The Supremacy of Srimad Bhagavatam

Om Vishnupad 108 Tridandi Swami Sri Srimat Bhakti Sravan Tirtha Goswami Maharaj ki Jai !!

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu instructed all to practise five chief forms of devotion - association with sadhus, chanting of the Holy Names, hearing Sri Bhagavat katha, dwelling in Mathura mandal and serving deities with faithful dedication.

Hearing of Srimad Bhagavatam is one of the principal forms of devotion. The Bhagavatam is the literary incarnation of Bhagavan Sri Krishna. It is necessary first to hear the Bhagavatam from a true devotee in order to be entitled to read it subsequently.

The significance of Srimad Bhagavatam, which is non-different from Sri Krishna, is revealed in the heart of a bonafide surrendered soul by Sri Gurudev. It is not possible to understand the inner significance of Srimad Bhagavatam by intellectual and logical reasoning. It is to be intuitively realised.

Baba used to attach utmost importance to the Srimad Bhagavat Mahapuran. He Himself had conducted 108 Bhagavat katha saptahas. During the saptahas He would observe a complete fast for 7 days. Invariably during His saptahas, miraculous incidents used to manifest. Devotees still talk about the Saptaha conducted in Shantipur at Babila. On the last day of the Katha, Baba’s discourse was so moving that tears flowed from the eyes of the deity of Sri Advaita Acharya, in whose temple premises the Saptaha was being held. Fortunate indeed are those people who have heard Baba’s katha for they have already attained the purpose of human birth.

When Sri Chaitanya Maharabhu began the practice of sankirtana, He also spread the message of the Srimad Bhagavatam through it. Sankirtana proved very effective in reviving people's dormant feeling of love for God, or Krsna consciousness. It enabled them to adopt a philosophical outlook and develop a detached view to the inevitable ups and downs of life and thereby have relatively peaceful and fulfilled lives.

During his stay in Puri, Mahaprabhu and his associates would daily go to the Tota Gopinath temple and listen to the reading of the Bhagavatam by Gadadhar Pandit. Haridas Thakur, Raghunath Das Goswami, Advaita Acharya, Nityananda Prabhu and others would also be there. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu inspired many of His followers to compose literature further elaborating on the concepts contained in the Bhagavatam. Srila Sanatan Goswami had a special relationship with the Bhagavatam throughout his life, even before he and Rupa Goswami met Sri Chaitanya.

Absorbed in the thought of Krishna’s pastimes from his early childhood, Sanatan constructed a duplicate Vrindavan at Ramkeli, where their family lived. He established a deity of Sri Madan Mohan and had a number of ponds dug and named after the sacred ponds of Vrindavan, such as Radha Kund, Shyama Kund, Lalita Kund, etc.

Later in Kashi when he met Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Lord gave personal instructions to Sanatan about the essence of the Bhagavatam. Based on these teachings, Sanatan Goswami later composed several commentaries and books further explaining the purports of the Bhagavatam.

In his final days in the year of 1936 Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupad commented to a circle of intimate disciples:

"If the Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad-Gita and all other scriptures would disappear from the world, except for the Srimad Bhagavatam, nothing would be really lost, as the Bhagavatam contains the essence of everything." He compared the Vedas and the Upanishads with the trunk of a large tree, and the Srimad Bhagavatam as the life-giving sap of that huge tree.

In the Gaudiya-sampradaya, there is a special reason why the Srimad Bhagavatam is regarded as the topmost scripture, even superior to the Bhagavad Gita.

Srila Bhakti Vedanta Narayan Goswami Maharaj explains it thus "The Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, Valmiki Ramayana, Mahabharata and other sastras are the original, authoritative scriptures of the Hindu sanatana dharma. Among them the Vedas are the pramanas (evidence) which are apauruseya (superhuman) and svatahsiddha (self-evident), as they emanated from the divine Breath of Bhagavan.

Amongst these, the Bhagavad-Gita which is included in the Mahabharata and which emanated from the lotus-mouth of Sri Krishna is the most important Upanishad of the entire Vedic literature.

