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Srimad-Bhagavatam or Bhagavad-gita, they are self-illuminating. Simply word to word if you try to understand, then you'll get enlightenment. Still, there are acaryas who can help you

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"Srimad-Bhagavatam or Bhagavad-gita, they are self-illuminating. Simply word to word if you try to understand, then you'll get enlightenment. Still, there are acaryas who can help you"

Lectures

Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures

Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā or Bhāgavata, they are themselves illuminating. Just like sunlight—there is no need of a lamp to see the sunlight. Similarly, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam or Bhagavad-gītā, they are self-illuminating. Simply word to word if you try to understand, then you'll get enlightenment. Still, there are ācāryas who can help you.
Lecture on SB 1.5.1-4 -- New Vrindaban, May 22, 1969:

Sarvārtha. Artha means, what are the arthas? Artha means interest. Interest. So there are four kinds of interests. We are interested in four things. If we are actually human being, a civilized being, then we should be interested with four things. What are those four things? Dharma-artha-kāma-mokṣa (SB 4.8.41, Cc. Ādi 1.90). In human society, for at least peaceful living, the human society must have religion, dharma. And artha means economic development, good condition, economic con... That is also required. One, that the human society should be religious, they must have nice economic organization, and the kāma, they must have also nice arrangement for sense gratification. So sense gratification is not denied. Dharma, artha, kāma, and mokṣa. And after that, when one is satisfied, when he, when one is, by religious procedure, he is satisfied in his economic development, in his satisfaction of senses, the next need is mokṣa. Mokṣa means liberation from material bondage. These are four arthas. Catur-vargaḥ puruṣārthaḥ. Puruṣārtha means the interest of the living entity. But they are not final. They are not final.

So Nārada will give the hint what is the final puruṣārtha. That final puruṣārtha is Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Not that even if we become liberated, if we merge into the existence of the Absolute, oh, that is also not final. Therefore in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam you'll find in the beginning that dharmaḥ projjhita-kaitavo' tra (SB 1.1.2). These four principles of our interest, means dharma-artha-kāma-mokṣa, projjhita, they are thrown away from this Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. And the great commenter, commentator, I mean to say, Śrīdhara Svāmī, he says that dharmaḥ projjhita-dharma-artha-kāma-mokṣa atra mokṣa-visandhir(?) api parityaktaḥ. One should not aspire even for liberation. That is the position of a devotee.

Just like Caitanya Mahāprabhu says, na dhanaṁ na janaṁ na sundarīṁ kavitāṁ vā jagadīśa kāmaye (Cc. Antya 20.29, Śikṣāṣṭaka 4). These are dharma-artha. Anyone wants... Everyone wants money, everyone wants good wife, good family, good comfortable life. Caitanya Mahāprabhu denies, that "I don't want all these things." Na dhanaṁ na janaṁ na sundarīṁ kavitāṁ vā jagadīśa kāmaye. Then that is... (break)

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam you should study very scrutinizingly, critically. And there is explanation of great, I mean, stalwart devotees. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam there are eight kinds of commentary. In Bhagavad-gītā... They are authorized. They are not ordinary commentaries. Ordinary commentary, there may be many. Similarly, Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā there are nine kinds of commentary. So Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā or Bhāgavata, they are themselves illuminating. Just like sunlight—there is no need of a lamp to see the sunlight. Similarly, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam or Bhagavad-gītā, they are self-illuminating. Simply word to word if you try to understand, then you'll get enlightenment. Still, there are ācāryas who can help you.

So this Mahābhārata, which is referred now by Nārada Muni: kṛtavān bhārataṁ yas tvaṁ sarvārtha-paribṛṁhitam He says that jijñāsitaṁ susampannam api te mahad-adbhutam. Jijñāsitam. Because Vyāsadeva inquired from Nārada. That is the duty of the disciple. Just like Rūpa Gosvāmī says that how we can develop... We are explaining these things in our Nectar of Devotion. Ādau gurvāśrayam. You must inquire, you must be inquisitive. Wherefrom inquiry? You have to inquire from a guru, a spiritual master, who can actually give you right knowledge. And spiritual master means he is able to answer your question. So one should be very much inquisitive. What sort of inquisitiveness? Asking his spiritual master, "What is the rate of this article?" Just like businessman? No. That is also explained in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, that you should inquire. What is that inquiry? Tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta jijñāsuḥ (SB 11.3.21). Jijñāsuḥ. Inquisitive. What is that? What is that inquiry? Tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam. One who is inquisitive to understand uttamam, beyond this darkness. Because anything you inquire about material things, that is darkness. Tamasi mā jyotir gama. Uttama. Tama, tama means darkness. Ut. Ut means udgatam.

So every word has volumes of meanings. Udga... Therefore sometimes right commentary required. So uttamam means udgataṁ tamam. Tama means this material world. When one is inquisitive to understand about the spiritual life, then he should accept a spiritual master. Otherwise there is no need. A spiritual master is not a fashion, that "Oh, I should have a spiritual master." People after fashion. No. One must be very much inquisitive to know. What about, inquisitive? Uttamam. Śreya uttamam, what is the highest perfection of life. If one is actually inquisitive to understand about the highest perfectional stage of our life, then he should search after a spiritual master. That is the direction.

So here Nārada says that "You, jijñāsitam, you have inquired. You have inquired. And after inquiry you have done also very nicely." Because Vyāsadeva has written so many books. Just like we are trying to write so many books. What is that book? That means whatever we have understood from our spiritual master. That's all. So one should be inquisitive, assimilate them, and susampannam, and... This is called śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ (SB 7.5.23). The inquiry means śravaṇam. Inquiry means to get the answer; that is hearing. And then assimilate. Then kīrtanam, then distribute the knowledge to the world. That is the order of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, that bhārata-bhūmite haila manuṣya janma yāra (CC Adi 9.41). Anyone who has taken birth in this holy land of India, Bhāratavarṣa... Just see how Caitanya Mahāprabhu gives power to every Indian. Every Indian has got this opportunity because his land of religion, the land of knowledge, spiritual knowledge. But these rascal men, they are being taught that "Throw away these books." You see. Such misfortunate condition is now in India. They are recommending wholesale cow slaughter in India, to make this business... Unfortunately, we have to be governed by such rascals. So the sooner the Indians give up their..., now, so long these nonsensical things are going on, it is better. It is better.