The Glories of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam
In this final chapter Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī describes the length of each of the Purāṇas, along with the subject matter of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, its purpose, how to give it as a gift, the glories of such gift-giving and the glories of chanting and hearing it.
The total corpus of the Purāṇas includes four hundred thousand verses, eighteen thousand of which constitute Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nārāyaṇa, instructed Brahmā in this Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, whose narrations produce detachment from matter and which contains the essence of all the Vedānta. One who gives the Śrīmad-Bhāgavata Purāṇa as a gift will attain the highest destination. Among all the Purāṇas, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the best, and it is the most dear thing to the Vaiṣṇavas. It reveals that spotless, supreme knowledge accessible to the paramahaṁsas, and it also reveals the process by which one can become free from the reactions of material work — a process enriched with knowledge, renunciation and devotion.
Having thus glorified the Bhāgavatam, Sūta Gosvāmī meditates upon Lord Śrī Nārāyaṇa as the original Absolute Truth, who is perfectly pure, free from all contamination, devoid of sorrow and immortal. Then he offers obeisances to the greatest yogī, Śrī Śukadeva, who is nondifferent from the Absolute Truth. Finally, praying with true devotion, Sūta Gosvāmī offers respects to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Śrī Hari, who takes away all misery.
यं ब्रह्मा वरुणेन्द्ररुद्रमरुत: स्तुन्वन्ति दिव्यै: स्तवै-
र्वेदै: साङ्गपदक्रमोपनिषदैर्गायन्ति यं सामगा: ।
ध्यानावस्थिततद्गतेन मनसा पश्यन्ति यं योगिनो
यस्यान्तं न विदु: सुरासुरगणा देवाय तस्मै नम: ॥ १ ॥
yaṁ brahmā varuṇendra-rudra-marutaḥ stunvanti divyaiḥ stavair
vedaiḥ sāṅga-pada-kramopaniṣadair gāyanti yaṁ sāma-gāḥ
dhyānāvasthita-tad-gatena manasā paśyanti yaṁ yogino
yasyāntaṁ na viduḥ surāsura-gaṇā devāya tasmai namaḥ
sūtaḥ uvāca — Sūta Gosvāmī said; yam — whom; brahmā — Lord Brahmā; varuṇa-indra-rudra-marutaḥ — as well as Varuṇa, Indra, Rudra and the Maruts; stunvanti — praise; divyaiḥ — with transcendental; stavaiḥ — prayers; vedaiḥ — with the Vedas; sa — along with; aṅga — the corollary branches; pada-krama — the special sequential arrangement of mantras; upaniṣadaiḥ — and the Upaniṣads; gāyanti — they sing about; yam — whom; sāma-gāḥ — the singers of the Sāma Veda; dhyāna — in meditative trance; avasthita — situated; tat-gatena — which is fixed upon Him; manasā — within the mind; paśyanti — they see; yam — whom; yoginaḥ — the mystic yogīs; yasya — whose; antam — end; na viduḥ — they do not know; sura-asura-gaṇāḥ — all the demigods and demons; devāya — to the Supreme Personality of Godhead; tasmai — to Him; namaḥ — obeisances.
Sūta Gosvāmī said: Unto that personality whom Brahmā, Varuṇa, Indra, Rudra and the Maruts praise by chanting transcendental hymns and reciting the Vedas with all their corollaries, pada-kramas and Upaniṣads, to whom the chanters of the Sāma Veda always sing, whom the perfected yogīs see within their minds after fixing themselves in trance and absorbing themselves within Him, and whose limit can never be found by any demigod or demon — unto that Supreme Personality of Godhead I offer my humble obeisances.
