First and always, I pay my humble obeisances at the lotus feet of my Spiritual Master, Srila Prabhupada, who protects the quality of my spiritual life and guides me at every step, and to whom I am forever indebted. I deliberated for years after my Guru’s departure on the best way I could serve him in spreading Krishna consciousness. In my search for help in serving him correctly, I encountered interferences when I tried to spread the exact Vedic knowledge and its etiquette. In such a situation, I bowed, and humbly prayed to my Spiritual Master for instruction. Hence, I embarked on my mission to serve my Guru to the best of my ability. The work presented here demonstrates my capability to properly translate Vedic scriptures into English. My junior years of schooling were dedicated to this academic study. Thus, I have been inspired by my Guru Maharaja to undertake the gargantuan task of translating Srimad Bhagavatam into English, with purports. It is only because of my unflinching faith in my Divine Master and uncompromising traditional Vaishnava habits, which I have never deviated from at any time, that I will be able to accomplish this historic Vedic translation. In fact, as per the law of Vedic civilization, this work can only be done by one born in the traditional brahmana lineage, by one who is trained from birth to know his Spiritual Master’s eternal will. This work is my mission for life. This is the main reason for calling this section “My Mission.” A section like it will appear in every volume of Srimad Bhagavatam, deliberating on a particular topic.
My secretary during 1983-84, an Anglo-American, questioned the Hinduism taught today, and asked if a curious person had any option to study Vedic culture elsewhere. I pondered his question, and saw a great need for an authentic Vedic institute that would aid the sincere soul interested in studying the spiritual science behind Hinduism. It took me six years to properly establish the Bhagavat Dharma Samaj, the society dedicated to introduce the ultimate goal of the living entity. This society answers questions such as those asked by my secretary. In order for a disciple to Vedicly establish his own society, by his own works, he must develop everything new (property, disciples) and not use any of his Guru’s assets for his own mission. I have followed an the guidelines to the letter in the establishment of the Bhagavat Dharma Samaj (society), and will teach anyone fortunate enough the exact Vedic etiquette and philosophy, as expounded by the previous acaryas. Our society is distinct from any other, since we will not compromise its philosophy in fear of criticism from anyone.
In all circumstances, we refer to the ancient Vedic scriptures for insight, as did all the previous acharyas. A real spiritual teacher does not waver from the prescribed Vedic process in order to keep his followers. This principle is illustrated in the Valmiki Ramayana, when Ravana wanted to kill Marica for his refusal to participate in stealing the Goddess Sita. Marica told Ravana, saciva vaidya guru tini jaba priya bolahin bhaya asa, raja dharma tanu tini kara hohin begi hi nasa, “When, due lo fear, a king’s minister, one’s physician, or a Guru have to compromise their position, and speak to appease the other, the king’s kingdom, the patient’s health, and the spiritual life of the follower are jeopardized.” Therefore, as per Vedic law, a real Guru does not fear his disciple, which may cause him to compromise the Vedic system, thereby diluting the Vedic culture.
We registered Bhagavat Dharma Samaj in 1990, with the main purpose of expounding the age-old spiritual values of Vedic civilization to guide everyone who wishes to participate. Even the name Bhagavat Dharma Samaj is Vedic, which helps illustrate to the general public that this society is governed by ancient Vedic customs. These Vedic customs are the soul’s original culture. They are lucidly explained in Srimad Bhagavatam, which was written five thousand years ago. Bhagavat Dharma Samaj is based on the exact teachings of Simad Bhagavatam·and expounds these principles philosophically and scientifically so the modern mind can grasp it. Intelligent people in search of real truth will get exceptional spiritual guidance from our edition of Srimad Bhagavatam, because we neither speculate, dilute, or change anything from the original Vedic text. We present the philosophy exactly as it is supposed to be presented. Vedic civilization (modernly called Hinduism) is not a mancreated religion; it deals solely with the soul and its relation with the Supreme Soul. Vedic civilization does not consider what religion one was born into, nor one’s race, caste, or creed. It is analogous to an electrical current, which can power any machine or instrument. Similarly, Vedic knowledge enlightens anyone who follows it properly. Vedic science is derived from the ancient scriptures of India and is not limited by any material boundaries, as are the modern beliefs of this world. Vedic science is eternal and affects every soul who follows it correctly. It teaches divine morals and the correct character of the soul. It rewards everlasting peace. This is our experience and the experience of everyone who has wholeheartedly adopted its principles.
