Tag Archives: Bhagavad Gita

Arjuna’s Non-Duality

SB 1.15.31

Without grief and endowed with spirituality, he [Arjuna] completely cut off all dualistic doubts and dissolved them into energy that is unqualified by shapes and manifestations.

Confusion and grief arises due to dvaita, duality. In the final issue, duality means to consider the self different from Godhead. We are not identical to God, but God is identical to us. It may not be feasible to suitably explain this subtle spiritual principle here in words, which are subject to argument and interpretation. But if the sincere soul meditates upon this with eagerness to please Godhead by the endeavor, it will become clear.

Arjuna felt himself to be separated from Kṛṣṇa, therefore he plunged into extreme doubt and grief. But by deeply contemplating the wisdom he received from Kṛṣṇa in Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna was able to rid himself of the grief that arises from dualism. He got rid of the duality (daita-saṁśaya) by dissolving it into spiritual energy, an energy that is beyond qualification (līna prakṛti-nairguṇyāt) by shapes (alinga) and manifestations (asambhava). Specifically, Arjuna felt that Kṛṣṇa was gone simply because his shape could no longer be tangibly seen manifest in the world. He got rid of this ignorance by realizing that Kṛṣṇa is everywhere at all times. The knowledge of Bhagavad Gita helped him realize this.

When he attained this realization his lamentation was finished (viśoka) and in its place he became filled with a wealth of spirituality (brahma-sampattyā). Another interpretation may be that his lamentation became very special, and purely spiritual as a result of realizing the non-duality of Kṛṣṇa and his simultaneous absence and presence.

32

Yudhiṣṭhira was very troubled about the road taken by the All-Attractive and the destruction of the Yadu family. Feeling lonely and alone, he made up his mind to himself follow the same road.

33

When Pṛthā [Kuntī] heard the Wealth Winner [Arjuna] speak of the Yadu’s destruction and the final destination of the All-Attractive, with undeviating and nakedly soulful divine love for the transcendent All-Attractive she ceased her material existence.

Arjuna’s mother gave up her life in Bhakti-Yoga Samadhi when she heard the horrible news from Arjuna.

34-35

One removes a thorn using another thorn and then discards both. Similarly the Unborn took a body to remove the burdens of the world and then discarded both. He grasps the forms of a fish and so on and then lets go of them, just like a magician. When they have relieved the world of her burdens, he lets go of that body.

36

When the All-Attractive Lotus Face in this world let go of his body, which is the subject for spiritual discussion and praise, right then and there Kali appeared, causing ill-fortune and underdevelopment of the mind and intellect.

37

Yudhiṣṭhira comprehended that serpent crawling forth through his city, state, and his home and even his own person. He saw greed, falsehood, trickery, violence and so on forming a wheel of immorality. So, he made ready to leave.

38

He had educated his grandson to be as qualified as him, and enthroned him to reign in Gajāhvaye City as the emperor of all the earth bordered by the seas.

39

Then he made Vajra the king of Śūrasena, in Mathurā. Having fulfilled his duties as a householder, he became capable to follow the inner fire.

40

Letting go of everything, his exquisite clothing and jewelry, without sense of “mine” and without selfishness, he completely cut off unlimited relationships.

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Arjuna Recovers His Composure

SB 1.15.21

It is my bow, they are my arrows, it is my chariot, they are my horses
I am me, the chariot-warrior whom kings praise,
But, robbed of our Master, all of this suddenly becomes insubstantial,
Like sacrifice offered to ash, play money, or seeds in the desert.

22-23

King, you asked about our well-wishers in their dear city. Bewildered by the curse of scholars, they killed each other with their own hands. They were so drunk from liquor and wine that they couldn’t even recognize each other. Only four or five survived.

24-26

It almost seems like the will of the All-Powerful Master, by which living beings sometimes want to kill each other but at other times want to protect each other. Like with the fish in the water, the bigger one swallows the smaller. O King, The weak are eaten by the strong, and the strong are eaten by the strongest. O powerful one, thus the strongest Yadus killed the more common ones. So the Yadus themselves removed themselves from the face of the earth.

