Monthly Archives: May 2012

The Flaws of the Vedas (II)

After directly and indirectly compiling the four Vedas, the histories, their expansions, the Upanishads, the Mahabharata, and the Vedanta Sutra Vyasa still felt incomplete. The divine sage Narada Muni arrived to help him understand why. (This story is told in the Srimad Bhagavata Purana 1.5)

Nārada answered with the same direct honesty as before: “Basically, you neglected to voice the spotless fame of the All-Attractive. I think any such philosophical system is inferior, and cannot really satisfy anyone!”

Vyāsa would think, “But I did glorify the all-attractive throughout all my works!”

So Nārada continues, “O Best of Scholars, again and again you lauded morality and the like as being the true goals of life. Comparatively speaking, how much attention did you give to the greatness of Vasudeva’s son?”

Vyāsa was silent in the face of this truth.

Seeing his acceptance of the facts, Nārada spoke out even more strongly. “What is the use of all the words you have written!? No matter how wondrous or poetic such words might be, since they do not pronounce the fame of Hari – who purifies everything – I think your words are trash; playgrounds for the crows. Beautiful spiritual swans take no delight in them!

“If you would have given your words instead to pronouncing his all-attractive names and limitless fame you would have truly revolutionized the miseries of humanity! Even if each and every line would have been full of flaws, great souls would embrace them, listen to them, and sing them!”


Status

Dear Friends,

I consider what I’ve completed so far a good place to break “Part 1” of the book I am hoping to write. It’s not exactly identical to the end of Canto 1, but very close. What I am doing now is assembling everything I’ve posted so far and editing it into a book / novel format. That will take a few months, during which time I will not likely be posting much new material here on the blog.

I hope you will feel that the book is more than worth the wait! I’ll keep you informed as it gets close to being available. If someone is interested in publishing or finding a publisher, or in donating to printing, please contact me right away! =) You can use this page to contact me www.vicdicara.com/contact.php – please don’t mind that it’s via my astrology website.

Meanwhile, I tend to be posting small snippets of the book on the facebook page for Bhagavatam by Braja. So you may enjoy subscribing to that page: http://www.facebook.com/BhagavatamByBraja

Thank you,

Vic / Vraja Kishor das


Narayanam Namaskrtya

The supreme Godhead: Nārāyaṇa,
the best of humans: Nara,
the goddess of learning: Sarasvatī,
and the great author: Vyāsa…

After respecting them
our words can be successful

Sri Suta recites this verse at the beginning of his presentation of Srimad Bhagavatam. He quotes it from a previous source. Vyasa also speaks this verse at the beginning of every major division of Mahabharata.

In sanskrit:

नारायणं नमस्कृत्य नरं चैव नरोत्तमम् |
देवीं सरस्वतीं व्यासं ततो जयमुदीरयेत् ||

nārāyaṇaṁ namaskṛtya naraṁ caiva narottamam
devīṁ sarasvatīṁ vyāsaṁ tato jayam udīrayet

Considering that Vyasa himself is mentioned honorificly in the verse, it seems unlikely that he composed it himself. It was probably a composed by Ganesha during his task of scribing the dictations of Vyasa. Hence it is particularly appropriate for Suta to quote, as his task is similar to Ganesh’s: he wishes to represent the dictations of Suka (Vyasa’s son).


Texts 1 and 2, in edit-transit

oṁ

This is a transcendental declaration:

नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय।

namo bhagavate vāsudevāya

The son of Vasudeva is All-Attractive,
not I.

 

 

When we stop wanting to be attractive, and start to enjoy being attracted; when we stop wanting to be loved, and start to enjoy giving love; then we will be able to truly let go of sorrows and pains. Next, when our attraction and love finds the all-attractive beloved, like an arrow finding its target or a river finding the sea, the ecstatic bliss and profound happiness we know is the very point of being alive will saturate us absolutely.

This is the key to enlightenment and the theme this book will explore from so many fascinating angles.

1

How do we fall in love with the All-Attractive?

“Dhīmahi:” Our thoughts must embrace the beloved. We must meditate, contemplate, and simply think about the All-Attractive son of Vasudeva.

Who is this “son of Vasudeva”?

