Tag Archives: Veda

Srimad Bhagavatam as an Expansion of Rg Veda

Veda pathashala students doing sandhya vandana...

The conversation between Brahmā and Nārada presented in the Second Canto (especially the part of that conversation described in the Sixth Chapter) is directly connected to a very important section of Ṛg Veda – 10.90, the puruṣa sūkta. You can say that the Bhāgavatam’s version of this conversation is a commentary or elaboration upon puruṣa sūkta, or that the Ṛg Veda contains a poetic summary of the conversation. In either case, the direct link between the two is important for demonstrating that (a) The bhakti approach presented in Bhāgavata Purāṇa is grounded firmly in the most ancient Ṛg Veda, and (b) The Ṛg Veda is not devoid of the fundamental principles of Vaiṣṇava-bhakti.

Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 2.5.27 explains the puruṣa sūkta line that begins with, “sahasra-śīrṣā” and its three verses that start with, “brāhmaṇi ‘sya mukham asit.” (Describing the Original Person as having infinite, omnipresent heads, arms, legs, etc. and being the original source of all the elements of the universe)

SB 2.6.13-16 explain the line, “puruṣa evedaṁ sarvam” (The Original Person is certainly everything that exists), and the line, “sa bhūmiṁ sarvataḥ spṛṣṭvā atyatiṣṭhad daśāṅgulam” (pervating everything in the world, he exists ten widths beyond it).

SB 2.6.18 explains the line, “utāmṛtatvasyeśāno uad annenāti-rohati” (He enjoys the greatest nectar, far surpassing mundane pleasures), and the line, “etāvān asya mahimāto jyāyāṁś ca pūruṣaḥ” (The greatness of the original person is extreme).

SB 2.6.19 explains the line, “pādo ‘sya viśva-bhūtāni tri-pādasy āmṛtaṁ divi” (All living entities exist within this one-fourth. Those in the three-fourths are divine and eternally joyful).

SB 2.6.20 explains the line, “tripād-ūrdhva udait puruṣaḥ pādo ‘syehābhavat punaḥ” (The three-fourths is above and beyond the one-fourth, which is repeatedly manifest and unmanifest).

SB 2.6.21 explains the line, “tato viṣvaṅ vyakrāmat sāśanāśanaśane ubhe” (They wander everywhere, in two directions, towards the real and unreal).

SB 2.6.28 explains the line, “yajñena yajñam ayajanta” (They worshipped by using Sacrifice to perform sacrifice).

SB 2.6.29 explains the line, “puruṣaṁ jātam agrataḥ tena deva ayajanta” (the gods came in front of the Original Person and worshipped him).


Enlightened by Krishna’s Kiss

I have finished the first draft of Chapter Four of Beautiful Tales of the All Attractive, Volume 2. I will celebrate by explaining a little bit about this chapter, and quoting you one of my favorite ślokas from it.

radha_and_krishna_love_and_longing_be53The Fourth Chapter of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam’s Second “Canto” is mainly about this:

King Parīkṣit asked Śukadeva Goswāmī to answer a question, “What is the most important thing to do, especially since I am about to die?” Śuka answered that in the first three chapters in such a complete and thorough manner that Parīkṣit and all who were listening were astonished. Parīkṣit did not want the discussion to end, even though his question had been completely satisfied, so he asked more questions.

Since Śuka had told him that he had enough time left in his life to be systematic and sequential in his approach to hearing about Krishna, Parīkṣit began by asking questions that are not inherently “intimate” or “advanced” yet nonetheless are fascinating, delightful, and essential for properly understanding the essential nature of Krishna. He asked several specific questions about how the universe exists, and admitted that it is basically impossible for anyone to answer such questions.

Śuka would then ask how he could be expected to reply properly, so Parikṣit explained that those who are intimately connected with the All-Attractive by the link of heartfelt devotion can comprehend the incomprehensible due to their direct proximity to the Divine.

Accepting this, Śuka set out to answer Parikṣit’s questions. He began by evoking his proximity to the Divine by glorifying Krishna and confirming that divine knowledge comes from his favor alone. One śloka he spoke towards the very end of the chapter (śloka 24) is a particular favorite of mine. I would like to share it with you.

