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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Compiled and Imp Scriptures > Shrimad Bhagavatam > Bhagavata Mahatmya > 3.Speaker and Hearer

Chapter Three
The Glories of Shrimad-Bhagavatam,
The Speaker and the Hearer’s
Attainment of the Supreme Abode.

Shrila Suta Gosvami said: Seeing everyone engaged in glorifying Lord Krishna, Shri Uddhava offered his respects and embraced them. He spoke with Maharaja Parikshit.


Shri Uddhava said: O King, you are certainly glorious. Your desire has been fulfilled by your undivided devotional service to Lord Krishna, because your mind is absorbed in this sankirtana festival. It is your great fortune that you have such incomparable affection for Vajranabha and Krishna's queens. This is quite proper because Lord Krishna has given you this body and power.  Among the residents of Dvaraka, they are the most glorious. There is no doubt about it. Lord Krishna ordered Arjuna to escort them to Vraja so that they could reside there. Illuminated by the effulgence of Shrimati Radharani's face, the moonlike mind of Lord Krishna constantly illuminates Shri Vrindavana, the site of Radha's pastimes. Shri Krishnacandra is eternally complete. Thousands of spiritual sparks oscillate in all directions from His sixty-four qualities. The full moonlike Krishna, who possesses sixty-four prominent qualities, is constantly illuminating this land of Vraja. O King, the right foot of Lord Krishna is the residence of Vajranabha, who destroys the fear of his subordinates. In this incarnation, Lord Shri Krishna has bewildered everyone through Yogamaya. By her influence, they have forgotten their constitutional position and they appear miserable. There is no doubt about it. Without Krishna manifesting in one's heart, no one can realise his constitutional position. Krishna's manifestation within the hearts of the living entities has been covered by Maya. When Lord Hari personally appears at the end of Dvapara-yuga in the twenty-eighth yuga cycle and lifts the covering of Maya, then He becomes manifest. O Maharaja Parikshit, the time of those manifest pastimes has recently ended. Therefore I will now tell you the means of having Krishna manifest within one's heart. When Lord Krishna is unmanifest, He will appear from Shrimad-Bhagavatam. Whenever and wherever the devotee Bhagavata hears and recites the book Bhagavata, at that time and at that place Lord Krishna personally appears. Wherever a verse of Shrimad-Bhagavatam, or even a half-verse of Shrimad-Bhagavatam, is recited, Lord Krishna and His beloved gopis manifest there. After attaining a human birth in the land of Bharata, those who do not hear Shrimad-Bhagavatam due to sinful activities are committing suicide. A person who regularly hears or recites Shrimad-Bhagavatam delivers the forefathers of his wife, mother, and father.


By studying and hearing Shrimad-Bhagavatam, brahmanas are enlightened with knowledge, kshatriyas achieve victory over their enemies, vaishyas acquire wealth, and shudras are freed from disease. Women and lower class people all achieve the fulfillment of their desires. Therefore what fortunate person will not regularly hear and chant the Shrimad-Bhagavatam?


After many lifetimes of performing pious activities, when a person achieves full perfection then he obtains the Shrimad-Bhagavatam. By reading Shrimad-Bhagavatam one's devotional sentiments are awakened and Lord Krishna manifests within the heart.


Long ago, Brihaspati, the spiritual master of the demigods, heard the Shrimad-Bhagavatam by the mercy of Sankhyayana Rishi, and Brihaspati has narrated the same to me. I was therefore able to become the dear friend of Lord Krishna. O Maharaja Parikshit, Brihaspati has told me one story. Please hear it from me. From this story one can know the method of hearing Shrimad-Bhagavatam from the proper authorities.


Brihaspati said: O Uddhava, when Lord Krishna accepted the purusha incarnations and glanced over material nature to create, then the three personalities-Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva-appeared along with the three modes of material nature-sattva, raja, and tama. Lord Krishna then assigned the work of creation, maintenance, and destruction to the three predominating deities. Lord Brahma appeared from the lotus sprouted from the navel of the Lord.


