The sons of Pratīpa were Devāpi, Śāntanu and Bāhlīka. When Devāpi retired to the forest, his younger brother Śāntanu became the king. Although Śāntanu, being younger, was not eligible to occupy the throne, he disregarded his elder brother. Consequently, there was no rainfall for twelve years. Following the advice of the brāhmaṇas, Śāntanu was ready to return the kingdom to Devāpi, but by the intrigue of Śāntanu's minister, Devāpi became unfit to be king. Therefore Śāntanu resumed charge of the kingdom, and rain fell properly during his regime. By mystic power, Devāpi still lives in the village known as Kalāpa-grāma. In this Kali-yuga, when the descendants of Soma known as the candra-vaṁśa (the lunar dynasty) die out, Devāpi, at the beginning of Satya-yuga, will reestablish the dynasty of the moon. The wife of Śāntanu named Gaṅgā gave birth to Bhīṣma, one of the twelve authorities. Two sons named Citrāṅgada and Vicitravīrya were also born from the womb of Satyavatī by the semen of Śāntanu, and Vyāsadeva was born from Satyavatī by the semen of Parāśara, Vyāsadeva instructed the history of the Bhāgavatam to his son Śukadeva. Through the womb of the two wives and the maidservant of Vicitravīrya, Vyāsadeva begot Dhṛtarāṣṭra, Pāṇḍu and Vidura.
Vyasadeva instructed the history of the Bhagavatam to his son Sukadeva
- 1 Srimad-Bhagavatam
- 2 Sri Caitanya-caritamrta
- 3 Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
- 4 Lectures
- 5 Conversations and Morning Walks
SB Canto 1
One must be very careful to hear the message from the right source. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is exactly received from the right source. It was brought by Nārada Muni from the spiritual world and given to his disciple Śrī Vyāsadeva. The latter in turn delivered the message to his son Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī, and Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī delivered the message to Mahārāja Parīkṣit just seven days before the King's death. Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī was a liberated soul from his very birth. He was liberated even in the womb of his mother, and he did not undergo any sort of spiritual training after his birth. At birth no one is qualified, neither in the mundane nor in the spiritual sense. But Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī, due to his being a perfectly liberated soul, did not have to undergo an evolutionary process for spiritual realization. Yet despite his being a completely liberated person situated in the transcendental position above the three material modes, he was attracted to this transcendental rasa of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is adored by liberated souls who sing Vedic hymns.
Śrīla Vyāsadeva, being the incarnation of the Supreme Lord, could foresee the misuse of the Vedānta-sūtra by unscrupulous men, and, therefore, he personally supplemented the Vedānta-sūtra with the Bhāgavata Purāṇa. It is clearly said that this Bhāgavatam is the original commentary on the Brahma-sūtras. Śrīla Vyāsadeva also instructed the Bhāgavatam to his own son, Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī, who was already at the liberated stage of transcendence. Śrīla Śukadeva realized it personally and then explained it. By the mercy of Śrīla Śukadeva, the Bhāgavata-vedānta-sūtra is available for all those sincere souls who want to get out of material existence.
Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī is the topmost personality of all the self-realized souls, and he accepted this as the subject of studies from his father, Vyāsadeva. Śrīla Vyāsadeva is the great authority, and the subject matter of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam being so important, he delivered the message first to his great son Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī. It is compared to the cream of the milk. Vedic literature is like the milk ocean of knowledge. Cream or butter is the most palatable essence of milk, and so also is Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, for it contains all palatable, instructive and authentic versions of different activities of the Lord and His devotees.
Theological science is a difficult subject, especially when it deals with the transcendental nature of God. It is not a subject matter to be understood by persons who are too much attached to material activities. Only the very expert, who have almost retired from materialistic activities by culture of spiritual knowledge, can be admitted to the study of this great science. In the Bhagavad-gītā it is clearly stated that out of many hundreds and thousands of men only one person deserves to enter into transcendental realization. And out of many thousands of such transcendentally realized persons, only a few can understand the theological science specifically dealing with God as a person. Śrī Vyāsadeva is therefore advised by Nārada to describe the science of God directly by relating His transcendental activities. Vyāsadeva is himself a personality expert in this science, and he is unattached to material enjoyment. Therefore he is the right person to describe it, and Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the son of Vyāsadeva, is the right person to receive it.
The great sage Vyāsadeva, after compiling the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and revising it, taught it to his own son, Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī, who was already engaged in self-realization.
Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī, son of Śrīla Vyāsadeva, was not only transcendentally powerful. He was also very dear to the devotees of the Lord. Thus he underwent the study of this great narration (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam).
