Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.1.1-4
by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Boston, December 22, 1969

Prabhupada: …Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. So I am so pleased that you are doing things just to my satisfaction. And stick to this principle and Krsna will bless you, sure. Our line of action is not difficult: chanting sixteen rounds regularly, following the four regulative principles, take prasadam, read books, we have got so many books, speak, discuss about the subject matter amongst yourself, and this is the process.

So Pariksit Maharaja, you know, I have several times spoken, he had only seven days to meet his death. He was young man, but some way or other, he was cursed by a brahmana boy, not a brahmana, that he would meet death within seven days, and… This is Vedic culture, that before death one should prepare very nicely to go back to Godhead. This is Vedic culture. The modern civilization, they do not know what is going to happen after death. But our Vedic culture is not so blind. Vedic culture has got an aim, what is the aim of human life, not aimless life. Aimless life is animal life. They have no aim. By the laws of nature they are going on, transforming from one body to another, and ultimately they are coming by evolutionary process to the human form of life. And especially this civilized human form of life, it is very responsible life. One has to make his choice whether he wants to continue his materialistic way of life and change the body, one after another. That is very risky job. You should always remember that if in my next body I am given a body like a tree, just see, in this part of the world, how condemned life. They are standing in the snowfall. You have got house. You are protecting yourself. They cannot even move. So there is possibility of getting such life.

So we should be so much responsible, how to avoid such laws of nature. We can have any form of life out of 8,400,000 species that are before you. You should always remember that “If by chance I slip to one of them, then how I have wasted my time.” This is responsible life. Labdhva su-durlabham idam bahu-sambhavante. Bahu-sambhavante means after many, many appearances. This is appearance. This body, present body, is one of the appearances. It will never appear again. He’ll… I will have to or you will have to appear in a different body. But this human form of life is a great opportunity. Bahu-sambhavante. Bahu means many, and sambhava means appearance. After many, many appearances, we have got this. Labdhva su-durlabham. Su-durlabham. Su means very costly. Durlabham means to gain with great difficulty. This responsibility must be there in the human form of life. Labdhva su-durlabham idam bahu-sambhavante. After many, many appearances. And what is this? Manusya, man, human form of body. Artha-dam: and you can achieve a great success in this life. This is the hint given. Therefore for that great success everyone should try his best. And one may think that “Now we are young men, young boys and girls. Let us enjoy life.” And that facility is very much easy to obtain in your country. In the school, college or society, the young boys and young girls, they have got ample facility for enjoying material life. Enjoying material life means sex life. So Bhagavata says, “No. You should immediately try for the ultimate success of your life. Don’t spoil your life.” If we become absorbed in the thoughts of materialistic way of enjoyment, then naturally we have to take birth again in any other form of body, may be human body or may not be human body. But unless we purify our mind and consciousness, we must have to accept the material body.

And if we accept a material body, then all the miserable conditions that we are undergoing with this body, we have to accept it. This is not pessimistic view of life, but this is a fact. Only responsible persons, they can understand. Sanatana Gosvami was minister of government. His society was very aristocratic. Very rich men they were. So rich society, aristocratic society, could not satisfy him. He… They resigned the post and joined Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu for ultimate solution of life. These examples are many. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s disciples, direct disciples, they were all very important men, just like Six Gosvamis. Even Svarupa Damodara, His private secretary, he was very learned man, Vedantist. And next to his secretary, the six Gosvamis, Sanatana Gosvami, Rupa Gosvami, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, they were very, very important rich men of that time. Raghunatha dasa Gosvami happened to be the son of a very big landlord, zamindar. That father’s income was twelve hundred thousands of rupees in those days, five hundred years ago. And he was the only son of his father and uncle. So he did not like to enjoy the father’s property, but he joined Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He is known as Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. Similarly, Rupa-Sanatana Gosvami also joined. They were also very rich men, important men. And Gopala Bhatta Gosvami… Jiva Gosvami, very learned scholar and philosopher. He was the nephew of Rupa Gosvami. So they were all very important men of the society. They joined Caitanya Mahaprabhu to make life successful. So these examples we should take and make our life successful.