न्निद्रालो: कमठाकृतेर्भगवत: श्वासानिला: पान्तु व: ।
यातायातमतन्द्रितं जलनिधेर्नाद्यापि विश्राम्यति ॥ २ ॥
nidrāloḥ kamaṭhākṛter bhagavataḥ śvāsānilāḥ pāntu vaḥ
yātāyātam atandritaṁ jala-nidher nādyāpi viśrāmyati
pṛṣṭhe — upon His back; bhrāmyat — rotating; amanda — most heavy; mandara-giri — of Mandara Mountain; grāva-agra — by the edges of the stones; kaṇḍūyanāt — by the scratching; nidrāloḥ — who became sleepy; kamaṭha-ākṛteḥ — in the form of a tortoise; bhagavataḥ — of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; śvāsa — coming from the breathing; anilāḥ — the winds; pāntu — may they protect; vaḥ — all of you; yat — of which; saṁskāra — of the remnants; kalā — the traces; anuvartana-vaśāt — as the effect of following; velā-nibhena — by that which resembles the flow; ambhasām — of the water; yāta-āyātam — the coming and going; atandritam — ceaseless; jala-nidheḥ — of the ocean; na — does not; adya api — even today; viśrāmyati — stop.
When the Supreme Personality of Godhead appeared as Lord Kūrma, a tortoise, His back was scratched by the sharp-edged stones lying on massive, whirling Mount Mandara, and this scratching made the Lord sleepy. May you all be protected by the winds caused by the Lord’s breathing in this sleepy condition. Ever since that time, even up to the present day, the ocean tides have imitated the Lord’s inhalation and exhalation by piously coming in and going out.
At times we alleviate an itching sensation by blowing upon it. Similarly, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura explains, the breathing of the Supreme Personality of Godhead can alleviate the itching sensation within the minds of mental speculators, as well as the itching of the material senses of conditioned souls engaged in sense gratification. Thus by meditating on the windy breath of Lord Kūrma — the tortoise incarnation — all categories of conditioned souls can be relieved of the deficiencies of material existence and come to the liberated, spiritual platform. One must simply allow the pastimes of Lord Kūrma to blow within one’s heart like a favorable breeze; then one will surely find spiritual peace.
दानं दानस्य माहात्म्यं पाठादेश्च निबोधत ॥ ३ ॥
dānaṁ dānasya māhātmyaṁ
pāṭhādeś ca nibodhata
purāṇa — of the Purāṇas; saṅkhyā — of the counting (of verses); sambhūtim — the summation; asya — of this Bhāgavatam; vācya — the subject matter; prayojane — and the purpose; dānam — the method of giving as a gift; dānasya — of such gift-giving; māhātmyam — the glories; pāṭha-ādeḥ — of teaching and so on; ca — and; nibodhata — please hear.
Now please hear a summation of the verse length of each of the Purāṇas. Then hear of the prime subject and purpose of this Bhāgavata Purāṇa, the proper method of giving it as a gift, the glories of such gift-giving, and finally the glories of hearing and chanting this literature.
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the best of all Purāṇas. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura explains that the other Purāṇas will now be mentioned just as the assistants of a king are mentioned in connection with his glorification.
श्रीवैष्णवं त्रयोविंशच्चतुर्विंशति शैवकम् ॥ ४ ॥
दशाष्टौ श्रीभागवतं नारदं पञ्चविंशति ।
मार्कण्डं नव वाह्नं च दशपञ्च चतु:शतम् ॥ ५ ॥
चतुर्दश भविष्यं स्यात्तथा पञ्चशतानि च ।
दशाष्टौ ब्रह्मवैवर्तं लैङ्गमेकादशैव तु ॥ ६ ॥
चतुर्विंशति वाराहमेकाशीतिसहस्रकम् ।
स्कान्दं शतं तथा चैकं वामनं दश कीर्तितम् ॥ ७ ॥
कौर्मं सप्तदशाख्यातं मात्स्यं तत्तु चतुर्दश ।
एकोनविंशत्सौपर्णं ब्रह्माण्डं द्वादशैव तु ॥ ८ ॥
एवं पुराणसन्दोहश्चतुर्लक्ष उदाहृत: ।
तत्राष्टदशसाहस्रं श्रीभागवतमिष्यते ॥ ९ ॥
pādmaṁ pañcona-ṣaṣṭi ca
mārkaṇḍaṁ nava vāhnaṁ ca
tathā pañca-śatāni ca
laiṅgam ekādaśaiva tu
skāndaṁ śataṁ tathā caikaṁ
vāmanaṁ daśa kīrtitam