“Janmādy asya yataḥ:” He is more creative than anyone or anything else; the creative entity from which all other creative entities in the universe spring forth.

The son of Vasudeva is “svarāṭ” – completely independent. He grants independence and freewill to all that springs forth from him. Thus his beautiful creations have the potential to create ugliness in their worlds. This does not indicate that there is any ugliness inherent within him.

He knows exactly what he is doing and why. He is perfectly aware, directly and indirectly, of everything that springs forth from him. He is therefore the perfect lover, for he completely understands the heart, mind and soul of the beloved. He is the perfect guide and gradually he patiently encourages all his emanations towards beauty and bliss.

From him, spiritual bliss and enlightenment comes into our hearts. Even the Creator, Brahmā, received his inspiration and knowledge from Vasudeva’s son. Without him even the gods become bewildered, confused, and incapable. Not only to all creative beings come from him, even the materials they use for creativity are nothing but his energy!

The Supreme Being is not boring, cranky and old! He is an eternal and infinite manifestation of pleasures, replete with all the talents and paraphernalia for enjoying unlimited ecstasy. The enjoyments relished in divine love with the Supreme have their faint echo in all the pleasures we know or have dreamed of in this world. But the echoes are fleeting and thus a miserable hunger persists for them. The delights of the All-Attractive are not hollow like their echoes. They are not frantic attempts to escape pain. They are divine blossoms of inherently overflowing self-sufficient bliss.

We experience problems in life because we try to be attractive instead of being attracted to him; we try to be the enjoyer instead of being enjoyed by him. There is no truth to this costume we wish to adorn, and that is why it becomes a burden to maintain. There is no such burden of falsehood upon the all-truthful pleasures of the All-Attractive. He truly is the All-Attractive supreme enjoyer. Therefore his enjoyment is ever-fresh, unbounded, and pristine.

Therefore let our thoughts and emotions flow like rivers to the ocean of beauty that is the All-Attractive, “Śrī Krishna.”[1]

2

Yes! Let our thoughts and emotions flow into the All-Attractive ocean… but how?

We need subject matter for such thoughts. Therefore the greatest sage compiled a book full of such, Beautiful Tales of the All-Attractive.[2] Dive very deeply into its delightful waves of nectar, and don’t waste any time being distracted to other subjects!

Why? What is so special about this book?

Unlike other books, even those that are religious and spiritual, Śrīmad Bhāgavatam goes direct and straight to the true heart; banishing from its pages all hints of mundane religion and self-centered spiritualties – which are really nothing more than selfishness in a fancy outfit. Even the most enlightened and selfless souls delight in the topics of this book.[3]

What is the effect of meditating on what is in this book?

You will capture the All-Attractive Being, Śrī Krishna, in the loving confines of your own heart’s embrace! The mere side-effect is that everything inauspicious in yourself and your world will be annihilated, absolutely and everything auspicious will manifest gloriously.

Besides the Beautiful Tales of the All-Attractive, what else could you possibly require!? Let us meditate on the All-Attractive son of Vasudeva by attentively and eagerly hearing these wonderful tales!


[1] Tradition holds this book, Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, to be the evolution, sequel, commentary, and natural progression of the most important literary works of Vedic, Upanishadic and Puranic culture.

Among all Vedic mantra, the Brahmā Gayatrī is most renowned. It directs us to place our meditation (“dhīmahi”) upon the source of all light. Śrīmad Bhāgavatam is held as the evolution of this mantra because it gives the same directive (“dhīmahi”) and also gives us ample and delightful descriptions of the All-Attractive Origin upon whom the Brahmā Gayatrī advises us to meditate.

Among all Upanishads, Vedānta Sūtra stands at the fore. It begins by defining the Supreme as the source of all things (“janmādy asya yataḥ”). Śrīmad Bhāgavatam begins with the same definition (“janmādy asya yataḥ”) and goes a step further to define the intimate personality of and all-attractive nature of that Ultimate Source.

In Puranic culture, the Mahābhārata is the greatest and most beloved work. From chapter 7 onward, Śrīmad Bhāgavatam establishes itself as a sequel to Mahābhārata.

