Pradyumna: (leads chanting, etc.)
bhaktir bhavati naiṣṭhikī
“By regularly hearing the Bhāgavatam and rendering service unto the pure devotee, all that is troublesome to the heart is practically destroyed, and loving service unto the glorious Lord, who is praised with transcendental songs, is established as an irrevocable fact.”
Prabhupāda: So here it is said bhāgavata-sevayā, not bhagavān-sevayā. Bhagavān is Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and bhāgavata means in relation with Bhagavān, who has got relationship with Bhagavān. So here it is recommended bhāgavata-sevayā, not bhagavān-sevayā. The idea is that you cannot approach Bhagavān, God, directly. That is not possible. First of all, you have to serve bhāgavata, the devotee bhāgavata.
There are two kinds of bhāgavata: book bhāgavata and devotee bhāgavata. So in the Śiva Purāṇa, there was a question by Pārvatī to Lord Śiva. Lord Śiva and Pārvatī, husband and wife. Pārvatī means the material nature. Sṛṣṭi-sthiti-pralaya-sādhana-śaktir ekā chāyeva yasya bhuvanāni bibharti durgā [Bs. 5.44]. Durgā-devī. Durgā-devī is in charge of this material world. It is called durgā, durgā, just like fort. And the superintendent of this fort is Durgā. You cannot go out of this fort; you are imprisoned. So such Durgā-devī, who is so powerful energy—she can create, annihilate, maintain, sṛṣṭi-sthiti-pralaya-sādhana—she is always sitting by the side of her husband, Lord Śiva, and questioning about spiritual enquiries. Just see. Such powerful deity is also ignorant about spiritual life. So the husband, Lord Śiva, is Vaiṣṇava, and she’s always asking, and sitting down underneath a bael tree. She can create so many universes, but for her, no building; only underneath a tree.
So the question was, “Which worship is best?” So Lord Śiva replied, ārādhanānāṁ sarveṣāṁ viṣṇor ārādhanaṁ param: “My dear Pārvatī, of all methods of worship, Viṣṇu worship is the topmost.” There are many demigods’ worship, even Lord Śiva’s worship, but Lord Śiva says, “Viṣṇu worship is the best.” Then he says again, tasmāt parataraṁ devi. “My dear Devi, better than that Viṣṇu worship is tadīyānāṁ samarcanam.” Tadīya. Tadīya means those who are in relationship with Viṣṇu, tadīya. Just like His devotee, tadīya. Tulasī-vṛkṣa. Tulasī is tadīya. Or temple tadīya. Preaching tadīya. Tadīyānāṁ samarcanam. This is bhāgavata. So Lord Śiva recommends that “Of all methods of worship, Viṣṇu worship is the best, and better than Viṣṇu worship is to worship His devotee or things in relationship with Him.”
Tadīyānām, that is bhāgavata. Here it is also said, tadīyānām, bhāgavata-sevayā. This book bhāgavata, spoken by the devotee bhāgavata, this should be taken very seriously daily. Otherwise you…, we do not understand what is Bhagavān. Therefore it is recommended here: nityam, daily, or constantly, twenty-four hours. We have to mold our life in such a way that twenty-four hours, not a single moment leaving aside, we should be engaged in bhāgavata-sevayā, in the service of Lord’s relations. The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Bhagavad-gītā, the spiritual master, tulasī-devī, the temple, the preaching, the books—these are all bhāgavata. So nityaṁ bhāgavata-sevayā. Naṣṭa-prāyeṣu. If we engage ourself in this bhāgavata-sevayā… Just like we are doing daily, trying to read one verse of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, discussing amongst ourselves. This is bhāgavata-sevayā. Nityam, daily, regularly. By this process, when the dirty things within the heart, naṣṭa-prāyeṣv abhadreṣu [SB 1.2.18].
Abhadra means dirty things, inauspicious things. What is that inauspicious thing? Inauspicious things means the heart disease for sense enjoyment; this is inauspicious, Different varieties, abhadreṣu. There are three modes of material nature. And multiply it three, mix it again, it becomes nine, and again multiplied, nine by nine, it becomes eighty-one. So these, this… Originally the three… Just like three colors, yellow, red and blue. These three colors, you mix… Those who are artists, those who know the color display… Simply you mix three colors in different way, and it becomes varieties of color. So our heart disease, dirty thing, varieties of sense enjoyment, varieties. So heart is full with varieties of sense enjoyment. Therefore by nityaṁ bhāgavata-sevayā [SB 1.2.18], by daily, regular worshiping Bhāgavatam, we become free from the dirty things.
