(by Shri Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das)
Srimad Bhagavatam is called the “king of all spiritual books” (Grantha Raja) for good reason. Within this triguna-free, transcendental treatise, the amala-purana, which showcases the absolutely selfless, divine love of Srimati Radharani, one can find all the sweet, majestic and beautiful truths about the sadhana and sadhya (daily practice and perfection) of GaudiyaVaisnavism.
In his most compassionate and wonderful shastra, Sri Chaitanya Caritamrita, Sri Krishna DasaKaviraja summarizes the teachings of Sri CaitanyaMahaprabhu and the six Goswamis of Vrindavana by mentioning the same Bhagavatam verses that they used to substantiate their sublime instructions. To emphasize the importance of these particular verses for all GaudiyaVaisnavas, the same Bhagavatam verse is often mentioned two, three or more times in the Sri Chaitanya Caritamrta.
This series of posts presents these verses, along with selected tikas of our acharyas and the compiler. We will cover the beautiful truths, tattvas, of Krishna, Radha, Vaisnavas, Sri Guru, Bhakti Sadhana, Nama, Prema and more.
Krishna Pays All Your Debts
The Srimad Bhagavatam says:
“One who gives up all varnashrama duties and takes full shelter of the lotus feet of Mukunda, who shelters everyone, is not a debtor to or servant of the universal controllers, great sages, ordinary living beings, relatives or forefathers.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 11.5.41)
Srila Sridhar Swami tika:
“The Krishna bhakta’s accomplishment of spontaneously giving up rules and regulations is described here. The word aptahmeans‘dependent people or family members.’ Devas means the five yagya-devatas (Prakrti, Surya, Ganesa, Siva and Vishnu). Ordinary people devoid of vishnu-bhakti are indebted to these devas and must serve them by daily performing five kinds of yagyas.
Butthose who have taken full shelter of MukundaSri Krishna do not have to do this because they see everything as Sri Vasudeva Krishna, the origin of everything. As pouring water on the root of a tree nourishes and satisfies all the branches and twigs, pleasingVasudeva Sri Krishna satisfies all the devatas, forefathers, spirits and so on who automaticallyreceive a thousand times more joy than they would by being worshipedthemselves.
Therefore, if a Vaishnava is born in their family, the forefathers in Pitrlokadance in great joy thinking, “Our descendent will be the liberator of our family!”All the devas, feeling most favorable toward the bhaktas who perform Sri Krishna bhajana, continuously praise them by saying “bravo! bravo!”
Sri Jiva Goswami tika:
Giving up all obligations (parihrtya-kartam) here means that the devotee rejects the distraction of one’s attention caused by thinking that Indra or Candra must be worshipped. Having surrendered (sharanam-gatah), the Krishna bhakta has destroyed all prarabdha-karmas, and consequently destroys being situated in varnashrama and is no longer obliged to perform regular varnashrama duties.” (Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.2.68)
“The Krishna bhakta is not a servant of the devatas, sages, pitrs but a servant of Bhagavan Sri Krishna. The Krishna bhaktadoes not see the devatas as independentof Sri Krishna. Thus, Garuda Purana (1.235.20) says:
“As long as one does not worship Vishnu one should offer respects to devatas, sages, Brahma and Brhaspati.”(Bhakti Sandarbha 173)
Sri MukundaDasa Goswami tika:
The word ‘sarvatmana’ in the text means one’s surrendering to and taking refuge in Sri Krishna with the firm faith that Bhagavan Sri Krishna alone is the supreme object of all devotional services, that bhakti is the supreme sadhana, and Krishna premais the supreme goal of life. One who thus takes shelter at Krishna’s lotus feet is not bound by any karma or relative duties.” (Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.2.68)
Visvanatha Cakravartipada tika
This verse shows that bhakti is devoid of the troubles caused by daily and occasional duties such as shraddha rites and tarpanas. Apta refers to those who give nourishment such as mother and father. One involved in karmas is a debtor and servant of the devatas, sages, living beings, parents, and Pitrs.
Smrti says one should perform karmas to destroy one’s debts. But this does not apply to the devotee who has surrendered completely to Mukunda Sri Krishna. It is just like a person who becomes a servant of the emperor need not serve the local king.
When one worships Vishnu all worship of devatas and Pitrs is automatically accomplished as giving water to the root of a tree satisfies its branches, twigs and leaves, and by supplying food to the stomach one satisfies the whole body. Similarly, by engaging in the transcendental service of Bhagavan Sri Krishna one automatically satisfies the devatas and all other living entities.
To Sri Krishna’s father Vasudeva, Devarshi Narada explains the unique position and privilege of persons surrendered to Bhagavan Sri Krishna Sri Rama or Sri Vishnu. The Vedic shastras say that civilized humans are indebted to many living entities from whom they derive the essentials of life i.e., food, air, water, light, healthy environment, education, culture, character, moral values etc. This verse shows the “debtor list” which include:
1) DEVAS like Surya, Chandra, Indra, Varuna, who supply us with sun and moonlight, water, and oxygen.
2) SAGES (rshis) like Narada, Vyas, Vashishta, Patanjali, and Dhanvantari who teach ushow to keep healthy and attain spiritual perfection
3) LIVING ENTITIES (bhuta) like cows and bulls, horses, singing birds, etc.
4) RELATIVES & FRIENDS (apta)
5) OTHER PERSONS (nrnam)
6) FOREFATHERS (pitrnam)
7) SERVANTS (kinkara)
Devotees who give up all material designations and take full shelter Sri Krishna are no longer debtors to the devatas, ancient saints or anyone else. For most people, who are not Krishna bhaktas, they must daily do five yagyasdescribed in the karma-kanda section of the Vedas to liquidate their five kinds of debts to the devatas, great sages, forefathers, living entities and common people.
But Krishna bhaktas only need to do ONE YAGYA, Sri Hari namasankirtana-yagya.
The only Vedic injunction for Krishna bhaktasis to worship Bhagavan Sri Krishna, offer Krishna-prasada to the forefathers and share Krishna with friends, relatives, servants, cows, birds, fish and all living entities.
Sri Gita’s conclusion is that Bhagavan Sri Krishna will liberate those who give up their attachment and dependence on all other dharmas and fully surrender to Sri Krishna, the ultimate, all-attractive form of beauty, charm and sweetness!
Param vijayate Sri Krishna sankirtan ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!