Translated into:


His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Srimad-Bhagavatam, an epic philosophical and literary classic, holds a prominent position in India’s voluminous written wisdom. This ancient text touches upon all fields of human knowledge.

The timeless wisdom of India is expressed in the Vedas, ancient Sanskrit texts. Originally preserved through oral tradition, the Vedas were first put into writing by Srila Vyasadeva.

After compiling the Vedas, Srila Vyasadeva was inspired to present their profound essence in the form of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Known as “the ripened fruit of the tree of Vedic literature, “Srimad-Bhagavatam is the most complete and authoritative exposition of Vedic knowledge – covering everything from the nature of the self to the origin of the universe.

The first verse of Srimad-Bhagavatam makes clear that because the book is intended for people serious about spiritual progress, it will not deal with sectarian religious ideas, philosophical conjecture, or worldly concerns. The second text promises that anyone who reads the book systematically will achieve the spiritual success meant for all human beings.

Read about
* Ancient atomic calculations of time
* Accurate astronomical readings taken 5,000 years ago
* Descriptions of life on other planets
* Detailed study of the development of the embryo in the womb from the moment of conception
* Buddha’s arrival predicted 2,500 years earlier

Special Features:
* Original Sanskrit text
* English equivalents, word-for-word
* Elaborate commentary
* Opening chapter summaries

Hardbound, 12 Volume Set Edition

  • Hardbound; 11,827 total pages; 15.2 x 22.9 (centimeters); 6 x 9 (inches)
  • 288 color illustrations; jacket; index
  • Publisher: The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust; First issue: 1975; Reissue: 1999
  • Suggested Audience: Intermediate
  • Original Language: Sanskrit; Date: 3,000 B.C.E.

Hardbound, 18 Volume Set Edition

  • Hardbound; total 17,338 pages; 15.2 x 22.9 (centimeters); 6 x 9 (inches)
  • 1st Canto (1 vol.) 2nd Canto (1 vol.) 3rd Canto (2 vols.) 4th Canto (2 vol.) 5th Canto (1 vol.)
    6th Canto (1 vol.) 7th Canto (1 vol.) 8th Canto (1 vol.) 9th Canto (1 vol.) 10th Canto (4 vols.)
    11th Canto (2 vols.) 12th Canto (1 vol.) Refer to the editors notes for the ISBNs of individual cantos.
  • 288 color illustrations; jacket; ribbon; index
  • Publisher: The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust; First issue: 1987; Reissue: 1999
  • Suggested Audience: Intermediate
  • Original Language: Sanskrit; Date: 3,000 B.C.E.

Available at the Store

ISBN: 0-89213-275-2

Hardbound Edition

  • Hardbound; 488 pages; 13.3 x 21 (centimeters); 5.25 x 8.25 (inches)
  • index
  • Publisher: The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust; First issue: 1972; Reissue: 1998
  • Suggested Audience: Advanced
  • Original Language: Sanskrit; Date: 3,000 B.C.E.

Available at the Store

ISBN: 0-912776-27-7

Hardbound,First Canto, 1965 Edition

  • Hardbound; 3 volumes, 1,236 total pages; 16.5 x 25.3 (centimeters); 6.5 x 10 (inches)
  • index
  • Publisher: The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust;
  • Suggested Audience: Intermediate
  • Original Language: Sanskrit; Date: 3,000 B.C.E.

