"Many devotees of Lord Caitanya like Srila Vrndavana dasa Thakura, Sri Locana dasa thakura, Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, Sri Kavikarnapura, Sri Prabodhananda Sarasvati, Sri Rupa Gosvami, Sri Sanatana Gosvami, Sri Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami, Sri Jiva Gosvami, Sri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, Sri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami and in this latter age within two hundred years, Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti, Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana, Sri Syamananda Gosvami Sri Narottama dasa Thakura, Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura and at last Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura (our spiritual master) and many other great and renowned scholars and devotees of the Lord have prepared voluminous books and literatures on the life and precepts of the Lord. Such literatures are all based on the sastras like the Vedas, Puranas, Upanisads, Ramayana, Mahabharata and other histories and authentic literatures approved by the recognized cicaryas. They are unique in composition and unrivaled in presentation, and they are full of transcendental knowledge. Unfortunately the people of the world are still ignorant of them, but when these literatures, which are mostly in Sanskrit and Bengali, come to light the world and when they are presented before thinking people, then India's glory and the message of love will overflood this morbid world, which is vainly searching after peace and prosperity by various illusory methods not approved by the acaryas in the chain of disciplic succession."
Back of the Book
When I was realizing Srimad Bhagavatam one day, Sri Svarupa Damodara Prabhu appeared in my realization and instructed me, “By the order of Mahaprabhu, arrange the verses of Srimad Bhagavatam under the categories of sambandha, abhidheya, and prayojana. Then, by the mercy of Sriman Mahaprabhu, this book will be accepted in the assembly of Vaisnavas as a book for daily recitation.” By that inspiration only, this fallen servant Bhaktivinoda compiled this book.
The followers of the Aryan sages of India worship the Vedas as infallible words. Actually the Vedas are just like a desire tree from which karmis, jnanis, yogis, and devotees can all abstract their respective desired results. Activities related to the three modes of material nature have been expanded by Mahamaya, who created the universe. Therefore Lord Brahma, the grandfather of mankind, has prayed to Lord Govinda as follows:
maya hi yasya jagad-anda-satani sute
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
“I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who is the absolute substantive principle being the ultimate entity in the form of the support of all existence whose external potency embodies the threefold mundane qualities, viz., sattva, rajas, and tamas and diffuses the Vedic knowledge regarding the mundane world.”
The Upanishads are the head of the Vedas. Sri Vedavyasa has composed the Brahma-sutra, or Vedanta sutra, to display the teachings of the Upanishads by classifying them as sambandha (the living entities’ relationship with the Supreme Lord), abhidheya (activities in that relationship), and prayojana (the goal of life). This is the well- known Vedanta philosophy. Many people are unable to understand the purport of the sutras. Therefore many thoughtful people gave up the impartial path of understanding and explained the meaning of the sutras according to their imagination to establish their own concocted philosophies in the name of Vedanta philosophy. This has, as a result, not only covered the actual purport of the Vedanta rather than unfolding it, but also taken a completely opposite form. Fearing such a pathetic condition and to benefit the sincerely inquisitive persons, Sri Vyasadeva has personally composed the Srimad Bhagavatam as the commentary on the Brahma-sutra. The Garuda Purana has declared that this king of the Pnranas is the purport of the Brahma-sutra and Mahabharata, is non different from the Gayatri mantras, and is the essence of the purport of the Vedic literatures.
The supreme truth that the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krsna manifested in the heart of the full surrendered Brahma is known as the catuh-sloki Bhagavatam. After Sri Vyasadeva received this from Sri Narada, his spiritual master, he expanded it into eighteen thousand verses and divided them into twelve cantos for the benefit of ordinary people. Through various means the great sage has described in the Srimad Bhagavatam ten principle subject matters—the creation of the universe, the sub creation, the planetary systems, the protect inn of the lord, the creative impetus, the change of Manus, the science of God, returning hack home to Godhead, liberation, and time summum bonum. Other Pnranas deal with five subject matters, and is therefore the king of the Puranas.
Srimad Bhagavatam is actually the sound incarnation of the Supreme Lord’s complete manifestation. When the sun like all—auspicious Krsna left for His own abode, this sun like Purana has arisen in the sky of spiritual life to eternally benefit the conditioned souls who have lost their vision due to darkness of ignorance. The various cantos are its different limbs. It is stated in the Padma Purana as follows.
Padau yadiyau prathama-dvitiyau
Trtiya-turyau kathitau yad-uru
Nabhis tatha pancama eva sastho
Bhujantaram dor-yugalam tathanyau
Kanthas tu rajan navamo yadiyo
Mukharavindam dasamam praphullam
Ekadaso yas ca lalata-pattam
Siro pi yad dvadasa eva bhati
Namami devam karuna-nidhanam
“The Bhagavatam’s First and Second Cantos are Lord Krsna’s feet, and the Third and Fourth Cantos are His thighs. The Fifth Canto is His navel, the Sixth Canto is His chest, and the Seventh and Eighth Cantos are His arms. The Ninth Canto is His throat, the Tenth Canto his blooming lotus face, the Eleventh Canto His forehead, and the twelfth Canto His head. I bow down to that Lord, the ocean of mercy, whose color is like that of a tamala tree and who appears in this world for the welfare of all. I worship Him as the bridge for crossing the unfathomable ocean of material existence. Srimad Bhagavatam has appeared as His very self.”
