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A Summary of the Srimad Bhagavatham : Ch-4. Part-1.

4: The Stories of Siva and Sati, and of Rishabhadeva and Bharata :



Part-1.



The Srimad Bhagavata Mahapurana is filled with glorious stories of all the gods and divinities. That is why the Bhagavata is considered as a god by itself. It is a divinity in its own scope. To have the Srimad Bhagavata in one’s house is to plant God Himself on the altar of one’s residence.
In the Fourth Skandha we have the glorious katha of Siva and Sati, which will strike us with wonder and consternation.


When Brahma was about to create the world, from him the four Kumaras—Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana, Sanatkumara—were manifested for the first time. The moment they were born, Brahma told them to assist him in creation.


The Kumaras said, “We would rather concentrate our minds on the Supreme Being than engage ourselves in creation.”


Brahma was in a state of discomfiture at the total disregard that they paid to his request. He was annoyed, and anger burst through his forehead. But as these Kumaras were equally p…

A Summary of the Srimad Bhagavatham : Ch-3. Part-12.( Last Part )

3: Kapila’s Instructions to Devahuti



Part-12.


We have not only to be friendly with human beings, but we also have to be friendly with nature. We cannot oppose it under the impression that everything is well with us. There are laws of nature which are to be obeyed so that they become harmonised with the structure of our own being. If that has not been done, there is opposition one day or the other. Nature keeps quiet because our opposition to it is not very strong, but when we are bent upon it, it takes up its cudgels—and then we have poison before us.


However, briefly speaking, this churning of the ocean both by the Devas and the Asuras—the divine forces and the evil forces in us, both the positive and negative—find not the nectar. At least fourteen gems come up one after the other, each greater than the previous, so that in the attraction for these wonderful gems we may completely forget the very purpose of our churning. As I mentioned, the higher forces are more beautiful, more att…

A Summary of the Srimad Bhagavatham : Ch-3. Part-11.

3: Kapila’s Instructions to Devahuti



Part-11.



At the beginning of the attempt of spiritual practice, the sense organs feel a deficiency and an incapacity of an incomparable nature. There is a dark cloud hanging in front of us, and light will not be there in the earlier stages. The reason for the darkness in front of us—the opposition of ugliness and terror at the very outset—is due to a reaction set up by the dissatisfied senses which have not been given their fill by the objects of sense. The poison, therefore, is created by a circumstance of repulsion between the sense organs and the actual things which exist in the world. That repulsion has to gradually cease by facing it completely. We have to face that condition.



Our attempt at spiritual practice is not a smooth movement as if on a paved road. There is opposition from the world. In the beginning, it will be opposition from human beings only. Afterwards, nature itself will oppose. That is the second stage of opposition, and it is…

A Summary of the Srimad Bhagavatham : Ch-3. Part-10.

3: Kapila’s Instructions to Devahuti



Part-10.



The main theme is concentration on the Mahapurusha, for which, first of all, we have to equip ourselves with the characteristic of feeling that we have had enough with everything in this world. If we feel that we have not had enough of this world, this Person cannot be an object of our meditation. A sense of ennui and a feeling that we do not require anything else should take possession of us. We had a surfeit of all things in the world. A person who is defeated by the world cannot go to God. We have to conquer the world first; it is a snare placed before us. We have to pass through that net that is placed before us, and overcome it. This is the battlefield, actually speaking, in which we are not to be defeated. We have to win victory in this field of battle of the Mahabharata, which is taking place in the form of this very Earth itself in front of us. So, unless we have conquered the temptations of life, we will not be able to have an at…

A Summary of the Srimad Bhagavatham : Ch-3. Part-9.

3: Kapila’s Instructions to Devahuti


Part-9.



This dual force of Nara-Narayana is in Badrinath. In the Mahabharata there is a story about them. There was a king called Dambhodbhava, who wanted to conquer the whole world. He did not want to leave anything unconquered. He extended his kingdom to the shores of the ocean, and there was no king whom he had not vanquished. But his egoism did not feel satisfied, and he wanted to conquer more.

He went to Brahma and said, “I have conquered everybody, but still I have the desire to conquer more. Is there anyone whom I have not conquered? Tell me, so that I can conquer him also.”

Brahma wanted to tease this egoistic king, and said, “There are two persons whom you have not yet conquered, and you may go there and see if you can do anything to them.”

“Oh! Is it so? Let me know who they are,” said Dambhodbhava.