27

My mind is now drawn to remembering what Govinda spoke to me: which extinguishes flames of pain in any situation.

Arjuna refers now to what we call Bhagavad-Gita. His mind is drawn to find solace now in Kṛṣṇa’s excellent instructions regarding death and the temporary nature of the world.

28

Sūta said:

Contemplating thus, Victorious Arjuna’s mind became pure and peaceful, remembering the lotus-like feet of Kṛṣṇa with deep intimacy and extreme friendship.

29

Arjuna’s continuous meditation upon the feet of Vasudeva’s son caused his divine love to rapidly expand, and his troubled thoughts shrunk.

30

Time and tide had covered him in darkness, but once again Arjuna gained self-control through the wisdom that was sung by the All-Attractive in the midst of war.

This verse contains a direct reference to Bhagavad-Gita: gītaṁ bhagavatā jñānaṁ.

 

Lord Krishna instructing the Bhagavad Gita to ...

Lord Krishna instructing the Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna in Kurukshetra. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 


Capital Punishment

1.7.34-37

When Arjuna began to drag his enemy, bound in ropes, back to the camp, the All-Attractive spoke with anger in the glance of his lotus-like eyes: “Pārtha, it is not at all right to spare this so-called brahmin! Kill him!!! He killed your faultless children while they dreamt at night! A truly moral person does not kill an enemy who is frightened, without weapons, begging for mercy, ignorant of their mistake, ridiculous, intoxicated, unaware, asleep, a youth, or a woman. One who kills others just to save his own life is shamelessly wicked. Death is good for such people, otherwise their horrific faults drag them ever lower.

38

“And I personally heard you promise your wife, ‘Pāñcālī, I shall bring you the head of he who you say killed our children!’

39

“Therefore kill this evil assassin of his own doom who killed your children and defiled his own master. O warrior, a person who has done what he has is nothing but a burnt branch of his family.”

When Arjuna dismantled Aśvatthāmā’s insanely uncontrolled explosion and finally captured him, he did not cut off his head. Why?!? His whole intention in chasing the man was to cut off his head and return it to his grieving wife. Why didn’t he carry out his desire now that he had the chance?

Arjuna could not kill him because was a very saintly and pure hearted man. Such people always naturally feel compassion and pity, even when it is not deserved.

He specifically thought, “This evil wretch killed my sleeping children, but he was just trying to please his master. And after all, he is the son of my guru. It is night right to punish ones superiors, and because he is in my guru’s family, he is among my superiors.”

Kṛṣṇa argues against everything Arjuna is thinking, “Just because someone is in the family of your guru does not make them your guru! Just because someone is born to a brahmin does not make them a brahmin! This man is the worst of all criminals. Look what he did to your children! And he did not even satisfy his master either. You should not let yourself be overwhelmed by compassion for a person who deserves to die!”

As the story continues we will see Kṛṣṇa’s deeper intentions and ultimate suggestion for the issue. But for the present he is putting Arjuna’s compassion to trial.

krishna angrily advises arjuna to kill ashvatthama


Arjuna Counteracts the Nuclear Explosion

1.7.22-25

Arjuna said:

Kṛṣṇa! O mighty-armed Kṛṣṇa who makes his devotees fearless! You alone are the relief for those suffering worldly miseries. You are the Original Person himself, the transcendent master of all energy. You set aside your illusory energy and exist purely within the spiritual energy of your own self. The worlds are full of people with hearts captivated by your illusory energy. Your trademark is that you see to their ultimate welfare by personally inspiring them towards morality, etc. You incarnate in this world just to lighten our burdens, and to fully satisfy your exclusively devoted companions with subject matter by which to always meditate upon you.

26

This extremely dangerous blast moves towards every direction. Oh god of gods, what is it? Where does it come from? I don’t know.

It appears that the explosion of the ultimate weapon expands relatively slowly. It looks like Arjuna may have taken from 15 seconds to almost a minute to react to it.

