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Srimad-Bhagavatam is the graduate study of spiritual life

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Srimad-Bhagavatam

SB Canto 2

Bhagavad-gītā, although containing the high philosophy of the Vedic wisdom, is for the beginners in the transcendental science, and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is for graduates and postgraduates in the transcendental science.
SB 2.3.14, Purport:

As we have already quoted above from the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu of Rūpa Gosvāmī, even mundane things, if dovetailed in the service of the Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, are accepted as transcendental. For example, the epics or the histories of Rāmāyaṇa and Mahābhārata, which are specifically recommended for the less intelligent classes (women, śūdras and unworthy sons of the higher castes), are also accepted as Vedic literature because they are compiled in connection with the activities of the Lord. Mahābhārata is accepted as the fifth division of the Vedas after its first four divisions, namely Sāma, Yajur, Ṛg and Atharva. The less intelligent do not accept Mahābhārata as part of the Vedas, but great sages and authorities accept it as the fifth division of the Vedas. Bhagavad-gītā is also part of the Mahābhārata, and it is full of the Lord's instruction for the less intelligent class of men. Some less intelligent men say that Bhagavad-gītā is not meant for householders, but such foolish men forget that Bhagavad-gītā was explained to Arjuna, a gṛhastha (family man), and spoken by the Lord in His role as a gṛhastha. So Bhagavad-gītā, although containing the high philosophy of the Vedic wisdom, is for the beginners in the transcendental science, and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is for graduates and postgraduates in the transcendental science. Therefore literatures like Mahābhārata, the, purāṇas and similar other literatures which are full of the pastimes of the Lord, are all transcendental literatures, and they should be discussed with full confidence in the society of great devotees.

The Lord, as the compassionate father of all living beings, imparts unto them the vast Vedic knowledge in short treatises like the Bhagavad-gītā and, for the graduates, the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
SB 2.7.36, Purport:

Herein Brahmā mentions the future compilation of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam for the short-lived persons of the Kali age. As explained in the First Canto, the less intelligent persons of the age of Kali would be not only short-lived, but also perplexed with so many problems of life due to the awkward situation of the godless human society. Advancement of material comforts of the body is activity in the mode of ignorance according to the laws of material nature. Real advancement of knowledge means progress of knowledge in self-realization. But in the age of Kali the less intelligent men mistakenly consider the short lifetime of one hundred years (now factually reduced to about forty or sixty years) to be all in all. They are less intelligent because they have no information of the eternity of life; they identify with the temporary material body existing for forty years and consider it the only basic principle of life. Such persons are described as equal to the asses and bulls. But the Lord, as the compassionate father of all living beings, imparts unto them the vast Vedic knowledge in short treatises like the Bhagavad-gītā and, for the graduates, the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. The Purāṇas and the Mahābhārata are also similarly made by Vyāsadeva for the different types of men in the modes of material nature. But none of them are independent of the Vedic principles.

Lectures

Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures

This Bhagavad-gītā is the ABCD of knowledge. This is entrance examination, matriculation examination, school-leaving examination. And Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is graduate.
Lecture on BG 13.22-24 -- Melbourne, June 25, 1974:

So if we read the Vedic literature, and you get full knowledge, and the essence of Vedic literature is Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. And the Bhagavad-gītā is the preliminary study of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. ABCD. This Bhagavad-gītā is the ABCD of knowledge. This is entrance examination, matriculation examination, school-leaving examination. And Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is graduate. When you become graduate in spiritual knowledge, then you can understand Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. And when you have passed your Bachelor degree, when you are post-graduate, that study is Śrī-Caitanya-caritāmṛta.

So we have got three different status of reading capacity. We have got already twenty books. So don't waste your time. Try to understand what is Kṛṣṇa and what is spiritual life by reading these books. Everything is explained there.

Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures

We have to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra very rigidly, regularly. Then our, this enviousness, the dirty things will be over, and we shall be able to understand what is Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam... Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the graduate study. Those who are interested in God, for them, this is graduate study.
Lecture on SB 1.1.2 -- London, August 18, 1971:

So this bhāgavata-dharma is not for such envious persons. Therefore it is stated here, paramo nirmatsarāṇāṁ satām (SB 1.1.2). Not for the envious persons. The envious persons—that means materialists—they will not be able to understand what is spoken in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Śrīmad-bhāgavate mahā-muni-kṛte kiṁ vā parair īśvaraḥ sadyo hṛdy avarudhyate. So our process is, because we are envious by nature, therefore we have to cleanse our heart. Therefore we have to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra very rigidly, regularly. Then our, this enviousness, the dirty things will be over, and we shall be able to understand what is Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam... Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the graduate study. Those who are interested in God, for them, this is graduate study. The entrance study is Bhagavad-gītā. Just like you pass your entrance examination, matriculation examination, then you are entered into college, then you become graduate; similarly, after reading Bhagavad-gītā, you are allowed to enter into the understanding of God. Because in the Bhagavad-gītā the ultimate instruction is sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja (BG 18.66). There are discussion of the yoga, karma, jñāna, bhakti... Everything is there in the Bhagavad-gītā. But ultimately the last instruction is that "This is the secret of success, My dear Arjuna," guhyatamam. "You simply surrender unto Me, and I shall give you all protection." Mā śucaḥ, "Don't bother." This is required. This is the beginning of God consciousness. So unless we have finished nicely the study of Bhagavad-gītā or unless we have accepted this proposition of God that "You surrender," there is no entrance in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.

Bhagavad-gītā is the preliminary study of spiritual life, ABCD of spiritual life. The people cannot understand even the ABCD of Bhagavad-gītā, and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the graduate study.
Lecture on SB 1.5.11 -- London, September 12, 1973:

We have no information in this age, at the present time, what is that spiritual world, but they are all stated in the Bhagavad-gītā: paras tasmāt tu bhāvo 'nyo 'vyakto 'vyaktāt sanātanaḥ (BG 8.20). Everything is there in the Bhagavad-gītā. Bhagavad-gītā is the preliminary study of spiritual life, ABCD of spiritual life. The people cannot understand even the ABCD of Bhagavad-gītā, and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the graduate study. So everything is there. Unfortunately it was not distributed. So our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement has started to distribute this literature, especially Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. We have already translated about twenty books. They are present before you, and our aim is to present to the human society sixty books. Still translation is going on. So our request to the publishers and book sellers, that "Let this literature be distributed properly. People will be benefited."

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Lectures

The Bhagavad-gītā is the A-B-C-D to entrance, and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the graduate study, and Śrī-Caitanya-caritāmṛta is the postgraduate study of spiritual life.
Lecture on CC Adi-lila 7.1 -- Mayapur, March 1, 1974:

Caitanya-caritāmṛta is the postgraduate study of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The Bhagavad-gītā is the A-B-C-D to entrance, and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the graduate study, and Śrī-Caitanya-caritāmṛta is the postgraduate study of spiritual life. My Guru Mahārāja, His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Prabhupāda, whenever he got some time he used to read Caitanya-caritāmṛta. And he predicted that the whole world like to read Caitanya-caritāmṛta, and for this reason they'll learn Bengali. Therefore, following his footsteps, I have kept the Bengali character and tried to give the literary meaning of each word of the Bengali poem. This is, of course, Sanskrit. This book is full of Sanskrit verses. Some of them are composed by the author himself, Kavirāja Gosvāmī, and some of them are quoted from various literature, Vedic literature.