My respects to the All-Attractive Son of Vasudeva. The affectionate souls who drink the delicate taste emanating from his lotus-like lips become full of knowledge and can create the Veda.

Śrīla Prabhupāda quotes Viśvanātha Cakravartī when explaining this śloka: On one level it refers to Vyāsa, Śuka’s father. On another level it can refer to Brahmā. On still another level it refers to the Gopīs, who become full of all artistic excellence and knowledge simply by receiving the kiss of Krishna.

Knowledge comes from the divine. It emanates from the mouth of the All-Attractive. Generally we think of words emanating from the mouth – and this is how Brahmā and Vyāsa received comprehension of the incomprehensible: by hearing the words spoken from the mouth of the All-Attractive. They then became capable of creating books of true knowledge: the Veda. But words are not all that emanates from the mouth. Kisses also come from there. The gopīs enjoy Krishna’s kisses, and thus they become infinitely surcharged with extremely powerful and abundant knowledge and expertise in all subjects – from philosophy to sciences to arts such as dance, music, cooking, poetry, cosmetics, fashion, etc.

We who are very low and ordinary souls also have the chance to taste Krishna’s kisses and become thus surcharged. But, in our thick stupidity we tend to ignore this opportunity or not pay much attention to it. How can we fools taste Krishna’s kisses? It is very simple – chant Krishna’s names, and Krishna then comes in contact with your lips. You are kissing Krishna!

Be aware of this intimatcy and you will become fully enlightened, like Vyāsa, Brahmā and the Gopīs.

“Hare Krishna”


History of the Vedas

History of the Vedas

The Rig Veda is one of the oldest religious te...

The Rig Veda is one of the oldest religious texts. This Rig Veda manuscript is in Devanagari (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Bhāgavatam clearly states (1.4.14) that the Vedas as we know them are not ahistorical. It says that Vyāsa’s efforts to organize the Veda into its current form began “when Age Two was in its third phase.”

Translating this into years is complicated because there are many types of “ages.” Ṛg Veda’s Vedāṁga Jyotiṣa, for example, defines a five-year age. Manu Smṛti and some sections of the Purāṇas define four ages as multiples of 1,000 years. While other places in the Purāṇas, and the Surya Siddhānta, define four ages as multiples of 360,000 years. It seems that the duration of an “age” is relative to the context. The five-year age is used in calendric contexts. 1,000 year ages are used in historical context. 360,000 year ages are used in astronomical context. It appears that the correct definition to use in this case is the historical age.

Ages are numbered in reference to their multiple, which is the reverse of their numeric order, and can therefore be confusing: “Age One” is the “Fourth Age” in successive order.

Each age has three parts. The main part of an age lasts for its ordinal (1-4) multiplied by 1,000 years, or 360,000 if the context is astronomical. The two other parts are the “dawn” and “dusk” transitions, each of which lasts 10% as long as the main part.

Scholars and scientists know with significant confidence that Age One began very near 3,100 BCE (and it seems that the historical and astrological ages were synchronous at this point). The age before it, “Age Two,” lasts for 2,000 years, with an additional dawn of 200 years and a dusk of the same duration. Vyāsa’s efforts began in the third part of Age Two, its dusk: roughly 3,300 BCE. This means that the history of the Vedas as we know them begins about 5,300 years ago.

From that date, over a period spanning many generations (ŚB 1.4.23), Vyāsa oversaw the evolution of the vast Vedic library. Towards the end of this process he decided to write Mahābhārata. After this, still unsatisfied after about 200 years of work, Vyāsa conceived of the seed of inspiration to write the Beautiful Tales of the All-Attractive (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam). This was during the very early dawn of Age One.

The modern rational mind raises several questions, among which are, “How can Vyāsa have lived for more than 200 years?” and “How could there have been well developed human culture 5,300 years ago.” The second question is easy considering that the currently accepted archeological model has observed human culture existing about 10,000 years ago, and in India from about 8,000 years ago. As for the first question, I can reply in two ways: (1), the “religious” way: Vyāsa was an incarnation of God, and had an unusual lifespan. (2), the “scholastic” way: Vyāsa was the founder of a school, and successors and students took his name as a title and attributed their works to him.