Before asking the crucial, emergency question, Arjuna praises Kṛṣṇa. Why? It is because we should not ask important questions to people who cannot give good answers. Arjuna demonstrates the principle that the inquirer should first express his reasons for having faith in the answer that might be given. Arjuna is in trouble, he is bewildered, and Kṛṣṇa is the one who saves people from trouble and is never bewildered. Arjuna’s trouble arises from an explosively powerful energy, and Kṛṣṇa is one who is always in mastery of all energies. Arjuna is in need, and Kṛṣṇa is naturally inclined to be helpful to those in need, especially towards those who, like Arjuna, are his intimate companions full of selfless love for him. After expressing why he has full faith in any answer Kṛṣṇa might give to the question, Arjuna finally asks it.

27-28

The All-Attractive said:

Understand that this is the ultimate weapon, set forth by Droṇa’s son out of fear of death, even though he has no idea how to control it. Definitely no other weapon can counteract this. But you are a very expert warrior, so destroy the blast of this weapon by an even more powerful blast from your own.

29

Sūta said:

Hearing these words from the All-Attractive, Phālgunaḥ, the destroyer of heroes, took a drop of water and circumambulated the Supreme before casting the ultimate weapon. The blasts of the two weapons combined and seemed to swallow up the whole sky, outer space and even the sun. The three worlds appeared to singe from the great heat of the combined blast, about to be consumed in flame as if the end of the universe were at hand. Knowing that the people of the worlds were about to be destroyed, the son of Vasudeva told Arjuna to withdraw the blast.

Phālgunaḥ is a name for Arjuna, probably because he was born under the stars of Phalgunī. Unlike Aśwatthāmā, Arjuna knew how to control and withdraw the ultimate weapon. When he did so, it also withdrew Aśwatthāmā’s blast, because the two weapon blasts had mingled and united.

33

Then, with angry eyes burning like fiery copper, he deftly arrested the dangerous son of Gautama and bound him in ropes like an animal.

Being the “son of Gautama” means that Aśwatthāmā was a member of a brahmin family. But Arjuna was duty bound to treat him like an animal, because that is what Aśwatthāmā’s behavior merited. Classical Indian literature evaluates social status not primarily by birth-caste, but by actual behavior.


Sequel to Mahabharata Begins With A Nuclear Explosion

1.7.12

Now, to begin our discussion of Kṛṣṇa I will tell you about the birth, deeds, and rescue of Parīkṣit, the sage among kings, and the final end of the sons of Pāṇḍu.

By discussing a person who is in love with someone, invariably the discussion comes to their beloved. So by discussing those devoted to Kṛṣṇa one sets the scene for deep discussion of Kṛṣṇa.

The Śrīmad Bhāgavatam will now begin a “sequel” to the Mahābhārata, again illustrating that it is the culmination of everything important and revered in classical Indian civilization. Besides providing a sequel to the beloved Mahābhārata, it is also an elaboration upon the purport of the Gayatrī Mantra, a clarification of the conclusion of Vedānta-Sūtra, and an illustration of the principles and conclusions of Bhagavad-Gītā. The Gayatrī Mantra is the zenith of Vedic Mantras, so by elaborating on the Gayatrī the Bhāgavatam effectively elaborates upon the entire body of Vedic Mantra. The Gītā and especially the Vedānta-Sūtra is the crème of the Upanishads, so by expanding upon these the Bhāgavatam expands upon the Upanishads.

The first verse of Bhāgavatam ends with the word dhīmahī, a word reserved for Gayatrī mantra which means “meditation.” So the Bhāgavatam provides the subject matter that the Gayatrī directs us to contemplate and meditate upon.  

That same verse begins with the word janmādyasyayatha, which is also the first word in Vedānta-Sūtra. This repetition is Vyāsa’s device indicating that the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam discusses the same conclusions as Vedānta-Sūtra.