[2] The “greatest sage” (mahāmuni) is Vyāsa. This will be clear a little later in the book. He is credited as Śrīmad Bhāgavatam’s “compiler” (kṛte) but we will learn from the book itself that it is a compilation from several authors including Sūta, Śuka, and even Krishna himself.

[3] Common religion deals mainly with morality – which is an effort to make the world a better place. This is a form of extended selfishness. Common spirituality deals with self-realization, again an extension of selfishness. The Bhāgavatam proposes something significantly new and different: selfless love of the All-Attractive!


Gayatri, Vedanta Sutra and Mahabharata Culminate in Srimad Bhagavatam

Tradition holds this book, Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, to be the evolution, sequel, commentary, and natural progression of the most important literary works of Vedic, Upanishadic and Puranic culture.

Among all Vedic mantra, the Brahmā Gayatrī is most renowned. It directs us to place our meditation (“dhīmahi”) upon the source of all light. Śrīmad Bhāgavatam is held as the evolution of this mantra because it gives the same directive (“dhīmahi”) and also gives us ample and delightful descriptions of the All-Attractive Origin upon whom the Brahmā Gayatrī advises us to meditate.

Among all Upanishads, Vedānta Sūtra stands at the fore. It begins by defining the Supreme as the source of all things (“janmādy asya yataḥ”). Śrīmad Bhāgavatam begins with the same definition (“janmādy asya yataḥ”) and goes a step further to define the intimate personality of and all-attractive nature of that Ultimate Source.

In Puranic culture, the Mahābhārata is the greatest and most beloved work. From chapter 7 onward, Śrīmad Bhāgavatam establishes itself as a sequel to Mahābhārata.


Defining the Unlimited

18

Sūta said:

Oh! My unusual birth has now become meaningful, for I have this opportunity to serve the learned elders.  To speak intimately with great souls quickly purifies the faults and sufferings one is born into.

What is Sūta’s “unusual birth”? It may be literal, since the word sūta also refers to an unusual caste in which the father is a warrior (kṣatriya) and the mother an intellectual (brāhmaṇa). Members of this caste usually became bards and poets. Another reason Sūta’s birth is “unusual” and “faulty” is that his father, Romaharsana, insulted Krishna’s brother, Balarāma. He sees this opportunity to glorify Krishna and Balarāma the ideal way to atone for this undesirable element in his ancestry. Finally, everyone’s birth is “unusual” and “faulty” – for the soul ought not repeatedly change identities! Everyone’s misfortune in this regard will be quickly purified by discussing the stories we are about to tell.

19

Why? Because then one will proclaim the name of the singular refuge of those great souls, who is called “Unlimited” because his all-attractive potencies and excellent qualities are unlimited!?

Why is heart-to-heart conversation with great souls so spiritually purifying? It is because the topic of discussion invariably turns towards the Unlimited All-Attractive.

20

So how can anyone define the immeasurable qualities of he who rests upon the unlimited? The divine goddess ignores all those who petition her and, unrequested, serves the dust of his feet.

The potencies and qualities of the All-Attractive are unlimited. When we hear that “he rests upon the unlimited,” we envision Viṣṇu beyond the borders of the universe reclining on the sea-dragon named Ananta (“unlimited”). It is an image which communicates the fact that his very being exists on the foundation of infinity.

So how can anyone define or delimit Viṣṇu and his qualities by conversation? Still one is hopelessly attracted to the effort, much like the supreme goddesses, who ignore those who bring her presents and prayers, and instead flock unrequested to attend upon the outskirts of such discussions.

21

The water flowing from his toenails is collected by the creator (Brahmā), who uses it to honorably purify the destroyer (Śiva). Who else in the world besides the Lotus-Face could be worthy of the name and position of “All-Attractive”?

There are, truly, so many amazing people among humans and gods and others. But who is worthy of the title “All-Attractive”? It is only he whose face is like the most beautiful flower, whom the goddess flock to, whom the gods worship. We will hear a story much later in this tale, that Viṣṇu once took three cosmic strides. The third created a fracture in the shell of the universe, and the water from the ocean of causality streamed down from the polestar, through the Milky Way, and eventually onto the earth as the Ganges river. This is the water that “flows from his toenails.”

22

Those in love with him suddenly become very deep. Going beyond the embrace of their bodies they attain the highest perfections, in which nonviolence and tranquility are natural.