Srimad-Bhagavatam, First Canto

Srimad-Bhagavatam, Second Canto

Srimad-Bhagavatam, Third Canto

Srimad-Bhagavatam, Fourth Canto

Srimad-Bhagavatam, Fifth Canto

Srimad-Bhagavatam, Sixth Canto

Srimad-Bhagavatam, Seventh Canto

Srimad-Bhagavatam, Eighth Canto

Srimad-Bhagavatam, Ninth Canto

Srimad-Bhagavatam, Tenth Canto

Srimad-Bhagavatam, Eleventh Canto

Srimad-Bhagavatam, Twelfth Canto

Table of Contents

Twelve Volume Set Preface
Introduction CANTO ONE
1,270 pages, ISBN 0-89213-250-7

Chapter 1: Questions by the Sages
Chapter 2: Divinity and Divine Service
Chapter 3: Krishna Is the Source of All Incarnations
Chapter 4: The Appearance of Sri Narada
Chapter 5: Narada’s Instructions on Srimad-Bhagavatam for Vyasadeva
Chapter 6: Conversation Between Narada and Vyasadeva
Chapter 7: The Son of Drona Punished
Chapter 8: Prayers by Queen Kunti and Parikshit Saved
Chapter 9: The Passing Away of Bhishmadeva in the Presence of Lord Krishna
Chapter 10: Departure of Lord Krishna for Dvaraka
Chapter 11: Lord Krishna’s Entrance into Dvaraka
Chapter 12: Birth of Emperor Parikshit
Chapter 13: Dhritarashtra Quits Home
Chapter 14: The Disappearance of Lord Krishna
Chapter 15: The Pandavas Retire Timely
Chapter 16: How Parikshit received the age of Kali
Chapter 17: Punishment and Reward of Kali
Chapter 18: Maharaja Parikshit Cursed by a Brahmana Boy
Chapter 19: The Appearance of Shukadeva Goswami

763 pages, ISBN 0-89213-251-5

“The Cosmic Manifestation”
Chapter 1: The First Step in God Realization
Chapter 2: The Lord in the Heart
Chapter 3: Pure Devotional Service: The Change in Heart
Chapter 4: The Process of Creation
Chapter 5: The Cause of All Causes
Chapter 6: Purusha-shukta Confirmed
Chapter 7: Scheduled Incarnations with Specific Functions
Chapter 8: Questions by King Parikshit
Chapter 9: Answers by Citing the Lord’s Version
Chapter 10: Bhagavatam Is the Answer to All Questions


“The Status Quo”

Third Canto, Part One

850 pages, ISBN 0-89213-252-3

Chapter 1: Questions by Vidura
Chapter 2: Remembrance of Lord Krishna
Chapter 3: The Lord’s Pastimes Out of Vrindavana
Chapter 4: Vidura Approaches Maitreya
Chapter 5: Vidura’s Talks with Maitreya
Chapter 6: Creation of the Universal Form
Chapter 7: Further Inquires by Vidura
Chapter 8: Manifestation of Brahma from Garbhodakashayi Vishnu
Chapter 9: Brahma’s Prayers for Creative Energy
Chapter 10: Divisions of the Creation
Chapter 11: Calculation of Time, from the Atom
Chapter 12: Creation of the Kumaras and Others
Chapter 13: The Appearance of Lord Varaha
Chapter 14: Pregnancy of Diti in the Evening
Chapter 15: Description of the Kingdom of God
Chapter 16: The Two Doorkeepers of Vaikuntha, Jaya and Vijaya, Cursed by the Sages

Third Canto, Part Two
987 pages, ISBN 0-89213-253-1

Chapter 17: Victory of Hiranyaksha Over All the Directions of the Universe
Chapter 18: The Battle Between Lord Boar and the Demon Hiranyaksha
Chapter 19: The Killing of the Demon Hiranyaksha
Chapter 20: Conversation Between Maitreya and Vidura
Chapter 21: Conversation Between Manu and Kardama
Chapter 22: The Marriage of Kardama Muni and Devahuti
Chapter 23: Devahuti’s Lamentation
Chapter 24: The Renunciation of Kardama Muni
Chapter 25: The Glories of Devotional Service
Chapter 26: Fundamental Principles of Material Nature
Chapter 27: Understanding Material Nature
Chapter 28: Kapila’s Instructions on the Execution of Devotional Service
Chapter 29: Explanation of Devotional Service by Lord Kapila
Chapter 30: Description by Lord Kapila of Adverse Fruitive
Chapter 31: Lord Kapila’s Instructions on the Movements of the Living Entities
Chapter 32: Entanglement in Fruitive Activities
Chapter 33: Activities of Kapila

