Namasankritan and Katha Shravanam are the two rungs of Bhagavatha Dharma. The path of Bhagavata Dharma has three unique qualities, the first one being that this path was indeed given by the Lord himself [Bhagavatha Proktam]. Secondly, it is indeed a dharma that is apt for everyone, be it a learned man [Panditan] or a common man [Pamaran]; -‘Pandithan mudarkondu pamaran varailum andi pizhaithidum keerthanam padirae’, verily the precept for Kavi Yogishwara. Even if the learned man performs the vedic austerities, he needs to come to terms with Bhagavata Dharma, by offering the fruits of all the Vedic austerities to Lord Krishna [ Narayana yethi samarpayami and Sri krishnanu smaranam param] and this indeed marks the completeness of any Vedic ritual a Pandit performs. Bhagavata Dharma becomes an important part in Vaidika Dharma. Karabhajana, the ninth of the Nava Yogis, mentioned that Bhagavatha Dharma is indeed the crux of any learned man’s worship – ‘Yajanthihi sumedhasaha’, which means that Namasankirtan is the main part of any spiritual austerity. Pamaran means one who is not educated. But the actual meaning of Pamaran is one who does not have any path to hold onto and is devoid of any support. Kunti Devi in her stuti mentions who indeed is a Pamaran. She says that a person who possess the qualities of ‘I’ and ‘Mine’ in spite of being bestowed with a great birth [janma], wealth [asihwarya] and knowledge [sribihi] is called a ‘Pamaran’, since he is bereft of any virtues – “Janmaishwarya shutha shibihi raedha mana madha puman| naivarhath yabidhatum vai thvam akinchana gocharam”||
Sri Swamiji beautifully conveys the precept that Bhagavatha Dharma is indeed the path for Pamaran, who cannot let go the qualities of ‘I’ and ‘Mine’ even for a split second. There cannot be any other path that can come handy for such a person even if he accidentally chanted the divine name once and slips and falls, or gets injured, being bitten by a serpent and encountered an accidental death, he is instantly liberated because of his chanting of divine name.
patitaḥ skhalito bhagnaḥ sandaṣṭas tapta Ahataḥ
harir iti avasenAha pumAn nArhati yAtanAḥ” [Srimad Bhagavatam 6.2.15]
That’s verily why Bhagavata Dharma is the path for both learned and a Pamaran and that is indeed the second greatest precept about this wonderful path. The third precept about this path is that there is no scope of failure when one adheres to this path. An event in general has two outcomes and this is the general theory of probability. The path of Bhagavata Dharma totally defies this theory and can have only outcome which is verily success. Interestingly Bhagavata Dharma says that there are no failures when one treads this path and it explicitly doesn’t mention the word ‘success’. One can go blindfolded on the path of Bhagavata Dharma because it is not dependent on the person following this path but is verily the path that doesn’t let the person fall down, akin to how a child dropped in a swimming pool for taking lessons. As long as the child holds on to the floaters, the child is for sure to remain safe from drowning. It doesn’t matter on the ability of the child but the floater is bound to take care of the child.
Similarly, the path of Bhagavata Dharma is tied on to us by a Guru and there is no way to slip ourselves from this dharma. When one is reveling in this ocean of samsara, as long as we have the divine names in our lips and heart and the very thought [smarana] of our Guru and Krishna in our minds, there is no way one can fall down in this samsara and is always afloat. Bhagavata Dharma is all about celebration of our lives with the Lord being in the driving seat and the way to celebrate the Lord is by chanting the divine names, katha shravanam and utsavs.
Sri Narayananji from Boston delivered the satsang lecture.
Tadeva ramyam ruciram navam navam
Tadeva sasvan manaso mahotsavam
Tad eva shokarnava soshanam nrunam
Yad uttamasloko yashonugiyatE [Srimad Bhagavatam 12.12.50]
This sloka is present in both Padma Purana and Bhagavatam, which speaks about singing or reciting Bhagavatam. When one listens to the Lord’s qualities, Bhagavatam enters through the ears and directly enters the heart.