Bādarāyaṇa (Vyāsadeva): He is known as Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana, Dvaipāyana, Satyavatī-suta, Pārāśarya, Parāśarātmaja, Bādarāyaṇa, Vedavyāsa, etc. He was the son of Mahāmuni Parāśara in the womb of Satyavatī prior to her betrothal with Mahārāja Śantanu, the father of the great general Grandfather Bhīṣmadeva. He is a powerful incarnation of Nārāyaṇa, and he broadcasts the Vedic wisdom to the world. As such, Vyāsadeva is offered respects before one chants the Vedic literature, especially the Purāṇas. Śukadeva Gosvāmī was his son, and ṛṣis like Vaiśampāyana were his disciples for different branches of the Vedas. He is the author of the great epic Mahābhārata and the great transcendental literature Bhāgavatam. The Brahma-sūtras—the Vedānta-sūtras, or Bādarāyaṇa-sūtras—were compiled by him. Amongst sages he is the most respected author by dint of severe penances. When he wanted to record the great epic Mahābhārata for the welfare of all people in the age of Kali, he was feeling the necessity of a powerful writer who could take up his dictation. By the order of Brahmājī, Śrī Gaṇeśajī took up the charge of noting down the dictation on the condition that Vyāsadeva would not stop dictation for a moment. The Mahābhārata was thus compiled by the joint endeavor of Vyāsa and Gaṇeśa.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī (Brahmarāta): The famous son and disciple of Śrī Vyāsadeva, who taught him first the Mahābhārata and then Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Śukadeva Gosvāmī recited 1,400,000 verses of the Mahābhārata in the councils of the Gandharvas, Yakṣas and Rākṣasas, and he recited Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam for the first time in the presence of Mahārāja Parīkṣit. He thoroughly studied all the Vedic literatures from his great father. Thus he was a completely purified soul by dint of his extensive knowledge in the principles of religion. From Mahābhārata, Sabhā-parva (4.11) it is understood that he was also present in the royal assembly of Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira and at the fasting of Mahārāja Parīkṣit. As a bona fide disciple of Śrī Vyāsadeva, he inquired from his father very extensively about religious principles and spiritual values, and his great father also satisfied him by teaching him the yoga system by which one can attain the spiritual kingdom, the difference between fruitive work and empiric knowledge, the ways and means of attaining spiritual realization, the four āśramas (namely the student life, the householder's life, the retired life and the renounced life), the sublime position of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the process of seeing Him eye to eye, the bona fide candidate for receiving knowledge, the consideration of the five elements, the unique position of intelligence, the consciousness of the material nature and the living entity, the symptoms of the self-realized soul, the working principles of the material body, the symptoms of the influential modes of nature, the tree of perpetual desire, and psychic activities.
Everyone in the material life, in all species and varieties of life, is full of anxieties, either by breaking or without breaking the laws of nature. Liberation, or mukti, means getting relief from these constant anxieties. This is possible only when the anxiety is changed to the devotional service of the Lord. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam gives us the chance to change the quality of anxiety from matter to spirit. This is done in the association of a learned philosopher like the self-realized Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the great son of Śrī Vyāsadeva. Mahārāja Parīkṣit, after receiving warning of his death, took advantage of this opportunity by association with Śukadeva Gosvāmī and achieved the desired result.
There is some controversy amongst the students on the path of liberation. Such transcendental students are known as impersonalists and devotees of the Lord. The devotee of the Lord worships the transcendental form of the Lord, whereas the impersonalist meditates upon the glaring effulgence, or the bodily rays of the Lord, known as the brahmajyoti. Here in this verse it is said that Mahārāja Parīkṣit attained the lotus feet of the Lord by instructions in knowledge delivered by the son of Vyāsadeva, Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī. Śukadeva Gosvāmī was also an impersonalist in the beginning, as he himself has admitted in the Bhāgavatam (2.1.9), but later on he was attracted by the transcendental pastimes of the Lord and thus became a devotee. Such devotees with perfect knowledge are called mahā-bhāgavatas, or first-class devotees.