“They are Nara-Narayana. They are in Badrikashrama. You can show your strength to them,” replied Brahma.

“I will conquer them,” the king sai…

A Summary of the Srimad Bhagavatham : Ch-3. Part-8.

3: Kapila’s Instructions to Devahuti


Part-8.


So, in this great Person you find the world of your dear delight. All your delights are embedded there. All the honey that you can think of in every flower of the world, you will find there in that Universal flower of completeness. You will also find all your relatives there, if you want to see them. Your friends will be there; your treasure will be there; your property will be there; you yourself will be there. Can you imagine God in this fashion? “Difficult it is,” says Maharishi Kapila, because the mind’s attachment to lesser things is so poignant it does not easily release itself from their clutches.


In one place, Maharishi Kapila says, “Who is there in all creation free from total attachment to the finite objects of the world except Narayana, the great rishi who is supposed to be abiding in Badrikashrama? Except Him, who can resist the temptations of life?” In all the creations of Brahma, who is free from attachment except Narayana Hi…

A Summary of the Srimad Bhagavatham : Ch-3. Part-7.

3: Kapila’s Instructions to Devahuti


Part-7.


The beauty should be perfect, as incomplete, imperfect beauty cannot attract. But we have not seen perfect beauty anywhere in the world. Every beauty is imperfect; it has a flaw behind it, which we always ignore for the time being, for practical purposes; and that which is ignored will come up one day or the other and tell us that our concept of the beautiful object is not complete. But here, it is not like that. Nothing is hidden; it is open beauty.


Thus, Maharishi Kapila takes us gradually from the various parts of the Supreme Person to every other part. We can look at His head, His eyes, His nose, His hands, His chest, His whole person. What do we see there? We see the whole cosmos embedded in Him. We are not looking at an extra-cosmic Person standing on the top of the world, with His feet on the Earth as if the Earth has no connection with Him. This Mighty Person, called the Visvarupa, includes all the creation that He is supposed to h…

A Summary of the Srimad Bhagavatham : Ch-3. Part-6.

3: Kapila’s Instructions to Devahuti -


Part-6.


Now, coming to the point of meditation on God as the Supreme Person, we have to see how we can visualise Him in our presence as a mighty inclusiveness—a Person standing before us in all glory and perfection. We require a little bit of imagination and the power of will to concentrate like this.


We say that God created the world. The Bhagavata does not deny this fact that God created the world because the mind of the human individual cannot but accept that God created the world. We cannot violate our own sense of feeling. The Bhagavata does not expect us to violate our own feelings and acceptances, and takes them as they are. And like a good schoolmaster taking the student from the level of his own standard, the Bhagavata gradually takes us from our own standard of incompleteness and finitude, and the needs incumbent upon this finitude, to another level.


All the parts of this personality are equally distributed systematically, beautifully,…

A Summary of the Srimad Bhagavatham : Ch-3. Part-5.

3: Kapila’s Instructions to Devahuti -


Part-5.


Vishnu Padadikeshantavarnana is the subject of this description for the purpose of meditation: Beautiful are Your feet—resplendent, radiant. Rays of sunlight emanate from His toes—not merely a dazzling light before which we have to close our eyes, but a mellowed honey-like flow which is at the same time sweet and satisfying. Anything that proceeds from God is beautiful and sweet. If He speaks, it is beautiful, sweet words; if He thinks, it is beautiful, sweet thoughts; if He acts, it is beautiful, sweet action; if He blesses us, it is sweet blessing. There is nothing but sweetness in His case. And this sweetness is not a quality like the quality of sweet objects. It is the essence of God Himself.


One of the specialties of the Srimad Bhagavata is that it highlights the sweetness of God rather than His majesty and omnipotence. In the Mahabharata, for instance, there is special emphasis on the greatness, the power, the potency, and the abil…

A Summary of the Srimad Bhagavatham : Ch-3. Part-4.

3: Kapila’s Instructions to Devahuti -


Part-4.


We also have in our scriptures the description of the Mahapurusha, Purushottama.

(B.G. 15.18) : -

 Atosmi   loke   vede   ca   prathitah   purushottamah,  says Bhagavan Sri Krishna in the Bhagavadgita.

We cannot describe Him in any other manner except as Purushottama, the best of all purushas. Here the word ‘purusha’ does not connote a male being, but means an inclusiveness of all particulars, bereft of the distinction of male and female. We cannot say whether God is male or female, because that majesty is so complete that we cannot describe God section-wise or partially in terms of social connotations.


