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The Guiding force of Narayanashrama Tapovanam & Center for Inner Resources Development

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha


Articles for Saadhana

 Listen to Prabhaata-rashmih Audio 

Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.

Yesterday in the English talk I gave, I was primarily emphasizing the point that Srimad Bhāgavata is generally considered to be a devotional text and it discusses bhakti and bhakti alone. All people will say that bhakti is the very goal of Srimad Bhāgavatam. But if you read the text, it is not really so. Srimad Bhāgavatam gives extreme importance, prominence to bhakti. But how can this bhakti be generated, enhanced? It can be elevated and also expanded, enlarged, to make it bring the goal of life, the need of the human heart, of the mind and also the intelligence. This becomes a question.

Any śāstra becomes so only when it discusses a subject in a threadbare manner. In doing so, because this is part of our tradition, it has to adhere to the Vedas and the Vedic pronouncements. At the same time it has to be very reasonable and rational. That rationality is very important and whatever is said should ultimately become experiential, it cannot be imaginary. That is why we have three words like sruti, yukti, and anubhava. When all the three standards are fully met, then only a truth, a pronouncement or a practice becomes fruitful and meaningful.

There are three words which appear in the very first verse of Srimad Bhāgavatam, and it is these three words with which the opening verse concludes. satyaṁ paraṁ dhīmahi. And the first part of the verse is janma ādi asya – janmādyasya yataḥ. If you can connect these two propositions, you will find what is the content and message of Srimad Bhāgavatam.

yataḥ - from where – namely the source,

janma ādi asya - asya means of this creation, endless, and inconceivable creation. Its ādi, beginning, janma - its birth, existence, and also dissolution, all these things put together; from where have they emerged? So, we are discussing the source, and that source, finally the author says

satyam param - That is the absolute and transcendental truth. And that absolute and transcendental truth dhīmahi - we contemplate, carry, try to capture and imagine by our intelligence.

If the supreme truth; the source from where the endless universe has come, naturally the source also must be indefinable and endless. From an end-ful item, an endless can never be. So, as the universal creation is endless and indefinable, its source also will be endless and indefinable. Then is it beyond our reach? We cannot get hold of it. Then we won’t be able to experience it; understand it. It is 'param, param'. It transcends the entire range of creation. Means what? It transcends the entire range of sensoriness.

The whole world and universe around us is perceived by our senses. But for the senses, the universe would not have been felt at all. We know only the creation as our senses read them, reveal them, and define them, describe them. So, in perceiving this world and describing it as what it is, it is the verdict of our senses that matters. It is a purely subjective and personal discovery as well as experience. If you have no eyes, you are blind. You will never see a color. If you have no ears, you are deaf. You will never hear a sound. Similarly the other senses. So, whenever we speak and think of the world, understand very clearly that your attention should shift from “what is seen” to who or what shows.

Para, the transcendent means - transcend the senses. Whatever is outside the senses is perceivable or perceptible to the senses. So, if it transcends the range of senses, it means it is inside our body. You have a mind, intelligence, and ego. A number of thoughts and emotions arise from the mind. Though they are constantly and repeatedly arising, you are not able to see them at all. Just like an external object can be collected, placed for others to see, you will not be able to collect or extract a thought from within you. But nevertheless you know that there are thoughts; there are feelings. So, to be inside the senses is transcendental no doubt, but don’t think that it is inaccessible to our consciousness, and that is the satya. Means what? All the rest is asatya. The definition of satya is that it should be present in the past, in the present, and also in the future. And this satya can only be contemplated upon by the intelligence.

So, the theme of Srimad Bhāgavatam is something that you have to do introspection over and grasp in your intelligence. Any tattva, principle, value, a concept - it is only to be understood. You have to understand it and we have the faculty to understand. That is why they say dhīmahi. The same dhīmahi is used in Rigvedic Gāyatrī.

भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि
(ऋग्वेद ३.६२.१०)
bhargo devasya dhīmahi
(Rigveda 3.62.10)

So, when it comes to a question of the source of the world, the source of materiality, the source – that into which everything gets dissolved and the source that pervades or permeates everything, understand very clearly it is transcendental and hence, can only be accessed by the intelligence.

satyaṁ paraṁ dhīmahi are the three words with which Srimad Bhāgavatam enunciation concludes also. Now, if you connect the opening verse and almost the last verse in the 12th skandha, what do you understand? The entire discussion and explanation, enunciation, elucidation of Srimad Bhāgavatam are meant to enlighten you about the Supreme Transcendental Truth which is right within your body. In the matter of elucidating or enlightening you about it, they take recourse to bhakti, a very important emotion of the human mind. So, the devotion comes very handy for the description because the mind has to be softened. It has to melt. It has to become reformed. It has to become pure and fine. In making the mind so, devotional practices, devotional listening, and devotional thoughts and introspection give a great help. But the subject is actually satyam param and dhīmahi is the end of it.

I was referring to Kenopanishad where the enquiry itself was

यन्मनसा न मनुते येनाहुर्मनो मतम् ।
तदेव ब्रह्म त्वं विद्धि नेदं यदिदमुपासते ।।
(केनोपनिषद् १.६)
yanmanasā na manute yenāhurmano matam |
tadeva brahma tvaṁ viddhi nedaṁ yadidamupāsate ||
(Kenopanishad 1.6)

You cannot grasp it by the mind. At the same time it is the source of the very mentation process. That is the supreme truth and not the idol or image or any other symbol that you worship here. In this way, I was referring to mostly the opening verse alone. I thought nobody speaks about it. Let me speak a little. 

The opening verse can be commented upon in dozens of pages. Once Baba told me, my Gurudev, that Srimad Bhāgavatam etc. “See whether you can understand the opening verse”. He was mentioning like this once. So, this opening verse is very, very important.

जन्माद्यस्य यतोऽन्वयादितरतश्चार्थेष्वभिज्ञः स्वराट्
तेने ब्रह्म हृदा य आदिकवये मुह्यन्ति यत्सूरयः
तेजोवारिमृदां यथा विनिमयो यत्र त्रिसर्गोऽमृषा
धाम्ना स्वेन सदा निरस्तकुहकं सत्यं परं धीमहि
(श्रीमद्भागवतम् १.१.१)
janmādyasya yato'nvayāditarataścārtheṣvabhijñaḥ svarāṭ
tene brahma hṛdā ya ādikavaye muhyanti yatsūrayaḥ
tejovārimṛdāṁ yathā vinimayo yatra trisargo'mṛṣā
dhāmnā svena sadā nirastakuhakaṁ satyaṁ paraṁ dhīmahi
(Srimad Bhagavatam 1.1.1)

That word mṛṣā, when you put with an avagraha becomes amṛṣā. In Srimad Bhagavata, where critical statements are there, you will always find the words are coined in such a manner that it can be read as a positive statement and also a negative statement. Invariably, the text carry the avagraha calling it amṛṣā. So I was explaining yesterday with a lot of emphasis that it is mṛṣā and not amṛṣā. The entire world is illusory. That illusoriness is confirmed and explained in the 11th skanda very, very clearly. So, I was explaining that also.

Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.

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