The word bhagavān is sometimes used in relation with some of the great devotees of the Lord, like Śukadeva Gosvāmī. Such liberated souls are disinterested in the affairs of this material world because they are self-satisfied by the great achievements of devotional service. As explained before, Śukadeva Gosvāmī never accepted any formal spiritual master, nor did he undergo any formal reformatory performances. His father, Vyāsadeva, was his natural spiritual master because Śukadeva Gosvāmī heard Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam from him. After this, he became completely self-satisfied. Thus he was not dependent on any formal process. The formal processes are necessary for those who are expected to reach the stage of complete liberation, but Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī was already in that status by the grace of his father. As a young boy he was expected to be properly dressed, but he went about naked and was uninterested in social customs. He was neglected by the general populace, and inquisitive boys and women surrounded him as if he were a madman. He thus appears on the scene while traveling on the earth of his own accord. It appears that upon the inquiry of Mahārāja Parīkṣit, the great sages were not unanimous in their decision as to what was to be done. For spiritual salvation there were many prescriptions according to the different modes of different persons. But the ultimate aim of life is to attain the highest perfectional stage of devotional service to the Lord. As doctors differ, so also sages differ in their different prescriptions. While such things were going on, the great and powerful son of Vyāsadeva appeared on the scene.
A respectable personality is described beginning with the legs, and this honored system is observed here with Śukadeva Gosvāmī. He was only sixteen years of age. A person is honored for his achievements and not for advanced age. A person can be older by experience and not by age. Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī, who is described herein as the son of Vyāsadeva, was by his knowledge more experienced than all the sages present there, although he was only sixteen years old.
SB Canto 2
One has to be admitted to the medical college and study the books under the guidance of learned professors. Similarly, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the postgraduate study of the science of Godhead, can only be learned by studying it at the feet of a realized soul like Śrīla Vyāsadeva. Although Śukadeva Gosvāmī was a liberated soul from the very day of his birth, he still had to take lessons of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam from his great father, Vyāsadeva, who compiled the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam under the instruction of another great soul, Śrī Nārada Muni. Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu instructed a learned brāhmaṇa to study Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam from a personal bhāgavata. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is based on the transcendental name, form, attributes, pastimes, entourage and variegatedness of the Supreme Person, and it is spoken by the incarnation of the Personality of Godhead, Śrīla Vyāsadeva. Pastimes of the Lord are executed in cooperation with His pure devotees, and consequently historical incidences are mentioned in this great literature because they are related to Kṛṣṇa.
Śaunaka said: The son of Vyāsadeva, Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī, was a highly learned sage and was able to describe things in a poetic manner. What did Mahārāja Parīkṣit again inquire from him after hearing all that he had said?
Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the son of Vyāsadeva, was also full in transcendental knowledge and was a great devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa, son of Vasudeva. So there must have been discussion of Lord Kṛṣṇa, who is glorified by great philosophers and in the company of great devotees.
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam gives us this information as the supreme Vedic literature, and it was personally instructed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead to Brahmājī so that the leader of the living entities might broadcast the message to all in the universe in order to teach the supreme knowledge of bhakti-yoga. Brahmājī in his turn instructed Nārada, his beloved son, the same message of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and Nārada, in his turn, taught the same to Vyāsadeva, who again taught it to Śukadeva Gosvāmī. Through Śukadeva Gosvāmī's grace and by the mercy of Mahārāja Parīkṣit we are all given Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam perpetually to learn the science of the Absolute Personality of Godhead, Lord Kṛṣṇa.
SB Canto 7
Yudhiṣṭhira Mahārāja knew that Nārada Muni is the supreme spiritual master of human society who can teach the path of spiritual liberation leading to the understanding of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Actually, it is for this purpose that Nārada Muni compiled his Bhakti-sūtra and gave directions in the Nārada-pañcarātra. To learn about religious principles and the perfection of life, one must take instruction from the disciplic succession of Nārada Muni. Our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is directly in the line of the Brahma-sampradāya. Nārada Muni received instructions from Lord Brahmā and in turn transmitted the instructions to Vyāsadeva. Vyāsadeva instructed his son Śukadeva Gosvāmī, who spoke Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is based on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and Bhagavad-gītā. Because Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam was spoken by Śukadeva Gosvāmī and Bhagavad-gītā was spoken by Kṛṣṇa, there is no difference between them. If we strictly follow the principle of disciplic succession, we are certainly on the right path of spiritual liberation, or eternal engagement in devotional service.
SB Canto 9
The Śuka mentioned here is different from the Śukadeva Gosvāmī who spoke Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the son of Vyāsadeva, is described in great detail in the Brahma-vaivarta Purāṇa. There it is said that Vyāsadeva maintained the daughter of Jābāli as his wife and that after they performed penances together for many years, he placed his seed in her womb. The child remained in the womb of his mother for twelve years, and when the father asked the son to come out, the son replied that he would not come out unless he were completely liberated from the influence of māyā. Vyāsadeva then assured the child that he would not be influenced by māyā, but the child did not believe his father, for the father was still attached to his wife and children. Vyāsadeva then went to Dvārakā and informed the Personality of Godhead about his problem, and the Personality of Godhead, at Vyāsadeva's request, went to Vyāsadeva's cottage, where He assured the child in the womb that he would not be influenced by māyā. Thus assured, the child came out, but he immediately went away as a parivrājakācārya. When the father, very much aggrieved, began to follow his saintly boy, Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the boy created a duplicate Śukadeva, who later entered family life. Therefore, the śuka-kanyā, or daughter of Śukadeva, mentioned in this verse is the daughter of the duplicate or imitation Śukadeva. The original Śukadeva was a lifelong brahmacārī.