“The Creation of the Fourth Order”

Fourth Canto, Part One
998 pages, ISBN 0-89213-254-x

Chapter 1: Genealogical Table of the Daughters of Manu
Chapter 2: Daksha Curses Lord Shiva
Chapter 3: Talks Between Lord Shiva and Sati
Chapter 4: Sati Quits Her Body
Chapter 5: Frustration of the Sacrifice of Daksha
Chapter 6: Brahma Satisfies Lord Shiva
Chapter 7: The Sacrifice Performed by Daksha
Chapter 8: Dhruva Maharaja Leaves Home for the Forest
Chapter 9: Dhruva Maharaja Returns Home
Chapter 10: Dhruva Maharaja’s Fight With the Yakshas
Chapter 11: Svayambhuva Manu Advises Dhruva Maharaja to Stop Fighting
Chapter 12: Dhruva Maharaja Goes Back to Godhead
Chapter 13: Description of the Descendants of Dhruva Maharaja
Chapter 14: The Story of King Vena
Chapter 15: King Prithu’s Appearance and Coronation
Chapter 16: Praise of King Prithu by the Professional Reciters
Chapter 17: Maharaja Prithu Becomes Angry at the Earth
Chapter 18: Prithu Maharaja Milks the Earth Planet
Chapter 19: King Prithu’s One Hundred Horse Sacrifices

Fourth Canto, Part Two
1,087 pages, ISBN 0-89213-255-8

Chapter 20: Lord Vishnu’s Appearance in the Sacrificial Arena of Maharaja Prithu
Chapter 21: Instructions by Maharaja Prithu
Chapter 22: Prithu Maharaja’s Meeting with the Four Kumaras
Chapter 23: Maharaja Prithu’s Going Back Home
Chapter 24: Chanting the Song Sung by Lord Shiva
Chapter 25: The Descriptions of the Characteristics of King Puranjana
Chapter 26: King Puranjana Goes to the Forest to Hunt, and His Queen Becomes Angry
Chapter 27: Attack by Candavega on the City of King Puranjana: the Character of Kalakanya
Chapter 28: Puranjana Becomes a Woman in the Next Life
Chapter 29: Talks Between Narada and King Prachinabarhi
Chapter 30: The Activities of the Pracetas
Chapter 31: Narada Instructs the Pracetas

1,077 pages, ISBN 0-89213-256-6

“The Creative Impetus”
Chapter 1: The Activities of Maharaja Priyavrata
Chapter 2: The Activities of Maharaja Agnidhra
Chapter 3: Rshabhadeva’s Appearance in the Womb of Merudevi, the Wife of King Nabhi
Chapter 4: The Characteristics of Rishabhadeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead
Chapter 5: Lord Rishabhadeva’s Teachings to His Sons
Chapter 6: The Activities of Lord Rishabhadeva
Chapter 7: The Activities of King Bharata
Chapter 8: A Description of the Character of Bharata Maharaja
Chapter 9: The Supreme Character of Jada Bharata
Chapter 10: The Discussion Between Jada Bharata and Maharaja Rahugana
Chapter 11: Jada Bharata Instructs King Rahugana
Chapter 12: Conversation Between Maharaja Rahugana and Jada Bharata
Chapter 13: Further Talks Between King Rahugana and Jada Bharata
Chapter 14: The Material World as the Great Forest of Enjoyment
Chapter 15: The Glories of the Descendants of King Priyavrata
Chapter 16: A Description of Jambudvipa
Chapter 17: The Descent of the River Ganges
Chapter 18: The Prayers Offered to the Lord by the Residents of Jambudvipa
Chapter 19: A Description of the Island of Jambudvipa
Chapter 20: Studying the Structure of the Universe
Chapter 21: The Movements of the Sun
Chapter 22: The Orbits of the Planets
Chapter 23: The Shishumara Planetary Systems
Chapter 24: The Subterranean Heavenly Planets
Chapter 25: The Glories of Lord Ananta
Chapter 26: A Description of the Hellish Planet