mātsyaṁ tat tu catur-daśa
brahmāṇḍaṁ dvādaśaiva tu
brāhmam — the Brahma Purāṇa; daśa — ten; sahasrāṇi — thousands; pādmam — the Padma Purāṇa; pañca-ūna-ṣaṣṭi — five less than sixty; ca — and; śrī-vaiṣṇavam — the Viṣṇu Purāṇa; trayaḥ-viṁśat — twenty-three; catuḥ-viṁśati — twenty-four; śaivakam — the Śiva Purāṇa; daśa-aṣṭau — eighteen; śrī-bhāgavatam — Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam; nāradam — the Nārada Purāṇa; pañca-viṁśati — twenty-five; mārkaṇḍam — the Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa; nava — nine; vāhnam — the Agni Purāṇa; ca — and; daśa-pañca-catuḥ-śatam — fifteen thousand four hundred; catuḥ-daśa — fourteen; bhaviṣyam — the Bhaviṣya Purāṇa; syāt — consists of; tathā — plus; pañca-śatāni — five hundred (verses); ca — and; daśa-aṣṭau — eighteen; brahma-vaivartam — the Brahma-vaivarta Purāṇa; laiṅgam — the Liṅga Purāṇa; ekādaśa — eleven; eva — indeed; tu — and; catuḥ-viṁśati — twenty-four; vārāham — the Varāha Purāṇa; ekāśīti-sahasrakam — eighty-one thousand; skāndam — the Skanda Purāṇa; śatam — hundred; tathā — plus; ca — and; ekam — one; vāmanam — the Vāmana Purāṇa; daśa — ten; kīrtitam — is described; kaurmam — the Kūrma Purāṇa; sapta-daśa — seventeen; ākhyātam — is said; mātsyam — the Matsya Purāṇa; tat — that; tu — and; catuḥ-daśa — fourteen; eka-ūna-viṁśat — nineteen; sauparṇam — the Garuḍa Purāṇa; brahmāṇḍam — the Brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa; dvādaśa — twelve; eva — indeed; tu — and; evam — in this way; Purāṇa — of the Purāṇas; sandohaḥ — the sum; catuḥ-lakṣaḥ — four hundred thousand; udāhṛtaḥ — is described; tatra — therein; aṣṭa-daśa-sāhasram — eighteen thousand; śrī-bhāgavatam — Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam; iṣyate — is said.
The Brahma Purāṇa consists of ten thousand verses, the Padma Purāṇa of fifty-five thousand, Śrī Viṣṇu Purāṇa of twenty-three thousand, the Śiva Purāṇa of twenty-four thousand and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam of eighteen thousand. The Nārada Purāṇa has twenty-five thousand verses, the Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa nine thousand, the Agni Purāṇa fifteen thousand four hundred, the Bhaviṣya Purāṇa fourteen thousand five hundred, the Brahma-vaivarta Purāṇa eighteen thousand and the Liṅga Purāṇa eleven thousand. The Varāha Purāṇa contains twenty-four thousand verses, the Skanda Purāṇa eighty-one thousand one hundred, the Vāmana Purāṇa ten thousand, the Kūrma Purāṇa seventeen thousand, the Matsya Purāṇa fourteen thousand, the Garuḍa Purāṇa nineteen thousand and the Brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa twelve thousand. Thus the total number of verses in all the Purāṇas is four hundred thousand. Eighteen thousand of these, once again, belong to the beautiful Bhāgavatam.
Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī has quoted from the Matsya Purāṇa as follows:
vālmīkināpi yat proktaṁ
vālmīkāya punaḥ punaḥ
evaṁ sa-pādāḥ pañcaite
lakṣās teṣu prakīṛtitāḥ
“After compiling the eighteen Purāṇas, Vyāsadeva, the son of Satyavatī, composed the entire Mahābhārata, which contains the essence of all the Purāṇas. It consists of over one hundred thousand verses and is filled with all the ideas of the Vedas. There is also the account of the pastimes of Lord Rāmacandra, spoken by Vālmīki — an account originally related by Lord Brahmā in one billion verses. That Rāmāyaṇa was later summarized by Nārada and related to Vālmīki, who further presented it to mankind so that human beings could attain the goals of religiosity, sense gratification and economic development. The total number of verses in all the Purāṇas and itihāsas (histories) is thus known in human society to amount to 525,000.”
Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura points out that in the First Canto, Third Chapter, of this work, after Sūta Gosvāmī lists the incarnations of Godhead, he adds the special phrase kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam: “But Kṛṣṇa is the original Personality of Godhead.” Similarly, after mentioning all of the Purāṇas, Śrī Suta Gosvāmī again mentions the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam to emphasize that it is the chief of all Purāṇic literatures.
स्थिताय भवभीताय कारुण्यात् सम्प्रकाशितम् ॥ १० ॥
idam — this; bhagavatā — by the Supreme Personality of Godhead; pūrvam — first; brahmaṇe — to Brahmā; nābhi-paṅkaje — upon the lotus growing from the navel; sthitāya — who was situated; bhava — of material existence; bhītāya — who was fearful; kāruṇyāt — out of mercy; samprakāśitam — was fully revealed.
It was to Lord Brahmā that the Supreme Personality of Godhead first revealed the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in full. At the time, Brahmā, frightened by material existence, was sitting on the lotus flower that had grown from the Lord’s navel.
Lord Kṛṣṇa enlightened Brahmā with the knowledge of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam before the creation of this universe, as indicated here by the word pūrvam. Also, the first verse of the Bhāgavatam states, tene brahma hṛdā ya ādi-kavaye: “Lord Kṛṣṇa expanded perfect knowledge into the heart of Lord Brahmā.” Because conditioned souls can experience only temporary objects, which are created, maintained and destroyed, they cannot readily understand that Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is an eternal, transcendental literature nondifferent from the Absolute Truth.
As stated in the Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad (1.1.1):
viśvasya kartā bhuvanasya goptā
sa brahma-vidyāṁ sarva-vidyā-pratiṣṭhām
atharvāya jyeṣṭha-putrāya prāha
“Among all the demigods, Brahmā was the first to take birth. He is the creator of this universe and also its protector. To his eldest son, Atharvā, He instructed the spiritual science of the self, which is the basis of all other branches of knowledge.” Despite his exalted position, however, Brahmā still fears the influence of the Lord’s illusory potency. Thus this energy seems virtually insurmountable. But Lord Caitanya is so kind that during His missionary activities in eastern and southern India, He freely distributed Kṛṣṇa consciousness to everyone, urging them to become teachers of Bhagavad-gītā. Lord Caitanya, who is Kṛṣṇa Himself, encouraged the people by saying, “By My order just become a teacher of Lord Kṛṣṇa’s message and save this country. I assure you that the waves of māyā will never stop your progress.” (Cc. Madhya 7.128)
If we give up all sinful activities and engage constantly in the saṅkīrtana movement of Caitanya Mahāprabhu, victory is assured in our personal lives and also in our missionary efforts.
हरिलीलाकथाव्रातामृतानन्दितसत्सुरम् ॥ ११ ॥
सर्ववेदान्तसारं यद ब्रह्मात्मैकत्वलक्षणम् ।
वस्त्वद्वितीयं तन्निष्ठं कैवल्यैकप्रयोजनम् ॥ १२ ॥
vastv advitīyaṁ tan-niṣṭhaṁ
ādi — in the beginning; madhya — the middle; avasāneṣu — and the end; vairāgya — concerning renunciation of material things; ākhyāna — with narrations; saṁyutam — full; hari-līlā — of the pastimes of Lord Hari; kathā-vrāta — of the many discussions; amṛta — by the nectar; ānandita — in which are made ecstatic; sat-suram — the saintly devotees and demigods; sarva-vedānta — of all the Vedānta; sāram — the essence; yat — which; brahma — the Absolute Truth; ātma-ekatva — in terms of nondifference from the spirit soul; lakṣaṇam — characterized; vastu — the reality; advitīyam — one without a second; tat-niṣṭham — having that as its prime subject matter; kaivalya — exclusive devotional service; eka — the only; prayojanam — ultimate goal.