SB Canto 10.1 to 10.13
Sūta Gosvāmī said: O son of Bhṛgu (Śaunaka Ṛṣi), after Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the most respectable devotee, the son of Vyāsadeva, heard the pious questions of Mahārāja Parīkṣit, he thanked the King with great respect. Then he began to discourse on topics concerning Kṛṣṇa, which are the remedy for all sufferings in this age of Kali.
SB Cantos 10.14 to 12 (Translations Only)
Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī said: Thus did this fragrant nectar flow from the lotus mouth of Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the son of the sage Vyāsadeva. This wonderful glorification of the Supreme Person destroys all fear of material existence. A traveler who constantly drinks this nectar through his ear-holes will forget the fatigue brought on by wandering along the paths of worldly life.
Sūta Gosvāmī said: After hearing all that was narrated to him by the self-realized and equipoised Śukadeva, the son of Vyāsadeva, Mahārāja Parīkṣit humbly approached his lotus feet. Bowing his head down upon the sage's feet, the King, who had lived his entire life under the protection of Lord Viṣṇu, folded his hands in supplication and spoke as follows.
Sūta Gosvāmī said: Thus requested, the saintly son of Śrīla Vyāsadeva gave his permission to King Parīkṣit. Then, after being worshiped by the King and all the sages present, Śukadeva departed from that place.
Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto my spiritual master, the son of Vyāsadeva, Śukadeva Gosvāmī. It is he who defeats all inauspicious things within this universe. Although in the beginning he was absorbed in the happiness of Brahman realization and was living in a secluded place, giving up all other types of consciousness, he became attracted by the pleasing, most melodious pastimes of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa. He therefore mercifully spoke this supreme Purāṇa, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, which is the bright light of the Absolute Truth and which describes the activities of the Lord.
"'Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto my spiritual master, the son of Vyāsadeva, Śukadeva Gosvāmī. It is he who defeats all inauspicious things within this universe. Although in the beginning he was absorbed in the happiness of Brahman realization and was living in a secluded place, giving up all other types of consciousness, he became attracted by the most melodious pastimes of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa. He therefore mercifully spoke the supreme Purāṇa, known as Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, which is the bright light of the Absolute Truth and which describes the activities of Lord Kṛṣṇa.'"
"The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, is full in all six opulences, including His attractive beauty, which engages Him in conjugal love with the gopīs. Such sweetness is the quintessence of His qualities. Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the son of Vyāsadeva, has described these pastimes of Kṛṣṇa throughout Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Hearing the descriptions, the devotees become mad with love of God."
"'I offer my respectful obeisances unto Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the son of Vyāsadeva and the destroyer of all sinful reactions. Being full in self-realization and bliss, he had no material desire. Still, he was attracted by the transcendental pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and out of compassion for the people he described the transcendental historical literature called Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. This is compared to the light of the Absolute Truth.'"
"(Lord Śiva said:) "I may know; Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the son of Vyāsadeva, may know; and Vyāsadeva may know or may not know Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. On the whole, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the spotless Purāṇa, can be learned only through devotional service, not by material intelligence, speculative methods or imaginary commentaries.""
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam was collected by the incarnation of God, Vyāsadeva, and it was later taught to his son, Śukadeva Gosvāmī. This is a quotation from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.3.41).
Vyāsadeva was the son of the great sage Parāśara. Other names for him are Sātyavateya and Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana Bādarāyaṇa Muni. As one of the authorities on the Vedas, he divided the original Veda, for convenience, into four divisions—Sāma, Yajur, Ṛg and Atharva. He is the author of eighteen Purāṇas as well as the theosophical thesis Brahma-sūtra and its natural commentary, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. He belongs to the Brahma-sampradāya and is a direct disciple of Nārada Muni.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī is the son of Vyāsadeva. He was a brahmacārī fully conscious of Brahman realization, but later he became a great devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa. He narrated Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam to Mahārāja Parīkṣit.
Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead
"Great sages, please understand that the transcendental pastimes of Lord Kṛṣṇa are all eternal. They are not ordinary narrations of historical incidents. Such narrations are identical with the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. Anyone, therefore, who hears such narrations of the Lord's pastimes is immediately freed from the contamination of material existence. And those who are pure devotees enjoy these narrations as nectar entering into their ears." Such narrations were spoken by Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the exalted son of Vyāsadeva, and anyone who hears them, as well as anyone who repeats them for the hearing of others, becomes Kṛṣṇa conscious. And only the Kṛṣṇa conscious persons are eligible to go back home, back to Godhead.
In the beginning of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Śrīla Vyāsadeva offered his respectful obeisances to the Supreme Truth, Vāsudeva, Kṛṣṇa. After that he taught his son, Śukadeva Gosvāmī, to preach Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. It is in this connection that Śukadeva Gosvāmī glorifies the Lord with the word jayati. Following in the footsteps of Śrīla Vyāsadeva, Śukadeva Gosvāmī and all the ācāryas in disciplic succession, the whole population of the world should glorify Lord Kṛṣṇa, and for their best interest they should take to this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. The process is easy and helpful. It is simply to chant the mahā-mantra, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare / Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. Lord Caitanya has therefore recommended that one be callous to the material ups and downs. Material life is temporary, and so the ups and downs of life may come and go. When they come, one should be as tolerant as a tree and as humble and meek as the straw in the street, but certainly he must engage himself in Kṛṣṇa consciousness by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare / Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare.
Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures
These are the bhakti-yoga. You have to hear about Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Hearing, hearing, hearing, hearing, you can become mukta. Just like Mahārāja Parīkṣit. He simply listened about Kṛṣṇa, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. At the last stage of his life, he listened from Śukadeva Gosvāmī, simply Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and he became liberated. Śrī-viṣṇoḥ śravaṇe parīkṣit. The śrī-viṣṇoḥ śravaṇe, about Lord Kṛṣṇa or Lord Viṣṇu. Parīkṣit Mahārāja became liberated. Abhavad vaiyāsakiḥ kīrtane. And vaiyāsaki, the son of Vyāsadeva, Śukadeva Gosvāmī, he simply narrated the topics of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. He became liberated.
So this can be done simply by our discussion of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Therefore it is said here, nigama-kalpa-taror galitaṁ phalam idam (SB 1.1.3). It is the mature fruit of Vedic knowledge. And śuka-mukhād amṛta-drava-saṁyutam. This Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam was written by Vyāsadeva. And it was spoken for the first time by Śukadeva Gosvāmī, his son. He wrote this Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam under the instruction of his spiritual master, Nārada, and he taught his son, beloved son, Śukadeva Gosvāmī, that "You preach. I am writing; you preach." That is the duty of the student. The spiritual master writes, and it is a duty of the disciple to preach. And if the student is also as pure as the spiritual master, then it becomes very nice. Śuka-mukhāt.
Saṁsāriṇāṁ karuṇayāha purāṇa-guhyam. He first of all spoke Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam to, being compassionate to the people suffering from these material pangs. Taṁ vyāsa-sūnum upayāmi guruṁ munīnām. Guruṁ munīnām. "He's not only my guru, but he is guru, spiritual master, of great sages and saintly persons." Even Vyāsadeva also considered his son greater than himself. When Śukadeva Gosvāmī appeared in the assembly where many saintly persons were present at the time of Mahārāja Parīkṣit, so at the time all the munis stood up to receive him. All the munis. Even there was Vyāsadeva, he also stood up. Therefore he is guruṁ munīnām. He is spiritual master of all saintly persons.
So who did it? Śukadeva Gosvāmī. He first of all explained Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam before Parīkṣit Mahārāja. So that is the beginning of Bhāgavata teaching. Therefore he learned it from his father, and śravaṇam, then kīrtanam. Śrī-viṣṇoḥ śravaṇe parīkṣid abhavad vaiyāsakiḥ kīrtane. This is also kīrtana. Śrī-viṣṇoḥ śravaṇe parīkṣit. Parīkṣit Mahārāja simply heard. And abhavad vaiyāsakiḥ kīrtane. This is kīrtana. The recitation of Bhāgavata by the devotee is also kīrtana. Kīrtana does not mean that as we generally do. No. This Bhāgavata recitation is also kīrtana. So it is said, abhavad vaiyāsakiḥ kīrtane. Vaiyāsaki. Vaiyāsaki means son of vyāsa-sūnum, as it is said. Taṁ vyāsa-sūnum. Vyāsa-sūnum means Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the son of Vyāsadeva. Upayāmi: "Let me offer my respectful obeisances." Guruṁ munīnām: "He is guru, not only my guru, but he is guru of big, big thoughtful men." Munīnām. Muni means thoughtful, philosopher. Guruṁ munīnām.