The term ‘sanga’ connotes company and the word ‘prasanga’ according to the path of Bhagavata Dharma refers to short lecture or exposition of the Lord’s qualities [gunas]. Mahatmas are always known to be in the ecstatic state of ‘shrunvanthi gAyanthi grunanthi sadhavaha”.
They either keep listening to the divine names of the Lord and to the divine glories of the Lord. They derive happiness by listening and then they become the narrator [vakta] when there is no one to expound on the divine plays of the Lord. They start gAyanthi when shrunvanthi stops and they do narrate the divine glories of the Lord even if there is no listener [shrota] and it is a divine outpour of their bhava takes the form of words. The third quality of Mahatmas is ‘grunanthi’ which means that they are incessantly reminiscing the divine qualities of the Lord and Srimad Bhagavatam and that they verily transform themselves into that bhava which is very natural for them. It takes one immense merits to witness a Mahatma in such sanctity.
There was a Mahatma called Vasudeva Parabrahmam. He used to chant the Gayatri mantra one lakh times a day and would incessantly chant the divine name ‘Sita’ and would be constantly reading Ramayana. When there is no one to listen to, he would do a discourse on Ramayana to himself and would immediately get himself transported into Bhava. He would become the character he is reminiscing in Ramayana and it is so spontaneous for Mahatamas. He would do it all day and night and there is no question of sleep in the lives of Mahatmas verily because – “tadeva shaswan manaso mahotsavam”; they are in that blissful state within themselves as their minds are always rejoicing, verily because they are always immersed in ‘shrunvanthi gAyanthi grunanthi’. Since their minds are always in the state of ecstasy, they do not need any external paraphernalia to make them happy.
King Parikshit in this sloka beseeched Sri Suka to expound on Lord Krishna’s divine plays, since it is verily enjoyed even by the Mahatmas who are soaked in the ocean of devotion “Atmaramascha munayaha nirgrantha api urukrame kurvanti ahaithukim bhati ittam bhutha guno harihi” . Even Mahatmas and Atma Ramaas yearn to listen to the divine glories of Lord Krishna for their causeless bhakti.
“Nivrutta tarsair upagIyamAnAdh bhava oushadhAc shrotra mano bhirAmAt |
Ka uttamashloka gunAnuvAdAt puman virajyeta vinA paSughnAt || “ [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.1.4]
Mahatmas have crossed the ocean of transmigration and to be in the divine presence of Mahatmas is verily the elixir for normal mortals to cross the ocean of samsara.
Sage Suka embarked on his beautiful exposition of Krishna Katha after hearing the request from King Parikshit. The way Sage Suka begins to narrate Krishna Katha is truly wonderful. He starts with the divine mother. Since Lord Vishnu incarnated as Rama prior to Krishna’s incarnation and since Bhooma Devi had come down as Sita, Sage Suka after narrated Ramayana is still reminiscing Bhooma Devi and hence starts the Krisha Katha with Mother Earth [bhoomi] and the troubles she underwent. He starts with the divine name of the divine mother – ‘Shree’. She goes and surrenders unto Lord Brahma, who in turn along with Lord Shiva and all Devas went and prostrated to the Lord in Shiradbhi and appealed to him about Mother Earth’s problems.
bhoomir dṛupta nṛupa vyAja daityAnIka satAyutaiḥ
AkrAntA bhUri bhAreṇa brahmAṇaṁ sharaṇam yayau [Srimad Bhagavata 10.1.17]
The Lord came running to save his devotees Gajendra, Dhruva, Prahalada to name a few. However in the case of Mother Earth, he didn’t come quickly, verily because she is an embodiment of endurance –‘ kshamaya Prithivi samaha’. The Lord capitalizes on Mother Earth’s endurance to do an incarnation as Lord Krishna and the very seed to this incarnation is Mother Earth. The Lord in his language of silence [Samadhi] acknowledged and sent them all back and Lord Brahma deciphered the orders of the Lord in Shirabdhi and thus told the Devas that the Lord is going to incarnate as the son of Vasudeva.
