The path of Bhagavatha Dharma encompasses every other Dharma in itself. It encompasses all the beauties in normal life, which in turn makes us more and more satvik and makes us recipients of Bhagawan’s grace. It teaches the values of human life. One great precept that it teaches us is the mutual love and respect for others. This virtue has been clearly depicted in all the cantos of Srimad Bhagavatham. In the first canto of Srimad Bhagavatham, Draupadi shows us the path of Bhagavatha Dharma.
mArodi tasya janani gautami patidevatA
yatAham mritavatsara rodInashrumukhI muhuh [Srimad Bhagavatham 1.7]
Draupadi bereaved the death of her sons who were beheaded by Aswattama and she did not want to put Gautami, the wife of Dronacharya in the same position as her and did not the Lord to inflict the same misery in Gautami by killing Ashwattama. She thus depicted the mutual respect to Ashwattama even though he was her worst enemy. When King Parikshit failed to show mutual love and respect to Sage Samika, he was cursed by the sage’s son Shringi. This goes to show that the Lord does not forgive anyone who does not show mutual love and respect. The Lord protected King Parikshit from the curse of Ashwattama but did not protect him from the Shringi’s curse since he had showed disrespect to a Bhagavatha and failed to show mutual love and respect for learned men. This concept of mutual love and respect is clearly elucidated in all cantos of Srimad Bhagavatham. In the last canto when Lord Sri Krishna was about to depart to Vaikunta, he thought that his duties were not completed since he did not destroy the Yadava clan. So he devised a plan to extricate those who were protected by his own grace. The Lord can excuse anything but not lack of love and respect for Bhagavathas. So he decided to bring a curse on the Bhagavathas for their lack of respect and mutual love. He thus created a reason for destroying the Yadu clan. “Sathya Sankalpa Eswaraha Shaapadh vyaajena vipraanam sanjagruhae swakoolam vipuhu”- The Lord thinks that a curse by a Bhagavatha incurred due to disrespect can lead to their destruction. Love and mutual respect is essential for our day to day life and is inculcated very beautifully in Srimad Bhagavatham. Sage Vyasa says – “Shusrushubihi Thakshanaath”. By merely listening to Bhagavatham, this great quality will be instilled.
Followed by a brief round of introductions, Aravindji fromOrlandocontinued his lecture on the four Purushartas with relevance from Srimad Bhagavatham. The first Purusharta called Dharma was explained through the life-history of Daksha Yagna. The Bhagavata Dharma is devoid of any conceit, deceit and jealousy and certainly has no parallels. Sage Narada preaches the fact that one attains the holy feet of the Lord irrespective of whether following this path or allowing others to follow the path. Such is the greatness of Bhagavatha Dharma. In this, the attitude matters more than the act itself. One may be a butcher as was Dharmavyada, or a cobbler or tailor but it is the attitude with which one performs the act. As long as one does not lay stake over the fruits of the act and does it as a service to the Lord, it does not affect him. Bhagavatha Dharma is thus performing the act with service minded attitude. The next Purushartha was “Artha” – explained through Dhruva Charithra. Seeking wealth through earnest righteous means for the Lord’s service will eventually bestow the Lord Himself.
The third Purushartha is “Kama”. Unfortunately the term ‘Kama’ has been tainted with a wrong meaning of lust. But truth be said,Kama[desire] is very beautiful. Let us see what Srimad Bhagavatham talks about desire [Kama]. – It talks at three levels – the worldly desires that one has to satiate, the lofty desire of how one can benefit the world and finally the desire for liberation. And then something beyond as well!
Let’s explore. So the crux is ‘need’. By taking care of food, clothing and shelter for the family is the foremost responsibility of a house-holder. Without these worldly desires getting fulfilled, how can aspire for lofty goals, such as serving the humanity or attaining the lotus feet of the Lord. That is verily the reason for Sage Sukha to elucidate on the different worldly desires and also advises on the Lord to whom one should offer their prayers in order to satisfy them. If one wants to accrue lot of wealth, then he should pray to the Vasus. If one aspires to be a great hero for valor of the entire world, then one has to worship Rudra and one has to offer prayers to Lordess Aditi for large stock of grains. Why should Srimad Bhagavatham talk about what about these different deities? Srimad Bhagavatham is an avatar akin to an Avatara Purusha. Avatar connotes ‘descend’. Srimad Bhagavatham comes down to one level to expound on the worldly desires and makes sure these desires are quenched before exploring the lofty desires. This is what Sage Suka delineated to King Parikshit at the beginning of his discourse. A mother strives hard to fulfill her child’s desire. Vedas expound on the myriad human desires and also preached the righteous means through which one can satisfy their desires. Srimad Bhagavatham is the quintessence of the Vedas and has these concepts elucidated in detail.
