So Vedas means knowledge. So from the Vedas you can get all kinds of knowledge, both material and spiritual. Therefore it is called Veda, knowledge. So in that tree of knowledge the ripened fruit is Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is written by Vyāsadeva after writing four Vedas and the eighteen Purāṇas, the 108 Upaniṣads, then Vedānta-sūtra, and Mahābhārata, in which Bhagavad-gītā is set up. So after compiling all these Vedic literatures Vyāsadeva was not satisfied. Then his spiritual master advised him to describe the activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Bhagavāt. Bhagavān. The word Bhagavāt and... Bhāgavata is also in relationship with Bhagavāt or Bhagavān. So every śloka of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is full of spiritual information. If we take advantage of this great Vedic literature, then we become fully aware of Bhagavān and the devotees of Bhagavān. Therefore it is named Bhāgavatam. But this Bhāgavatam has to be studied from the very beginning and take the lessons from live bhāgavata. There are two kinds of Bhāgavatam—one, this grantha bhāgavatam, and the other is a person bhāgavatam. Caitanya Mahāprabhu advised that if you want to understand Bhāgavatam, then you must approach a person whose life is Bhāgavatam. He said, bhāgavata para-giya bhāgavata sthane, that "If we learn, listen, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam from the person bhāgavatam, then it is very easy to understand the spiritual knowledge given in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam."
So here Ṛṣabhadeva... Ṛṣabhadeva was the father of Mahārāja Bhārata, under whose name this land is called Bhāratavar\ sa. Bhāratavarṣa is derived from the name of Mahārāja Bhārata. So his father, Ṛṣabhadeva, He is accepted as incarnation of Kṛṣṇa. So He is giving instruction to His sons before retiring. In our Vedic culture there is compulsory retirement. There is compulsory retirement. That is Vedic civilization, varṇāśrama-dharma. What is going on... As we are going on in the name of Hindus, but Hindu is not mentioned in the Vedic literature. In the Vedic literature the principles or the institute followed by the inhabitants of Bhāratavarṣa is called varṇāśrama-dharma. That is real occupation.
- puruṣeṇa paraḥ pumān
- viṣṇur ārādhyate puṁsam
- nānyat tat-toṣa-kāraṇam
- (CC Madhya 8.58)
Whole Vedic civilization means: realize God. That is Vedic civilization. Viṣṇur ārādhyate. We are part and parcel of Viṣṇu, or the Supreme Lord. As it is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā, mamaivāṁśo jīva-bhūtaḥ (BG 15.7). Jīva-bhūtaḥ, these living entities, not only human being but everyone, sarva yoniṣu kaunteya (BG 14.4), in every form of life, the living entities are covered with the material dress. So Bhāgavata-dharma, or spiritual life, can be understood when one has understood his identification, what he is. Therefore in the Bhagavad-gītā the first lesson given by Kṛṣṇa to Arjuna is to bring him to the spiritual platform. When Arjuna was lamenting on the body of his relatives on the other side, he was too much affected in the bodily conception of life: "How I shall fight with the other side? They are all my brothers, nephews, my teacher, my grandfather, and who has fought with such enemies in the history?" Everyone fights. There is fighting but not fighting with own men, even at the present moment, although there is sometimes civil war.