“Vasudeva gṛuhe sAkṣAh bhagavAn puruṣaḥ paraḥ
janiṣyate thath priyArtham sambhavantu sura striyaḥ” [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.1.23]
Kamsa the brother of Devaki heard a divine voice [Asariri] and imprisoned Vasudeva and Devaki. Six children were born to them and Kamsa slained all of them. The six children of Vasudeva represent the six qualities [hamsa] of the Lord namely Yashas, dharmam, thyagam, jnanam, vairagyam and Aishwaryam. The six qualities of the Lord took birth as six children starting with Kirtiman. The seventh child born is indeed, Tejas the power of the Lord who is born as Sankarshana. Kamsa inspite of killing all the six children feels helpless and turns to his friends, the Asuras [Pralamba, Baka, Chanura etc] and they began to oppress the people in Kuru, Panchala, Kekaya, Salva, Vidarbha states. Some of them fled away from the reign of Kamsa unable to bear the harsh treatment, while some of the denizens continued to stay and faced the torment bravely cognizant of the fact that the Lord will incarnate soon. This beautifully goes to show how a Sadhak witnesses many experiences before attaining the Lord and so before the advent of the Lord, there are certain sufferings that need to be undergone.
te pIḍitA nivivisuuḥ kuru panchAla kekayAn
sAlvAn vidarbhAn niṣadhAn videhAn kosalAn api
eke tam anurundhAnA jnAtayaḥ paryupAsate
hateṣhu ṣaṭshu bAleṣu devakyA augraseninA
saptamo vaiṣṇavaṁ dhAma yam anantam pracakṣhate
garbho babhUva devakyA harṣha shoka vivardhanaḥ [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.2 2- 5]
The seventh child was conceived by Devaki in womb and this fetus gave her both happiness and sorrow. This child was indeed a pure Vaishnava and was indeed Adiseshan, verily the residing place for Lord Vishnu, who is Ananta, the one with no end. She was immensely happy since the Lord’s seat has descended from Shirabhdi. The thought of Kamsa gripped Devaki with fear and in order to absolve that fear from Devaki, the Lord descended down.
bhagavAn api vishwAtmA viditvA kamsajam bhayam
yadUnAm nija nAthAnAm yoga mAyAm samAdhisath [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.2.6]
He instructed his sister Yogamaya to go to Nanda Gokulam, where Rohini, Vasudeva’s wife resides. The Lord addresses Gokula as Nanda Gokula as a way to introduce Yogamaya to her would-be-father.
He requested her to take the fetus from Devaki’s womb, who is verily Adisesha, the Lord’s divine abode and carefully transfer it the womb of Rohini. It is beautifully said that here the Lord exhibits his ‘mine’ [Mamkara] and claims that Adisesha is indeed his possession. It is believed that the world is going to be greatly benefited when the Lord develops ‘I’ and ‘Mine’.
gaccha devi vrajam bhadre gopa gobhir alankṛutam
rohiṇI vasudevasya bhAryAste nanda gokule
anyAs cha kamsa samvignA vivareṣu vasanti hi
devakyA jaṭhare garbhaṁ seṣAkhyaṁ dhAma mAmakam
tath sannikaṛṣya rohiṇyA udare sanniveShaya [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.2.6-7]
The Lord advised how to transfer, Balarama who is verily the Lord’s Sankarsana Hamsa. One may ponder as to why the Lord should take steps to protect Balarama, when he cannot be killed by Kamsa.
Adisesha’s stability determines the stability of the earth verily because he is the foundation [AdharA] for earth. The Lord also ensured to alleviate the burden of the earth by incarnating as Krishna and this incarnation would not be possible without Balarama.
athAham amSha bhAgena devakyAḥ putratAm subhe
prApsyAmi tvam yashOdAyAm nanda patnyAm bhaviṣyasi [Srimad Bhagavatam [10.2.9]
The Lord now shows the quality of ‘I’ [ahankara] in this sloka [ataham]. He addresses Yogamaya as ‘Shubhe’, the one who bestows all auspiciousness. He tries to bring out the identical nature between himself and Yogamaya. He discloses his plan of incarnation as the son of Devaki and instructed her on the course of actions to be born as the daughter of Nanda and Yashoda. The Lord tries to contrast himself and Yogamaya in terms of incarnation in the above mentioned sloka.