Our current copy of the oldest Veda, Ṛg, contains astronomical information that dates it in the vicinity of 5,000 years ago, consistent with the statement of Bhāgavatam itself.  The astronomical information found in our current version of Bhāgavatam dates it in the vicinity of 300 AD, this is about three thousand years short of when Bhāgavatam says it was conceived by Vyāsa and first given form by Śuka. In this regard one can conclude: (a) there can be a great deal of time between the original concept and the final version; (b) the scribes of Bhāgavatam may have set the story into a distant past via present tense; and (c) the scribes may add or revise information in their copies, over time.


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!”


The Political Scene of Kali Yuga (Plus, Reconciling Dualism, Non-Dualism, and the Vedas)

SB 1.17.25

Morality now limps around only on the leg of truthfulness. In Kali Yuga, immorality tries to destroy that leg by instigating deceits.

26

The All Attractive erased this great burden from the earth while his beautiful footprints spread happiness everywhere.

27

This saintly woman weeps and sheds tears, forsaken and unfortunate, thinking “Now low-class small-minded men masquerading as kings will exploit me.”

“This saintly woman” refers to the Earth goddess, present there in the form of a cow. In texts 26 & 27 Parīkṣit guesses her mind as thinking, “Now that my husband Krishna is gone I am forsaken and alone. Detestable creatures masquerading as real men will soon pounce upon and rape me.”

28

Having thus soothed Dharma and the Earth, the great chariot-warrior drew his sharp sword against Kali, the agent of immorality.

The “great charior-warrior” is King Parīkṣit.

29

Seeing his intention to kill, Kali very fearfully abandoned his king-costume and bowed his head to the king’s feet.

30

The heroic show mercy and kindness to the wretched who fall at their feet. So the praiseworthy giver of shelter did not kill him. With a bit of a smile, he spoke.

31

The King Said:

I must uphold the reputation of Arjuna, so since you put your hands together in supplication to me nothing fearful shall befall you. But by no means can you roam free in my lands, because you are a friend to immorality.

32

Wherever you impersonate a ruler the masses will become full of immoralities: greed, falsehood, thievery, unkindness, violence, decay, delusion, bickering and vanity.

33

A friend of immorality cannot remain where there is truth and morality: a spiritual place where sacrifice is done for the master of sacrifice with a full abundance of deep realization.

34

Such sacrifices worship the All-Attractive Hari – who is the soul of all worshipable forms, and who expands the happiness of the worshipers. His desires are unfailing. He is the soul that is inside and outside of everything that moves and does not move; like the sky.

Parīkṣit uses Sanskrit words here that fell out of fashion after the four Veda evolved into Upanishads and Puranas. It is because he is discussing the performance of sacrifice, and the four Veda are the basis of sacrificial culture in ancient India.

The sacrifices of the Veda seem rarely if ever directed to the All-Attractive Godhead. Instead they serve very practical, materialistic purposes and are directed to various material powers and demigods who can award practical success and happiness. Parīkṣit declares in texts 33 & 34 that when truly realized people perform these sacrifices it is All-Attractive Hari (hari bhagavān) whom they worship (iyjamāna), not the various demigods with whom the four Veda seem preoccupied. Those demigods are actually the forms (murti) in which the realized sacrificer sees All-Attractive Hari as the soul (ijyātma-murtiḥ). The demigods themselves are under the control of fate, therefore what power do they truly have to bless their worshipper? It is only Hari whose will cannot be thwarted in any circumstance, who has “unfailing desires” (kāmān amoghān). Therefore it is only Hari who can bless anyone with happiness and success. In Vedic sacrifices he uses the demigods as a vehicle to bestow those blessings. This is not a sectarian or ecclesiastic opinion. It is a self-evident philosophical truism.

One may then wonder, Are the demigods are equivalent to Hari? Parīkṣit says that Hari is not just the soul within the demigods, he is the soul within everything, even things which do not seem to be alive! Then is Hari contained within the demigods and souls of the world? No. Parīkṣit says that he is not only within everything, he is also beyond everything (sthira-jangamānām antar bahir ātmā). In this half of the verse Parīkṣit switches is word choice from a Vedic to an Upanishadic tone; because the Upanishads were written to explain the philosophical truths hidden within the apparently superficial symbols and rituals of the Veda, and that is exactly what Parīkṣit is doing.