The successful life means to make our consciousness changed into Krsna consciousness. That is success. Labdhva su-durlabham idam bahu-sambhavante. We have got this after many, many births, manusyam, this human form of life. Therefore the sastra says, turnam yateta. I am very glad. You all young boys and girls, you are fortunate. I am not bluffing you. Actually you are fortunate. You have come to the right place, where you can learn Krsna consciousness. This is the greatest boon of life. Turnam yateta. The sastra says that “Very quickly you should try to finish this business.” Because Pariksit Maharaja, he was aware that he was going to live for seven days. But we do not know whether our life is still for seven days or seven minutes. Any moment. There is no guarantee. Don’t think that “In old age we shall take up this business of Krsna consciousness.” By the example of Pariksit Maharaja, we can take the lesson that we do not know when we shall die, but before death we have to become competent in Krsna consciousness. What is that competency? Always, twenty-four hours, thinking of Krsna. That’s all. This is competence.

So Pariksit Maharaja, at the last of his life, got the association of a big Krsna conscious personality, Sukadeva Gosvami. So he asked him, “My dear sir, I am now going to die. So what is my duty? Please tell me.” Pariksit Maharaja was born in a family of the Pandus. He is the grandson of Arjuna. Arjuna’s son, Abhimanyu, he died in the Battlefield of Kuruksetra. Everyone joined, so he also joined. He was sixteen years old boy at that time, but he was married. Fortunately he was married. And when he was in the battlefield, fortunately his wife was pregnant, and this Pariksit Maharaja was the posthumous child. He was born after the death of his father. He could not see his father. His grandfathers raised him. All the boys died, of the whole family, in the battlefield. Only these five brothers remained alive, and this child was in the womb of his mother. Otherwise, the members of the whole Kuru family died in the battle. It was such a big fight. So this child was also hit by atomic energy, brahmastra, but Krsna saved him. Krsna wanted that “The descendant of My devotees, they must prolong.” They were very good family, Krsna conscious family. Krsna wants to give protection to the Krsna conscious men, family. That you know from the Bhagavad-gita. So this child was saved even in the womb of his mother by Krsna. So Krsna also could save him when the king was cursed by a brahmana boy, but Pariksit Maharaja did not like the idea. He took it very seriously that “I have offended the brahmana, and he has cursed me. That’s nice.” You see? How much liberal he was. So he accepted. Immediately he prepared for death.

So after all, he was a great devotee. In his childhood he was playing with Radha-Krsna Deity. Just like our child, devotee, Mr. DDD. (laughter) Yes. He is playing with Jagannatha. That is very nice. Yes. This is the opportunity. My father also gave me Deities in my childhood, and I had the opportunity to serve Radha-Krsna from childhood. So as such, he asked Sukadeva Gosvami to hear about Krsna. Although he was very much anxious to know about his duty, but he was thinking that “My only duty is to think of Krsna at this stage.” Therefore he asked his spiritual master, “Whether I shall hear about Krsna in this last point of my death?” So Sukadeva Gosvami was very glad that “This king is already anxious. I was just going to advise him to think of Krsna, but I see that he is already anxious to think of Krsna.” He is always thinking because from the childhood he was playing. From the womb of his mother he saw Krsna. So after his birth he was searching after “that figure who saved me.” Therefore his name was Pariksit. He was examiner. So many… He was royal family child. So, so many people were present after his birth. So he was looking after, “Where is that form, Krsna?” Therefore his name is Pariksit.

So when he inquired from Sukadeva Gosvami, “If I can hear about Krsna?” so Sukadeva Gosvami replied,

variyan esa te prasnah krto loka-hitam nrpa atmavit-sammatah pumsam srotavyadisu yah parah [SB 2.1.1]

