Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das
Srimad Bhagavatam is called the “king of all spiritual books” (Grantha Raja) for good reason. Within this triguna-free, transcendental treatise, the amala-purana, which showcases the absolutely selfless, divine love of Srimati Radharani, one can find all the sweet, majestic and beautiful truths about the sadhana and sadhya (daily practice and perfection) of Gaudiya Vaisnavism.
In his most compassionate and wonderful shastra, Sri Chaitanya Caritamrita, Sri Krishna Dasa Kaviraja summarizes the teachings of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the six Goswamis of Vrindavana by mentioning the same Bhagavatam verses that they used to substantiate their sublime instructions.
To emphasize the importance of these particular verses for all Gaudiya Vaisnavas, the same Bhagavatam verse is often mentioned two, three or more times in the Sri Chaitanya Caritamrta.
This series of posts presents these verses, along with selected tikas of our acharyas and the compiler. We will cover the beautiful truths, tattvas, of Krishna, Radha, Vaisnavas, Sri Guru, Bhakti Sadhana, Nama, Prema and more.
Srimad Bhagavatam is the Rasika Essence of Vedanta
In Varanasi, for two months, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu instructed Sri Sanatana Goswami in all the truths of Krishna bhakti, shikaila-bhakti-siddhanta. (Caitanya-caritamrta 2.25.3)
While glorifying the Bhagavatam, Mahaprabhu said, “Srila Vyasadeva, the author of the Vedanta, has personally explained the sutras of Vedanta in the Srimad Bhagavatam.” (Caitanya-caritamrta 2.25.142)
Mahaprabhu then quoted key verses to establish the unique position of Srimad Bhagavatam.
Mahaprabhu said, “The quintessence of all Veda and histories is collected in Bhagavatam.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.3.41: Caitanya -caritamrta 2.25.145)
Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada tika (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.3.41): “Vyasa affectionately fed the Bhagavatam, the essence of the essence of the Vedas, which is like butter appearing from churning yogurt, to his son Shukadeva. This indicates that his effort of churning the Vedas was successful. And Shukadeva, though the best of the self-realized souls, ate that butter of the Bhagavata with great greed because of its wonderful taste.”
Continuing, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu cites the Twelfth Canto to show the supreme power and effect of the Srimad Bhagavatam.
nanyatra- syad –ratih- kvacit
“Srimad Bhagavatam is the essence of all Vedanta philosophy. One who has felt satisfaction from tasting the rasa amrita of Bhagavatam will not be attracted to anything else.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 12.13.15)
Just see the astonishing effect of tasting the mellow beauty, sweetness and charm of the Srimad Bhagavatam! The word ratih means attraction, attachment and love. The fabulous taste and experience of the Bhagavatam makes one lose interest in anything else but Radha and Krishna, and Their eternal loving service in the bowers of Vrndavana.
Srimati Radhika, in the delirium of mahabhava in separation from Her Priyatam Shyam, reveals the unlimited power of Bhagavata shravan.
Srimati Radharani said, “To hear about the pastimes that Krishna regularly performs is nectar for the ears. For those who relish just a single drop of that nectar, even once, their dedication to material duality is ruined. Many such persons have suddenly given up their wretched homes and families and, themselves becoming wretched, traveled here to Vrndavana to wander about like birds, begging for their living.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.47.18)
Commenting on this verse, Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada says, “In this verse Srimati Radharani is saying, ‘Just hearing about Krishna’s pastimes is nectar for the ears. Even one drop of this nectar completely destroys the propensities of mutual friendship between men and women.
‘If a wife hears Krishna lila, she will immediately give up affection for her husband. And so to the husband will give up affection for his wife. If a mother hears about Krishna, she loses all affection for her children. The same is also true for a child in connection with his mother and father. Thus, by this mutual rejection they all become totally ruined.’
‘Just by hearing about Krishna they immediately give up their homes and families, including even their parents and sisters-in-law who then suffer with no other means of support, and without even enough money for the next day’s food.’
‘Alas! Alas! Even if we disregard that their wives and children may die, even they themselves fail to become happy. They are penniless after leaving their families, due to having forgotten to tie up even a few coins in their cloth, because of the agitation of their minds while leaving.’
But it may be questioned, “How do they maintain their lives?”
Radha answers, ‘Like birds, they live by begging, just collecting small amounts of wheat and other grains, rather than taking substantial charity from one person. Or they come begging here in Vrndavana, the place of suffering, and suffer even more in our association.’
But someone may object, “Krishna lila is like a poisonous mixture of sugarcane juice and powdered seeds of the dhatura plant.”
To this, Radha replies, ‘For this reason Krishna has accepted the role of the Supreme thinking, “Just like the gopis, I will make all people fall into the ocean of suffering.”
‘Indeed, seeing others’ suffering is Krishna’s only happiness. As a result, Krishna must bear the consequence of giving such misery to others, not Vyasa and other sages.’
Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada concludes his amazing commentary, “As we can see there are thousands of implications in this verse. Through condemnation Radha is indirectly praising Krishna, and thus establishing the superexcellence of shuddha-bhakti.”
Srimati Radharani ki jai! Srimad Bhagavatam ki jai! Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada ki jai!