad-Bhagavatam should be accepted by everyone as the statements of Veddnta.

(Sajjana-tosani 2/6)


5.What kind of writing is Srimad-Bhagavatam?


The Bhagavata does not allow its followers to ask anything from God except eternal love for Him.

(The Bhagavat: Its Philosophy, Its Ethics & Its Theology)


6.By whose character the identification of Srimad Bhagavatam is illustrated?


When we were in the college, reading philosophical works of the West, and exchanging thoughts with the thinkers of the day, we had a real hatred toward the Bhagavat. The great work looked like a collection of wicked and stupid ideas,scarcely adapted to the nineteenth century, and we hated to hear any arguments in its favor. Then, the volumes of Channing, Parker, Emerson, and Newman had more weight than all the Vaisnava books. Greedily we poured over the various commentaries of the Bible and of the labors of the Tattva Bodhini Sabha, which contained extracts from the Upanisads and the Veddnta, but no work of the Vaisnavas had any favor with us.


When we advanced in age and our religious sentiment developed, we turned to our own belief and prayed, as Jesus prayed in the garden. Accidentally, we came across a book about the great Caitanya and on reading it with some attention to settle the historical position of that Mighty Genius of Nadia, we had the opportunity of gathering His explanation of Bhagavat, given to the wrangling Vedantists of the Benares school. The accidental study created within us a love for all the works that we find about our Eastern Savior. With difficulty, we gathered the famous Karchas (diaries) in Sanskrit, written by the disciple of Caitanya. The explanations of the Bhagavat that we got from these sources were of such a charming character that we secured a copy of the complete Bhagavat. We studied its texts (difficult of course for those not trained in philosophical thoughts) with the assistance of the famous commentaries of Sridhara Swami. From such study, we have gathered the real doctrines of the Vaisnavas. Oh! What a trouble to get rid of prejudices gathered in unripe years.

(The Bhagavat: Its Philosophy, Its Ethics & Its Theology)


7. Why are the identity and glories of Srimad-Bhagavatam hidden from the materialists and the foreigners?


"What sort of thing is the Bhagavat!" asks a European gentleman newly arrived in India.

With a serene look, his companion tells him, "The Bhagavat is a book, which an Oriya-bearer reads daily in the evening to a number of hearers. It contains jargon of unintelligible and savage writing of those men who paint their noses with some sort of clay or sandalwood, and wear beads all over their bodies to secure salvation for themselves."


Another of his companions, who has traveled a little in the interior, would immediately contradict him and say, "The Bhagavat is a Sanskrit work claimed by a sect of men, the Gosvamls, who give mantras to the common people, like the popes of Italy, and pardon their sins on payment of enough gold to pay their social expenses."


A third gentleman will give a third explanation. A young Bengali, chained up in English thoughts and ideas, and wholly ignorant of the pre-Mohammedan history of his own country will add one more explanation. He says, "The Bhagavat is a book containing an account of the life of Krsna, who was an ambitious and immoral man!" This is all that he could gather from his grandmother before he went to school.Thus, the great Bhagavat remains unknown to the foreigners, like the elephant of the six blind men who caught hold of different parts of the body of the beast! But truth is eternal and is never injured but for awhile by ignorance. (The Bhagavat: Its Philosophy, Its Ethics & Its Theology)


8.What did Sri Bhaktivinoda say regarding the Srimad Bhdgavatam being the only book that is beneficial for all?


We can say that if all the religious scriptures of the Hindus are thrown into the ocean and only the Srimad-Bhdgavatam is kept aside, there will be no harm for the Aryans or the ordinary living entities. (Sajjana-tosanl 8/12)


9. Why is Srimad-Bhdgavatam not accepted by everyone?


Because of great fortune, a living entity develops a taste for Srimad-Bhdgavatam, which is the crest jewel among all religious literature that is available in the world.(Sajjana-tosani 9/12)


10.In which kingdom does Srimad-Bhdgavatam have its followers? Who is qualified to study Srimad-Bhdgavatam and under whose shelter can one realize its truth?


The Bhdgavata is pre-eminently the book in India. Once enter into it and you are transplanted, as it were, into the spiritual world where gross matter has no existence. The true follower of the Bhagavat is a spiritual man who has already cut his temporary connection with phenomenal nature and has made himself the inhabitant of that region where God eternally exists and loves. This mighty work is founded upon inspiration and its superstructure is upon reflection. To the common reader it has no charms and is full of difficulty. We are, therefore, obliged to study it deeply with the assistance of such great commentators as Sridhara SvamI and the Divine Caitanya and His contemporary followers.