“O my dear king, you are very fortunate. Your question about Krsna is welcome.” Variyan. Variyan esa te prasnah: [SB 2.1.1] “You are inquiring about Krsna. So this very question is very important.” Variyan esa te prasnah krto loka-hitam nrpa: [SB 2.1.1] “And this is not good for you only; it is good for all the human society because you have questioned and I shall reply.” So Krsna questions and answers are so important that in future these questions and answers will be discussed in the human society. Actually it is being done so now. We are discussing the same incidents. And he said, atmavit-sammatah pumsam: “And this question is so authorized that atmavit, those who are interested in self-realization, they have got their approval, ‘Yes. This is nice question.’ ” Atmavit-sammatah. Sammata means approved. It is not bogus question. It is approved. This sort of question should be inquired, Krsna, about Krsna. And if you speak about Krsna… The whole world is full with questions and answers, so these questions and answers are approved by atmavit, those who are self-realized, not bodily realized, atmavit. There are two classes of men. Ninety-nine point nine percent, they are bodily realized men, always thinking of the body. And just there is another class; they are called atmavit, self-realized, Krsna conscious persons. Atmavit-sammatah pumsam srotavyadisu yah parah. Srotavya means worth hearing. There are many kinds of subject matter for hearing, but this is the sublime subject matter of hearing, krsna-prasna.

So questions and answer about Krsna, srotavyadisu yah parah… Para means sublime; srotavya means worth by hearing. So why it is para, sublime? He said,

srotavyadini rajendra nrnam santi sahasrasah apasyatam atma-tattvam grhesu grha-medhinam [SB 2.1.2]

This Bhagavata is so, I mean to say, exalted transcendental knowledge that there are eighteen thousand verses, and if you analyze each verse, each word, you will get a great transcendental information. There is no comparison with this Srimad-Bhagavatam. Srimad-Bhagavatam amalam puranam. Amalam, spotless. This puranam, this old history of the world… This is also history. Just like this incidence, Pariksit Maharaja was cursed by a brahmana, he was the king, emperor of the world, and how he met his death, these things are described in this history. Is it not? So this is also history. But it is not ordinary history, not history, chronological history, as we generally mean, but it is a history of the most important men in the world. Just like Pariksit Maharaja. He is the most important, at least one of the most important kings in the world. His history of death and life is historical fact.

So Sukadeva Gosvami said that “My dear king,” srotavyadini rajendra nrnam santi sahasrasah: [SB 2.1.2] “for ordinary men there are many, many subject matters for hearing.” Just like you see the newspaper, there are many varieties of news, but they are meant for whom? For ordinary men. They are not meant for us. We don’t care for what is happening in the newspaper. At least our boys and girls, they do not care for these things, although everyone is anxious to read early in the morning the newspaper. You see? This very fact is stated here: srotavyadini. What is this newspaper? Newspaper, the Sanskrit word is srotavyadini. Srotavya means “the things which is to be heard.” So what is this newspaper? Unless there is some news, what you will hear? So this word, very word, srotavyadini. Pradyumna, you understand srotavyadini? No? Srotavyadini means subject of news. So he said, “There are many subject of news, or newspaper.” Srotavyadini rajendra [SB 2.1.2] He is addressing the king, rajendra. He was the emperor. Therefore, “the king of the kings,” rajendra. “My dear rajendra, emperor, there are many varieties of subject matter for hearing.” For whom? Nrnam: “for the human society.” Nrnam means human beings. Srotavyadini rajendra nrnam santi sahasrasah [SB 2.1.2] But what class of human being? Apasyatam atma-tattvam: “Those who are fools and rascals without any self-realization knowledge. For them.” Apasyatam. Apasyatam means blind, cannot see. They have got their eyes, but they have no introspection, what is the value of life. Therefore he says, apasyatam. Simply they have eyes like the peacock feather. (laughter) They have no introspection. Eyes means introspection. Therefore Vedic culture says, eyes… Sastra-caksus: “You should see through sastra. Don’t try to see by these eyes.” These are, what is the value of this eye? They are conditioned in so many ways. You don’t believe the eyes. See through the sastra, through the spiritual master, through the sastra. Try to see through this. That is perfect seeing.