997 pages, ISBN 0-89213-257-4

“Prescribed Duties for Mankind”
Chapter 1: The History of the Life of Ajamila
Chapter 2: Ajamila Delivered by the Vishnudutas
Chapter 3: Yamaraja Instructs His Messengers
Chapter 4: The Hamsa-guhya Prayers
Chapter 5: Narada Muni Cursed by Prajapati Daksha
Chapter 6: The Progeny of the Daughters of Daksha
Chapter 7: Indra Offends His Spiritual Master, Brihaspati
Chapter 8: The Narayana-kavaca Shield
Chapter 9: Appearance of the Demon Vritrasura
Chapter 10: The Battle Between the Demigods and Vritrasura
Chapter 11: The Transcendental Qualities of Vritrasura
Chapter 12: Vritrasura’s Glorious Death
Chapter 13: King Indra Afflicted by Sinful Reaction
Chapter 14: King Chitraketu’s Lamentation
Chapter 15: The Saints Narada and Angira Instruct King Chitraketu
Chapter 16: King Chitraketu Meets the Supreme Lord
Chapter 17: Mother Parvati Curses Chitraketu
Chapter 18: Diti Vows to Kill King Indra
Chapter 19: Performing the Pumshavana Ritualistic Ceremony

1,049 pages, ISBN 0-89213-258-2

“The Science of God”
Chapter 1: The Supreme Lord Is Equal to Everyone
Chapter 2: Hiranyakashipu, King of the Demons
Chapter 3: Hiranyakashipu’s Plan to Become Immortal
Chapter 4: Hiranyakashipu Terrorizes the Universe
Chapter 5: Prahlada Maharaja, the Saintly Son of Hiranyakashipu
Chapter 6: Prahlada Instructs His Demoniac Schoolmates
Chapter 7: What Prahlada Learned in the Womb
Chapter 8: Lord Nrisimhadeva Slays the King of the Demons
Chapter 9: Prahlada Pacifies Lord Nrisimhadeva with Prayers
Chapter 10: Prahlada, the Best Among Exalted Devotees
Chapter 11: The Perfect Society: Four Social Classes
Chapter 12: The Perfect Society: Four Spiritual Classes
Chapter 13: The Behavior of a Perfect Person
Chapter 14: Ideal Family Life
Chapter 15: Instructions for Civilized Human Beings

979 pages, ISBN 0-89213-259-0

“Withdrawal of the Cosmic Creations”
Chapter 1: The Manus, Administrators of the Universe
Chapter 2: The Elephant Gajendra’s Crisis
Chapter 3: Gajendra’s Prayers of Surrender
Chapter 4: Gajendra Returns to the Spiritual World
Chapter 5: The Demigods Appeal to the Lord for Protection
Chapter 6: The Demigods and Demons Declare a Truce
Chapter 7: Lord Shiva Saves the Universe by Drinking Poison
Chapter 8: The Churning of the Milk Ocean
Chapter 9: The Lord Incarnates as Mohini-murti
Chapter 10: The Battle Between the Demigods and the Demons
Chapter 11: King Indra Annihilates the Demons
Chapter 12: The Mohini-murti Incarnation Bewilders Lord Shiva
Chapter 13: Description of Future Manus
Chapter 14: The System of Universal Management
Chapter 15: Bali Maharaja Conquers the Heavenly Planets
Chapter 16: Executing the Payo-vrata Process of Worship
Chapter 17: The Supreme Lord Agrees to Become Aditi’s Son
Chapter 18: Lord Vamanadeva, the Dwarf Incarnation
Chapter 19: Lord Vamanadeva Begs Charity from Bali Maharaja
Chapter 20: Bali Maharaja Surrenders the Universe
Chapter 21: Bali Maharaja Arrested by the Lord
Chapter 22: Bali Maharaja Surrenders His Life
Chapter 23: The Demigods Regain the Heavenly Planets
Chapter 24: Matsya, the Lord’s Fish Incarnation