How does Maharishi Kapila describe the majesty of God, so that we may contemplate on Him? Yesterday I mentioned the Zen technique of attention paid to minute particulars of anything which becomes the object of concentration. Here is a similar description of meditation on every minute part of the body. The visualisation of God rises gradua…

A Summary of the Srimad Bhagavatham : Ch-3. Part-3.

3: Kapila’s Instructions to Devahuti -


Part-3.


The principle of devotion to God emphasises this aspect of a Person, but not like a human person, which is mortal in its nature. This is a metaphysical Person, inconceivable to the ordinary mind, the deathless Personality of God—the Mahapurusha, as we have it described in the Purusha Sukta of the Vedas. The very name Purusha suggests the idea of the Great Person.

Also, we should be satisfied and happy during the time of meditation. It is one of the conditions of successful contact with God. We cannot satisfactorily place ourselves before God Almighty with a sense of fear of Him, as if He is a terror in front of us and we do not know what He will do to us. The conviction of the devotee is that God will always do good, and His response is not always so uncertain that it causes insecurity in the heart of the devotee. We reach out to God and approach Him for succour because we feel certain that He will help us, and He will not harm us. We ca…

A Summary of the Srimad Bhagavatham : Ch-3. Part-2.

3: Kapila’s Instructions to Devahuti -


Part-2.



Yoga, therefore, consists in operating the mental factory in such a way that it works harmoniously with the structure of the cosmos. The whole of yoga is only this much. It is an attunement of the mental faculty in such a way that it works smoothly and harmoniously in relationship with the world as it really is. The world as it really is, is different from the world as it is to the perception of the mind. The mind has created a world of its own. This is what they call jiva-srishti, the creation of the jiva. But Ishvara-srishti is quite different. What God has created does not trouble us. What troubles us is what we have created on the screen of God's creation. So if our creation is in consonance with God's creation, we are on velvet. This is yoga. 

We are dissonant in our activities with the structural pattern of God's creation. We move disharmoniously with the pattern of what God has created in the form of this world. The na…

A Summary of the Srimad Bhagavatham : Ch-3. Part-1.

3: Kapila’s Instructions to Devahuti -


Part-1.


In the Third Book of the Srimad Bhagavata Mahapurana we have an elaborate presentation of the instructions given by Maharishi Kapila to mother Devahuti. Everyone should read this wondrous conversation between Sage Kapila and Devahuti for the variety of themes dealt with in this connection. Among many other things which are very important from the point of view of a sadhaka, the emphasis that Rishi Kapila lays here is concentration on God as the Supreme Person. The concept of God as a Person is pre-eminent in all religions. We cannot but conceive God as a Great Person, Whose limbs have to be the objects of our concentration. The minute details of this process are described by Kapila in these chapters.


In every religion, we will find that God is conceived as a Person—whether it is the Father in heaven, Allah, Ahura Mazda, or Narayana, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva. Whatever be the nomenclature of this Great Divinity, the idea behind it is the Perso…

A Summary of the Srimad Bhagavatham : Ch-2. Part-12. ( Last Part )

2: The Process of Creation :


Part-12.


The Bhagavata Mahapurana is a total beauty, and not an admixture of tiny pieces thrown together higgledy-piggledy. The Srimad Bhagavata says that it is the complete structure of the body of Bhagavan Sri Krishna. We cannot say that the body of Sri Krishna is made up of useless little parts. It is all living radiance amalgamated into a total whole of perfection and wondrous light that was Sri Krishna’s body, and that is embedded into the Srimad Bhagavata by the thought of the samadhi of Vyasa Bhagavan.


So, the sadhana of the Srimad Bhagavata is a divinity operating within us in terms of the divinity that is pervading everywhere. We may say that sadhana is God within us seeking God without, or we may say that it is God within us seeking God Who is everywhere. For that, we must be conscious of everything that is happening anywhere as being part and parcel of our relationship with the fraternity of humankind—not only humankind, but of all species and …

A Summary of the Srimad Bhagavatham : Ch-2. Part-11.

2: The Process of Creation :


Part-11.


I was reading a book that was presented to me, entitled Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I went through that book and found it is so interesting, and it gives us the whole technique of sadhana. ‘Zen’ is a Japanese word for meditation, which is dhyana in Sanskrit and chan in Chinese. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance—you will be wondering what kind of subject this is. The complicated structure of the motorcycle consists of various parts, but usually we are not aware of their existence. We only want to push a button, sit on it, and then ride. But how this button works, how the motorcycle is running, how many parts are involved in it and their cooperative, harmonious activity, with so much affection—can we imagine the total action taking place through the multifarious parts that constitute the motorcycle? The maintenance of it involves, equally, a great attention paid to each and every part—cleaning every nut and bolt, and so on, t…

A Summary of the Srimad Bhagavatham : Ch-2. Part-10.