One may ask, How can something be inside and outside at the same time? Parīkṣit therefore names a prominent Vedic deity: Vāyu, god of the sky. Everything in our world is within the sky, but that does not mean that the sky is limited and contained within everything. The sky is distinct from and greater than everything within it! Similarly All-Attractive Hari is the soul within everyone and everything, yet is an individual person as well, greater than and distinct from everyone else.

This is a perfect synthesis of dualism and non-dualism. The great teacher Śrī Caitanya picked up on this philosophy held by Parīkṣit and enunciated by Sūta in the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. He developed it into a school of thought known as acintya-bhedābheda-tattva (“the truth of wondrous unity and difference”).


Seeing Krishna in the Womb

1.12.1-3

Śaunaka asked:

The Controller kept Uttarā’s womb viable and safe from the terrible power of Aśvatthāmā’s ultimate weapon. Please tell us of about the birth of that very wise child, and the life of that great soul, and his death, and of course how he achieved his next destination. We are eager and enthusiastic to know about this, for he is the one to whom Śuka gave knowledge.

If you consider how the story line developed just now, you’ll see that Sūta got carried away and drawn off topic due to his strong emotional affinity for speaking directly about Kṛṣṇa. Several chapters ago he began discussing the birth of Parīkṣit, but got drawn instead into describing Kṛṣṇa in detail. Since that story line had reached a conclusion by Kṛṣṇa being reunited with his intimate queens, Sūta is ready to return to his original topic: the birth of Parīkṣit. He required prodding from Śaunaka to do so, however, for his mind was still reminiscing on the previous topics.

4

Sūta said:

The moral king governed just like his father, and all the citizens were happy. He had no trace of personal ambitions or desires because he always wanted to be useful to Kṛṣṇa’s feet.

Sūta returns to the original storyline by picking up with a recap of King Yudhiṣṭhira’s reign.

Feet are a prevalent motif in Vedic symbolism. They are the lowest part of a person. So by saying “he always wanted to be useful to Kṛṣṇa’s feet” it indicated that the King so valued Kṛṣṇa that being useful to him even in the lowest and smallest manner was his only aspiration. Because the King therefore had no personal ambitions, he was completely free from the tenacious tendency towards exploitation. His actions as a leader were motivated only by philanthropic desire to care for the citizens. Thus his kingdom was extremely prosperous and happy.

5-6

His wealth, rituals, queens, brothers, kingdom and sovereignty over the earth was famous throughout the three skies. The gods themselves hanker and lust for what he had, but the king’s mind was full of Lotus-Faced (Mukuṇḍa), so there could never be any hunger for such things.

A hungry belly wants to eat, but a very full belly will turn away even from the most delicious treats. When the mind and heart is saturated with the All-Attractive, there is no hunger for anything else.

7-10

O Bhṛgu’s Son, when that heroic child was in the womb, he saw someone else with him as he began to suffer from the blast of the weapon. He was very pleasing to behold, with black complexion like a dark cloud surrounded by lightning-like yellow clothes and a blazing golden crown; very pure and only a digit in size. He had four beautifully long arms and earrings of purest gold. His eyes were red with anger and there was a mace in his hand. He moved like a shooting star, encircling the child and constantly swinging the mace to dissipate the blast of the weapon, just as the sun evaporates fog. The child thought, “Who is this?”

11

When All-Attractive Hari, who is the soul of all and protector of morality, was seen purifying all directions of danger, he immediately retreated to the inner recesses.

Hari emerged from the inner recesses of reality to protect the child from the weapon’s radiation. But when the child saw him doing so, Hari again disappeared into the inner recesses of reality.


Philosophy in the City – Part 4

1.10.27

Aho! Rising higher than the fame of heaven
The Land of Kusha Grass raises the virtuous fame of the earth.
It’s citizens always see the kindness-laden smiling glance
Of the soul’s true husband.

The “Land of Kusha Grass” (kuśasthali) is Kṛṣṇa’s home city, Dvārakā. The citizens of Dvārakā are more celebrated than the citizens of heaven, because in Dvārakā the blessing-filled, pleasant and loving glances of Kṛṣṇa – the soul’s true husband – are always seen.