The second verse of Bhāgavatam begins with dharmaḥ projjhita-kaitavaḥ, “abandoning all selfish duties.” The concluding instruction in Bhagavad-Gītā is sarva-dharmān parityajya, “abandon all selfish duties.” And now the Bhāgavatam will give an extension or “sequel” to Mahābhārata. We cannot sidestep the fact that the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam expresses the penultimate culmination of Indian civilization and thought. It is the effort of Vyāsa in his full maturity.

13-14

When the heroes among the Kurus and Pāṇḍavas attained their heroic ends, and the son of Dhṛtarāṣṭra wept with a spine broken by the crushing blows of Wolf-Belly’s club, the son of Droṇa beheaded the sleeping sons of Kṛṣṇā, thinking it would please his master, who deplored the disgusting deed.

Kurus and Pāṇḍavas are two groups within the same royal family. The feud between them and the war it culminated in is the main subject of Mahābhārata.

Dhṛtarāṣṭra is a blind man who refused to relent the stewardship of the throne he assumed when his brother unexpectedly died before his five children were old enough to take the throne. The son of Dhṛtarāṣṭra is the leader of the Kurus: Duryodhana, who intends to be the next king.

The “Wolf-Bellied” is Bhīma, the second of the five main Pāṇḍava children.

Droṇa is a great martial artist, who was the instructor of the entire royal family. His son is Aśvatthāmā, who beheaded the five sleeping children of “Kṛṣṇā.” The master of Droṇa’s son is Duryodhana, because he was the leader under whose cursed banner Droṇa and his son fought.

Kṛṣṇā is a name for the wife of the five Pāṇḍavas (Yes, all five brothers had a single wife. It’s a long story). She is so named because of her intense love for Kṛṣṇa, and is more commonly known by the name Draupadī.

15-16

When the mother heard of the ghastly massacre of her children she began to wail and weep. Then the famous Arjuna, with tears in his own eyes, pacified her by saying, “I will wipe away your tears, oh auspicious woman, when I give you the head of that so-called brahmin, pierced with the arrows of my bow. Then, stand on it while you take the bath you must after cremating your children.”

17

So the friend of the Infallible pacified his beloved with various heartfelt words. He then set off on his chariot in pursuit of his teacher’s son, dressed in armor and carrying his terrible bow.

18

When the child-killer saw Arjuna approaching furiously from the distance, he jumped on his chariot and fled for his life at full speed, panic striken – much like Brahmā and Sūrya fled from Śiva.

Śiva became furious when Brahmā expressed sexual desires towards a woman who was his daughter (mind you, since Brahmā is the first being in the universe everyone is his decedent in some way or another). Śiva also became enraged when Sūrya (the sun god) attacked someone he had blessed. The fear and panic with which Brahmā and Sūrya fled from Śiva is reminiscent of the fear with which the child-killer fled from Arjuna. The import here is that Arjuna’s ferocity and rage was on a par with Śiva’s, the god of destruction.

19

Eventually seeing that his horses were tired and he had no other alternative to save his life, that brahmin’s son invoked the ultimate weapon.

Although he is the son of a brahmin, he is not considered a brahmin because his behavior was immoral. If India paid more thoughtful attention to her own classical literature, the disgrace of the caste system would have been mitigated. Status in the four castes is to be acquired by behavior, not by birth.

20

So, because his life was in danger he took a drop of water and concentrated on those mantras even though he did not know how to restrain the weapon.

One should not do anything one cannot control. An attack one cannot restrain and balance should not be used by a warrior. Aśvatthāmā did not care for these principles because his only concern was for his own useless life. Therefore he put thousands of lives at risk by calling forth a magic weapon equivalent to a nuclear detonation without knowing how to restrain the explosion. Selfish people are always irresponsible, and when push comes to shove the implications are alarming. When such persons happen to be powerful, the implications are absolutely disastrous. Therefore the selfish must be kept from positions of power. Unfortunately, it is only they who desire power. Thus the world is invariably in turmoil.

21

Then a fierce life-threatening explosion erupted in all directions. Seeing it, Arjuna turned to speak to Kṛṣṇa.