2: The Process of Creation :


Part-10.

So where do we find ourselves now in our discovery? The source of our pain is not the world of objects, not merely the physical relationship, not the sense organs. It is something else, some power that drives the senses to objects and along channels which are untoward. This repository of energy, the reserve force which supplies the incentive for activity of the senses, is the antahkarana. Broadly, in English, we can call it the mind, generally speaking. The antahkarana is the internal organ.


Internal organ is what we call the psychological apparatus. We have broad divisions of these functions such as decision and understanding, which we call the buddhi in Sanskrit. We have got the function of self-arrogation and self-affirmation for the ego, or the ahamkara. There is the psychological function of retention of past experiences in memory, which is one of the functions of what we know as the chitta, and we have indeterminate perception and thinking …

A Summary of the Srimad Bhagavatham : Ch-2. Part-9.

2: The Process of Creation :


Part-9.


Thus originated the Srimad Bhagavata Mahapurana. It is the outcome of the samadhi-consciousness of Vyasa. The Bhagavata is called the Samadhi Bhasha. Vyasa’s language of samadhi is the Srimad Bhagavata Mahapurana. He has given us the final word, and there is nothing more to say. It is said that after Shakespeare wrote King Lear, he had nothing more to say; or some say that after Shakespeare wrote The Tempest, he threw his magic wand into the ocean as there was nothing more to write. Some such thing is also told about the Srimad Bhagavata. When Vyasa wrote the Srimad Bhagavata, there was nothing more for him to tell humanity. All knowledge is comprehended within this scripture. Vyasochhishtam jagat sarvam is an old saying: Whatever has been spoken from the mouth of Vyasa is all the knowledge about the world. Whatever we find in the world, we will find here; and whatever we cannot find here, we will not find anywhere else. That is the vastness and t…

A Summary of the Srimad Bhagavatham : Ch- 2. Part-8.

2: The Process of Creation :


Part-8.


At that time Narada came and asked, “What is the problem? Why are you looking despondent?”


Vyasa replied, “I have written everything conceivable on dharma, artha and kama in the Mahabharata, yet I feel that something has been left out. I have to complete my mission, but I cannot properly picture what it is that I am expected to do.”


Then Narada said: (S.B. 1.5.9). “You have not sufficiently glorified God in the Mahabharata. This is the defect of your work. You were busy with the narration of the epic—heroes, characters, and their vigorous opposition among themselves. You described the war in a mighty manner, but you have missed one thing. You have not adequately paid your honour, your homage, your tribute to the Almighty Creator of all this. In the Mahabharata epic, you have not expressed your love for God sufficiently. You have placed before people all the rules and regulations, but man cannot live only with rule, law and regulation. He also want…

A Summary of the Srimad Bhagavatham : Ch- 2. Part-7.

2: The Process of Creation :


Part-7.


But no particular species can consider this vast concept. It is not possible because together with the justice that requires a vaster vision of all things in the world, there is an indomitable pressure from inside us to mind our own business and not care what happens to others. But justice is not like that. God’s vision is all-pervading and sees all things equally, in every way—with one eye only. God does not have many eyes. The many eyes that we speak of in the Visvarupa are actually only one eye, like the many rays of the sun constituting one energy.


So is the process of creation which is described in the Third Skandha of the Srimad Bhagavata Mahapurana, which Brahma himself narrates to Narada on his particular request as to how things came to be at all—again the same question as to what is good for mankind, or what is good for anybody. To this question, Sukadeva answers by these analogies given through various stories in the Skandhas of the Bha…

A Summary of the Srimad Bhagavatham : Ch-2. Part-6.

2: The Process of Creation :


Part-6.



We consider human beings as everything. We think of peace in the world—world peace. Generally, as human beings, we only think of peace for humanity, and not for lions and snakes. We do not think of their peace, as it is not our intention. We do not want peace for any animal or insect in the world; our attitude is that they can take care of themselves. We have roundtable conferences only for the peace of mankind because man can think only as man, and he cannot think as any other species.