General Lectures

Just like students, they pass their school examination then enters into the college. So you pass your school examination, how to love God, by studying Bhagavad-gītā As It Is. Then study Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and... That is graduate study.
Lecture -- Seattle, September 30, 1968:

Now to learn this, all this science of loving God, there must be some book, some authoritative literature. Yes. Caitanya Mahāprabhu says, śrīmad-bhāgavatam amalaṁ purāṇam. The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, it is spotless description of understanding how to love God. There is no other description. From the beginning it is teaching how to love God. Those who have studied Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the first verse in the First Canto is janmādy asya yataḥ, satyaṁ paraṁ dhīmahi (SB 1.1.1). The beginning is that "I am offering my unalloyed devotion unto the Supreme, from whom everything has emanated." Janmādy asya yataḥ. So it is a... You know, it is a great description. So Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. If you want to learn how to love God, or Kṛṣṇa, then study Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. And to understand Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the preliminary study is Bhagavad-gītā. So study Bhagavad-gītā to understand the real nature or identification of God and yourself and your relationship, and then, when you are little conversant, when you are prepared, that "Yes, Kṛṣṇa is the only lovable object," then next book you take, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. And you go on. Just like Bhagavad-gītā As It Is, is entrance. Just like students, they pass their school examination then enters into the college. So you pass your school examination, how to love God, by studying Bhagavad-gītā As It Is. Then study Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and... That is graduate study. And when you are still farther advanced, post-graduate, then study Teachings of Lord Caitanya.

These things are very nicely explained as preliminary study in the Bhagavad-gītā, and for higher study, for graduate study, in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
Lecture at Auckland University -- Auckland, April 17, 1972:

So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is preaching the important portion of the body, about the soul. To understand what is the soul, to understand what is the need of the soul, why he is entrapped within this material body, how the soul can be liberated, and after liberation, what is the function of the soul—these things are our subject matter. And these things are very nicely explained as preliminary study in the Bhagavad-gītā, and for higher study, for graduate study, in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. So our only request is that you are all students—you do not neglect this subject matter, this science to understand what is the soul.

Conversations and Morning Walks

1971 Conversations and Morning Walks

When you are qualified in accepting Kṛṣṇa as all in all, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇam, then you enter into Bhāgavata. Bhāgavata is the graduate study, not ordinary study.
Room Conversation -- November 11, 1971, New Delhi:

Prabhupāda: These professional Bhāgavata readers, they make money from the public because public wants to hear all these things. Just like we read a novel-a woman is embracing a man, or kissing or having sex. They like it. Therefore they go the Bhāgavata Tenth Canto immediately. Their Bhāgavata reading is professional, not understanding of Kṛṣṇa. If you want to understand Kṛṣṇa, then go step by step, one by one. First of all read Bhagavad-gītā, try to understand, and you surrender to Kṛṣṇa as Kṛṣṇa says, then you enter. Just like after passing entrance examination you enter into the college. Similarly, when you are qualified in accepting Kṛṣṇa as all in all, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇam (BG 18.66), then you enter into Bhāgavata. Bhāgavata is the graduate study, not ordinary study. But these professionals, they take advantage of the weakness of the people, and they make profession and earn some money. That's all. When we speak of Bhāgavata we speak from First Canto, Second Canto, Third Canto..., the nine cantos to understand Kṛṣṇa. Just like in First Canto the beginning, janmādy asya yataḥ (SB 1.1.1), oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya, janmādy asya yataḥ. This is Vedānta-sūtra verse. Paraṁ satyaṁ dhīmahi. (Hindi) Kṛṣṇa for perfect knowledge, then you'll understand what is kṛṣṇa-līlā.

1973 Conversations and Morning Walks

The Bhagavad-gītā is the ABCD. It is just beginning of understanding of what is God. ABC. When one has passed the entrance examination, then he gets the opportunity of studying Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
Room Conversation with Indonesian Scholar -- February 27, 1973, Jakarta:

Scholar: What is the place of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam here, in this movement?

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Scholar: Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam?

