Scripture of Love, The Bhagavat
Today, the Shrimad-Bhagavat katha is imparting a feeling of peace and happiness to people all over the world. Brahma-vidya (Supreme Knowledge) is expounded and expressed as yoga in the Bhagavad-Gita, whereas in the Shrimad-Bhagavatam, the same Brahma-vidya manifests itself as love. Today, the world experiences a woeful lack of love. Material wealth and prosperity has escalated and love has diminished universally. We find love missing from all relationships; be it between a husband and wife, a brother and sister or parents and children. In the absence of love man becomes militant and forgets the mantra of ‘live and let live’.
Be Useful to Others
The Gita asks us to become a yogi, to be useful to others. If you are useful to those around you then you automatically become a yogi. Anyone who loses his efficacy loses his very existence, be it an individual or an object. Both are discarded when their utility is lost. Therefore one should maintain and safeguard one’s utility. In order to be useful, a person should have three qualities: prema (love), the spirit of tyaga (sacrifice) and seva (service). It is prema that enables us to sacrifice and it does it so quietly without any publicity. Only a true lover can be a true tyagi (one who has renounced) and peace prevails in the life of a person who is a true tyagi. It is also a matter of pride to be a sevak.
Be a Servant of Shri Hari
Being an employee is being subservient but we are slaves to money, power, fame and status. Sometimes we are slaves to our addictions and at other times we are slaves to our greed. Sometimes we become slaves to lust and at other times to anger or envy. We are dissipating our lives in vain having dumped them in sensual pleasures. If at all you want to be a slave, then be a slave to Shri Hari.
Muni Sutikshana says to Lord Rama in the Ramacharitamanasa (Aranyakanda 10.3): asa abhimana jai jani bhoren, main sevaka raghupati pati more. “Never let this exalted feeling disappear from my mind, even in an unguarded moment, that I am Rama’s servant and He is my master.” Only he who is a true lover and tyagi can be a true servant. Service will bring about happiness, love, joy and renunciation in your life.
Seva is related to sat (truth) and only he who has a true understanding can renounce. By merely changing to saffron coloured robes one does not become a sannyasi. Only when one gains true knowledge and awakens into the divine consciousness does one realise that this world is an abode of misery. Being freed from this world and joining with God alone is true yoga. It is only a true lover who is useful to God while one who is not a true lover is of no use to Him. However learned one may be, if there is no love in one’s heart then even a learned scholar is like an animal. Without the grace of the guru one does not develop love for God. It is after surrendering to the guru that one gets joined with the Creator. We meet our guru simply by the grace of God.
Always Resort to the Bhagavat
It is said: sada sevya, sada sevya shrimad-bhagavati katha. The Shrimad-Bhagavat katha is sada sevya. It is worth reading and studying at all times. It is both: an aushadhi (medicine) as well as a rasayana (tonic). The Bhagavat katha is an aushadhi for those who are troubled and tormented by the afflictions of this world and by taking medicines diseases get cured but by taking a rasayana the diseases are prevented. The diseases get completely destroyed and this is the benefit of a rasayana. Hence a rasayana is ‘sada sevya’ meaning that it can be taken every day even when you are not afflicted with any disease. So, even if you are a grihasth (house-holder) the Bhagavat katha is sada sevya, to be resorted to at any time and if you are a sannyasi the Bhagavat katha is still sada sevya. It is worth resorting to by everyone at all times.
Stilling the Mind
The Shrimad-Bhagavat was first recited bu Shukadeva Gosvami and was repeated for the second time in the forest of Naimisharanya. Naimisharanya is not just an area of land, it is also traditionally a venue for speakers and listeners. Spiritually, Naimisharanya is wherever the mind becomes still. In the Shrimad-Bhagavat, Brahmaji states that the mind is very unsteady. Whenever it becomes still, that should become the place for meditation and bhajan. The problem is that the mind is never still; it is an uphill task to still the ever-fleeting mind. The remedy of stilling our fleeting mind is vairagya, being unattached to the temporal knowing them to be transitory by nature. Whenever your mind gets stilled, that is your Naimisharanya.
Purifying the Mind
Bhagavat katha enhances bhakti rasa. Nothing is as effective to purify our minds as Bhagavat katha and purity alone is achievement. Purity is the most superior and easiest means for attaining God. By repeating the name of God the feeling of void is eliminated from our life. Tulasidasaji says:
ehi kalikala na sadhana duja
joga jagna japa tapa brata puja
ramahi sumiria gaia ramahi
santata sunia rama guna gramahi
“In this Kali-yuga, there is no other means of worship, neither meditation, sacrifice, prayer, penance, vows nor rituals. Meditate only on Rama; sing only of Rama; and hear of only Rama’s infinite perfections.” (Uttarakanda 129.6)
The Bhagavat katha indeed is the only way to achieve Bhagavat prema (devotion), which is the real goal. Thirst for love is an eternal permanent aspiration in a man’s heart and the Bhagavat katha bestows on us the love for God.