From beginning to end, the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is full of narrations that encourage renunciation of material life, as well as nectarean accounts of Lord Hari’s transcendental pastimes, which give ecstasy to the saintly devotees and demigods. This Bhāgavatam is the essence of all Vedānta philosophy because its subject matter is the Absolute Truth, which, while nondifferent from the spirit soul, is the ultimate reality, one without a second. The goal of this literature is exclusive devotional service unto that Supreme Truth.
Vairāgya, renunciation, means giving up everything that has no relation with the Absolute Truth. Saintly devotees and demigods are enthused by the nectar of the Lord’s spiritual pastimes, which are the essence of all Vedic knowledge. Vedic knowledge elaborately negates the ultimate reality of material things by emphasizing their temporary, fleeting existence. The ultimate goal is vastu, the factual substance, which is advitīyam, one without a second. That unique Absolute Truth is a transcendental person far beyond the mundane categories and characteristics of personality found in our pale material world. Thus the ultimate goal of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is to train the sincere reader in love of Godhead. Lord Kṛṣṇa is supremely lovable because of His eternal, transcendental qualities. The beauty of this world is a dim reflection of the unlimited beauty of the Lord. Without compromise, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam persistently declares the glories of the Absolute Truth and is therefore the supreme spiritual literature, awarding a full taste of the nectar of love of Kṛṣṇa in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
ददाति यो भागवतं स याति परमां गतिम् ॥ १३ ॥
dadāti yo bhāgavataṁ
sa yāti paramāṁ gatim
If on the full moon day of the month of Bhādra one places Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam on a golden throne and gives it as a gift, he will attain the supreme transcendental destination.
One should place Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam on a golden throne because it is the king of all literature. On the full-moon day of the month of Bhādra, the sun, which is compared to this king of literatures, is present in the constellation Leo and looks as if raised up on a royal throne. (According to astrology, the sun is said to be exalted in the sign of Leo). Thus one may unreservedly worship Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the supreme divine scripture.
यावद्भागवतं नैव श्रूयतेऽमृतसागरम् ॥ १४ ॥
purāṇāni satāṁ gaṇe
yāvad bhāgavataṁ naiva
All other Purāṇic scriptures shine forth in the assembly of saintly devotees only as long as that great ocean of nectar, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, is not heard.
Other Vedic literatures and other scriptures of the world remain prominent until the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is duly heard and understood. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the ocean of nectar and the supreme literature. By faithful hearing, recitation and distribution of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the world will be sanctified and other, inferior literatures will fade to minor status.
तद्रसामृततृप्तस्य नान्यत्र स्याद्रति: क्वचित् ॥ १५ ॥
nānyatra syād ratiḥ kvacit
sarva-vedānta — of all Vedānta philosophy; sāram — the essence; hi — indeed; śrī-bhāgavatam — Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam; iṣyate — is said to be; tat — of it; rasa-amṛta — by the nectarean taste; tṛptasya — for one who is satisfied; na — not; anyatra — elsewhere; syāt — there is; ratiḥ — attraction; kvacit — ever.
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is declared to be the essence of all Vedānta philosophy. One who has felt satisfaction from its nectarean mellow will never be attracted to any other literature.
वैष्णवानां यथा शम्भु: पुराणानामिदं तथा ॥ १६ ॥
devānām acyuto yathā
vaiṣṇavānāṁ yathā śambhuḥ
purāṇānām idam tathā
nimna-gānām — of rivers flowing down to the sea; yathā — as; gaṅgā — the Ganges; devānām — of all deities; acyutaḥ — the infallible Supreme Personality of Godhead; yathā — as; vaiṣṇavānām — of devotees of Lord Viṣṇu; yathā — as; śambhuḥ — Śiva; purāṇānām — of Purāṇas; idam — this; tathā — similarly.
Just as the Gaṅgā is the greatest of all rivers, Lord Acyuta the supreme among deities and Lord Śambhu [Śiva] the greatest of Vaiṣṇavas, so Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the greatest of all Purāṇas.