In the previous verse we have read that śṛṇvatāṁ sva-kathāḥ kṛṣṇaḥ puṇya-śravaṇa-kīrtanaḥ, hṛdy antaḥ stho hy abhadrāṇi [SB 1.2.17]. We have got abhadrāṇi, so many inauspicious things, within our heart. This can be cleansed simply by hearing the message of Kṛṣṇa from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, from Bhagavad-gītā, from the lips of devotees. In this way, when almost the dirty things are cleared off—not all… As soon as all dirty things are cleared off, then we are liberated soul. Immediately love of God, the original consciousness. You become mad. Just like Caitanya Mahāprabhu,
śūnyāyitaṁ jagat sarvaṁ
“Feeling separation of Govinda.” How? “One moment is equal to twelve years,” yugāyitam. One yuga means twelve years. One moment appearing. Sometimes we have got experience, if we want to see something, it is called expectant psychology. I am expecting something, somebody, that my friend or my lover is coming. So on the door, if there is “koot,” “Oh, you have come? No, no. He has not come.” The one moment is twelve years. Such kind of separation, when we feel for Kṛṣṇa, that means all dirty things are over. And something for Kṛṣṇa, something for sense enjoyment, that means still the dirty things are there. But the more we engage our time, nityaṁ bhāgavata-sevayā, the dirty things becomes cleansed, gradually. Just like when you are hungry, you are given foodstuff, you eat. The more you eat, your hunger is satisfied. You feel strength, you feel satisfaction. Similarly, the more you advance in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, you feel comfortable, released from the material discomforts. In this way, naṣṭa-prāyeṣu. Gradual process.
So naṣṭa-prāyeṣv abhadreṣu nityaṁ bhāgavata-sevayā [SB 1.2.18]. Not all cleansed, but prāya, say, seventy-five cleansed. At that time, you become fixed-up in devotional service, naiṣṭhikī. There are different stages of devotional service. That I have explained several times. First of all, śraddhā, sādhu-saṅga, bhajana-kriyā, anartha-nivṛttiḥ syāt. When anartha-nivṛttiḥ syāt, all unwanted things are finished, at that time, niṣṭhā, firm faith. So bhagavaty uttama-śloke bhaktir bhavati naiṣṭhikī. So, so long there are dirty things, our faith and devotion in Kṛṣṇa is not very fixed up, sometimes we deviate, we go away. But then naṣṭa-prāyeṣu, when seventy-five percent of the dirty things are cleansed, then our faith in God becomes fixed up. Bhagavaty uttama-śloke.
Uttama, uttama means udgata-tama. This material world is tama, ignorance, darkness. And Kṛṣṇa is beyond this material world; therefore He is called para. Para means transcendental. So uttama-śloka. So when we offer our prayers to Kṛṣṇa, they are not ordinary words. Therefore those who are not liberated soul, they cannot offer prayers actually. We have to repeat the prayers offered by liberated soul, not by ordinary man. Because he is not yet uttama, he is not yet in the transcendental platform. Therefore we don’t allow songs which are not sung by liberated souls like Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura. They are liberated souls. We don’t allow any literature which is not given by liberated soul. Literatures, they are always following Vedic principles. Vedas, the original transcendental literature, and any literature which is produced under the guidance of Vedic literature, that is also nice. That is perfect. Therefore whenever we write something, we give immediately Vedic evidence. We give some Sanskrit verse. This means that we are not manufacturing ourself. What we have heard from the paramparā system, from higher authorities, we are presenting, simply, in our own language, and the evidence is this Vedic verse. This is perfect literature.
So whimsically, we cannot write any poetry for Kṛṣṇa. That is not possible. That will create havoc. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī says,
aikāntikī harer bhaktir
Any devotional sentiment which is not supported by Vedas, śruti… Śruti means Veda, and smṛti means corollary to the Veda, or things which are written in corroboration with the Vedic ideas… That is called smṛti. Just like Bhagavad-gītā is smṛti. Bhagavad-gītā, the purpose of Bhagavad-gītā is the same as the Vedas, but it is not directly Veda; therefore it is called smṛti. Śruti-smṛti-purāṇādi [Brs. 1.2.101]. The Purāṇas, there are eighteen Purāṇas. Purāṇādi means Rāmāyaṇa, Mahābhārata also. Śruti-smṛti-purāṇādi-pañcarātra-vidhiṁ vinā [Brs. 1.2.101]. Pañcarātra-vidhi, given by Nārada Muni for worshiping the Deity. We are worshiping the Deity under the pañcarātra-vidhi. So Rūpa Gosvāmī says that “Any devotional service which has no reference with śruti, smṛti, purāṇa, pañcarātra, that is simply a disturbance. Simply disturbance, creating disturbance.” We cannot manufacture. Sometimes we are questioned, “Can we do this? Can we do that?” Of course, it is good. But there is no need of manufacturing some idea. Whatever idea is already there, follow strictly.
