The Srimad Bhagavatam has eighteen thousand Sanskrit verses, is divided into twelve cantos and is enveloped in the conversation between Sri Sukadeva Goswami and King Pariksit. Srimad Bhagavatam is the physical form of Lord Sri Krsna in this age of Kaliyuga. Just by touching Srimad Bhagavatam, just by daily studying it or just by daily listening to its narrations one receives the blessings of Lord Sri Krsna. For whosoever keeps Srimad Bhagavatam in their house and worships it daily the messengers of Yamaraja do not enter that house. For as long as a person does not listen to the narration of Srimad Bhagavatam, that person remains sinful.
The Supreme Lord Sri Krsna appears in this world in each age by His own sweet will to reveal the true path of liberation. He tells everyone, “Become My devotee, think of Me, serve Me, chant My glories, worship Me and if you follow what I say you will reach My abode without fail.” The Lord is very merciful, which is why he appears in many forms in order to help everyone. Lord Krsna descended in the human form as Lord Rama, He appeared in an animal incarnation as a Boar, He appeared in aquatic incarnations as a Fish and a Turtle, and as books He appeared as Srimad Bhagavatam. His main purpose for descending is to guide everyone to liberation. Of all the many books there are in this world, Srimad Bhagavatam is the literary form of God. Thus at this present time, the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna is revealing the true path to liberation through Srimad Bhagavatam to benefit everyone.
Krsna is God and can only be bound by the rope of love. The powerful Hiranyakasipu, Hiranyaksa, Ravana, Jarasandha, Kamsa and Duryodhana did not possess the ability to tie Lord Krsna because they were all bereft of any love for Him in their hearts, which is why they failed every time they attempted to control Him. The sole solution to tie Krsna is sincere love for Him, which can be developed through study of Srimad Bhagavatam. The scriptures state that love for the Lord is very rare; that those who work for result, speculators, performers of meditation, performers of austerity or performers of rituals do not possess it. But this rare love can easily be obtained by a person who daily studies and/or listens to Srimad Bhagavatam, meaning that the Lord easily rewards this love to His devotees. The narration of Lord Krsna is so powerful that it can bring Krsna and lock Him inside the heart of His devotee, by which that devotee crosses the ocean of rebirth and death. There is no example in any scripture where the Lord manifested in the heart of His devotee and left, but there are many examples stating that after manifesting in His devotee’s heart, He never left it. This is the result of listening to and/or reading Srimad Bhagavatam.
People who avoid hearing about Lord Krsna, but rather perform or follow other spiritual or religious processes, do not obtain the goal of life. Processes devoid of devotional service do not bare sufficient results, whereas those who chant Krsna’s names and perform devotional service to please Him obtain Him. Hence, just by seriously chanting the Lord’s names and studying Srimad Bhagavatam, Krsna comes and lives in the heart of the person. But such a relationship is not coequal with taking and distributing Prasadam (sanctified food). One can take and distribute Prasadam to other family members and all parties are benefited, whereas developing a relationship with Krsna is an individual thing. Krsna revealing Himself to a sincere devotee is between Krsna and the devotee only; it cannot be shared with others like Prasadam. To know the Lord one has to develop a relationship with Him. If family members want Krsna’s blessings, they have to practice spiritual life and develop a relationship with the Lord themselves. But it is a blessing itself to have a devotee family member in the house, because the other residents can hear Krsna’s narrations from that devotee and be spiritually benefited and transformed into devotees themselves.
Srila Vyasadeva removed all inauspiciousness, cheating, guile, hypocrisy and show off religions from Srimad Bhagavatam. Therefore the process of Bhakti taught in Srimad Bhagavatam is completely pure, there isn’t even a tinge of hypocrisy in it. It does not give priority to liberation, and this is signified by the fact that liberation personified is the maidservant of Bhakti. Srila Vyasadeva calls ritualistic processes existing in this world cheating religions, which is why he did not include them in Srimad Bhagavatam. Even though Vyasadeva revealed that all other spiritual processes are inferior to Bhakti and fall short of pleasing the Lord, some people are still illusioned and believe liberation to be the ultimate and thus follow inferior processes in an attempt to achieve it. Liberation from material existence is one thing, but then what? Those who do not know or consider what takes place after liberation are referred to as ignorant in Srimad Bhagavatam. Srila Sridhara Swami states that for as long as desire to receive liberation remains in the heart, one cannot obtain Krsna. Real devotees of Lord Krsna do not hanker for liberation; they only desire to be with Krsna, even if they have to take birth as a blade of grass, a plant, tree, animal or bird to be with Him.
People unaware of the value of the land of Vraja desire liberation. They are unaware of the potency Vraja has, which the liberation processes lack. In the land of Vraja one learns the real way of performing devotional service.
Srimad Bhagavatam states that performing meditation, following the path of knowledge, performing austerities, observing fasts, following ritualistic ceremonies, burning butter in fire sacrifices, or by chanting mantras, some flickering happiness may be obtained, but not the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna. But if one studies Srimad Bhagavatam and follows its commands, then Lord Krsna quickly comes to sit in the heart of that person.
(Continues on Part 4)
[How to Spend Your Best Seven Days on Earth, by Sri Krsna Balaram Swamiji, KBS5139]