Rather than accepting the garland of instructions given by the most merciful Srimad Bhagavatam, which easily uproots the living entity’s threefold material misery and awards them ever-fresh varieties of loving service to the Supreme Lord, sonic unfortunate people have made some erroneous statements regarding this literature while trying to study it with their sensual knowledge. In his book Siddhantadarpana, Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana Prabhu has refuted all those false arguments with proper reasoning and scriptural evidence. In reply to the statement that Srimad Bhagavatam is not authentic because it creates doubts. Srila Vidyabhusanapada has said that unfortunate people are always doubtful to the statements of the Vedic literatures; therefore should the Vedas also be called unauthentic? Actually, to have doubts in regard to Srimad Bhagavatam’s authenticity is utter foolishness.
Srimad Bhagavatam has rejected the performance of many Vedic rituals. That is why the opposition declares that this literature is on authorized and opposed to the Vedas. In answer to this, Vidyabhusanapada says that there are many injunctions in the Vedas or qualified people to give up the path of furtive activities. The same injunctions are also found in Mahabharata. So should the Vedas and the Mahabharata be considered unauthentic? Ancient scholars have quoted the statements of Sri mad Bhagavatam in their articles on hooks like Samvatsara-pradipa, which is filled with transcendental dialogues. Many learned scholars who are well versed in the Vedas have written commentaries on Srimad Bhagavatam, yet the statements of those who cannot find the Absolute Truth in the Srimad Bhagavatam are as incompatible as an owl that cannot see the sun during the day.
I ask those who say that Srimad Bhagavatam was not composed by Vyasadeva but was composed by one Bopadeva, how is it that personalities like Hanuman and Citsukha, who appeared long before Bopadeva, wrote commentaries on Srimad Bhagavatam?
After seeing the unique presentation of Srimad Bhagavatam, those who consider this king of literatures as a modern book are certainly bewildered by the illusory energy of the Lord. Similar forms of presentation are also found in literatures like Chandogya Upanisad, Visnu Purana, and Ramayana. Therefore should these literatures be considered modern?
The supreme religious principles for all humanity are free from cheating. in other words, there is no scope for any desire for religiosity, economic development, sense gratification, and liberation. Unmotivated love of Krsna, the fifth objective of life surpassing the other four objectives of life, is the supreme occupational duty of the living entries. Devotees who are fully surrendered to Krsna, who are transcendental, and who are free from envy constantly cultivate this religious system. People who are conditioned by the three modes of material nature are envious, and they aspire for religiosity, economic development and sense gratification. That platform is full of unrest arid threefold material miseries; therefore those who want uninterrupted happiness and peace must cultivate this bhagavata-dharma while taking shelter at the lotus feet of the devotees of Krsna.
Since in sayujya—mukti, or liberation in the form of merging into the existence of the Lord, there is an endeavor to destroy devotional service, the devotee, and the Supreme Lord, there is no scope on that platform for attaining love of God or the ecstasy derived from rendering service to the Lord, Therefore this has been described as the principle form of cheating. If sense enjoyers, furtive workers, mental speculators, and mystic yogis use their intelligence, they will serve Krsna by following the principles of pure bhagavata-dharma. Despite completely rejecting the desires for religiosity, economic development, sense gratification, and liberation, which are prescribed in the Vedas for less intelligent people, the Srimad Bhagavatam is the ripened fruit of the Vedic desire tree. For one who obtains this fruit, there is nothing left to obtain. Religiosity, economic development, sense gratification, and liberation stand with folded hands to render service to the unalloyed devotees whose life and souls is Srimad Bhagavatam. Therefore Sri Bilvamangala Thakura has written in his Sri Krsna- karnamrta as follows:
bhaktis tvayi sthiratara bhagavan yadi syad
daivena nah phalati divya-kisora-murtih
muktih svayam muklitanjali sevate ‘sman
“If I am engaged in devotional service unto You, my dear Lord, then very easily can I perceive Your presence everywhere. And as far as liberation is concerned, I think that liberation stands at my door with folded hands, waiting to serve me—and all material conveniences of dharma [religiosity], artha [economic development] and home [sense gratification] stand with her.”
Many people display a lack of patience in regard to the study of this voluminous literature Srimad Bhagavatam. Even among those who patiently study Srimad Bhagavatam, many people do not pay attention to the actual teachings of Srimad Bhagavatam but remain interested only in the stories. Therefore, Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who is the present day Bhagirathi bringing the Ganges of pure devotional service to this earth, collected and arranged select verses from Srimad Bhagavatam and scientifically presented them in the form of Sri Bhagavatarka-marici-mala to properly shed the light of Srimad Bhagavatam.
There are twenty rays, or chapters, in this book. The author has himself written in Bengali a translation cum commentary on these verses called mend period, or the illumination of the rays. This has made the subject matter more easily understood. Those who desire to see Srimad Bhagavatam as a philosophical work will also be glad to find the scriptural evidence and conclusions put forth in this book by Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Such a brief yet substantial presentation of Srimad Bhagavatam with analysis of sambandha, abhidheya, and prayojana is rarely seen. Keeping in mind unqualified people, Sri Vyasadeva concealed the names of the daughter of Vrsabhanu and the gives in Srimad Bhagavatam, despite quoting their statements. Sri Bhaktininoda Thakura clearly revealed those names and thereby increased the ecstasy of the pure devotees. This book is an invaluable jewel for sober persons who desire to attain the light of spiritual life. Simply by proper cultivation of this book the entire humanity will attain eternal benefit. Therefore vast propagation of this book is highly desirable.
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