The All-Attractive is one with everything, yet also distinct from it all. On him the world exists, is destroyed, and is created. You know all about this, my good man, but still I present a little synopsis. With your flawless vision you can discover the self of the self. You are a part of the Supersoul facet of the Supreme Person. Such unborn beings take birth only to improve the world, therefore please awaken the greatest divine love by describing it very vividly.
That the divine is simultaneously one with yet different from everything (bhedābheda-tattva), is not a novel invention of Śrī Caitanya in the 16th Century. It is the original timeless philosophy of Nārada, the sage of the gods, and Vyāsa, the sage of all other sages. Nārada’s exact words defining it are, idaṁ hi viśvaṁ bhagavān ivetaraḥ, “The All-Attractive is one with everything, yet also distinct from all of it.” He tells Vyāsa, tad dhi svayaṁ veda bhavān, “you already know and hold this same opinion.”
Vyāsa holds this philosophy because he has flawless vision of reality (amogha-dṛk) and is himself an incarnation of Godhead (paramātmanaḥ kalām). Thus, this conception is flawless and represents God’s own perspective on the nature of reality.
Nārada requests Vyāsa, “Godhead incarnates only the benefit the world, so please give the world the most beneficial thing.”
What is the most beneficial thing?
“Love, of course.” Nārada replies, “But even better, not just ordinary love – pure, true love. And not just any true love, but true love that springs from the true self for the true beloved. And not just any type of true divine love, but the very greatest zenith of it.”
This is the meaning within the Nārada’s words, mahā-anubhāva.
Divine love is called bhāva-bhakti, indicating that it is true and pure, springs directly from the pure and true self, and flows directly towards the pure and true divine beloved. Śrī Rūpa Goswāmī carefully explains, in his books Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu and Ujjvala-Nīlamaṇī, that this true divine love is called prema when fully realized in a tangible manner. Prema can then undergo several stages of further intensification towards its infinite zenith. The Goswāmī calls this zenith mahā-bhāva. There is only one being who truly and fully experiences divine love at this level, the Supreme Goddess, who blesses the world with her name, “Rādhā.” Just as Śrī Caitanya’s philosophy is no novel invention, similarly his disciple Śrī Rūpa is not a fabricator of novelties. Śrī Rūpa’s paradigms represent the paradigms of the great sage of the gods, Nārada. Nārada here directly instructs Vyāsa, with the words mahānubhāvābhyudayo ‘dhigaṇyatām, that he must conceive of a way to glorify Śrī Rādhā’s extreme zenith of divine love and thereby make the world follow her example and become her assistants in the transcendental love affair. Śrīmad Bhāgavatam is the ultimate outcome of Vyāsa taking this instruction from Nārada to heart.
The erudite certainly define this as the perfect goal of human efforts, inquiries, rituals, prayers, enlightenment, and selflessness: to give voice to the qualities of The Subject of Topmost Poetry.
Vyāsa’s question after hearing the previous words of Nārada was, “How can I accomplish such an elevated deed – granting humanity access to the supreme and most intimate form of divine love?”
Nārada replies with this: “True love can’t be manufactured! So you cannot attain it by strenuous efforts, philosophy, ritual, prayers, liberation, or morality – as you have already wasted your efforts promoting in all the Veda you’ve compiled over these thousands of years.”
“I accept that,” Vyāsa would say. “But please tell me how I can succeed in granting such divine love to humanity?”
Nārada answers, “A person can attain topmost divine love only by coming into direct contact with it. You must give humanity that chance! Let them witness it! Tell them what it looks like in action, what it feels like, tastes, smells and sounds like! Describe to them how the All-Attractive Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, interacts with the All-Loving Fountainhead Goddess, Rādhā.”
That is what this book, Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, really is.