तथा पुराणव्रातानां श्रीमद्भागवतं द्विजा: ॥ १७ ॥
yathā kāśī hy anuttamā
O brāhmaṇas, in the same way that the city of Kāśī is unexcelled among holy places, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is supreme among all the Purāṇas.
यस्मिन् पारमहंस्यमेकममलं ज्ञानं परं गीयते ।
तत्र ज्ञानविरागभक्तिसहितं नैष्कर्म्यमाविष्कृतं
तच्छृण्वन् सुपठन् विचारणपरो भक्त्या विमुच्येन्नर: ॥ १८ ॥
yasmin pāramahaṁsyam ekam amalaṁ jñānaṁ paraṁ gīyate
tatra jñāna-virāga-bhakti-sahitaṁ naiṣkarmyam āviskṛtaṁ
tac chṛṇvan su-paṭhan vicāraṇa-paro bhaktyā vimucyen naraḥ
śrīmat-bhāgavatam — Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam; purāṇam — the Purāṇa; amalam — perfectly pure; yat — which; vaiṣṇavānām — to the Vaiṣṇavas; priyam — most dear; yasmin — in which; pāramahaṁsyam — attainable by the topmost devotees; ekam — exclusive; amalam — perfectly pure; jñānam — knowledge; param — supreme; gīyate — is sung; tatra — there; jñāna-virāga-bhakti-sahitam — together with knowledge, renunciation and devotion; naiṣkarmyam — freedom from all material work; āviṣkṛtam — is revealed; tat — that; śṛṇvan — hearing; su-paṭhan — properly chanting; vicāraṇa-paraḥ — who is serious about understanding; bhaktyā — with devotion; vimucyet — becomes totally liberated; naraḥ — a person.
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the spotless Purāṇa. It is most dear to the Vaiṣṇavas because it describes the pure and supreme knowledge of the paramahaṁsas. This Bhāgavatam reveals the means for becoming free from all material work, together with the processes of transcendental knowledge, renunciation and devotion. Anyone who seriously tries to understand Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, who properly hears and chants it with devotion, becomes completely liberated.
Because Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is completely free of contamination by the modes of nature, it is endowed with extraordinary spiritual beauty and is therefore dear to the pure devotees of the Lord. The word pāramahaṁsyam indicates that even completely liberated souls are eager to hear and narrate Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Those who are trying to be liberated should faithfully serve this literature by hearing and reciting it with faith and devotion.
तद्रूपेण च नारदाय मुनये कृष्णाय तद्रूपिणा ।
योगीन्द्राय तदात्मनाथ भगवद्राताय कारुण्यत-
स्तच्छुद्धं विमलं विशोकममृतं सत्यं परं धीमहि ॥ १९ ॥
tad-rūpeṇa ca nāradāya munaye kṛṣṇāya tad-rūpiṇā
yogīndrāya tad-ātmanātha bhagavad-rātāya kāruṇyatas
tac chuddhaṁ vimalaṁ viśokam amṛtaṁ satyaṁ paraṁ dhīmahi
kasmai — unto Brahmā; yena — by whom; vibhāsitaḥ — thoroughly revealed; ayam — this; atulaḥ — incomparable; jñāna — of transcendental knowledge; pradīpaḥ — the torchlight; purā — long ago; tat-rūpeṇa — in the form of Brahmā; ca — and; nāradāya — to Nārada; munaye — the great sage; kṛṣṇāya — to Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana Vyāsa; tat-rūpiṇā — in the form of Nārada; yogi-indrāya — to the best of yogīs, Śukadeva; tat-ātmanā — as Nārada; atha — then; bhagavat-rātāya — to Parīkṣit Mahārāja; kāruṇyataḥ — out of mercy; tat — that; śuddham — pure; vimalam — uncontaminated; viśokam — free from misery; amṛtam — immortal; satyam — upon the truth; param — supreme; dhīmahi — I meditate.
I meditate upon that pure and spotless Supreme Absolute Truth, who is free from suffering and death and who in the beginning personally revealed this incomparable torchlight of knowledge to Brahmā. Brahmā then spoke it to the sage Nārada, who narrated it to Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana Vyāsa. Śrīla Vyāsa revealed this Bhāgavatam to the greatest of sages, Śukadeva Gosvāmī, and Śukadeva mercifully spoke it to Mahārāja Parīkṣit.