We are to give justice to everybody, but that is not possible because of the insistence of the personality of each individual. A snake cares only for itself, and it can strike anyone who comes near it. It does not think that all are equal. It is not possible for even a human being to think that all are equal, because the insistence of the body and the survival instinct of the particular personality—the shape into which one is born—is so strong. But justice is meted…

A Summary of the Srimad Bhagavatham : Ch-2. Part-5.

2: The Process of Creation :


Part-5.


The reason why there is such a degree in the process of evolution is that every species is given a chance to assert itself. No one can be considered as superior or inferior in this process; everybody is good enough. A tree is as good as a lion for its own purpose. We cannot say that a lion is superior to a tree; that comparison is not allowed anywhere in the scheme of creation. Even an insect has its own soul, and the ant’s insistence on the right to survive is as important as the elephant’s insistence on the right to survive. We cannot say an elephant is better than an ant. No such comparison can be made.



There are supposedly eighty-four lakhs (8,400,000) of species through which every soul has to pass; and we may say, as human beings, we have passed through these and become human beings, which is a great achievement. Manushyatvam durlabham is the adage of the ancient masters: It is difficult to be born as a human being because we have to cross t…

A Summary of the Srimad Bhagavatham : Ch-2. Part-4.

2: The Process of Creation :


Part-4.


Calculating Brahma’s lifespan is like calculating the distance of the stars—so many light years, and much more than that.


This creation lasts as long as the life of Brahma continues. When the hundred years of Brahma are over, there is cosmic dissolution. All the world will become liquid, as it were; there will be cosmic waters. But the question will arise, what happens to the individuals, people like us, when everything in creation is dissolved during dissolution? Do we attain liberation? No, we do not attain liberation even if the whole world is dissolved, because liberation is freedom from desires of every kind. A mere physical dissolution of things does not mean the dissolution of mental desires. Just as sleep is not the end of the day and is only a commencement of the next day, in a similar manner, this cosmic sleep at the time of dissolution is a universal cessation of all activity but not a liberation of the forces of individualities. They w…

A Summary of the Srimad Bhagavatham : Ch-2. Part-3.

2: The Process of Creation :


Part-3.


But after having created this total with the fiat of His will, there is no objection to the idea that the process of evolution took place gradually, because the theory is that creation is a cyclic process. It is not a sudden emerging of things that did not exist earlier. It is not that God created the world from nothing. We may say that, in some way, God does not create things Himself, as the sun does not create the problems of life, though without it no movement can take place here. God is responsible for the evolution of the potentials that existed during the conclusion of the previous cycle—called mahapralaya, the dissolution of the cosmos after one hundred lives of Brahma, the creative principle.


The one hundred lives of Brahma is something difficult to imagine in one’s mind. There are four cycles of time, called Krita Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dvapara Yuga and Kali Yuga. Kali Yuga, which is the time through which we are passing now, is considered to …

A Summary of the Srimad Bhagavatham : Ch-2. Part-2.

2: The Process of Creation :


Part-2


But having said all these things, Suka concludes by giving his final opinion  (S.B. 2.3.10) : Infinite desires can be fulfilled by infinite adorations of different varieties, summoning the angels in heaven in different ways, which are the upasanas as mentioned; but if you want nothing or want all things at the same time, then your heart should be devoted to the Supreme Narayana who is the mokshadata—the giver of liberation.


The condition to attain Narayana is that we want nothing or we want everything at the same time, because wanting everything is equal to wanting nothing. The trouble is that we want only certain things, and not all things. No one can humanly long for all things in the world at the same time. But why does the mind make this discrimination in asking for things? Why does it ask only for little things? Here is the trouble with human nature: it wants, but it does not want everything. But in the condition of moksha, liberation, we have…

A Summary of the Srimad Bhagavatham : Ch-2. Part-1.

2: The Process of Creation :


Part-1.


If any scripture of the Hindus can be compared with the Bible, it is the Srimad Bhagavata Mahapurana. It consists of twelve books, the first nine of which are something like the Old Testament, and the Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth can be compared to the New Testament. In the earlier sections—the first nine books—we have a cosmology of the whole of creation, and practically the history of mankind as conceived from the point of view of a religious interpretation of the process of creation. Suka Maharishi placed before Raja Parikshit a picture of the Cosmic Being, through whose Being, through whose Person run all the levels of existence—seven realms above and seven realms below, from Patala to Brahmaloka. Having described this wondrous structure of creation through every level which one has to pass in the process of spiritual evolution, Sri Suka now turns his attention to the possibility of self-purification through the worship of the lesser gods, who…