The Srimad Bhagavatam is filled with the uncontaminated formula for peace, prosperity, and happiness. It leads one to liberation. Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu refers to it as the amala purana, “The spotless scripture.” And Srila Vyasadeva declares, dharma projjhita kaitabho’tra paramo nirmatsaranam satam, “Every materially motivated, cheating religion is thrown out of Srimad Bhagavatam. It guides the sincere soul to the highest Dharma (spiritual values) and is desired by the real devotees.” There is not, and there can never be, any better way of life than that illustrated in Srimad Bhagavatam. Everyone should take its way of life as the path for one’s life and soul. On its every page, some clue to receiving perfection is given. The path explained in Srimad Bhagavatam is called Bhaktiyoga (devotional service), and is the only way to please Lord Krsna. No one need fear wasting his time pursuing this path, as Lord Krsna gives this guarantee in the Srimad Bhagavat Gita: “There is no loss or diminution on this path. A little practice of this process can free one from the greatest type of fear.” And, “Only through Bhaktiyoga can one obtain Me.” Therefore, let us practice the devotional way of life and serve the Supreme Lord properly to receive the greatest benediction, association with Lord Krsna. Srimad Bhagavatam is not an ordinary book. It was written by the literary incarnation of the Lord, Srila Vyasadeva. He appeared to guide people interested in ending life’s miseries by ending the cycle of
birth and death. As it is stated:
grantho ‘stadasa sahasro dvadasa skandha samyutah
pariksit-suka-sambadah srimad bhagavatiabhidah
slokardham sloka padam va nityam bhagavatodbhavam
pathasva sva mukhena’pi yadi icchasi bhavaksyayam
[Padma Purana Uttarrakhanda 195.29,30]
“Srimad Bhagavatam has 18,000 verses, is divided into twelve cantos, and is the conversation between King Pariksit and Sri Sukadeva Goswami. If, as a daily routine, a person studies this Srimad Bhagavatan, even for only half or quarter of a verse, one can learn how to sever all ties to this miserable material world, stop the repetition of birth and death, and attain liberation.” It is further explained in the Padma Purana how Srimad Bhagavatam is an incarnation of Krsna in this world and guides everyone to liberation:
tamadidevam karuna-nidhanam tamala-varnam su-hitavataram
apara-samsara samudra setum bhajamahe bhagavatam svarupam
“O king, first I pay my salutations to the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna, who has appeared in this material world in the form of Srimad Bhagavatam, who is the original and first personality, who is an ocean of mercy, whose bodily complexion is dark in color like a Tamala tree, who is all auspicious, who is the purest of all pure, who is the source of all incarnations, and who is a bridge for everyone to cross the immeasurable material ocean of birth and death. The literary incarnation of God is in the form of Srimad Bhagavatam.” The subjects discussed in Srimad Bhagavatam are unlike any discussed in an ordinary book. As Sri Sukadeva Goswami states to King Pariksit:
atra sargo visargas ca sthanam posanam utayah
manvantaresanu-katha nirodho muktir asrayah
dasamasya visuddhyartham navanam iha laksanam
varnayanti mahatmanah srutenarthena canjasa
[Srimad Bhagavatam 2.10.1,2]
“This Srimad Bhagavatam describes ten subjects: the creation of the universe, the cosmic manifestation, the status quo, the maintenance of the creation, the creative impetus, the prescribed duties of mankind, the science of God, the withdrawal of this cosmic creation, liberation, and the true path of refuge at the feet of the sumum bonum. In order to clearly illustrate the intricate understanding of the tenth subject, all the great sages have used the first nine subjects of Srimad Bhagavatam as its signs, by substantiating their deliberations with the scriptural evidence.” The important esoteric subjects of Srimad Bhagavatam cannot be described properly by everyone. One has to be a pure devotee of the Lord. Only then, does He reveal the inner meaning of the scripture within his heart. As Lord Siva states, bhaktya bhagavati gatha na medhaya na ca tikaya, “One cannot understand Srimad Bhagavatam simply because one is intelligent or educated, or has an explanation of the book on hand. It can only be understood by a real devotee.” In modern times (Kaliyuga) many people imitate spiritual leaders; their intentions may be either good or bad. However, without first scrutinizing anyone who claims to be a spiritual leader, one should not follow them. Sanat Kumara forewarned everyone against following an unqualified spiritual leader by foretelling what will take place in Kaliyuga:
sudra-prati-ghisyanti tapo-vesopa-jivinah dharmam vaksnti adharmajna adhi-ruhyanti tamasam
“Sudras will become devotees of God and will live and act like austere saints. Although they are irreligious in their hearts, they will teach their concoction of.spiritual life to others. With such disturbances, real religion will be destroyed , and mischief will prevail on earth.” We have discussed in detail how to detect showboat spiritualists, in our book, Who Can Become Guru and Who Cannot. Our humble mission is to establish a functioning example of true Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism). In our Vrajavasi purports, we are giving the curious seeker of Vedic culture the option to scrutinize true Hinduism, to see that it is truly the spiritual science of self realization that opens the gateway to establishing a relationship between the living entity and the Supreme Lord . The Vedic tradition is the authentic spiritual science directly created by the Supreme Lord. One can realize this in a very short time by practicing it through the proper channel. We are dedicated to spreading the undiluted message of ancient Vedic Vaishnava scriptures. We do not, and will not, compromise with anyone at any time in this process. Our mission is to establish the true Dharma, the soul’s eternal duty. We simply suggest to anyone and everyone, “Please save yourself and do not be misled.” The soul is eternal, and we “must return to our spiritual constitutional position as servants of the Supreme Lord.” As the Lord says in the last verse of Bhagavad Gita, victory, prosperity, good fortune, and morality will be with us without any doubt.
In translating and editing this great literature, as in all our works, we have taken extreme care not to alter anything. We present Vedic culture the way it was originally presented, for as long as the Sun and Moon shine above the Earth, no one can ever defeat this philosophy. Faith and patience in the almighty Lord is the criteria needed to achieve the Lord. We must keep strong faith, as did the Pandavas of the Mahabharata. Only the luckiest, who are destined to be liberated from this world, will understand what we mean here.
My blessings are with my disciples, Vasudeva das, Nagaraja das, Nanda Kumar das, Mukunda das, Lochan das, Pedro Acosta, Dr. Deepak Seth, Sarvatma das, Satyabhama devi, and Harinder Alex, who have been involved, each in his own capacity, in producing this volume. My blessings also go to all of our disciples, our society committee members and all the well-wishing followers of Bhagavat Dharma Samaj around the world, who support and encourage us in our quest to present the Truth. I thank Mrs. Karen Lynn Gray for her hard work in editing my English. May Lord Krsna, to whom I pray with single-mindedness, bless everyone who has been involved in this volume, and those who are sincerely dedicated to Bhagavat Dharma Samaj society. Jai Sri Radhe.
Krsna Balaram Swami
Guru Purnima day, 1995
Baltimore, MD, USA
Download the complete My Mission, the most amazing and revealing text written by Mahant Krsna Balaram Swamiji. 182 pages.