923 pages, ISBN 0-89213-260-4

Chapter 1: King Sudyumna Becomes a Woman
Chapter 2: The Dynasties of the Sons of Manu
Chapter 3: The Marriage of Sukanya and Chyavana Muni
Chapter 4: Ambarisha Maharaja Offended by Durvasa Muni
Chapter 5: Durvasa Muni’s Life Spared
Chapter 6: The Downfall of Shaubhari Muni
Chapter 7: The Descendants of King Mandhata
Chapter 8: The Sons of Sagara Meet Lord Kapiladeva
Chapter 9: The Dynasty of Amshuman
Chapter 10: The Pastimes of the Supreme Lord, Ramachandra
Chapter 11: Lord Ramachandra Rules the World
Chapter 12: The Dynasty of Kusha, the Son of Lord Ramachandra
Chapter 13: The Dynasty of Maharaja Nimi
Chapter 14: King Pururava Enchanted by Urvashi
Chapter 15: Parashurama, the Lord’s Warrior Incarnation
Chapter 16: Lord Parashurama Destroys the World’s Ruling Class
Chapter 17: The Dynasties of the Sons of Pururava
Chapter 18: King Yayati Regains His Youth
Chapter 19: King Yayati Achieves Liberation
Chapter 20: The Dynasty of Puru
Chapter 21: The Dynasty of Bharata
Chapter 22: The Descendants of Ajamidha
Chapter 23: The Dynasties of the Sons of Yayati
Chapter 24: Krishna the Supreme Personality of Godhead

“The Summum Bonum”

Tenth Canto, Part One
847 pages, ISBN 0-89213-261-2

Chapter 1: The Advent of Lord Krishna: Introduction
Chapter 2: Prayers by the Demigods for Lord Krishna in the Womb
Chapter 3: The Birth of Lord Krishna
Chapter 4: The Atrocities of King Kamsa
Chapter 5: The Meeting of Nanda Maharaja and Vasudeva
Chapter 6: The Killing of the Demon Putana
Chapter 7: The Killing of the Demon Trinavarta
Chapter 8: Lord Krishna Shows the Universal Form Within His Mouth
Chapter 9: Mother Yashoda Binds Lord Krishna
Chapter 10: Deliverance of the Yamala-arjuna Trees
Chapter 11: The Childhood Pastimes of Krishna
Chapter 12: The Killing of the Demon Aghasura
Chapter 13: The Stealing of the Boys and Calves by Brahma

About the Author
Sanskrit Pronunciation Guide
Index of Sanskrit Verses
Index of Verses Quoted
General Index


Canto One, Chapter Two, Texts 6–22


The supreme occupation [dharma] for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self.


In this statement, Sri Suta Goswami answers the first question of the sages of Naimisharanya. The sages asked him to summarize the whole range of revealed scriptures and present the most essential part so that fallen people or the people in general might easily take it up.

The Vedas prescribe two different types of occupation for the human being. One is called the pravritti-marga, or the path of sense enjoyment, and the other is called the nivritti-marga, or the path of renunciation. The path of enjoyment is inferior, and the path of sacrifice for the supreme cause is superior. The material existence of the living being is a diseased condition of actual life. Actual life is spiritual existence, or brahma-bhuta (Bhag. 4.30.20) existence, where life is eternal, blissful and full of knowledge. Material existence is temporary, illusory and full of miseries. There is no happiness at all. There is just the futile attempt to get rid of the miseries, and temporary cessation of misery is falsely called happiness. Therefore, the path of progressive material enjoyment, which is temporary, miserable and illusory, is inferior. But devotional service to the Supreme Lord, which leads one to eternal, blissful and all-cognizant life, is called the superior quality of occupation. This is sometimes polluted when mixed with the inferior quality. For example, adoption of devotional service for material gain is certainly an obstruction to the progressive path of renunciation. Renunciation or abnegation for ultimate good is certainly a better occupation than enjoyment in the diseased condition of life. Such enjoyment only aggravates the symptoms of disease and increases its duration. Therefore devotional service to the Lord must be pure in quality, i.e., without the least desire for material enjoyment. One should, therefore, accept the superior quality of occupation in the form of the devotional service of the Lord without any tinge of unnecessary desire, fruitive action and philosophical speculation. This alone can lead one to perpetual solace in His service.