Prabhupāda: Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is... The Bhagavad-gītā is the preliminary study of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Just like before learning any literature, one has to read the first book, ABCD. The Bhagavad-gītā is the ABCD. It is just beginning of understanding of what is God. ABC. When one has passed the entrance examination, then he gets the opportunity of studying Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. In the Bhagavad-gītā the last instruction is sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja (BG 18.66). That Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Lord, is explaining Himself, and at last He says that you surrender unto me. That is the most confidential part of knowledge. So if one has surrendered to Kṛṣṇa, then He's admitted in the college of studying Bhāgavata. Before that he has no place. Just like without passing entrance examination, nobody's admitted in the college course. Similarly, without understanding Bhagavad-gītā perfectly well, one cannot understand what is Bhāgavata. Bhāgavata is the graduate study. So this Vedānta-sūtra, the Vedānta-sūtra is the summarized study of all Vedic knowledge. And Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the explanation of Vedānta-sūtra. So people are in darkness about this great knowledge and the science of God, all over the world. They are misled. They're being misled. Misled in this way, that this human form of life is specially meant for understanding God.

1974 Conversations and Morning Walks

When one is passed of this knowledge, then he can be given the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam which we have published like this, sixty volumes, all original verses from Bhāgavatam, and explained.
Room Conversation with Catholic Cardinal and Secretary to the Pope -- May 24, 1974, Rome:

So this is sum and substance of our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, and we have got many Vedic literatures about it, especially the Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. So we have published Bhagavad-gītā As It Is. The publisher is Messrs. MacMillan and Company, and we are selling. It has already gone fifth edition. And each edition they have published fifty-thousand copies and this is the preliminary study book, to understand God. And then, when one is passed of this knowledge, then he can be given the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam which we have published like this, sixty volumes, all original verses from Bhāgavatam, and explained. Then... This is graduate study. Then after this there is post-graduate study, this Caitanya-caritāmṛta. This book is in twelve volumes, and other book, Bhāgavatam, is sixty volumes. There are many other corollaries, just like Science of Devotion. Have you got this book? No. Nectar of Devotion. So we have already published about two dozen books of this nature. So people are accepting, especially in the western countries. Recently we have received report. Some of the learned scholar professors, they have ordered all the books. They have introducing in their class. Yale University, Temple University. And they are enlisting my books in the bibliography, of Indian philosophy, and they are distributing to the learned circles. And last year we have sold four millions pieces of literature in the western countries. So we are encouraged.

1975 Conversations and Morning Walks

Just like when you have passed the school examination then next you admit yourself for degree or graduate degree. Similarly, Bhāgavata is the end of education. Everyone is progressing. When one comes to Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and understands it then his education is complete.
Conversation with Professor Hopkins -- July 13, 1975, Philadelphia:

Prof. Hopkins: So you would see the Bhagavad-gītā then as accessible to a wide range of people, at an elementary level or beginning level, whereas Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam would be for more advanced, more advanced people.

Prabhupāda: Not only advanced, completely advanced. Because so long one will be, stay on the material platform, he will be envious of others only, animal propensity, dog. Dog does not like another dog is coming. So unless one is spiritually realized, the dog mentality will remain there. It is said nāsau munir yasya mataṁ na bhinnam, even amongst the topmost thinkers, if he does not refute other thinkers, he is not a good thinker. That enviousness. He will not be established a good thinker if he cannot... If a scientist, if he cannot refute the previous scientist, he is not a scientist. This is material world. Everyone is envious of the other. So Bhāgavata meant for who is no more envious. Simply loving.

Prof. Hopkins: Why, why is that more necessary for Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam than for Bhagavad-gītā?

Prabhupāda: More... Bhāgavatam, I told you, it is a counterpart. Just like when you have passed the school examination then next you admit yourself for degree or graduate degree. Similarly, Bhāgavata is the end of education. Everyone is progressing. When one comes to Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and understands it then his education is complete.

1976 Conversations and Morning Walks

Bhagavad-gītā is the entrance. Then Bhāgavata is graduate and Caitanya-caritāmṛta... This is the step by step. But if one is sincere everything becomes revealed. He does not commit mistake.
Room Conversation -- August 16, 1976, Bombay:

Yaśomatīnandana: In other words, first one should understand Bhagavad-gītā. Then gradually the First Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Then ultimately Caitanya-caritāmṛta. Without that, simply taking Caitanya-caritāmṛta...