There is a nice poetry in the Sanskrit that I cannot translate into English. Sūta names Kṛṣṇa “Viṣṇu” and Arjuna “Jiṣṇu” – creating a wonderful rhyme. Arjuna has the name Jiṣṇu because he was an ever-victorious warrior.

Operation Ivy, MIKE EVENT - Atomic bomb explos...

The fierce life-threatening explosion erupted in all directions.


Nārada’s Previous Life

Nārada has just finished explaining to Vyāsa why if he really wants to accomplish his goal of benefitting humanity he must give direct voice to the names, forms, qualities, and activities of the All-Attractive. Now he tells the story of his past life to illustrate how powerfully purifying it is to hear about the All-Attractive.

[1.5.23]

O scholar, in a previous creation I was the child of an insignificant maidservant. During the rainy season she was assigned to carefully attend the domestic needs of philosophers and mystics.

Nārada is one of the first children of the first being in the universe, Brahmā. So the words Nārada uses to mean “a previous life” also mean “a previous universe.”

[24]

I was not like most children, obsessed with frivolous games. I had discipline, was quiet, and listened carefully to instructions. Therefore I could make good use of the impartial mercy the learned bestow.

Divine mercy is infinitely ever-present. It is only lack of humility which causes us to close ourselves off from it. This boy had natural humility, and thus made very good use of the time he spent with saintly people.

[25]

For example, they allowed me to eat what remained on their plates. This erased all my karma and made my heart very pure. Thus I became naturally attracted to their way of life.

Eating the food left behind after one has served a pure person infects one with purity. When the heart is pure its constitutional attraction to the spiritual becomes self-manifest.

[26]

So I would go and listen to them; and they would affectionately sing to me about Kṛṣṇa. With great interest and care I paid attention to everything they described. Thus I acquired a real taste, O dear one, for the Beloved Subject of Discussion.

The boy found, among all the philosophers and mystics gathered during the rainy season, a special group of people who always enthusiastically sang about All-Attractive Kṛṣṇa (kṛṣṇa-kathāḥ pragāyatām).  One name for the All-Attractive is Priyaśrava, “The Beloved Subject of Discussion.”

[27]

O genius, when I got that taste my attention could not waver from the Beloved Subject. I saw that I was bewildered by thinking of myself as something temporary. I came to know myself as transcendental spirit.

[28]

So, throughout the rainy season and into the autumn I continued hearing the saṁkīrtan of those learned great-souls glorifying the pure fame of Hari. My devotion began to flow and the passion and ignorance that had covered me eroded.

Both the boy and the great souls were enjoying their kīrtana so much that they could not part when the time came at the end of the rainy season. All the other philosophers and mystics departed but the boy and the great souls continued hearing and chanting about All-Attractive Kṛṣṇa. This soon caused a river of divine love to begin pouring from what was previously the glacier of the boy’s spiritual heart. That river quickly and powerfully eroded the dirt of passion and ignorance which had covered his pure, clear spiritual existence.

[29]

I really loved them, and so listened to and followed them carefully. All the impurities of that faithful boy were destroyed I began to behave like them.

[30]

Being affectionate and compassionate towards the needy, before leaving me they instructed me on the most confidential knowledge that the All-Attractive himself gives.

[31]

By this instruction certainly I understood the powerful influence of the true creator – the Son of Vasudeva – and became prepared to attain him.

[32]

O Brahmin, the instruction was this: ‘The learned know that the best remedy for all miseries is to dedicate ones duty to the All-Attractive Master.’

When finally departing, the great souls told the boy how to perfect what he had begun to attain in their company. They gave him the same knowledge that Kṛṣṇa himself gives in Bhagavad-Gītā: Do not renounce active life, but change your activities so that their motive is to please the All-Attractive Master.

Vyāsa may be surprised that such great souls gave such an apparently simplified instruction to a boy who had already attained so much spiritual advancement. After all, action and duty is the very first rung on the Vedic ladder of spirituality. So Nārada said…

[33-34]

O man of good action, can’t same thing that causes a disease cure it when administered properly? So, activities cause our material bondage, but activities can also destroy it when they are dedicated towards spiritual ends.