The first verse of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam states, satyaṁ paraṁ dhīmahi — “I meditate upon the Supreme Truth” — and now at the conclusion of this magnificent transcendental literature, the same auspicious sounds are vibrated. The words tad-rūpeṇa, tad-rūpiṇā and tad-ātmanā in this verse clearly indicate that Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself originally spoke Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam to Brahmā and then continued to speak this literature through the agency of Nārada Muni, Dvaipāyana Vyāsa, Śukadeva Gosvāmī and other great sages. In other words, whenever saintly devotees vibrate Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, it is to be understood that Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself is speaking the Absolute Truth through the agency of His pure representatives. Anyone who submissively hears this literature from the Lord’s bona fide devotees transcends his conditioned state and becomes qualified to meditate upon the Absolute Truth and serve Him.
य इदं कृपया कस्मै व्याचचक्षे मुमुक्षवे ॥ २० ॥
ya idam kṛpayā kasmai
We offer our obeisances to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Vāsudeva, the all-pervading witness, who mercifully explained this science to Brahmā when he anxiously desired salvation.
संसारसर्पदष्टं यो विष्णुरातममूमुचत् ॥ २१ ॥
yogi-indrāya — to the king of mystics; namaḥ — obeisances; tasmai — to him; śukaya — Śukadeva Gosvāmī; brahma-rūpiṇe — who is a personal manifestation of the Absolute Truth; saṁsāra-sarpa — by the snake of material existence; daṣṭam — bitten; yaḥ — who; viṣṇu-rātam — Parīkṣit Mahārāja; amūmucat — freed.
I offer my humble obeisances to Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the best of mystic sages and a personal manifestation of the Absolute Truth. He saved Mahārāja Parīkṣit, who was bitten by the snake of material existence.
Sūta Gosvāmī now offers obeisances to his own spiritual master, Śukadeva Gosvāmī. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura clarifies that just as Arjuna was placed into material confusion so that Bhagavad-gītā might be spoken, so King Parīkṣit, a pure, liberated devotee of the Lord, was cursed to die so that Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam might be spoken. Actually, King Parīkṣit is viṣṇu-rāta, eternally under the protection of the Lord. Śukadeva Gosvāmī liberated the king from his so-called illusion to exhibit the merciful nature of a pure devotee and the enlightening effect of his association.
तथा कुरुष्व देवेश नाथस्त्वं नो यत: प्रभो ॥ २२ ॥
pādayos tava jāyate
tathā kuruṣva deveśa
nāthas tvaṁ no yataḥ prabho
O Lord of lords, O master, please grant us pure devotional service at Your lotus feet, life after life.
प्रणामो दु:खशमनस्तं नमामि हरिं परम् ॥ २३ ॥
taṁ namāmi hariṁ param
I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Lord, Hari, the congregational chanting of whose holy names destroys all sinful reactions, and the offering of obeisances unto whom relieves all material suffering.
Thus end the purports of the humble servants of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda to the Twelfth Canto, Thirteenth Chapter, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled “The Glories of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.”
The Twelfth Canto was completed at Gainesville, Florida, on Sunday, July 18, 1982.
END OF THE TWELFTH CANTO
We offer our most respectful obeisances at the lotus feet of His Divine Grace Oṁ Viṣṇupāda Paramahaṁsa Parivrājakācārya Aṣṭottara-śata Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda and, by his mercy, to the Six Gosvāmīs of Vṛndāvana, to Lord Caitanya and His eternal associates, to Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and to the supreme transcendental literature, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. By the causeless mercy of Śrīla Prabhupāda we have been able to approach the lotus feet of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, Śrīla Śrīdhara Svāmī, and other great Vaiṣṇava ācāryas, and by carefully studying their liberated commentaries we have humbly tried to complete the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. We are the insignificant servants of our spiritual master, Śrīla Prabhupāda, and by his mercy we have been allowed to serve him through the presentation of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.