Feb 13: Glory of Bhagavatam

13 Feb

Feb13’09 Telecon Satsang Blog-Roll

The telecon satsang started with NamaSankirtan led by Bhoomaji from Dallas. After a brief round of introductions, Narayananji from Boston briefly talked about the two types of Dharma and Sriramji from Houson talked about the significance of Srimad Bhagavatam.

There are two types of dharma, namely Vaidika Dharma and ‘Poortha’ Dharma. Vaidika Dharma advocates the path to attain the lord while Poortha dharma preaches the ways to lead a happy and a prosperous life. The most appropriate vaidika dharma for this age is Bhagavata Dharma which has been clearly advocated by great Mahatmas and Gurus. Bhagavata Dharma is done by Bhagavatas and is the dharma for everyone irrespective of any caste and creed. The primary essence of Bhagavata Dharma is Nama Sankirtan. With this very thought in mind regular satsangs are conducted with Nama in the beginning and at the end of satsang. The satsangs also extol the glories of the Lord. We are indeed blessed to follow Bhagavata Dharma.

Followed by introductions, Sriramji from Houston lectured on the significance of Srimad Bhagavata Srimad Bhagavatam.

In general there are two kinds of states for any living being- drinking and eating. And these two states have their body as the base.
“Aanando Brahmeti Vyajanat” That is how the Upanishads are trying to explain the state of a Brahma Jnani. When a human being lives his life and he continues to progress in his life thinking that it is the body that is the cause of real happiness. When they die, they come back to earth as any life forms that think they are the body. They come back to earth to any life form that can basically eat and drink.

There are a few others who have a little more discrimination (Viveka) who are able to recognize that the Self is beyond the body and relate it with the Prana the life-force (as one would realize when he sees a corpse). When they die, they are blessed to go to the Pitru Loka (the world of the manes).

This thought is not completely right either, for if the Prana is the true Self, a sleeping man (who still has life-force in him) should realize happiness and sorrow. But that is not the case. Then one realizes that it is the mind that is the Self. Our experiences and activities are driven by the mind (eg. Dreams). A blind man has a vision based on his mental capacity. A person who thinks so and walks on the path of Vaidika Dharma reaches ‘Swarga’ (heaven).

Then there is this set of people who identify the Self with the intellect (the ability to rationalize based on previously known facts). They prepare for the life after death by doing Upasana of their favorite deity. After they leave their mortal coil, they go to different places in the heaven based on the fruits of their Upasana and Tapas.

Now coming to the Upanishad Mantra, “Aanando Brahmeti Vyajanat’ – It is the state of a Jivan Mukti. They are completely immersed in the “Brahma Swaroopam”. Their state is inexplicable. They are in a state of eternal bliss.

That eternal bliss that was attained in Krita Yuga through meditation, and through sacrifices in Treta Yuga and through Puja in Dwapara Yuga is attained through Nama Sankirtan in Kali Yuga.

So what does this got to do with Srimad Bhagavatam?
The essence of Srimad Bhagavatam is to explain the very fact that in Kali Yuga, Nama Sankirtan is one of the easiest ways to reach the ultimate.

When Avatara Purushas are born and descend on the earth they come down with a purpose in their mind. And they will not rest until it is achieved. One such Avatara Purusha was Sage Veda Vyasa. He classifed all the Vedas and the Upanishads and all gave all the Puranas. In spite of all his great works, he was feeling depressed. At that time, Sage Narada came along to Sage Veda Vyasa’s ashram to alleviate his stress.

Sage Veda Vyasa is none other than Lord Narayana himself. Sage Narada is a great Bhakta. The greatness of Sage Narada is that he was welcomed by Sage Veda Vyasa by offering Pujas to him!

Sage Narada advised him to expound on the glories of Lord Vasudeva and until he does that, the sorrow in his mind will not go away. Sage Veda Vyasa did not take this Avatar to give all the Vedas and Shastras but to give us Srimad Bhagavatam which talks about the glories of Lord Vasudeva. Sage Veda Vyasa initially was clueless on how to start Srimad Bhagavatam and requested Sage Narada to help him get started on it. Sage Narada explained how he had attained the lotus feet of the Lord by serving the Sadhus.

He also told him that by consuming the food consumed by Mahans (‘Uchchishtam’) one would get Bhakti. He told Sage Veda Vyasa that by elaborating on the life histories of the devotees of the Lord will instill Bhakti and devotion in the listeners.

Accordingly, the first nine cantos in Srimad Bhagavatam talk about the Bhakta Charithra, to name a few, Dhruva, Prahlada, Ajamila, Jadabharata etc.

Srimad Bhagavatam prepares one and all to listen the stories of the devotees of the Lord. One can cross the ocean of samsara by listening to stories of the devotees of the Lord rather than to stories of the Bhagawan Himself!

Srimad Bhagavatam deals with ‘Keerthana’ (singing the Names and glories of the Lord) and ‘Katha Sravanam’ (listening to His stories).

No sooner was Sage Shuka born (he was born as a young man) than he left his family as he was a born Jnani. Once Veda Vyasa asked some of his disciples to go to the forest to collect wood. The forest posed a threat of wild animals and hence the disciples were scared to go to the forest.
Sage Veda Vyasa realizing this, taught them the beautiful sloka…
“Barha Pitam Nata Vara Vapuh karnayo Karnikaram
Bibrath Vasah kanakapisham vaijayanthim cha malam…”
(A sloka from the Venu Gitam 10:21 of Srimad Bhagavatam that describes the enchanting form of Lord Sri Krishna while describing Lord Krishna’s playing of the flute)

Once Lord Rudra, all the Devas and Goddess Saraswati descended to the Earth to listen to Lord Krishna’s flute rendition. The master of ‘Sama Gana’ that Lord Siva was, He could not comprehend the Raga that emanated from Sri Krishna’s flute, when Goddess Saraswati immediately told him not to analyze the Raga, but enjoy the ‘Anuraaga’ (the grace and love expressed by Lord Krishna’s flute rendition), for the only sound that came from the flute was ‘Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe!’

Sage Veda Vyasa taught this sloka to his disciples and assured them that this would transfix any wild animal and hence would render the forest safe for the disciples!

Sri Shuka who was in the forest heard this sloka and was attracted by the beauty of the Sloka. He immediately approached the disciples and begged them to take Him to their Master who taught them such a wonderful Sloka. Thus Bhagavatam united Sri Shuka finally with his father Sage Veda!

The story continues as to how Sage Veda Vyasa taught Srimad Bhagavatam to Sage Shuka and how he in turn narrated it to King Parikshit who attained Moksha by listening to Srimad Bhagavatam in rapt attention.

The Lord is blamed of being partial to His devotees when it comes to showering His grace! In order to wipe off this blemish, the Lord hands Srimad Bhagavatam to the devotee and with that as an excuse, showers His blessings on the soul! Thus, if we are even able to lay our hands on this sacred Purana, it is only because of His sheer grace.

It is said that King Parikshit by listening to Srimad Bhagavatam attained the lotus feet of the Lord instantly at the end of seven days. Our Guru Maharaj says that Katha Sravana (listening to stories of the lord) is the first step to Bhakti.

After this blissful satsang talk, Sri Thiagarajan from Dallas mentioned a key take away point. When we start to chant the Divine Names of the Lord, the lord enters our hearts and resides there that very moment. So when we do any false act it is not only we who are responsible for this wrong doing, but also make God as an accomplice. So let us avoid any wrong doing that we do intentionally in our daily lives.

The satsang wrapped up with prayers and NamaSankirtan.

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