There is no concept called marriage in any religion. It is verily in Sanatana Dharma that the concept of a formalized marriage came into existence. It was only from Sanatana Dharma that other religions and faith started to adopt the concept of marriage. The reason we have a formal marriage is because of the commitment to keep the vows taken in front of the fire [agni, the main upasana for our karma] which keeps the relationship between the couple bonded. In Ramayana, the Lord when making friends with Sugreeva, took a vow in front of agni, for their friendship to endure. If we need vows to sustain the relationship between couples and friends itself, then we definitely need a binding force between the Paramatma and the Jeevatma. That binding can only be enhanced by the grace of the guru which manifests itself in the form of a satsang. Satsang is the first signal by the Lord to a Jeevatma that he is indeed going to attain the holy feet of the Lord. Satsang is a divine communion with the devotees of the Lord. Satsang is incomplete when there is no chanting of the Divine Name of the Lord and reminiscing of His glories.
It was then followed by introductions. Then Sri Ramanujamji lectured on Bhagavata Dharma.
Bhagavata Dharma is explained in detail in the eleventh canto of Srimad Bhagavatam. It starts off with the Vishaada Yogam. Dharma is put in firm footings when some adversity strikes. Lord Sri Krishna himself says that –
“Yada Yada hi dharmasya glaanir bhavati bhaarata…”
‘Whenever there is a decline in dharma [glaani], I descend on the earth to re-establish dharma.’
The Yadu clan, which is the race protected by Bhagavan Himself (Govinda bhuja guptayam), encountered a problem. This again can only be called as the act of the Lord. The Yadu clan became very strong and prosperous and was secured by Lord Krishna’s arms. When an entire clan was secured by the Lord, then no extraneous agency can never bring any burden to that group and eventually send them to the holy feet of Lord Sri Krishna, can it? It is akin to how two bamboo sticks when they strike each other in a thick bamboo forest lead to a bush fire and ends up obliterating the whole forest. The Yadava clan encountered an internal fight and that verily brought the end of the entire clan.
Swami Vallabacharya lucidly explains that the eleventh canto is indeed an unique canto. It talks about liberation [moksha/nirodha] about both the Lord and the Jeevas. The Lord became Srimad Bhagavatam to play in the hands of normal mortals and in the process lead to liberation. The Yadava clan, who are the jeevas attained liberation as shown by the Lord in the eleventh canto. The Lord showed the path of Bhagavata Dharma for normal mortals in the eleventh canto. In the very second chapter of the eleventh canto, Sage Suka embarks into the journey of expounding Bhagavata Dharma after giving a brief introduction about Vishada Yogam (obliteration or Yadava clan’s curse).
Sage Suka akin to any other Mahatma began to expound on Bhagavata Dharma through another Bhagavata.[another devotee of Bhagavata Dharma]. He is reminded of the discussion between Sri Vasudeva, who is Lord Krishna’s father and Sage Narada. We all know that Sage Narada was the main cause for Sage Vyasa to be reminded of the important work to release Bhagavata Dharma to people who have the fortune of living in Kaliyuga.
Vasudeva who was living with his son who is the Lord, posed lot of questions to Sage Narada about Bhagavata Dharma. He had a very strong reason to do that. Vasudeva continued and said “Oh! Sage Narada, Sadhus like you can only bring benediction to people who come in contact with you”.
He says , “sukhayaevahi sadhunam tvadrishaam achutdatmanam”
Vasudeva called on Sage Narada and confided in him that even though he was living with the Lord, he was deluded by infatuation [maya]. He further continued that even though he knew the Lord for the past three births, instead of asking emancipation he asked the Lord for the boon to be born as his son.
Oh Sage Narada, I want to take refugee onto your holy feet and please discourse on Bhagavata Dharama, which can completely absolve all the fears [tapatraya, which is of three types, adhideivika, adhiboutika and adyatmika] and the fear of those sorrows.
Hearing this question, sage Narada’s face lit up instantly. He did not say that he was happy because he knew the answer. He told him that by answering this question will make Lord Narayana extremely happy and delighted.
He started to explain about Bhagavata dharma. Bhagavata Dharma by definition is
“Bhagavata proktam iti Bhagavatam” That dharma which is revealed directly by the Lord and since he attached so much value to this dharma, he decided to reveal it on his own, while he requested the rishis to reveal the other dharmas.
Hence it is indeed special since it was revealed by the Lord himself. Sage Narada continued and told Vasudeva that he was going to expound on the supreme of all dharmas. Vedas say “Dharmam chara”, which means one has to adhere to path of the dharma to get the fruit. But the path of Bhagavata Dharma seems to be even more special and it is grace incarnate since it more practical. He substantiates why Bhagavata dharma is a practical dharma. If somehow gets connected to Bhagavata dharma, then he completely reaps the fruit of that dharma.
“Shruto anupatitho dyatha aaddrutho vaa anumodithaha s
adha punathi sad dharmo deva vishwo dhruvo apihi”
The above sloka expresses the eagerness of the Lord for everyone to practice Bhagavata Dharma. That is verily the reason as to why the sadhus who have incarnated in this age of Kali were all sent by the Lord to show the path of Bhagavata Dharma for the people in this age of Kali.
Sage Narada very lucidly conveyed the meaning for the above sloka. He goes to say that by just listening to Bhagavata Dharma [Shruto], one reaps the fruit [thakshanath] even if he repeats a sloka without memorizing the sloka, which means just dwelling on Bhagavata dharma [anupatitho]. The reaction time for the result is zero. The moment one had the desire to listen to Srimad Bhagvatham, he has already reaped the result. When one eagerly wishes to go to a satsang, he has already got the fruit of satsang in him. Even if we are meditating on the greatness of Bhagavata dharma that would implicitly bestow him with the fruits.
It is very nice to ponder on aadrutho. Even if one of the family member allow the other members of the family to go to a satsang with whole heart then that family member also gets the fruit. The Lord is so easily accessible to this devotees – “Bhaktya sulabho bhagawan”. Aadrutho va anumodithah. Even one who accepts the fact that Bhagavata Dharma is indeed a supreme dharma with reverence will bestow him with the fruits of satsang.
Meditating on the greatness of Bhagavata Dharma [ Dyatha] will also bestow one with the fruits.
When we follow Bhagavata Dharama, the world which was not making sense starts to make sense, religion now seems to be more familiar and one will feel happy being what we are and would be greatly enthused to go further in the journey of Bhagavata dharma. It greatly improves the inner quality of one’s life and the outer quality of life which is a reflection of one’s inner life. When we are order within, the world is then in order outside. Bhagavata Dharma is an inner dharma, the ablutions of Bhagavata dharma may vary but it talks to the heart. It is a bridge between our heart and the holy feet of the Lord. It can only unite people and not divide people.
“Aghrushtajaa anugamanam vatsalyaa janani sishum” It is like the mother who is very watchful on her kid who is ready to walk. The kid does not want any help from the mother and so the she secretly follows the child to make sure the child does not slip. She also does not want to interfere in the freewill of the child. Similarly Bhagavata Dharma, our Sadguru and Takurji closely follow us and allow us to choose the path we want to follow and when one is in trouble they secretly give us an helping hand akin to how the mother aids the child when he has trouble walking. Bhagavata Dharma is not conspicuous and always positive thing start to happen once we start to follow it.
Bhagavata Dharma puts Lord Sri Krishna in the driver seat and we have to cruise through the satsang and understand the purpose of life. By catching holding of Bhagavata Dharma will lead to inner transformation.
The satsang concluded with Namasankirtan.