We have purposely denoted dharma as occupation because the root meaning of the word dharma is “that which sustains one’s existence.” A living being’s sustenance of existence is to coordinate his activities with his eternal relation with the Supreme Lord Krishna. Krishna is the central pivot of living beings, and He is the all-attractive living entity or eternal form amongst all other living beings or eternal forms. Each and every living being has his eternal form in the spiritual existence, and Krishna is the eternal attraction for all of them. Krishna is the complete whole, and everything else is His part and parcel. The relation is one of the servant and the served. It is transcendental and is completely distinct from our experience in material existence. This relation of servant and the served is the most congenial form of intimacy. One can realize it as devotional service progresses. Everyone should engage himself in that transcendental loving service of the Lord, even in the present conditional state of material existence. That will gradually give one the clue to actual life and please him to complete satisfaction.


By rendering devotional service unto the Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna, one immediately acquires causeless knowledge and detachment from the world.


Those who consider devotional service to the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna to be something like material emotional affairs may argue that in the revealed scriptures, sacrifice, charity, austerity, knowledge, mystic powers and similar other processes of transcendental realization are recommended. According to them, bhakti, or the devotional service of the Lord, is meant for those who cannot perform the high-grade activities. Generally it is said that the bhakti cult is meant for the shudras, vaishyas and the less intelligent woman class. But that is not the actual fact. The bhakti cult is the topmost of all transcendental activities, and therefore it is simultaneously sublime and easy. It is sublime for the pure devotees who are serious about getting in contact with the Supreme Lord, and it is easy for the neophytes who are just on the threshold of the house of bhakti. To achieve the contact of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna is a great science, and it is open for all living beings, including the shudras, vaishyas, women and even those lower than the lowborn shudras, so what to speak of the high-class men like the qualified brahmanas and the great self-realized kings. The other high-grade activities designated as sacrifice, charity, austerity, etc., are all corollary factors following the pure and scientific bhakti cult.

The principles of knowledge and detachment are two important factors on the path of transcendental realization. The whole spiritual process leads to perfect knowledge of everything material and spiritual, and the results of such perfect knowledge are that one becomes detached from material affection and becomes attached to spiritual activities. Becoming detached from material things does not mean becoming inert altogether, as men with a poor fund of knowledge think. Naishkarma means not undertaking activities that will produce good or bad effects. Negation does not mean negation of the positive. Negation of the nonessentials does not mean negation of the essential. Similarly, detachment from material forms does not mean nullifying the positive form. The bhakti cult is meant for realization of the positive form. When the positive form is realized, the negative forms are automatically eliminated. Therefore, with the development of the bhakti cult, with the application of positive service to the positive form, one naturally becomes detached from inferior things, and he becomes attached to superior things. Similarly, the bhakti cult, being the supermost occupation of the living being, leads him out of material sense enjoyment. That is the sign of a pure devotee. He is not a fool, nor is he engaged in the inferior energies, nor does he have material values. This is not possible by dry reasoning. It actually happens by the grace of the Almighty. In conclusion, one who is a pure devotee has all other good qualities, namely knowledge, detachment, etc., but one who has only knowledge or detachment is not necessarily well acquainted with the principles of the bhakti cult. Bhakti is the supermost occupation of the human being.


The occupational activities a man performs according to his own position are only so much useless labor if they do not provoke attraction for the message of the Personality of Godhead.