Prabhupāda: Yes. Bhagavad-gītā is the entrance. Then Bhāgavata is graduate and Caitanya-caritāmṛta... This is the step by step. But if one is sincere everything becomes revealed. He does not commit mistake.

1977 Conversations and Morning Walks

Just like you cannot enter into the law college unless you are graduate. So Śukadeva Gosvāmī has arranged in such a way that one should understand what is Kṛṣṇa by reading these nine cantos. Then he can enter into the Kṛṣṇa's līlā and Kṛṣṇa's birth.
Room Conversation with Film Producer about Krsna Lila -- January 22, 1977, Bhuvanesvara:

Prabhupāda: Just like one learns from ABCD, not jumping over M.A. class. That is my point. Teach people from the ABCD. So this is the beginning of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Janmādy asya yataḥ (SB 1.1.1). What Kṛṣṇa? He is the original. Ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ (BG 10.8). Show that by film, how He is sarvasya prabhavo. That will be...

Guest (1): So He is always supreme power.

Prabhupāda: That's all right. Not... You are going to produce some film. Begin from the first chapter of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Why you jump over the Tenth Canto? That is kept very confidential. Unless one understands... By understanding nine cantos of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, he has no entrance. Just like you cannot enter into the law college unless you are graduate. So Śukadeva Gosvāmī has arranged in such a way that one should understand what is Kṛṣṇa by reading these nine cantos. Then he can enter into the Kṛṣṇa's līlā and Kṛṣṇa's birth. What is the purpose? He could have given Kṛṣṇa... Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is for Kṛṣṇa. So we have named this, Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa-katha. So first Kṛṣṇa-katha is: Kṛṣṇa is explaining Himself in the Bhagavad-gītā. Present Bhagavad-gītā. Then one accept Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality... Sarva dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja (BG 18.66). When he comes to that stage, then Bhāgavata begins. Dharmaḥ projjhita-kaitavo 'tra paramo nirmatsarāṇām (SB 1.1.2). Paramo nirmatsarāṇām. Unless one is matsara... "Oh, Kṛṣṇa is doing that? Why I cannot do it?" The sahajiyā bābājīs, they do that. That is matsarata, that "Kṛṣṇa can do? I can also do." So he simply imitates Kṛṣṇa's rasa-līlā. And Kṛṣṇa can raise the Govardhana Hill—that is not possible. That is... What is called? Mythology. What he cannot do, he takes as mythology. And what he can easily imitate and go to hell, that is very good.

Bhagavad-gītā is the preliminary study of happy life and entrance, matriculation, and then Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, graduate, and then Caitanya-caritāmṛta, postgraduate. We are therefore presenting three books. So if we follow, our life is successful.
Room Conversation with Mr. Myer -- July 2, 1977, Vrndavana:

Mr. Myer: But that is his doing. He wants every village like we have planned Hyderabad.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Mr. Myer: He wants every village like that, to be...

Prabhupāda: That can be done very easily. It can be done very easily, provided government wants. And we can help. We have to follow simply the Bhagavad-gītā. That's all. They are reading Bhagavad-gītā, but they do not follow. They manufacture their own interpretation. That is the difficulty. Otherwise the Bhagavad-gītā is the preliminary study of happy life and entrance, matriculation, and then Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, graduate, and then Caitanya-caritāmṛta, postgraduate. We are therefore presenting three books. So if we follow, our life is successful. But you don't follow. Daivī hy eṣā guṇamayī mama māyā duratyayā (BG 7.14). Māyā is so strong that untruthful things, we take it as truthful.

Labangalatika +
January 16, 0011 JL +
January 18, 0011 JL +
BG: 0 +, SB: 2 +, CC: 0 +, OB: 0 +, Lec: 6 +, Conv: 7 +  and Let: 0 +