So bhagavaty uttama-śloke bhaktir bhavati naiṣṭhikī. That fixed up bhakti is required, not oscillating: sometimes this side, sometimes that side. So this can be possible, fixed up devotional service, by nityaṁ bhāgavata-sevayā [SB 1.2.18], regularly worshiping the bhāgavata-grantha and the devotee bhāgavata. Because without hearing about God authentically, how we can fix up? So we should hear, śṛṇvatāṁ sva-kathāḥ kṛṣṇaḥ. Sva-kathāḥ kṛṣṇaḥ [SB 1.2.17]. Kṛṣṇa’s word is given by Kṛṣṇa. Just like Bhagavad-gītā. Sva-kathāḥ means “His own words.” So this is bhāgavata. And sva-kathāḥ, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is also sva-kathāḥ. The Purāṇas also, sva-kathāḥ. Because all these books are given by Vyāsadeva. Vyāsadeva is incarnation of Kṛṣṇa. So that is also sva-kathāḥ. So we have to hear about Kṛṣṇa which is given by Kṛṣṇa. Bhagavad-gītā is given by Kṛṣṇa, and Bhāgavata and other Purāṇas and Vedic literature given by Kṛṣṇa Dvaipāyana Vyāsa. And the method is taught by Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu. So therefore, everything is Kṛṣṇa’s. Kṛṣṇa directly, Kṛṣṇa as Vyāsadeva; Kṛṣṇa as Caitanya Mahāprabhu devotee.
So we have to follow this. Śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya prabhu nityānanda, śrī-advaita gadādhara śrīvāsādi-gaura-bhakta-vṛnda. Kṛṣṇa is teaching how to approach Kṛṣṇa. That is bona fide. We cannot take any other method. This is the authorized method. The, the person concerned, He is teaching how to worship Kṛṣṇa, how to become devotee. Kṛṣṇāya kṛṣṇa-caitanya-nāmne. Rūpa Gosvāmī said,”Lord Caitanya, You are Kṛṣṇa, but You have appeared as Kṛṣṇa Caitanya.” Kṛṣṇāya kṛṣṇa-caitanya-nāmne. Namo mahā-vadānyāya kṛṣṇa-prema-pradāya te [Cc. Madhya 19.53]. “You are distributing love of Kṛṣṇa.” How it is possible for ordinary man? “But Kṛṣṇa, because You are Kṛṣṇa, simply You are in the name of Kṛṣṇa Caitanya. So therefore You can distribute. Your thing, You can distribute.”
śṛṇvatāṁ sva-kathāḥ kṛṣṇaḥ
hṛdy antaḥ stho hy abhadrāṇi
vidhunoti suhṛt satām
Naṣṭa-prāyeṣv abhadreṣu. A little, maybe; not all. There may be some habitual… But still, even there are some flaws in the beginning, if we fix up our devotion to Kṛṣṇa… That is also confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā:
api cet su-durācāro
bhajate mām ananya-bhāk
sādhur eva sa mantavyaḥ
samyag vyavasito hi saḥ
kṣipraṁ bhavati dharmātmā
na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati
So in the beginning we must be sincere, very sincere, to follow the rules and regulations. But due to our past habits, if there is some flaw, that is excused. Not intentionally. Because I am habituated to something, and I am, although engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, my past habits sometimes becomes manifest. So Kṛṣṇa says, “All right, you try your best. It will be rectified.” Kṣipraṁ bhavati dharmātmā. Kṣipram means “Very soon, you’ll be dharmātmā, perfect, religious.” Kṣipraṁ bhavati dharmātmā śaśvac-chāntiṁ nigacchati: “And you’ll be elevated to the eternal platform of peace and tranquillity.” Kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati: [Bg. 9.31] “If one is sincere devotee, he’ll be not lost. He’ll make progress.” But if there is any ulterior motive, then he’ll be lost. Māyā is there. The māyā, just like shadow and light, they’re side by side. A little crossing the marginal line between shadow and light, you are in the darkness. Similarly, a little crossing of the marginal line from the darkness to light, you are in light.