28

In their previous lives, certainly his queens must have
Perfectly worshiped the Master with vows involving rituals, baths, and so on;
For these women drink, again and again, the heavenly nectar of his lips,
The mere hope for which causes the women of Vraja to faint.

Much of what the ladies discus, especially in texts 27 and 28, directly mocks the foolishness of the Vedic priests who were chanting benedictions, hymns, and mantras while Kṛṣṇa makes ready to depart. The heavenly planets and the nectar of immortality found there are primary objectives of Vedic rituals, but these girls are ridiculing those objectives in comparison to what is easily and automatically found in Kṛṣṇa.

They said that the everyone present is more fortunate than anyone else in the three worlds, because the Supreme Being playfully walks among them. Then they said, “He is only here temporarily, imagine the glory of his home city, Dvārakā! The residents there are truly fortunate because they regularly get what we rarely get. The glory of that place belittles the attractions of heaven!”

Then another lady continues the theme, “All those residents are fortunate because they experience the glance of Kṛṣṇa, but imagine the queens there, who always drink the nectar of his lips!!! Such nectar makes the nectar of heaven seem like old coffee!”

Then another says, “But my friends, best of all are the women of Vraja – where Kṛṣṇa was unreservedly intimate. Their love for him is so great that they swoon from the taste of that nectar without even needing to physically have it!”


Philosophy in the City – Part 3

24

This man, O friend, is certainly the most fitting topic for song,
The most intimate object known by the most intimate knowers.
He alone is the master of everything,
As his own play he creates, maintains and destroys it without attachment.

Another girl turns to a friend close by her side, tugs gently upon her arm and says, “Dear friend, that man is the real topic for love songs! Such songs are real spiritual discussion.”

“Ah,” answers her friend, “but who will write such songs?  The world is full instead of worthless hymns, mantras, poems, and lyrics.”

The girl answers quickly and confidently, “We will! And we will inspire others too! We are guhya-vādī – the most intimate philosophers. We alone know the Veda’s most intimate secret (vedeṣu guhyeṣu). That is why our gossip and chatter is better than any sermon, it is sat-katha! Those who listen to the lyrics we now weave will later expand them into new song!”

At this point, an older woman who was sitting a bit apart with folded arms finally expressed her growing dissatisfaction and suspicion of these young ladies, “Oh please,” she blurted out. “You are just ridiculously in love with that charismatic heartbreaker, that’s all. You are just lusty, pritter-prattering young urban girls. Why on earth are you insulting priests, scholars and real spiritualists by pretending to be some deep and mysterious philosophers and transcendentalists!?”

“Oh be quiet, you old crow!” Shout the young ladies in unison. “If you had half an ear you would already know the answer to your own question, for we have already explained all that. He is no ordinary charmer! He alone is the true master of everything in the universe! You people speak of gods of universal creation, maintenance and annihilation – but the truth is that all such things take place effortlessly as a result of his playful will!”

“Playful!?”  The old woman attempts to retort. “What could possibly be ‘playful’ about universal creation and destruction!?!?”

With a long sigh and quiet laugh, the girls said, “You really are thick-headed, grandma. Everything exists merely for the sake of joy, for play. All the sufferings and disasters in this world are our own doing, as a result of protest against our inherent nature to facilitate his play. Yes, we say this entire universe is nothing but play.”

Seeing the persistent sour look on the old woman’s face start to barely give way to curiosity, they invited her, “Unfold your arms, and come over here with us. Get a good clear view of our handsome Master. We think your dry old breasts will again perk up when you see him with your own eyes! And when your bosom blossoms with love for him you too will clearly see all these confidential secrets of reality kept hidden from those with eyes blinded by turning away from the sunlight of Godhead towards the darkness of ego.”

Opening their arms and waving her over, the encouraged, “Come dear woman, come…”

25

When immoral and dark-hearted kings thrive
Then, with his absolute goodness he manifests
Opulence, reality, truthfulness, compassion and fame
In many forms, aeon after aeon.

Now the old, reluctant woman has joined the young ladies and looks down upon Śrī Kṛṣṇa seated upon a fabulous chariot slowly rolling into the road in front of the palace. The young ladies help the old woman appreciate him by recounting a well-known philosophical principle of the time.