The purifying power of devotion of the All-Attractive is powerful and uniquely swift, “sudden.” Without such devotion one toils with great delay to develop good qualities like non-violence and tranquility.

23

You are like Aryamān, so whatever you ask I will grant. I will speak as far as my knowledge will allow. Birds fly as high as they can into the sky, like the learned towards Viṣṇu.

Aryamān is the Vedic god who empowers a man to ask a father for his daughter in marriage. It is a very difficult request to accept, because a father very dearly loves his daughter and feels very reluctant to entrust her care to anyone else. Therefore the would-be groom must appeal to Aryamān for divine help. One should give whatever is asked for in the name and with the sanction of Aryamān. Sūta considered the sages to be representatives of Aryamān, because their inquiries were so blessed and divine. Therefore he felt honor-bound to give them what they had asked for.

The sages, headed by the elderly Śaunaka, requested Sūta to tell them all about the All-Attractive son of Vasudeva, Krishna. Sūta says that it is impossible to properly describe Krishna because he is naturally unlimited in qualities and nature. He is All-Attractive. Our efforts to describe and comprehend Krishna are like the effort of a bird to fly in the sky. It is natural for the bird, and delightful – but still it is impossible for a bird to reach the limit of the sky.

The tales of the All-Attractive told by Sūta in this beautiful book, Śrīmad Bhāgavatam are sublime. They represent the intimate vision and realization of the most highly elevated souls. Still, Sūta admits that this book cannot define or delimit the Unlimited. This book will point our attention towards Krishna. Our consciousness then will absorb the downpour of blissful and enlightened energy radiating from him and thus become empowered to directly and impossibly comprehend the tangible reality of Śrī Krishna.

As a lightning rod attracts lightning, without creating or containing the it, this book attracts our consciousness to the All-Attractive. It is the greatest blessing of Indian thought. May we dive into it with wild joy and abandon.

This ends the introduction to Srimad Bhagavatam. From here the book itself begins, so we shall consider this the end of the first part, although traditionally that division is made one chapter after this.

Krishna and the gopis, from a Bhagavata Purana...

Krishna and the gopis, from a Bhagavata Purana manuscript c. 1760 . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


We Want to Hear About All-Attractive Krishna!

SB 1.18.11

The sages said:

Sūta, may your life be smooth, gracious, unending and brilliantly famous! Your glorification of Krishna is just like the nectar of immortality for us mortals.

12

Smoke permeated us, body and mind, and confused our duties. But you are giving us the delicious honey made from the nectar of the lotus flower of Govinda’s feet.

13

What to speak of any mortal desire, not even paradise or enlightenment can compare to a moment’s intimacy with those who are intimate with the All-Attractive.

14

How could anyone who truly understands pleasure ever get enough of discussing he who is the singular haven of the greatest among the great souls? Even the masters of yoga, headed by Śiva and lotus-born Brahmā, cannot comprehend the endless qualities of he who is beyond quality.

15

You are among the greatest of the great souls whose singular haven is the foremost All-Attractive. You possess the knowledge to explain the completely pure and exalted activities of Hari. We are very eager to hear this!

16

Tell us the knowledge spoken by Vyāsa’s son, by which the great devotee Parīkṣit fixed his intellect upon liberation and was carried to the soles of the feet that are adored by the king of birds, Garuḍa.

17

Tell us every meaning of those utterly purifying words, wondrously establishing divine union, brimming with the activities of the Infinite, which magnify the bliss of devotees like Parīkṣit.


How to Make Kali-Yuga the BEST of All the Ages

SB 1.18.5

While the kingdom of Abhimanyu’s superexcellent son remained intact, Kali could not expand and flourish anywhere.

Abhimanyu’s superexcellent son is King Pariksit.

6

But certainly Kali’s immorality began to flourish the instant he left the world, following the All-Attractive.

Parīkṣit gave Kali’s immorality five places of shelter in the world. But while Parīkṣit was king the world remained very disinterested in those five, and therefore Kali could not spread. The second he left the earth to join All-Attractive Śrī Krishna, however, the population began to wander towards the immoral bases of Kali’s influence, and thus the degradations of this age began to gain a foothold.