This is a homeopathic principle.

[35]

Whatever one does to please the All-Attractive thoroughly links one to the All-Attractive with the bonds of divine love. What we call “knowledge” is but a dependent of this link.

Normally duty purifies one of selfishness, and thus allows one to more clearly perceive knowledge. Thus normally duty is subservient to knowledge. But when duties are dedicated to the pleasure of Godhead the paradigm is reversed. Knowledge becomes a maidservant facilitating the link of divine love.

[36]

By endeavoring to please the All-Attractive by following his instructions, one naturally always remembers and embraces the qualities and names of Kṛṣṇa.

Activities dedicated to pleasing Kṛṣṇa are so purifying because they cause one to always remember Kṛṣṇa. It is actually the remembrance of Kṛṣṇa which is purifying, not the action itself. But the action is a catalyst.

[37]

‘Now hear this transcendental message: I focus on you, the All-Attractive, and contemplate you. Vāsudeva, Pradyumna, Aniruddha and Saṁkarṣaṇa are the focus, not I.’

To validate that duties properly performed cause one to remember Kṛṣṇa, Nārada here quotes a Vedic mantra to be invoked when doing regular duties.

 [38]

A person with perfect vision worships the Object of Sacrifice in the form of sound.

The “Object of Sacrifice” is Yajña, another name for Viṣṇu. God “in the form of sound” (mantra-mūrti) is especially the Saṁkīrtan Yajña singing of the mahā-mantra:

hare kṛṣṇa, hare kṛṣṇa, kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa, hare hare
hare rāma, hare rāma, rāma rāma, hare hare

Since the power of divine action is in its ability to inspire remembrance of the names and forms of the All-Attractive, one with good vision wants to spend as much time as possible directly engaged in discussing and singing the names and qualities of Kṛṣṇa. Therefore the best action to perform for Kṛṣṇa’s pleasure is to discuss and sing about the Subject of Topmost Poetry.

[39]

O brahmin, that is how I obtained realized knowledge of Godhead. I acted upon it and was granted knowledge of Godhead’s opulent and multifarious powers. This lead me to personal affection for The Most Beautiful.

Nārada attained his status by Kṛṣṇa-saṁkīrtana: singing and discussing the names and qualities of the Divine Beloved. Keśava is a name for the All-Attractive indicating his beauty, especially due to his beautiful hair.

[40]

You also have learned by compiling the vast Veda that the wise who always seek knowledge try to please the Almighty. Describe this, and the miserable masses will get liberated from their constant suffering and sadness; from which there is no other escape.

Nārada concludes his story of his past life by saying, “Give direct voice to the names, forms, qualities, and activities of the All-Attractive. Thus accomplish your goal of liberating people from suffering. I am the proof that it works. Make them attracted to the All-Attractive.”


Bhagavatam… Buon Appetito!

There is a tree made of wisdom,
knowledge that fulfills your every desire and need.

On this tree is a fruit,
at the peak of ripeness.

A parrot lands upon the branches and pecks it with her beak,
its sugars and sweetness multiply.
Perfected,
like thickened juice within an impossibly thin skin.

Aho! You there!
You who crave for deep emotional significance!
You who wish to taste the true pleasures of life itself!
Yes you there, earthling!

DRINK IT!!!

Relish the nectar of this Bhagavatam-fruit,
again and again,
eternally without end!

This third verse of Srimad Bhagavatam is a beautiful poetic metaphor! The Sanskrit itself has an amazing meter. If “.” is a short syllable and “-” a long one, the meter of the Sanskrit is:

. . . – . . – | . . – . –

Here I will put the long syllables in bold:

nigama-kalpa-taror galitaM phalaM
zuka-mukhAd amRita-drava-saMyutam
pibata bhAgavataM rasam AlayaM
muhuraho rasikA bhuvi bhAvukAH

The meaning is as beautiful as the structure:

The Tree

The tree made of wisdom is a metaphor for the Vedic literature. “Vedic” literature is misunderstood by the definition of modern western scholastics. It is not merely the 3 or 4 original “Veda” but all the ancillary works which elaborate upon and elucidate it. That is the Indian conception of the term Vedic, and since India is the mother of the Veda, we ought to give it deference, no?