arciṣhyanti manuṣyAs tvAm sarva kAma varesvarIm
dhUpopahAra balibhiḥ sarva kAma vara pradAm [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.2.10]
The Lord tells to Yogamaya that his mere existence in this world will not suffice and hence wants Yogamaya to be with him. Oh Yogamaya, “You have completely surrendered unto me, I don’t want to leave you in Vaikunta and please be with me.” The Lord says that Yogamaya will continue to exist after his incarnation and that she will have many names and people will do Pooja for Yogamaya in the future [nAmadheyAni kurvanti] for bestowing and conferring all goodness for the people when they give offerings to you [dhUpopahAra balibhiḥ].
Kama is always a desire with motive which is verily Maya and the Lord ordains YogaMaya to confer boons. Kama is verily Maya since it can be perceived with cause and effect and so if a person worships by giving offerings [dhUpopahAra balibhiḥ], Yogamaya is the one to bestow the person with all goodness [sarva kAma vara pradA]. This is the contrast the Lord draws with Yogamaya, who will bless anyone who comes to trade.
nAmadheyAni kurvanti sthAnAni ca narA bhuvi
durgeti bhadrakAlIti vijayA vaiṣṇavIti cha
kumudA caṇḍikA kṛiṣhṇA mAdhavI kanyaketi ca
mAyA nArAyaṇIsAnI sAradeti ambiketi cha [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.2.11-10.2.12]
The Lord then speaks about the divine names of the mother and that Yogamaya will be referred to these names Durga, Bhadrakali, Vijaya, Vaishnavi, Kumuda, Candika, Krishna, Madhavi, Kanya, Maya, Narayani, Sharada and Ambika on the earth. The term ‘iti’ means that the Lord destines the names for divine mother in various different places. One can worship the Lord in any temple by calling out the Lord’s divine names, Keshava, Narayana, Govindha etc, but one has to worship the divine mother by calling out her name specific to that place. The Lord consecrated Yogamaya in various places and bestowed her with a divine name for every kshetra. The divine mother in Kannyakumari is called as ‘Kanya’, the divine mother in Ujjain is referred to as ‘Bhadrakali’, she is referred to Durga in Kasi, Chandika in Assam, Vaishnavi in Kolapur, Vijaya in Orissa, Vaishanvi and Mahalakshmi in Kolapur, Maya and Sharadha Devi in Uttar Pradesh and Ambika in Ambikavanam to name a few.
The readers of Bhagavatam are thus blessed with the Upadesha of divine names of the divine mother by reading the above slokas. By chanting all the divine names of the mother, one will be blessed with a beautiful nama called ‘Krishna’. After having invoking Yogamaya, the Lord then gives the names of the seventh child who is verily Adisesha in the womb of Devaki.
Garbha sankarṣaṇAth tham vai prAhuḥ shabkarṣaṇam bhuvi
rAmeti loka ramaṇAdh balabhadram balocchrayAth [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.2.13]
He be called as ‘Sankarshana, as the one who attracted to transfer into another womb, he will be called ‘Rama’ as he will please the entire world, Balabhadra because of his great physical strength.
The divine mother bowed in front of the Lord and transferred the fetus from Devaki and places it in the womb of Rohini.
Everyone thought that the fetus in Devaki was aborted and lamented and was under the thought that Kamsa killed the fetus in the womb.
garbhe praṇīte devakyā rohiṇīṁ yoga-nidrayā
aho visraṁsito garbha iti paurā vicukruśuḥ [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.2.15]
People were terror stricken thinking of Kamsa and the Lord who verily vanquishes the fear of his devotees enters into the mind Vasudeva [mana Anakadundubheḥ], before entering the womb of Devaki.
bhagavAn api vishvAtmA bhaktAnAm abhayankaraḥ
AviveshAssha bhAgena mana Anakadundubheḥ [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.2.16]
The satsang concluded with prayers and Namasankirtan.