So Parīkṣit Mahārāja, he was not a fool. He was a learned king. So all the great sages and saintly persons assembled there. He asked them, "My dear sirs, you are so kind that you have come here at the time of my death. So kindly let me know what is my duty at the present moment." So there were different kinds of authorities. Different kinds of authorities means some were in favor of fruitive activities, karma-kāṇḍa, pious activities; some were in favor of yoga principles; some were in favor of philosophical speculation; and some were in favor of devotional service of bhakti. So fortunately, Śukadeva Gosvāmī, a boy of sixteen years old, but he was highly elevated in spiritual knowledge, the son of Vyāsadeva, he was wandering all over the world, naked and without any care for his body or social convention. Of course, he did not come into the cities, but he heard that Parīkṣit Mahārāja was going to die.
Therefore education should be in such a way planned that he should be nirvṛtti-mārga. Pravṛttir eṣā bhūtānāṁ nirvṛttes tu mahā-phalām. These are general tendency for the conditioned soul. But if anyone can control by training by education these things—vyavāyāmiṣa-madya-sevā: sex life, intoxication and meat-eating—then he's called niratam. He becomes qualified. Vyāsadeva preferred to teach Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam to his son Śukadeva Gosvāmī because he was niratam, nivṛtti-niratam. He was engaged. From the very beginning of his life, as soon as he was... It is said for sixteen years within the womb of his mother, he did not come out purposefully so that he may not be materially attached. Because a small child, the baby comes out from the mother's womb. Within the womb, when he's in suffering, he prays to God, "This time kindly release me. Now I shall begin bhagavad-bhajana." One who is little advanced in his previous life... Because it is very, very terrible condition within the womb of the mother.
So this Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is a question and answer. The beginning, the... This Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, first of all it was narrated by Vyāsadeva, and it was heard by his son, Śukadeva Gosvāmī. Then Śukadeva Gosvāmī narrated this Bhāgavatam to Parīkṣit Mahārāja at the time of his death. And from Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the Sūta Gosvāmī heard. This is the paramparā. (aside:) Not yet. This is the paramparā. Kṛṣṇa says in the Fourth Chapter of Bhagavad-gītā, evaṁ paramparā-prāptam imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ (BG 4.2). Bhagavad-gītā was spoken by Kṛṣṇa millions of years ago to the sun-god. Imaṁ vivasvate, proktavān avyayam. Imaṁ vivasvate proktam, vivasvān manave prāha manur ikṣvākave 'bravīt. This is the paramparā system.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī is supposed to be liberated soul from the beginning of his life. That is a long story. He was sixteen years within his mother's womb. Anyway, he's accepted as a liberated soul. But still, he's attracted by the activities of the narration of the activities of the Lord, and he says that, idaṁ bhāgavataṁ nāma purāṇam, nairguṇya-sthā ramante sma guṇānukathane hareḥ. Idaṁ bhāgavataṁ nāma. This Bhāgavata, this Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, brahma-sammitam... Brahma-sammitam. So "I heard it from my father, Dvaipāyana." Vyāsadeva, he composed this Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and he found his son, Śukadeva Gosvāmī... He had many other sons, but this son, Śukadeva Gosvāmī, because he thought that "This body is liberated," so he taught him about the lessons of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and this is the first time... Because śravaṇaṁ kīrtanam. He heard it from his father, Dvaipayana, and he is now narrating, kīrtanam. He got the chance of narrating Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam at the time of death of Parīkṣit Mahārāja.
Kīrtanīya. This preaching means kīrtana, not that simply with mṛdaṅga we can have musical kīrtana. No. Preaching is also kīrtana. Abhavad vaiyāsaki-kīrtane. Vaiyāsaki, the son of Vyāsadeva, Śukadeva Gosvāmī, he simply described Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and became perfect. Abhavad vaiyāsaki-kīrtane. Śrī-viṣṇu-śravaṇe parīkṣit. Parīkṣit Mahārāja simply listened; he became perfect. And Śukadeva Gosvāmī simply described. That is also kīrtana. So this is also kīrtana. As Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī teaching us, he sādhavaḥ sakalam eva vihāya dūrād caitanya-candra-caraṇe kurutānurāgam: "You are sādhu, best person, noble, but this is my request." This is humbleness.