So the subject matter for hearing for the ordinary person, those who are engaged in family matters, grhesu grha-medhinam… So does it mean to become a family man is bad? No. It does not mean. But if you become grhamedhi, that is particularly said, grhesu grhamedhi. Grhesu, living in family life, but in family life there are also two classes of men: grhastha and these grhamedhi. Therefore I say that each and every word of Srimad-Bhagavatam, you will have new enlightening, new. Difference, there is difference between grhastha and grhamedhi. Grhamedhi, just like ordinary persons, their household life means they have made the home as the center of their existence. Just like I was seeing just now the rooms of our grhastha, householder, boys and girls. Things are scattered. (laughter) But if you go to another person’s, grhastha (grhamedhi), you will find their apartment nicely decorated, chairs, cushions, and sitting place, but they have no vision about self. And here, although we see that household affairs, their resting place, is not so nicely decorated, but their aim is Krsna. So that is the difference between grhamedhi and grhastha. Grhamedhi means they simply want to decorate their apartment and children and wife. That is their end of life. That is all. They have no other business. Apasyatam, blind of the value of life. Whereas the grhastha, he is not blind about the value of his life. He is simply looking forward, how to become successful, Krsna conscious. So those who are blind of the point of self-realization, such householders, they have got many subject matter of hearing in the newspapers. Srotavyadini rajendra nrnam santi sahasrasah [SB 2.1.2]. Sahasrasah means thousands of subject matters. For whom? Grhesu grha-medhinam. Such householders who made their aim of life to decorate the apartment. That’s all. Work whole day and night, and have good dress, good apartment. That’s all. They think this is success. These things are, were before also.

So these are being pointed out, grhesu grha-medhinam. For them there are many thousands of news items. Why they have got thousands? Now, what is their mode of life? That is explained. Their mode of life, Sukadeva Gosvami explained to Pariksit Maharaja. Nidraya hriyate naktam vyavayena ca va vayah: [SB 2.1.3] “At night they are wasting their duration of life either by sleeping or by sex life.” That’s all. This is their business at night. Then, at daytime, what is their business? At daytime, diva carthehaya rajan kutumba-bharanena va: [SB 2.1.3] “And daytime, they are always busy: ‘Where is money? Where is money? Where is money? (laughter) Where is money?’ ” Diva carthe. Arthe means money. Ihaya, hankering after money. Then? They are getting money. Why they should waste their time? No. Nidraya… Diva carthehaya rajan kutumba-bharanena va: [SB 2.1.3] As soon as there is money, there is immediately program how to spend it for family. Kutumba-bharanena va. Kutumba means family, relatives. You see? They will spend thousands of dollars for family and relatives. But if you ask some dollars for Krsna consciousness, they are not interested (inclined?). You see? So for these persons there are varieties of material news. Nidraya hriyate naktam. At night… So their life means day and night. So this is the program of their life. At night those, either sleeping or going to the night club or dancing club, sex life. That’s all. Not that these things are new. These are old things. People were accustomed to all these things only… The human nature is always… They are thinking, “modern days.” What do you mean by “modern days”? Nothing has changed. “Putting the old wine in new bottle.” That’s all. (laughter) The practice is going on. Diva carthehaya.

So the question is why they are wasting their life in this way? So that is answered also. He says,

dehapatya-kalatradisv atma-sainyesv asatsv api tesam pramatto nidhanam pasyann api na pasyati

Dehapatya. Dehapatya. Deha means this body, and apatya means change of. Dehapatya-kalatra. Kalatra means wife. Dehapatya-kalatradisu atma-sainyesu. Just like a nation feels himself well- protected when the nation has got good defense measure, similarly, an ordinary man, he thinks that “If I have got strong built body and very faithful wife and nice children,” dehapatya-kalatradisu, “and after this,” means, “some good bank balance, some landed property, security, these things,” one person accepts, “they will give me protection. Yes. They will give. I am now well-protected. I have got nice children. I have got nice wife. I have got good bank balance. I have got so many properties. So why shall I go to Krsna conscious? I am well-protected. These boys and girls, they have no bank balance. They have no home. Therefore they should go.” But they are blind. How they are blind? They are thinking that these things will give him protection. Pramatta. Pramatta means crazy. (laughter) Crazy. By craziness he is thinking that “These things will give me protection.” No. Tesam pramatto nidhanam pasyann api na pasyati. Because he is crazy, he does not see to the destruction of these things although he is seeing others, that they are being destroyed every moment. “My father has died. Naturally I shall die. Naturally my sons also will die. So why I am so much anxious of protecting this family? Everyone will die.” Pasyann api na pasyati. They see, but still do not see. They see daily that “I am working so hard for these things, but these things will be destroyed, as it has been destroyed previously in the history.” So many empires were destroyed. The British empire destroyed, the Roman empire destroyed, the Egyptian empire destroyed, the, I mean to say, the Indian empire… Formerly…, just like Pariksit Maharaja. He was the emperor of the world. So these things, pasyann api na pasyati, they see that “They cannot give me protection. When I shall be called for death…” Just like Pariksit Maharaja is preparing. “At that time, all these, my soldiers, my bank balance, my good wife, my good children, my good countrymen—no. Nobody can give me any protection.” Just like when you have to fly in the sky, you have to protect yourself. No other can… Take it for the birds or for the airplanes. If you are being crushed in the airplane, no other airplane can protect you. You’ll have to come down from the sky. (laughter) Similarly, when death will come, none of you will be able to give me protection. Either my good state or good family or good bank balance or good this, that. No. That’s all, finished. You see?