Lord Brahma said: O Lord! I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. Because You lie in the transcendental water known as nara, You are known as Narayana. And as the original cause of everything You are adi-purusha, the original person. O Lord, although I am sinful and full of the mode of passion, You have engaged me in the work of creation. But I pray for Your blessing that my engagement in the activities of creation will not be an impediment in my remembering Your lotus feet.


Brihaspati said: After Brahma offered these prayers to Lord Narayana, at that time, long ago, the Lord gave Brahma the Shrimad-Bhagavatam and told him: “To achieve fulfillment of your desires, always serve this Shrimad-Bhagavatam.” On receiving Shrimad-Bhagavatam, Lord Brahma was greatly pleased. In order to attain Lord Krishna and penetrate the seven coverings, he recited Shrimad-Bhagavatam for seven days. All Brahma's desires were fulfilled by serving Shrimad-Bhagavatam for that seven day sacrifice. Since then he has always been engaged in expanding the creation and repeatedly reciting the Shrimad-Bhagavatam. As done by Brahma, Lord Vishnu also prayed for the fulfillment of His desires so that He could engage in maintaining the creation.


Lord Vishnu said: O Lord, I will accept the paths of pravritti and nirvritti due to the need for fruitive activities and philosophical knowledge. Following Your order, I will duly maintain the living entities. In due course of time, whenever there is a decline in religious principles, I will accept various incarnations in order to reestablish the principles of religion. I will certainly award the fruits of their sacrifice to those who desire material enjoyment, and I will award five kinds of liberation, beginning with salokya, to those who are renounced and desirous to achieve liberation. But please tell Me how to maintain My dear Lakshmi and those who have no desire for the five kinds of liberation.


After hearing Vishnu's prayers, the primeval Lord, Narayana, told Him: “In order to achieve the fulfillment of all Your desires, just recite Shrimad-Bhagavatam.” Lord Vishnu was very pleased to receive this instruction from Lord Narayana. He engaged every month along with Lakshmidevi in the recitation of Shrimad-Bhagavatam. Thus He was able to maintain the creation. Whenever Lord Vishnu recites Shrimad-Bhagavatam, Lakshmidevi listens. This takes one full month. And whenever Lakshmidevi speaks Shrimad-Bhagavatam and Vishnu listens, it takes two months to relish the mellows of the Shrimad-Bhagavatam. At that time the taste of those topics become extremely palatable. The reason for this is that Vishnu is engaged in maintaining the creation, therefore He is preoccupied with many thoughts. But this is not the case with Lakshmidevi, who is fully peaceful. The topics of Shrimad-Bhagavatam are therefore more elaborately manifested in her heart.


Thereafter the Lord engaged Shiva in the work of annihilation. In order to expand his own ability, Shiva also prayed to the Lord.


Shri Rudra said: O Lord of lords, I have the power to engage in three types of destruction-perpetual, occasional, and partial. But, O Lord, I have no power at all for the final destruction. For this reason I am very unhappy. I am therefore praying to You.


Brihaspati said: Hearing the prayers of Rudra, Lord Narayana also instructed him on the topics of Shrimad-Bhagavatam. Shri Rudradeva then conquered the mode of ignorance just by serving Shrimad-Bhagavatam. Sadashiva Rudra then recited Shrimad-Bhagavatam over a period of one year. He thus attained the power of final destruction.


Shri Uddhava said: I have heard these glories of Shrimad-Bhagavatam from the mouth of  Shri Brihaspati, my spiritual master. Now I offer my respectful obeisances to him for I have become happy by hearing the instructions of Shrimad-Bhagavatam. According to the Vaishnava tradition, I served Shrimad-Bhagavatam for just one month. Due to the influence of this service, I have become the dear friend of Lord Krishna, and He therefore sent me to Vrindavana to serve his beloved gopis. Although Krishna eternally enjoys pastimes in Vrindavana, His beloved gopis were afflicted by feelings of separation. He therefore sent me here to impart the teachings of Shrimad-Bhagavatam to the gopis. The gopis of Vraja were thus freed from the pains of separation by accepting the teachings of Shrimad-Bhagavatam according to their own intelligence. Even though I do not understand the mystery of Shrimad-Bhagavatam, still I have experienced the wonder of this great literature. When the demigods, headed by Lord Brahma, prayed to Lord Krishna that He shall return to His own abode, at that time, under a banyan tree, the Lord personally taught me the mystery of Shrimad-Bhagavatam. As a result of that instruction my intelligence became fixed and I proceeded to Badarikashrama and attained perfection. Since then I am living here in Vraja as a creeper.