How one can understand what is actual Absolute Truth, what is the religious path? The last instruction is mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ (CC Madhya 17.186). Therefore you have to follow the footprints of authority. You can take anyone as you authority, as authority, but according to Bhāgavata there are twelve authorities. That is also mentioned. They are authorized persons from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and they have got disciplic succession. The twelve authorities are Brahmā, Nārada, Lord Śiva and Kumāra, Manu and Lord Kapila, Bhīṣma and Prahlāda, Janaka and Yamarāja and this Śukadeva Gosvāmī, who is speaking the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Vaiyāsaki. Vaiyāsaki means "the son of Vyāsadeva." And they have got their disciplic succession. And if we receive that knowledge from disciplic succession, then we can get perfect knowledge. That is the process of Vedic way.
The Śukadeva Gosvāmī said, "O son of Vedavyasa..." The Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the son of Vedavyasa... Śukadeva Gosvāmī is the son of Vyāsadeva. He answered, "My dear king, since acts meant to neutralize impious action are also fruitive, they will not relieve one from the tendency to act fruitively. Persons who subject themselves to the rules and regulation of atonement are not at all intelligent. Indeed, they are in the mode of darkness. Unless is freed from the mode of ignorance, trying to counteract one action through another is useless because this will not uproot one's desire. Thus, even though one may superficially seem pious, he will undoubtedly be prone to act impiously. Therefore real atonement is enlightenment in perfect knowledge, Vedānta, by which one understands the Supreme Absolute Truth." In this verse there is one particular word, vimarśanam. The meaning of this vimarśanam: "full knowledge of Vedānta."
So here the Bhāgavata-kathā, that is transcendental knowledge. So Parīkṣit Mahārāja has approached the right person, Śukadeva Gosvāmī. Why? Because he is the disciple and son of Vyāsadeva. So this is paramparā. One should learn from the right person, that is perfect knowledge. We are sticking to Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement because to receive perfect knowledge. If we change, if we become so rascal that "What has spoken in the Vedic literature, there is beyond, something," then we are rascal. There is no beyond. This is perfect knowledge. So how to take perfect knowledge? Tad viddhi. First of all you try to learn. Tad viddhi. How to learn? Where to learn? Praṇipātena, fully surrendered. If you find somebody that he is somebody important where you can surrender fully, from him... Tad viddhi praṇipāta... This is. Our process of Vedic knowledge is how to surrender, not that I hear and I reject it. That is not the way. That is another rascaldom. First of all find out the person where you can surrender.
The first one is Lord Brahmā, the second is Nārada, the third is Lord Śiva, and the fourth, the Kumāras, and the five, Kapila, and then Manu, Vaivasvata Manu. Imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ proktavān aham avyayam, vivasvān manave prāha (BG 4.1). This Manu, he is also mahājana. This, this time is going on, Vaivasvata Manu. Vivasvān manave prāha. Manu is also mahājana, Prahlāda Mahārāja, and Janaka, Janaka Mahārāja, the father of mother Sītā, he is also mahājana. And Bhīṣma. Bhīṣma, the grandfather Bhīṣma, he is also mahājana. Therefore Bhīṣma's instruction in the Bhāgavata should be taken seriously. And on his deathbed, he instructed Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, and Kṛṣṇa also heard. So these are mahājanas. Bhīṣmo baliḥ, Bali Mahārāja. Vaiyāsaki, Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the son of Vyāsadeva, he is mahājana. And vayam. Vayam means Yamarāja himself. He says, "We are also."
Prahlāda and Janaka, the great king, Janaka, whose daughter was married to Lord Rāmacandra. Jānakī. Therefore, Sītā's name is Jānakī, daughter of Mahārāja Janaka. So he is also a great authority. Prahlādo janako bhīṣmaḥ, and Bhīṣma, you have heard the name of Bhīṣma, the grandfather of Arjuna. He is also one of the authorities. And, prahlādo janako bhīṣmo balir, Mahārāja Bali, a king. He was a grandson of this Prahlāda Mahārāja. He became mahājana. All these persons, they became authorities by their exemplary character for advancing in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Therefore they are considered as authorities. So, balir vaiyāsakir vayam. Vaiyāsakiḥ means the son of Vyāsadeva, Śukadeva Gosvāmī. He's also authority. And vayam, it is, this statement is made by Yamarāja, the controller of sinful activities. Superintendent of police, appointed by Kṛṣṇa. So he is also one of the authorities. How you can deny the superintendent of police as authority? As he is also authority in the state, similarly he is also authority.