So Sukadeva Gosvami giving right instructions to Pariksit Maharaja. Then what should be the subject matter? This so-called rascaldom news, they are not meant for hearing. Therefore he concludes,

tasmad bharata sarvatma bhagavan isvaro harih srotavyah kirtitavyas ca smartavyas cecchatabhayam

Icchata abhayam. Abhayam. Bhaya means fear, and abhayam means fearlessness. If one is actually expecting that he should be protected, abhayam, there should be no more anything of fearfulness. Then Sukadeva Gosvami is instructing that tasmat… Because these things, if you simply divert your attention to the varieties of newspaper or any other information of this world which is full of this grhamedhi, whose business is to sleep at night and work hard at daytime, that will not give you protection. Then? What I have to do? “You have to hear about Bhagavan, Hari, Isvara.” Tasmad bharata sarvatma. “Bharata” because Pariksit Maharaja happened to be a descendant of the Kuru dynasty. The Kuru dynasty was begun from King Bharata, Bharata. There are two, three Bharatas in the history of Vedic literature. One Bharata is Lord Ramacandra’s brother, younger brother. His mother, Bharata’s mother, wanted to make Bharata king. Therefore, by palace diplomacy, Ramacandra was sent to the forest. But His brother Bharata declined, “No.” His mother wanted that “My son should be king.” There were three wives of Maharaja Dasaratha. So this is one Bharata. He was faithful to His brother, but by His mother’s diplomacy Lord Ramacandra was sent to the forest. So this is one celebrated Bharata. Another Bharata is the forefather of the Kuru dynasty. His name is also Bharata. And another Bharata was the son of King Rsabhadeva, by whose name this planet is called Bharatavarsa. This whole planet is called Bharatavarsa. So he is addressing Pariksit Maharaja as the descendant of King Bharata, Bharata.“ He bharata. You have to talk and hear about sarvatma, the Supersoul who is sitting in everyone’s heart, Bhagavan, the Personality of Godhead, full with all opulences.” Bhagavan, this word, every word, suggests volumes of meaning. And Hari: “who can take away all your sufferings.” Isvara: “and He is the controller, supreme controller.”

So instead of diverting your attention to the varieties of news of this world, you just try to… No, not try. You must. You must. Sarvatma harir isvarah. What is that? Srotavya: “Always hear about Him.” Srotavyah kirtitavyas ca. Kirtana. Hearing, then preaching. Therefore we have got our Kirtanananda Maharaja, kirtitavya, who will now preach. Kirtitavya. Hearing, then kirt… After hearing, the next stage is spreading, pushing on, the news of Krsna. First of all hearing, then kirtitavyas ca, spreading. And smartavya. Smartavya means thinking always. Otherwise what you will preach? You hear, you think of it, you preach—this is the business. Smartavya h kirtitavyas ca, srotavyah. For whom? Icchata akuto bhayam. Icchatabhayam, those who are actually seeking protection. Not this protection, that your bank balance, your good wife, this and… No. They will not give you protection. So Pariksit Maharaja was advised by Sukadeva Gosvami, his spiritual master, “This is your business at the point of death.” So not only at the point of death. You cannot take to this business all of a sudden, even it is advised. You have to practice. Just like you cannot become a good soldier on the battlefield. You have to be trained yourself before going to the battle, military training. So this Krsna consciousness movement is training before you ultimately meet death, fight with. So this is the advice given by Sukadeva Gosvami, and we shall read later on.

Thank you very much. (end)