So Kṛṣṇa and māyā are side by side. As soon as you forget Kṛṣṇa, or as soon as you want to utilize Kṛṣṇa for your sense gratification, it is immediately māyā, darkness. And as soon as you want to serve Kṛṣṇa, immediately it is light. So if we keep ourself on this side, light side, always serving Kṛṣṇa, then there is no possibility of our being in contact with māyā.
daivī hy eṣā guṇamayī
mama māyā duratyayā
mām eva ye prapadyante
māyām etāṁ taranti te
This māyā is very strong. The same example yesterday we were giving. The sun, little deviation, the whole world, universe, becomes frozen, and little deviation, the whole universe becomes ablaze. This is the position, very… Therefore our position is marginal. We are called marginal energy. We may be dark side or in the light side. So Kṛṣṇa consciousness means to keep always in the light side. If we always think of Kṛṣṇa, by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, then we shall keep ourself on the light side. And as soon as we think of sense gratification, immediately we are on the dark side. So our… We should be very cautious that we may not fall down on the dark side. We can keep ourself in the light side by nityaṁ bhāgavata-sevayā [SB 1.2.18]. Simply studying Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Bhagavad-gītā, try to understand, chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. Twenty-four hours be engaged in this way. You’ll be on the light side.
Read the purport.
Pradyumna: “Here is the remedy for eliminating all inauspicious things within the heart which are considered to be obstacles in the path of self-realization. The remedy is the association of the Bhāgavatas. There are two types of Bhāgavatas, namely the book Bhāgavata and the devotee Bhāgavata. Both the Bhāgavatas are competent remedies, and both of them or either of them can be good enough to eliminate the obstacles. A devotee Bhāgavata is as good as the book Bhāgavata because the devotee Bhāgavata leads his life in terms of the book Bhāgavata and the book Bhāgavata is full of information about the Personality of Godhead and His pure devotees, who are also Bhāgavatas. Bhāgavata book and person are identical. The devotee Bhāgavata is a direct representative of Bhagavān, the Personality of Godhead, so by pleasing the devotee Bhāgavata one can receive the benefit of the book Bhāgavata. Human reason fails to understand how by serving the devotee Bhāgavata or the book Bhāgavata one gets gradual promotion on the path of devotion. But actually these are the facts explained by Śrīla Nāradadeva, who happened to be a maidservant’s son in his previous life. The maidservant…”
Prabhupāda: There is another Vedic evidence:
yasya deve parā bhaktir
yathā deve tathā gurau
tasyaite kathitā hy arthāḥ
To… Vedic literature, the meaning becomes revealed to a person who has got unflinching faith in God and the spiritual master. Just like Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, he was illiterate, but he became the spiritual master of Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī. So the purport of the Vedic literature becomes revealed to a person who has got unflinching faith in God and the spiritual master. Go on.
Pradyumna: “The maidservant was engaged in the menial service of the sages, and thus he also came into contact with them. And simply by associating with them and accepting the remnants of foodstuff left by the sages, the son of the maidservant got the chance to become the great devotee and personality Śrīla Nāradadeva. These are the miraculous effects of the association of Bhāgavatas. And to understand these effects practically, it should be noted that by such sincere association of the Bhāgavatas one is sure to receive transcendental knowledge very easily…”
Prabhupāda: So our principle should be not to disassociate ourself from the devotees. Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura therefore sings, tāṅdera caraṇa-sebi-bhakta-sane bās, janame janame hoy ei abhilāṣ: “I desire birth after birth to serve the ācāryas and to live with devotees.” So our this association, society’s is giving these two opportunity: you serve the purpose or the orders of the ācāryas and live with devotees. Then you will be secure in devotional service. Tāṅdera caraṇa-sebi-bhakta-sane bās. Bhakta-sane bās is very important thing. Even there is little inconvenience, still we should stick to live with the devotees. Then we shall be profited. Go on.
Pradyumna: “…with the result that he becomes fixed in the devotional service of the Lord. The more progress is made in devotional service under the guidance of the Bhāgavatas, the more one becomes fixed in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. The messages of the book Bhāgavata, therefore, have to be received from the devotee Bhāgavata, and the combination of these two Bhāgavatas will help the neophyte devotee to make progress on and on.” (end)