So they are different devotees who have accepted one of them. Just like śrī-viṣṇu-śravaṇe parīkṣit. Parīkṣit Mahārāja, he simply heard, listened from Śukadeva Gosvāmī the bhāgavata-dharma. He simply heard. He did not do anything else. Simply by hearing. And abhavad vaiyāsakiḥ kīrtane. Vaiyāsaki, the son of Vyāsadeva, Śukadeva Gosvāmī, he simply explained bhāgavata. So both of them got the same goal of life, liberation. And liberation means muktir hitvā anyathā rūpaṁ svarūpeṇa avasthitiḥ. This is called mukti.
Conversations and Morning Walks
1969 Conversations and Morning Walks
Prabhupāda: That is also kīrtana. Kīrtana means kīrtayati. Glorifying. That is kīrtana. So either you sing musically or you speak devotionally, both of them are kīrtana. Just like Śukadeva Gosvāmī, he continually spoke to Mahārāja Parīkṣit. That is also state, śrī viṣṇu... śravaṇe parīkṣit, abhavad vaiyāsakiḥ kīrtane. Vaiyasaki, the son of Vyāsadeva, Sukadeva Gosvāmī, he became liberated simply by kīrtane. But what is that kīrtana? He never played musical way. He simply explained Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. So this is also kīrtana. This is called saṅkīrtana. Bahubhir militvā kīrtayati. That is saṅkīrtana.
1973 Conversations and Morning Walks
Prabhupāda: So this is the only remedy, Hare Kṛṣṇa. Therefore you'll find all our students, they have got these beads. We have got these beads. Either we shall chant Hare Kṛṣṇa or we shall talk of Kṛṣṇa. That is also chanting. When you talk of Kṛṣṇa, that is also chanting. Kīrtana, kīrtana means kīrtayati, talking, speaking. Just like Parīkṣit Mahārāja. Parīkṣit Mahārāja: śrī-viṣṇoḥ śravaṇe parīkṣit. The item is śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ (SB 7.5.23). About Viṣṇu, to hear and chant. So simply by hearing about Viṣṇu, Parīkṣit Mahārāja became liberated. Śrī-viṣṇoḥ śravaṇe parīkṣid abhavad vaiyāsakiḥ kīrtane. Vaiyāsaki, the son of Vyāsadeva, Śukadeva Gosvāmī, he became perfect kīrtane, by kīrtana. But he... He was... He did not chanted Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, but he recited Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. So that is also kīrtana. Talking of Kṛṣṇa, that is also kīrtana. Kīrtana does not always mean that you have to chan... You have to engage yourself always in glorifying the Lord.
1974 Conversations and Morning Walks
Prabhupāda: Mahājana means the recognized persons, recognized by the Supreme Lord, such persons we follow. We have got a list of recognized persons, just like Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva, the Manu. Just like in the Bhagavad-gītā, Manu's name is there. Imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ proktavān aham avyayam, vivasvān manave prāha (BG 4.1), this Manu. So Manu, then Kapila, then Prahlāda, Janaka, Vyāsadeva, Śukadeva Gosvāmī, Yamarāja. In this way there are twelve mahājanas. And we receive knowledge from either of them. That is bona fide philosophy. That is called paramparā system. The original teacher is Kṛṣṇa and from Him the sun-god, Vivasvān, learned it. He spoke to his son, Manu. Manu spoke to his son, Ikṣvāku. In this way the paramparā system is coming. And that is bona fide. This is our philosophy, to accept knowledge from the perfect person or his bona fide representative.
1975 Conversations and Morning Walks
Prabhupāda: This is the typical example of sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ. So, of course, it is not possible to become on the standard of gopīs. That is not possible. But at least we shall try to follow these devotees. Arjuna is there, gopīs are there, Uddhavas are there—many devotees. Lord Brahmā is there. Lord Śiva is there. Kapiladeva is there. The four Kumāras are there. Bhīṣmadeva is there. Prahlāda Mahārāja is there. Janaka Mahārāja is there. Śukadeva Gosvāmī is there. So mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ (CC Madhya 17.186). If we simply follow these big, big devotees, then our life is successful. For authorized persons' name, to follow them:
- svayambhūr nāradaḥ śambhuḥ
- kumāraḥ kapilo manuḥ
- prahlādo bhīṣmo janako
- balir vaiyāsakir vayam
- (SB 6.3.20)
Twelve: Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva, Nārada, then the four Kumāras, then Kapiladeva, then Prahlāda Mahārāja, Bhīṣma, Janaka Mahārāja, Vyāsadeva, er, no, Vaiyāsakī, son of Vyāsadeva. Not Vyāsadeva—son of Vyāsadeva, Śukadeva Gosvāmī. Bali Mahārāja and Yamarāja. These twelve mahājana, we can follow them. Sarvātmā snapane baliḥ. Bali Mahārāja gave everything to Kṛṣṇa.