“You see that handsome man?” They gently ask her. “He is the one that scriptures say appears aeon after aeon in so many different forms for the sake of counteracting immorality and dark-heartedness by broadcasting his beautiful opulence, reality, truthfulness, compassion.”

26

Aho! How very praiseworthy is the Yadu family!
Aho! How very praiseworthy is the Sweet Forest!
The greatest person of all, the husband of the Goddess of Fortune,
Was born from them, and walked amongst them!

Now all the women, young and old, overcome with the ecstasy and deepest profound visions of divine love exclaim Kṛṣṇa’s glories in one voice: This man who walks among us is actually that All-Attractive godhead who sets the world aright age after age. How fortunate and lucky are we, therefore!

We often have “God” rammed down our throats, “now get down on your knees and fear his wrath, and be in awe of his power.” So, we are prone to misunderstand Kṛṣṇa as a self-centered being, imparting on him the imperfections of greed and hunger ingrained within our own mentalities. In fact Kṛṣṇa is a being of purely selfless love who purposefully invests other persons, places and things with the power to lift him to his highest heights. Thus the husband of the Goddess of Fortune decides to be born amongst simple cowherd people in the sweet forest of Madhu-vana, and be loved, raised, and even protected by them.

 


The Origin of Karma and Illusion

1.7.1

Śaunaka asked: After Bādarāyaṇa heard godly Nārada speak and then leave, what did he do, O Sūta?

Bādarāyaṇa is a name of Vyāsa, whose main headquarters is at Badarīk Ashram in the Himalayas.

2

Sūta answered: On the western shore of the sacred river Sarasvatī, in a place called Śamyāprāsa, is an ashram reputed to be ideal for spiritual research.

3

There, surrounded by Badarī trees, is Vyāsa’s personal ashrama where he sat, washed his hands and focused his mind within.

Vyāsa’s headquarter is called Badarīk Ashrama because it is surrounded by Badarī trees; a type of cotton shrub called Jujube. The Śrīmad Bhāgavatam does not agree with those who contend that Bādarāyaṇa and Vyāsa are entirely different people. The arguments of those who dissect the universe into slices which fit their preconceived misconceptions are endless and serve little purpose.

4-6

[4:] Perfectly linking his mind in pure devotion, he saw the Complete Original Person, with all energies at his command. [5:] These energies bewilder the transcendent soul to blindly conceive of itself as a product of matter; and to become caught up in the endeavor for useless things. [6:] This entanglement with useless things can be erased straightaway by linking oneself to the Supreme in divine love. Because people in general don’t know this, Vyāsa compiled this spiritual treatise.

7

Just listen carefully to it and devotion for the All-Attracative Paramount Personality, Kṛṣṇa, will take root, extinguishing the laments, confusions, and fears of humanity.

I will offer my insignificant but hopefully useful comments on texts one through seven.

Nārada told Vyāsa to personally realize the importance of divine love and then express that realization as a new addition to the Veda. So when Nārada departed, Vyāsa went to his ashram and sat in deep meditation.

Text 4 describes the type of meditation and the vision he obtained by it. Vyāsa meditated by the yoga of devotion. Thus he succeeded in attaining an absolutely perfect link from his mind to the Paramount Person (bhakti-yogena manasi samyak paṇihite ‘male). What he then beheld was a vision of that Supreme Person with all energies completely at his command (apaśyat puruṣaṁ pūrṇaṁ māyāṁ ca tad-apāśrayam).

Vyāsa saw that the Personal Being of Godhead is in control of every other energy. This directly contradicts the idea that a personal God is a figment, a myth, a primitive anthropomorphic impulse of simple minds. Even people within the modern religions of the world are infected with this concept. It is not the concept held by Vyāsa when he composed Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. Vyāsa saw that the creative and illusive powers that be are under the control of Godhead, not visa versa (māyām ca tad-apāśrayam).

Text 5 describes the illusion created by one of the Paramount Person’s energies. This energy bewilders not God, but the infinitesimal fragment of God, the soul (yasyā sammohito jīva).

Why does God want to bewilder anyone?