O Parikshit, I am therefore living here at Narada-kunda. The devotees will realise Lord Krishna by serving Shrimad-Bhagavatam. Therefore I will explain Shrimad-Bhagavatam for the benefit of the devotees of the Lord. This will be possible only with your help.


Shrila Suta Gosvami said: After hearing this, Maharaja Parikshit offered his obeisances to Uddhava and said to him: O Uddhava, servant of Lord Hari! You should certainly narrate Shrimad-Bhagavatam.  Whatever is necessary for me to do in this regard, please order me.


Uddhava was most pleased on hearing Parikshit Maharaja speak in this way and said: O King! Since Lord Krishna has left this world, the influence of Kali-yuga has become very prominent. Whenever auspicious activities are being performed Kali certainly creates disturbances. Therefore you should go out and subdue the influence of Kali everywhere. I will remain here by your arrangement and recite Shrimad-Bhagavatam for one month according to Vaishnava tradition. The audience will thus relish the mellows of Shrimad-Bhagavatam and attain the Lord's eternal abode.


Hearing Shri Uddhava's instructions, Maharaja Parikshit was pleased by the thought of subduing Kali, but somewhat in anxiety he disclosed his mind to Uddhava.


Maharaja Parikshit said: O Prabhu! I am eager to bring Kali-yuga under my control as you have instructed, but then how will I hear the Shrimad-Bhagavatam? I have also come to take shelter at your feet, so you should also be merciful to me.


Hearing the king's words, Uddhava said: O King, there is no need for you to be worried, for you are the most eligible candidate to receive the Shrimad-Bhagavatam. People in this world are always engaged in various kinds of fruitive activities and they do not even know the importance of hearing Shrimad-Bhagavatam. O King, by your mercy many people in this land of Bharata-varsa will achieve eternal happiness by hearing Shrimad-Bhagavatam. The great sage Shrila Shukadeva Gosvami, who is the representative of Lord Krishna, the son of Nanda Maharaja, will recite Shrimad-Bhagavatam to you. There is no doubt about it. O King, you will attain the eternal abode of Lord Krishna, the king of Vraja, by hearing Shrimad-Bhagavatam, and Shrimad-Bhagavatam will then later be propagated throughout the world.


Therefore, O King, prepare yourself to subdue Kali.

After Uddhava spoke in this way, Maharaja Parikshit offered obeisances to Uddhava and circumambulated him, and he then left to eradicate Kali's influence in all directions.


Vajranabha then installed his son, Pratibahu, as the king of Mathura. He stayed with his grandmothers simply for the purpose of hearing Shrimad-Bhagavatam. Then at that place near Govardhana, Shri Uddhava recited Shrimad-Bhagavatam for one month. While relishing the topics of Shrimad-Bhagavatam the listeners saw Krishna manifest everywhere along with His transcendental pastimes. The listeners could see themselves taking part in those transcendental pastimes. Vajranabha saw himself situated at the right lotus foot of Lord Krishna, and thus felt relief from the pains of separation and pleased with the beauty of that scene. All his grandmothers, headed by Rohini, were most surprised to see themselves situated as the effulgence and portion of the moonlike Krishna, who inaugurates the night of the rasa dance. Being cured of the disease of separation from their beloved life and soul, they entered their supreme destination.


Other people who were present there also disappeared and entered the Lord's eternal pastimes. They all enjoy pastimes with Krishna in the kunjas of Govardhana, the pasturing grounds and forest of Vrindavana. The devotees who are greedy for attaining the mellows of transcendental love can always see these pastimes.


Shrila Suta Gosvami said: Whoever chants or hears these pastimes of attaining the Lord's lotus feet will certainly attain those lotus feet, and all his miseries from time immemorial will be destroyed forever.