(The Bhagavat: Its Philosophy, Its Ethics & Its Theology)


11.What does Srimad-Bhdgavatam teach? What did Sri Caitanyadeva teach about the essence of Srimad-Bhdgavatam through His own behavior and preaching?


The whole of this incomparable work teaches us, according to our great Caitanya, the three great truths which compose the absolute religion of man. Our Nadia preacher calls them sambandha, abhidheya, and prayojana, i.e. the relationship between the creator and the created, the duty of man to God, and the aim of humanity. These three words include the ocean of human knowledge as far as it has been explored to this era of human progress. These are the cardinal points of religion and the whole Bhagavat is, as we are taught by Caitanya, an explanation both by precept and example of these three great points.

(The Bhagavat: Its Philosophy, Its Ethics & Its Theology)


12.Does Srimad-Bhagavatam recommend worshiping many gods?


In all its twelve skandhas or divisions, the Bhagavata teaches us that there is only one God, without a second. He was complete in Himself in the past, He is complete now, and will remain complete in the future. Time and space, which prescribe conditions to created objects, are much below His supreme spiritual nature, which is unconditioned and absolute.

(The Bhagavat: Its Philosophy, Its Ethics & Its Theology)


13.What is the definition of devotional service? How many kinds of bhdgavatas are there?


Those who worship God as the all in all with all their heart, body, and strength approach Him as Bhagavan. This principle is bhakti. The book that prescribes the relationship and worship of Bhagavan is called Bhagavata and the worshiper is called by the same name.

(The Bhagavat: Its Philosophy, Its Ethics & Its Theology)


14.Why is bhdgavata-dharma supreme?


The superiority of the Bhagavat consists in uniting all sorts of theistical worship into one excellent principle in human nature, which is called bhakti. This word has no equivalent in the English language. Piety, devotion, resignation, and spiritual love, unalloyed with any sort of petition except repentance— compose the highest principle of bhakti. The Bhagavat tells us to worship God in that great and invaluable principle, which is infinitely superior to human knowledge and the principle of yoga. (The Bhagavat: Its Philosophy, Its Ethics & Its Theology)


15.Has Srimad-Bhagavatam preached the process of constant spiritual cultivation and the gradual progress of the soul?


The voluminous Bhagavat is nothing more than a full illustration of the principle of continual development and progress of the soul from gross matter to the all-perfect universal spirit, which is distinguished as personal, eternal, absolutely free, all-powerful, and all-intelligent. There is nothing gross or material in that spirit. The whole affair is spiritual.

(The Bhagavat: Its Philosophy, Its Ethics & Its Theology)


16.What is the definition of the worshipable object as indicated by Srimad-Bhagavatam'! What is the ultimate goal of the Vaisnavas?


Bhagavan is holy, good, just, active, personal, merciful, omnipresent, all-intelligent, all-powerful, and absolutely free. He is the supremely spiritual deity, without a second, who creates and preserves all that is in the universe. The highest aim of the Vaisnava is to spiritually serve that infinite being forever in the activity of absolute love.

(The Bhagavat: Its Philosophy, Its Ethics & Its Theology)


17.Can an impartial critic refrain from glorifying the conclusions of Vyasadeva's Srimad-Bhagavatam?


The critic should first read deeply the pages of the Bhagavat and train his mind in the best eclectic philosophy that the world has ever obtained, and then, we are sure, he will publicly praise the college of theology at Badrikasrama, which existed about 4000 years ago.

(The Bhagavat: Its Philosophy, Its Ethics & Its Theology)


18.When does the Absolute Truth, discussed in SrimadBhagavatam, reveal Himself?


The Bhagavat teaches us that God gave the truth to Vyasa, and He gives it to us when we earnestly seek it. Truth is eternal and unexhausted.

(The Bhagavat: Its Philosophy, Its Ethics & Its Theology)


19.Is bhagavata-dharma universal?


See how universal is the religion of Bhagavat. It is not intended for a certain class of Hindus alone, but it is a gift to all men in every country and every society.(The Bhagavat: Its Philosophy, Its Ethics & Its Theology)


20.What does Srimad-Bhagavatam say about the independence and progress of the spirit soul?


Two more principles characterize the Bhagavat: liberty and progress of the soul throughout eternity.

(The Bhagavat: Its Philosophy, Its Ethics & Its Theology)