God loves everyone. Loving a person means that you want to fulfill their desires and care for their needs. God uses his energy for this purpose alone. When someone wants to experience existence from the point of view of being the center, the focal point of all attention and affection – God, as always, wants to fulfill that desire. Normally this is exclusively God’s experience of reality, but to share it with the souls who so desire God employs his energy to create a completely compelling and fully believable illusion. In this illusion the soul accepts an temporary identity like a role in a drama (ātmānaṁ triguṇātmakam paro ‘pi manute), and in that persona pursues various goals, which are props of no real value or use to us outside the context of the drama (anarthaṁ tat-kṛtaṁ cābhipadyate).

Love means to fulfill the beloved’s desires, and care for their needs. So God’s energies not only fulfill our desires, they tend to our needs. The soul may desire to be self-centered, but what it eventually needs is to be willingly harmonious with its essential nature. God’s energy bewilders the soul into a sensation which fulfills its impossible dreams, but also provides the possibility of reform. How? By responsibility. The energy of illusion (māyā) bewilders us, and the energy of responsibility (karma) offers us reformation.

Text 6 describes the best method of reform. Vyāsa saw that the best way to delete the complications of illusion is by divine love. We are also an energy of Godhead, so we should also place ourselves into his shelter and control. The best way to place oneself in the hands of another is by pure love. Thus Vyāsa understood that divine love (bhakti-yoga) is the best remedy for illusion.

So Vyāsa became personally inspired to do what Nārada asked of him: create a new spiritual treatise (sātvata-saṁhita) which would help the common man understand what Vyāsa has just personally understood in his mystical vision.

Text 7 tells us that if we just listen carefully to that treatise, divine love for the All-Attractive Paramount Personality, Kṛṣṇa, will take root in our heart (yasyāṁ vai śrūyamāṇāyāṁ kṛṣṇe parama-pūruṣe bhaktir utpadyate). The side effect of that divine love is to extinguish all human lamentation, illusion and fear (śoka-moha-bhayāpahā).

The River Sarasvati Closeby Vyasa's Ashrama in the Himalayas


The Perfect Carefree Musician

1.6.34

Those with hearts troubled by the ceaseless hunger of the senses for sensual objects can cross that oceanic depth on the boat of hearing about the activities of Hari. I have seen it myself.

35

Following the rules of yoga can also destroy tenacious lust and greed, but does not truly satisfy the soul as does loving service of the Lotus Faced.

36

I’ve said all this to answer your questions, sinless one. These secrets behind my birth and activities will also bring you satisfaction.

As Nārada prepares to depart Vyāsa’s company, he leaves him with the most important instructions, “You are depressed because you feel you haven’t truly fulfilled your vow of truly helping humanity, despite your legendary efforts. You have even presented wonderful mystical and philosophical paths (Yoga, etc.) which can alleviate pain, but cannot grant positive pleasure. Your efforts are still incomplete because you have not yet adequately stressed the importance of divine love, which is cultivated and experienced through loving discussion of the glorious name and fame of the All-Attractive, Hari. That is how I became free from sadness and immersed in joy. That is how you will also overcome your depression and incompleteness and experience bliss, as will all of humanity.”

37-38

Sūta said: having said all this, the learned and blessed Nārada Vāsavī’s-son began playing his vīṇa and left to go wherever he might. Ah! The sage of the gods is so fortunate! He delights in playing this instrument and singing the kīrtan of the Bow-Carrier. Thus he brings pleasure into the world of distress.

Sūta expresses his honest and natural admiration of Nārada, whose sole duty is to go wherever he likes playing a divine musical instrument and singing in a manner that brings pleasure to a world otherwise thoroughly beset with distress and anxiety. Many musicians are envied by those who work hard, but none know the secret as well as Narada. To be the perfect carefree bard and musical genius, and to thus bring the highest joy constantly to oneself and one’s audience, one must sing the name and fame of the All-Attractive.

According to Vedic martial sciences, the finest human bows cannot match the weight and size of the bows of heaven, and in turn those heavenly bows cannot compare to one unique bow called Śārnga, which is the sole property of Vishnu. One name for Godhead therefore is “Bow-Carrier.”

English: Lady with Musical Instrument in Bengal

Bengali Lady Plays a Vina