Saturday, June 14, 2014

Chapter 19:

Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 1.8.36
śṛṇvanti gāyanti gṛṇanty abhīkṣṇaśaḥ
smaranti nandanti tavehitaṁ janāḥ
ta eva paśyanty acireṇa tāvakaṁ
bhava-pravāhoparamaṁ padāmbujam

śṛṇvanti — hear; gāyanti — chant; gṛṇanti — take; abhīkṣṇaśaḥ — continuously; smaranti — remember; nandanti — take pleasure; tava — Your; īhitam — activities; janāḥ — people in general; te — they; eva — certainly; paśyanti — can see; acireṇa — very soon; tāvakam — Your; bhava-pravāha — the current of rebirth; uparamam — cessation; pada-ambujam — lotus feet.


O Kṛṣṇa, those who continuously hear, chant and repeat Your transcendental activities, or take pleasure in others’ doing so, certainly see Your lotus feet, which alone can stop the repetition of birth and death.


The emphasis of this chapter is on hearing and chanting although Srila Prabhupada writes of a few of the other processes of Bhakti. He opens with; The Supreme Lord, Sri Krsna, cannot be seen by our present conditional vision. In order to see Him, one has to change his present vision by developing a different condition of life, full of spontaneous love of Godhead.

Therefore, even though the Lord may be present before our eyes, it is not possible to see Him unless we have the necessary vision. This necessary qualification is developed by the process of devotional service only, beginning with hearing about the Lord from the right sources.

One must hear about the Lord from the very beginning, as in the Srimad- Bhagavatam or any other scriptures, and that will help the hearer attain perfection by progressive development.

He then lists the processes of Bhakti;
sravanam kirtanam visnoh
smaranam pada-sevanam
arcanam vandanam dasyam
sakhyam atma-nivedanam
iti pumsarpita visnau
bhaktis cen nava-laksana
kriyeta bhagavaty addha
tan manye 'dhitam uttamam
Hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia, and pastimes of Lord Visnu, remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one's best friend, and surrendering everything unto Him (in other words, serving Him with the body, mind, and words)--these nine processes are accepted as pure devotional service.

He emphasizes that the order is not arbitrary; For those who are cultivating Krsna consciousness, the first business is hearing. 

And if one has actually heard about Krsna, one's next engagement in bhakti-yoga will be to chant (gayanti). 

Therefore those who are cultivating Krsna consciousness have to hear about Krsna, speak about Krsna, and deal only in relationship with Krsna. "By this process," Kuntidevi tells the Lord, "one will one day come to see You."

He ends the chapter with a beautiful promise; We are spirit souls, but because we have been put into the material ocean, the currents are carrying us away. However, if we engage twenty-four hours a day in hearing, chanting, and seriously serving Krsna, the current will stop.

There may be currents in the ocean, but if one gets a good boat, one can cross over these currents very nicely. As mentioned in another verse of Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.14.58), samasrita ye pada-pallava-plavam. A lotus petal is something like a small boat, and therefore this verse says that if one takes shelter of the petal boat of the lotus feet of Krsna, the great ocean of birth and death becomes as insignificant as the water contained in the hoofprint of a calf.

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