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Srimad-Bhagavatam – 18 Volume set – New Printing

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Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the summum bonum remedy for suffering humanity in the clutches of māyā. Śrīla Vyāsadeva therefore first of all diagnosed the actual disease of the conditioned souls, i.e., their being illusioned by the external energy. He also saw the perfect Supreme Being, from whom the illusory energy is far removed, though He saw both the diseased conditioned souls and also the cause of the disease. And the remedial measures are suggested in the next verse.Introduction The conception of God and the conception of Absolute Truth are not on the same level. The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam hits on the target of the Absolute Truth. The conception of God indicates the controller, whereas the conception of the Absolute Truth indicates the summum bonum or the ultimate source of all energies. There is no difference of opinion about the personal feature of God as the controller because a controller cannot be impersonal. Of course modern government, especially democratic government, is impersonal to some extent, but ultimately the chief executive head is a person, and the impersonal feature of government is subordinate to the personal feature. So without a doubt whenever we refer to control over others we must admit the existence of a personal feature. Because there are different controllers for different managerial positions, there may be many small gods. According to the Bhagavad-gītā any controller who has some specific extraordinary power is called a vibhūtimat sattva, or controller empowered by the Lord. There are many vibhūtimat sattvas, controllers or gods with various specific powers, but the Absolute Truth is one without a second. This Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam designates the Absolute Truth or the summum bonum as the paraṁ satyam.(SB 1.7.5 Purport)

The material miseries of the living entity, which are superfluous to him, can be directly mitigated by the linking process of devotional service. But the mass of people do not know this, and therefore the learned Vyāsadeva compiled this Vedic literature, which is in relation to the Supreme Truth. (SB 1.7.6)

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Introduction

The conception of God and the conception of Absolute Truth are not on the same level. The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam hits on the target of the Absolute Truth. The conception of God indicates the controller, whereas the conception of the Absolute Truth indicates the summum bonum or the ultimate source of all energies. There is no difference of opinion about the personal feature of God as the controller because a controller cannot be impersonal. Of course modern government, especially democratic government, is impersonal to some extent, but ultimately the chief executive head is a person, and the impersonal feature of government is subordinate to the personal feature. So without a doubt whenever we refer to control over others we must admit the existence of a personal feature. Because there are different controllers for different managerial positions, there may be many small gods. According to the Bhagavad-gītā any controller who has some specific extraordinary power is called a vibhūtimat sattva, or controller empowered by the Lord. There are many vibhūtimat sattvas, controllers or gods with various specific powers, but the Absolute Truth is one without a second. This Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam designates the Absolute Truth or the summum bonum as the paraṁ satyam.

The author of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Śrīla Vyāsadeva, first offers his respectful obeisances unto the paraṁ satyam (Absolute Truth), and because the paraṁ satyam is the ultimate source of all energies, the paraṁ satyam is the Supreme Person. The gods or the controllers are undoubtedly persons, but the paraṁ satyam from whom the gods derive powers of control is the Supreme Person. The Sanskrit word īśvara (controller) conveys the import of God, but the Supreme Person is called the parameśvara, or the supreme īśvara. The Supreme Person, or parameśvara, is the supreme conscious personality, and because He does not derive any power from any other source, He is supremely independent. In the Vedic literatures Brahmā is described as the supreme god or the head of all other gods like Indra, Candra and Varuṇa, but the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam confirms that even Brahmā is not independent as far as his power and knowledge are concerned. He received knowledge in the form of the Vedas from the Supreme Person who resides within the heart of every living being. That Supreme Personality knows everything directly and indirectly. Individual infinitesimal persons, who are parts and parcels of the Supreme Personality, may know directly and indirectly everything about their bodies or external features, but the Supreme Personality knows everything about both His external and internal features. The words janmādy asya suggest that the source of all production, maintenance or destruction is the same supreme conscious person. Even in our present experience we can know that nothing is generated from inert matter, but inert matter can be generated from the living entity. For instance, by contact with the living entity, the material body develops into a working machine. Men with a poor fund of knowledge mistake the bodily machinery to be the living being, but the fact is that the living being is the basis of the bodily machine. The bodily machine is useless as soon as the living spark is away from it. Similarly, the original source of all material energy is the Supreme Person. This fact is expressed in all the Vedic literatures, and all the exponents of spiritual science have accepted this truth. The living force is called Brahman, and one of the greatest ācāryas (teachers), namely Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya, has preached that Brahman is substance whereas the cosmic world is category. The original source of all energies is the living force, and He is logically accepted as the Supreme Person. He is therefore conscious of everything past, present and future, and also of each and every corner of His manifestations, both material and spiritual. An imperfect living being does not even know what is happening within his own personal body. He eats his food but does not know how this food is transformed into energy or how it sustains his body. When a living being is perfect, he is aware of everything that happens, and since the Supreme Person is all-perfect, it is quite natural that He knows everything in all detail. Consequently the perfect personality is addressed in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam as Vāsudeva, or one who lives everywhere in full consciousness and in full possession of His complete energy. All of this is clearly explained in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and the reader has ample opportunity to study this critically.

In the modern age Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu preached the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam by practical demonstration. It is easier to penetrate into the topics of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam through the medium of Śrī Caitanya’s causeless mercy. Therefore a short sketch of His life and precepts is inserted herein to help the reader understand the real merit of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. It is imperative that one learn the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam from the person Bhāgavatam. The person Bhāgavatam is one whose very life is Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in practice. Since Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the Absolute Personality of Godhead, He is both Bhagavān and Bhāgavatam in person and in sound. Therefore His process of approaching the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is practical for all people of the world. It was His wish that the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam be preached in every nook and corner of the world by those who happened to take their birth in India. The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the science of Kṛṣṇa, the Absolute Personality of Godhead of whom we have preliminary information from the text of the Bhagavad-gītā. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has said that anyone, regardless of what he is, who is well versed in the science of Kṛṣṇa (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and Bhagavad-gītā) can become an authorized preacher or preceptor in the science of Kṛṣṇa. There is a need for the science of Kṛṣṇa in human society for the good of all suffering humanity of the world, and we simply request the leaders of all nations to pick up this science of Kṛṣṇa for their own good, for the good of society and for the good of all the world’s people.

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