In any case, Vedic literature refers to the entire corpus of philosophical, practical, technological and religious material cultivated through at least a few dozen centuries in the region today called India. This includes the ritualistic four Veda; the explanation of their philosophical import, the Upanishad (108 principle books). The summary study of all this philosophy, the Vedanta Sutra. The application and retelling of the rituals and philosophy in semi-historical tales, the Purana and Itihasa (like Mahabharata, Bhagavad Gita, and Ramayan). And many other appendixes to the original four vedas in the form of manuals (Aranyas) and treatises (Samhitas and Siddhantas), etc.

To go back to the poetic image – it would be stupid to envision a tree of wisdom and knowledge with only four branches! The tree of wise knowledge (“veda”) has hundreds of branches spreading in all directions, in the form of Puranas, Itihasas, Upanishads, Aranyas, Samhitas, Siddhantas, Tikas, etc. etc.

The Fruit

There are many fruits on this huge tree, of course, but one fruit is particularly special because it is perfectly ripe. What does it mean to be “perfectly ripe”? It means to be at the absolute pinnacle of one’s maturity.

The Srimad Bhagavatam is thus depicted as the absolute pinnacle of Indian spiritual wisdom at the peak of ripeness. We will soon hear from its opening stories how the main author, Mahamuni Vyasa, compiled this after compiling all other Vedic works and having thus achieved a zenith of spiritual realization. In particular the Srimad Bhagavatam is the grand-finale of Vedic wisdom because it is (a) the sequel to the Vedanta Sutra, which is otherwise the most important Vedic book; the “second ripest fruit”, you might say; (b) the 18th of the 18 main purana, thus also the culmination of Indian thought as expressed through that medium. Thus the Srimad Bhagavatam represents the pinnicle of both the philosophical genius of the Vedanta-Sutra, as well as the poetic and theatrical mastery and relative ease-of-understanding developed in the Puranas.

The Parrot

The Sanskrit word for parrot is zuka. Mahamuni Vyasa is given credit as the compiler of Srimad Bhagavatam, but the main narrator of this tale is Vyasa’s son zuka-deva (“The divine parrot” – Sukadeva Goswāmī). Suka is really the one who expanded upon the core material within this Purana and made it as sweet and wonderful and easily digestible as it now is.

The imagery of a “parrot” is not always positive in English because it carries the meaning of one who simply repeats words without understanding their meaning. This connotation is absolutely absent from Sanskrit poetics. Instead the connotation of “parrot” is a bird with a special type of saliva that, when the bird bites a fruit, causes that fruit to become extremely sweet and ripe. So do not carry over the English connotation and imagine that the Bhagavatam is being narrated by someone who merely repeats what he heard from his father, without understanding. Not at all. Quite the opposite. The Bhagavatam is as sweet as it is because Sukadeva’s telling of it enhanced, expanded, and amplified the original meaning into an even more wondrous perfection.

Drink It!

Finally, we are implored to take our place in the poem. Our place is to grab the fruit and enjoy it!!!

What is unusual about this fruit is that it satisfies hunger without reducing the hunger, and it is eaten without ever diminishing. The more you meditate upon what you will hear in Srimad Bhagavatam, the more you will be able to meditate upon it! The more you enjoy it, the more and more you will be able to enjoy it.

Specifically this metaphor refers to the principle that meditation upon the Supreme Entity, Śrī Krishna is infinite. It is not a means to a goal, but is itself the goal and the means. Therefore it is never abandoned. Even the persons who are steeped in spiritual perfection continue to feast upon the perfect fruit of Srimad Bhagavatam. Even beyond liberation, even in the spiritual locus, our tongues will forever taste and vibrate the delicious topics discovered within this amazing book!