7

The King never hated Kali, because he was like a honey bee who takes the essence of a flower to produce wondrous honey. [In this age] Good deeds bear fruit quickly, and bad deeds are not taken very seriously.

Most of us are very superficial. Parīkṣit was not. His deep vision saw through the superficial degradations of Kali-yuga. He saw that even though it appears bad, there are good things about it. For example, any good deed done in this age has a magnified effect, while any bad thing is minimized. There is a logical psychological principle behind this; It is not a random statement. Sūta explains the logic in the next text.

8

The powerful do not fear the strong; The sober do not fear Kali. A wise person amongst the insane is like a tiger among men.

This explains why good deeds are amplified and bad deeds minimized during Kali-yuga. To be wise when everyone around you is in an insane panic is very noteworthy and makes one extremely great, like a tiger among men. If the environment around you is full of violence, you will not be criticized highly if you have to punch someone, but you will be praised greatly if you can accomplish something peaceful. Similarly if the environment around you is very peaceful and loving it is not so outstanding if you also do something peaceful, but you will be greatly condemned if you punch someone. In Kali Yuga immorality and madness is everywhere. Therefore no one should be harshly condemned for being immoral or bewildered, but if anyone does anything slightly good or gains any clarity whatsoever, it is extremely praiseworthy and potent.

So there is no need to fear Kali yuga. If one has the strength to go against the grain, Kali Yuga becomes the most advantageous epoch for spiritual progress.

9

I’ve said what I can in answer to your wonderful questions about Parīkṣit’s relationship with this discussion of Vasudeva’s son.

Sūta has said everything he can think of saying in response to the questions from the sages. They wanted to know about the participants in the story of Vasudeva’s son (Krishna). The story of Vasudeva’s son is this book, Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. The main participants creating the book are Vyāsa, Śuka, and Parīkṣit. Several chapters ago Sūta finished answering the sages’ questions about Vyāsa. Now he feels that he is finished answering their questions about Parīkṣit as well.

10

Anyone who really wants the best for themselves should listen carefully whenever and wherever there is discussion of the All-Attractive, glorifying his amazing deeds that arise from his good qualities.

This cannot be overstated. And to understate this principle is to miss the entire point of what true sadhana (spiritual practice) is.


Death is not Frightening

SB 1.18.1

Sūta said:

By the kindness of All-Attractive Krishna, whose deeds are amazing, Parīkṣit certainly could not be killed in the womb by the blast from the weapon of Droṇa’s son.

2

But, rising from the anger of a priest, the Takṣaka dragon would take his life. He was never overcome by terrible fear, because his intentions were always fixed upon the All-Attractive.

3

Casting off all connections with the world, he attained realization of the true position of the Unconquerable. He left his body near the Ganges, as a student of Vyāsa’s son.

4

Those who delight upon the nourishment of discussing the Subject of Topmost Poetry shall never be confused when their time has come to an end. They will certainly remember his lotus-like feet.


Cheating Kali

SB 1.17.42

The world prospers when we encourage well rounded and thoughtful restoration of the Bull’s three broken legs: simplicity, purity, and kindness.

In contrast to the previous verse, anyone who wishes to prosper should strive for simplicity, purity and kindness by all ways and means.

Parīkṣit gave Kali a few domains to control, but then encouraged his citizens to shy away from such places – thus cheating Kali of the opportunity to gain power.

43

He nobly rules from the throne passed to him by his grandfather when that king wanted to retire to the forests.

44

The fame of that glorious ruler of the world, the philosopher-king, the foremost of the Kuru family, spreads through the opulent capitol city.

45

You can initiate this sacrifice because of the expert administration and protection of that King, Abhimanyu’s son.

“Abhimanyu’s son” is Parīkṣit. In one sense, the sages were able to perform a Vedic sacrifice only because the king’s administration provided materials and sponsorship to the hundreds of sages involved, and kept the forests free of persons and creatures of ill intent. In another sense, the sages gathered here are in the initial stages of participating in a spiritual function that represents the culmination of all knowledge and religion: they are about to engage in a deep and detailed discussion of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. If it were not for Parīkṣit this would not be possible, because without him the Bhāgavatam in the wonderful form they will hear it would never have been spoken by Śuka.