Bhagavan Sri Krsna Himself collected the essence of all the Upanishads as it were, and pouring the ocean into a pot, He spoke the Gitopanisad. Therein one will find the solutions to the problems of human-kind, which are applicable to all people, at all times and at all places.

However, Bhagavan Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said that the essence of all instructions in the Bhagavad-Gita - "sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam sharanam vraja" - is external, because this advice to fully surrender (sharanaagati) is not bhakti itself, but the gateway to enter bhakti. Entering that doorway one can gradually go through sadhana-bhakti, vaidhi-bhakti, prema-bhakti and then on to the higher stages up to bhava and mahabhava, finally reaching the topmost intimate region. In this way, the Bhagavad-Gita is regarded as the primary-level course in transcendental, pure Bhakti.

The Srimad Bhagavatam on the other hand, is the fully ripened and sweetest fruit consisting of only nectarine rasa and devoid of any skin, stone and other inferior parts. The Gita is the essence of one part of the Vedas - the Upanishads, but the Bhagavatam is the essence of all scripture: the Vedas, the Upanishads, Puranas, Ramayana, Mahabharata, etc.

After Srila Vedavyasa had completed the monumental work of dividing the Vedas into four parts and composed the Vedanta-sutra, the Mahabharata and other Puranas, he was still not fully satisfied. He wondered why he still felt incomplete, as if something was missing. It was the supreme devotee Devrishi Narada, Vyasa’s guru, who appeared to him and told him that the reason was that while he had shown great intellectual acumen and skill in sorting out the Vedas, he had yet not fulfilled the yearning of his heart to sing the sweet glories of the Lord.

Following the instruction of his Guru, Vyasadev went into samadhi and received the Srimad Bhagavatam in his heart. Then he set about writing it. Only then was he fully satisfied. This is why the Srimad Bhagavatam is regarded in the world of transcendalists as the topmost, post-graduate course in pure Bhakti.”

The sole purport of the Gita is to give the supreme secret instruction of total surrender (sharanaagati) unto the lotus-feet of Sri Krishna Bhagavan. Srimad Bhagavatam takes over from where the Bhagavat Gita left off. The ‘What’ is given in the Gita and the ‘How’ is clearly enunciated in the Bhagavatam.

The selfless, unconditional love of the Vraja gopis for Krishna is the particular subject-matter of the Srimad Bhagavatam. Sri Krishna can be conquered by this prema only, not otherwise - "na paraye'ham niravadya sanyuja". Therefore the heart of Vyasadeva could only be fully satisfied after composing the Srimad Bhagavatam. As Baba said, the Heart is the seat of Love. Not the mind.

The Gita is the ambrosial song emanating from Sri Krishna’s mouth, but the Srimad Bhagavatam with its 12 limbs is the very body (svarupa) of Vrajendranandana Krishna - tamala varna suhrt-avataara.

When Sri Krsna displayed His universal form, Arjuna became overwhelmed with awe and folding his hands prayed: "O my Lord, Thou art the creator, maintainer and destroyer of the universe. From now on I will never address Thee as sakha, friend. Please forgive my offenses."

On the other hand, in the Srimad Bhagavatam Nandanandan Krishna showed mother Yasoda the entire universe in His mouth. Even so, Yasoda maiya was not even slightly impressed by this display of universal opulence. She thought her darling Child was the victim of some black-magic or the evil glance of ghosts, and never regarded Him as the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

In the Gita, Krishna is the one who is sought after by the devotees, whereas in the Srimad Bhagavatam Krishna Himself becomes the seeker, running after His premi-bhaktas. Yasoda maiya binds Him very easily with the rope of prema. His sakhas defeat Him at play. He tries to placate His most beloved gopis again and again, when they display jealous anger. Sri Krsna desires the mercy of the vraja-vasis - "Aho bhagyam aho bhagyam nanda-gopa-vrajokasam".

This is why Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, after much deliberation, declared the verse of the Gita “sarva dharmam paritajya…” as "iho bahya" ("this is external").

To teach us about real pure devotion - the supreme devotion of Vraja-dhama, Srimad Bhagavatam is the most Supreme.

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself said:

"krsna-bhakti-rasa-svarupa sri bhagavata
tate veda-sastra haite parama mahattva"

Jai Guru
Jai Sri Radhey