There are different occupational activities in terms of man’s different conceptions of life. To the gross materialist who cannot see anything beyond the gross material body, there is nothing beyond the senses. Therefore his occupational activities are limited to concentrated and extended selfishness. Concentrated selfishness centers around the personal body�this is generally seen amongst the lower animals. Extended selfishness is manifested in human society and centers around the family, society, community, nation and world with a view to gross bodily comfort. Above these gross materialists are the mental speculators who hover aloft in the mental spheres, and their occupational duties involve making poetry and philosophy or propagating some ism with the same aim of selfishness limited to the body and the mind. But above the body and mind is the dormant spirit soul whose absence from the body makes the whole range of bodily and mental selfishness completely null and void. But less intelligent people have no information of the needs of the spirit soul.

Because foolish people have no information of the soul and how it is beyond the purview of the body and mind, they are not satisfied in the performance of their occupational duties. The question of the satisfaction of the self is raised herein. The self is beyond the gross body and subtle mind. He is the potent active principle of the body and mind. Without knowing the need of the dormant soul, one cannot be happy simply with emolument of the body and mind. The body and the mind are but superfluous outer coverings of the spirit soul. The spirit soul’s needs must be fulfilled. Simply by cleansing the cage of the bird, one does not satisfy the bird. One must actually know the needs of the bird himself.

The need of the spirit soul is that he wants to get out of the limited sphere of material bondage and fulfill his desire for complete freedom. He wants to get out of the covered walls of the greater universe. He wants to see the free light and the spirit. That complete freedom is achieved when he meets the complete spirit, the Personality of Godhead. There is a dormant affection for God within everyone; spiritual existence is manifested through the gross body and mind in the form of perverted affection for gross and subtle matter. Therefore we have to engage ourselves in occupational engagements that will evoke our divine consciousness. This is possible only by hearing and chanting the divine activities of the Supreme Lord, and any occupational activity which does not help one to achieve attachment for hearing and chanting the transcendental message of Godhead is said herein to be simply a waste of time. This is because other occupational duties (whatever ism they may belong to) cannot give liberation to the soul. Even the activities of the salvationists are considered to be useless because of their failure to pick up the fountainhead of all liberties. The gross materialist can practically see that his material gain is limited only to time and space, either in this world or in the other. Even if he goes up to the Svargaloka, he will find no permanent abode for his hankering soul. The hankering soul must be satisfied by the perfect scientific process of perfect devotional service.


All occupational engagements are certainly meant for ultimate liberation. They should never be performed for material gain. Furthermore, according to sages, one who is engaged in the ultimate occupational service should never use material gain to cultivate sense gratification.


We have already discussed that pure devotional service to the Lord is automatically followed by perfect knowledge and detachment from material existence. But there are others who consider that all kinds of different occupational engagements, including those of religion, are meant for material gain. The general tendency of any ordinary man in any part of the world is to gain some material profit in exchange for religious or any other occupational service.

Even in the Vedic literatures, for all sorts of religious performances an allurement of material gain is offered, and most people are attracted by such allurements or blessings of religiosity. Why are such so-called men of religion allured by material gain? Because material gain can enable one to fulfill desires, which in turn satisfy sense gratification. This cycle of occupational engagements includes so-called religiosity followed by material gain and material gain followed by fulfillment of desires. Sense gratification is the general way for all sorts of fully occupied men. But in the statement of Suta Goswami, as per the verdict of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, this is nullified by the present shloka.

One should not engage himself in any sort of occupational service for material gain only. Nor should material gain be utilized for sense gratification. How material gain should be utilized is described as follows.


Life’s desires should never be directed toward sense gratification. One should desire only a healthy life, or self-preservation, since a human being is meant for inquiry about the Absolute Truth. Nothing else should be the goal of one’s works.