When a person has worldly desires then a quandary creeps in him as to what he is trying to achieve by satiating all his worldly desires? Our Guru Maharaj says that only when one is confused then real answers will spring forth. When one satiates all the worldly needs and still experiences the emptiness and that is verily when the Lord will show him the path to the Sadguru and through him will attain the elevated state.
Chitraketu was an able king and had many wives. He however did not have a progeny and earnestly desired to have a son to take care of his riches. One day Sage Angirasa paid a visit to King Chitraketu’s palace. After providing a warm welcome to the Sage, Chitraketu bending low in humility, lamented about his lack of progeny. The sage helped him perform a sacrifice, the Prasad of which the king consumed and his eldest wife delivered a beautiful baby boy. The other wives, jealous of the mother, flustered by the king’s ignoring them, conspired and killed the baby. When the king heard the tragic news he was totally devastated and bereft of life. Sage Angirasa paid a visit to the king and learnt about the demise of his son. He told the king that he earlier came to preach the path of liberation but since he had a worldly desire he bestowed him with a son. The Sage then enlightened the king by igniting the torch of true jubilation. It is said that King Chitraketu attained liberation in his avatar as Vrithrasura.
King Vena was a great king but he was evil and cruel. The earth was bereft of any goodness during his tenure and hence Mother Earth did not allow the crops to flourish and so she disguised as a cow and went hiding. In the meanwhile King Vena was slained. When his left leg was churned, a black form arose from the churning, which was verily his bad sins and while churning his right shoulder, the good-natured Prithu emerged. He later became the king and during his reign he realized that the crops were not flourishing and the earth was in famine. He was concerned on the welfare of his people and he chased Mother Earth to find out the reason. She replied “Oh King Prithu! I thought that King Vena was still ruling”. Even after realizing that it was King Prithu’s regin, she did not refuse to yield the crops. King Prithu then promised to be Mother Earth’s guardian and then she gave milk which contained all the needed vegetation for the crops. From then on, the earth was prosperous with bountiful crop growths. King Prithu had the welfare of his desires as his foremost desire and that all citizens should leave a comfortable life. And finally King Prithu was bestowed with Lord’s darshan and had the Lord’s grace to listen to the divine exploits of the Lord.
akAmah sarvakAamovA moksha kAma udAradhih
tIivrena bhakti yogena yajeta purusham param” [Srimad Bhagavatham 2.3.10]
Akama connotes ‘bhakta’ who is devoid of any desires and prays to the Lord to bestow him with more and more devotion. His love for the Lord is unconditional and earnestly desires to be in the service of the Lord. A person in the mundane world [sarvakama] also prays to the Lord to satiate his worldly needs. A person who seeks liberation also prays to the Lord. One needs to pray Lord Krishna to bestow the devotee with bhakti. When the desire to attain moksha creeps in, then the Lord directs him to a Sadguru through whom he attains the Lord himself.
Sage Narada says that one can reach the Lord through these four means – “KAmAth DveshAth bhayAth SnehAth”. He puts desire as the first means and here he refers to “Gopyah Kamath” – The desire of the Gopis. Their desire is so pure and pristine and is considered to be higher than moksha itself. When we are in a divine communion with a Sadguru, we no longer seek liberation and our only purport in life is to make our Guru happy. Rendering service to Sadguru will take one to the highest states of “Sadhya Bhakti”. Lord Krishna in the midst of Rasa Leela vanished suddenly and the Gopis out of sheer separation sing the Gopika Geetham.The Lord separated from the Gopis because their state of separation [Viraha] is the highest and cannot be compared to anything. Their devotion was very sacred since they snapped off their ties with family and friends. The Gopis enchanted the Lord by their pure love to Him and never thought of receiving anything from the Lord. The Gopis were only thinking how Lord Sri Kirshna would bear their separation. The state of Gopis cannot be comprehended by normal mortals. It is verily the state of Prema Bhaktas, and this state can be bestowed effortlessly in the association of such a Mahatma who is a prema Bhakta.
Lord Prahalada talks about the Shravanam as the first means to perform bhakti to the Lord and it is verily because, listening to something ushers new desires in one. Srimad Bhagavatham expounds on all desires right from mundane to spiritual and as we keep continue listening and follow the path shown by our SadGuru, we will also attain the highest state. Vedavyasa had a divine vision of people suffering in the age of Kali and hence gave Srimad Bhagavatham to alleviate the people in the age of Kali. His only aim was to save the people and to show the path ofKrishnabhakti to all.
The satsang concluded with prayers and Namasankirtan.