Bhakti Sandarbha 257-259 : Hearing the Bhagavatam
Went to Radha Kund today with Vidya and his family. Saw Madan Gopal Dasji. He was having difficulty speaking, but I went just to offer my love and moral support for a few moments.
Every living being has awareness. This awareness can be focused on matter or on spirit, but not on both simultaneously. It is like a torch-light. When one is walking in dark with a torch in his hand, he can see things in front of him but he himself remains in darkness. If he turns the torch on himself then he cannot see the things in front of him. When one is materially conditioned then he is tormented by material desires, hunger, thirst and so on. But by the grace of a devotee, when his awareness turns towards Bhagavān, then material needs do not disturb his mind. It is seen that when a boy or girl is in intense love with someone, then he or she can tolerate immense obstacles. The mind becomes so focused that nothing else really matters. The absorption in Bhagavān is even deeper than that. Thus great devotees are not disturbed even by hunger or thirst that is so difficult to tolerate. (SND)
Bhāgavata Purāṇa gives Supreme Bliss To Its Listener
यथा वा, "निगमकल्पतरोर्गलितं फलं शुकमुखादमृतद्रवसंयुतम्" (भा. १.१.३) इत्यादौ। अत्र श्रीशुकमुखादमृत-द्रवसंयुतत्वेन परमसुखदत्वमुक्तम्। एतदुपलक्षणत्वेन श्रीलीलाशुकाद्याविर्भावितकर्णामृतादिग्रन्था अपि क्रोडीकर्तव्याः।
Another example of the importance of hearing literature composed by a great devotee is found in this statement, also in reference to Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam:
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the mature fruit of the desire tree of Vedic literature. It has descended upon the earth by the force of its own ripeness, its nectarean juice flowing from the lips of Śrī Śuka. O you who are conversant with the mellows of devotional love and expert in ascertaining transcendental emotions, drink this ambrosial Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam again and again, up to liberation and beyond. (SB 1.1.3)
This verse specifically mentions that Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam grants supreme delight because it is pure ambrosia emanating from the lips of Śrī Śuka. This verse indirectly implies that other literature derived from great devotees is also full of nectar. Thus books like Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta, composed by Śrī Līlāśuka [popularly known as Bilvāmaṅgala], are to be included within this category.
अथ महत्कीर्त्यमानं, यथा (भा. ४.२०.२५)—
स उत्तमश्लोक महन्मुखच्युतो
कुयोगिनां नो वितरत्यलं वरैः॥
"न कामये नाथ तदपि" (भा. ४.२०.२१) इत्यादि पूर्वोक्तानुसारात् स्वसुखातिशयेन कैवल्यसुखतिरस्कारी महतां मुखाद्विगलितो भवत्पादाम्भोजमाधुर्यलेशस्यापि सम्बन्धी शब्दात्मकोऽनिलो विस्मृतपरमतत्त्वात्मकत्वदीय-ज्ञानानामस्माकं त्वदीयां स्मृतिमपि यच्छति।O glorious Bhagavān, the breath emitted from the mouth of great devotees, which carries the particles of ambrosia from Your lotus feet, is so powerful that it brings remembrance again to the immature yogīs like us, who have forgotten the path of the Absolute. Therefore, I do not wish for any boon other than such hearing. (SB 4.20.25)
In the previous verse the king prayed:
O Bhagavān, I shall never desire even liberation, because in that state there is no possibility of hearing the nectar of Your lotus feet, rising from the heart of great devotees and flowing out through their mouths. Therefore, kindly grant me 10,000 ears to hear Your pastimes. This is the only benediction I desire. (SB 4.20.24)
According to this statement, the bliss of hearing the pastimes of Bhagavān completely belittles the happiness of liberation. The king effectively said, “The breath consisting of the words emanating from the mouth of great devotees, which carry even a trace of the sweetness of the lotus feet of Bhagavān, brings remembrance of You to us, who have forgotten the knowledge of You, which is the Absolute Truth.
तस्मात् तथाविधस्य तस्य परमसाध्य-साधनात्मकत्वादलमन्यैर्वरैरित्यर्थः॥
"Therefore, we have no need of any other boons, because hearing about You from great devotees is the supreme goal as well as the supreme process.”
॥४.२०॥ पृथुः श्रीविष्णुम्॥२५७॥
Commentary by Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji Maharaj
In the previous Anuccheda Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī said that hearing from the mouth of a great devotee gives supreme delight to those who have attained a taste for such a hearing. In this regard he gives the example of Śukadeva, who is the first reciter of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa.
Śrī Jīva said that “hearing from the mouth of a great devotee” means two things, that which is composed or manifested by a great devotee and that which is recited by a great devotee. Bhāgavata Purāṇa has both of these characteristics: It was manifested by Bhagavān Vyāsa, and was recited by great devotees like Śukadeva and Sūta Gosvāmī.
The compositions of great devotees such as Bilvamaṅgala should be taken as also worthy of hearing. To this we can add the writings of Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī, Sanātana Gosvāmī, Jīva Gosvāmī, Raghunātha Gosvāmī, Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī, Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja, Viśvanātha Cakravartī and many others.
Hearing Pastimes of Bhagavān Dispels All Obstacles
तदेव महामाहात्म्यं महासुखप्रदत्वं चोक्तम्। तदेतदुभयमप्यत्राह द्वाभ्याम् (भा. ४.२९.४०)—
We have thus shown that hearing from great devotees is supremely glorious and that it bestows supreme bliss. These two attributes of hearing are referred to elsewhere in the words of Śrī Nārada to King Prācīnabarhi:
पीयूषशेषसरितः परितः स्रवन्ति।
ता ये पिबन्त्यवितृषो नृप गाढकर्णै-
तस्मिन् साधुसङ्गे। महद्भिर्मुखरिताः कीर्तिताः। शेषः सारः। अवितृषोऽलंबुद्धिशून्याः। गाढत्वं सावधानत्वम्। अशनं क्षुत्। (भा. ४.२९.४१)O king, in that [assembly of devotees], many rivers filled with the remnants of nectar of Bhagavān Kṛṣṇa's pastimes uttered by great personalities flow in all directions. Those who drink of them with deeply entered ears, without ever becoming satiated, are never troubled by food, thirst, fear, dejection or delusion. (SB 4.29.40)
“In that” means “in the assembly of devotees.” "Sounded by the great" means sung by them. "Remnants" (śeṣaḥ) here means essence. [Thus it is the essence of the nectar of the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa that flows in these rivers.] "Without being satiated" means never having enough. by drinking such nectar, and "to drink with deeply entered ears" (gāḍha-karṇaiḥ) means to hear most attentively. "Food" (aśanam) means hunger.
न करोति हरेर्नूनं कथामृतनिधौ रतिम्॥
The converse is stated in the verse that follows:
यैरेतैरशनादिभिरुपद्रुतः सन् कथामृतनिधौ रतिं न करोति, तान् एतान् महत्कीर्त्यमानानि भगवद्यशांसि स्वमाहात्म्येन दूरीकृत्य स्वसुखमनुभावयन्तीति पद्यद्वययोजनार्थः॥Alas, a person who is always tormented by these [hunger, etc.], which arise out of one’s own acquired nature, certainly never develops love for the ocean of nectar of Bhagavān's pastimes. (SB 4.29.41)
One who is tormented by hunger, thirst, and so on, does not develop attachment for the ocean of nectar of Bhagavān’s pastimes. The fame of Bhagavān, sung by great devotees, dispels all these obstacles by its own power and inundates the listener with the taste of its own bliss. This is the import of these two verses taken together.
Commentary by Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji Maharaj
Every living being has awareness. This awareness can be focused on matter or on spirit, but not on both simultaneously. It is like a torch-light. When one is walking in dark with a torch in his hand, he can see things in front of him but he himself remains in darkness. If he turns the torch on himself then he cannot see the things in front of him. When one is materially conditioned then he is tormented by material desires, hunger, thirst and so on. But by the grace of a devotee, when his awareness turns towards Bhagavān, then material needs do not disturb his mind. It is seen that when a boy or girl is in intense love with someone, then he or she can tolerate immense obstacles. The mind becomes so focused that nothing else really matters. The absorption in Bhagavān is even deeper than that. Thus great devotees are not disturbed even by hunger or thirst that is so difficult to tolerate.
DISCLAIMER: All the posts related to Bhakti Sandarbha are not the final product. This version will be refined by other readers and editors, including Babaji himself. Please do not use this material without reference to this disclaimer.
Bhakti Sandarbha 254-256 : Hearing Lila
Bhakti Sandarbha 251-253 : Hearing About Bhagavan's Attributes and Pastimes
Bhakti Sandarbha 248-250 : Introduction to Śravaṇam
Bhakti Sandarbha 246-247 : Honor Should be Given to All Vaiṣṇavas
Bhakti Sandarbha 243-245 : More Benefits of Sat-sanga
Bhakti Sandarbha 240-242 : The Power of Sat-saṅga to Grant Love for Krishna
Bhakti Sandarbha 239: Sat-saṅga Brings Bhagavān Under Control
Bhakti Sandarbha 238 : Sat-saṅga Captivates Bhagavān
Bhakti Sandarbha 237: Guru-sevā is the Key to Success