The completely bewildered material civilization is wrongly directed towards the fulfillment of desires in sense gratification. In such civilization, in all spheres of life, the ultimate end is sense gratification. In politics, social service, altruism, philanthropy and ultimately in religion or even in salvation, the very same tint of sense gratification is ever-increasingly predominant. In the political field the leaders of men fight with one another to fulfill their personal sense gratification. The voters adore the so-called leaders only when they promise sense gratification. As soon as the voters are dissatisfied in their own sense satisfaction, they dethrone the leaders, The leaders must always disappoint the voters by not satisfying their senses.

The same is applicable in all other fields; no one is serious about the problems of life. Even those who are on the path of salvation desire to become one with the Absolute Truth and desire to commit spiritual suicide for sense gratification. But the Bhagavatam says that one should not live for sense gratification. One should satisfy the senses only insomuch as required for self-preservation, and not for sense gratification. Because the body is made of senses, which also require a certain amount of satisfaction, there are regulative directions for satisfaction of such senses. But the senses are not meant for unrestricted enjoyment.

For example, marriage or the combination of a man with a woman is necessary for progeny, but it is not meant for sense enjoyment. In the absence of voluntary restraint, there is propaganda for family planning, but foolish men do not know that family planning is automatically executed as soon as there is search after the Absolute Truth. Seekers of the Absolute Truth are never allured by unnecessary engagements in sense gratification because the serious students seeking the Absolute Truth are always overwhelmed with the work of researching the Truth. In every sphere of life, therefore, the ultimate end must be seeking after the Absolute Truth, and that sort of engagement will make one happy because he will be less engaged in varieties of sense gratification. And what that Absolute Truth is is explained as follows.


Learned transcendentalists who know the Absolute Truth call this nondual substance Brahman, Paramatma or Bhagavan.


The Absolute Truth is both subject and object, and there is no qualitative difference there. Therefore, Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan are qualitatively one and the same. The same substance is realized as impersonal Brahman by the students of the Upanishads, as localized Paramatma by the Hiranyagarbhas or the yogis, and as Bhagavan by the devotees. In other words, Bhagavan, or the Personality of Godhead, is the last word of the Absolute Truth. Paramatma is the partial representation of the Personality of Godhead, and impersonal Brahman is the glowing effulgence of the Personality of Godhead, as the sun rays are to the sun-god.

Less intelligent students of either of the above schools sometimes argue in favor of their own respective realization, but those who are perfect seers of the Absolute Truth know well that the above three features of the one Absolute Truth are different perspective views seen from different angles of vision.

As it is explained in the first shloka of the First Chapter of the Bhagavatam, the Supreme Truth is self-sufficient, cognizant and free from the illusion of relativity. In the relative world the knower is different from the known, but in the Absolute Truth both the knower and the known are one and the same thing. In the relative world the knower is the living spirit or superior energy, whereas the known is inert matter or inferior energy. Therefore, there is a duality of inferior and superior energy, whereas in the absolute realm both the knower and the known are of the same superior energy. There are three kinds of energies of the supreme energetic.

There is no difference between the energy and energetic, but there is a difference of quality of energies. The absolute realm and the living entities are of the same superior energy, but the material world is inferior energy. The living being in contact with the inferior energy is illusioned, thinking he belongs to the inferior energy. Therefore there is the sense of relativity in the material world. In the Absolute there is no such sense of difference between the knower and the known, and therefore everything there is absolute.


The seriously inquisitive student or sage, well equipped with knowledge and detachment, realizes that Absolute Truth by rendering devotional service in terms of what he has heard from the Vedanta-shruti.


The Absolute Truth is realized in full by the process of devotional service to the Lord, Vasudeva, or the Personality of Godhead, who is the full-fledged Absolute Truth. Brahman is His transcendental bodily effulgence, and Paramatma is His partial representation. As such, Brahman or Paramatma realization of the Absolute Truth is but a partial realization. There are four different types of human beings�the karmis, the jnanis, the yogis and the devotees. The karmis are materialistic, whereas the other three are transcendental.

The first-class transcendentalists are the devotees who have realized the Supreme Person. The second-class transcendentalists are those who have partially realized the plenary portion of the absolute person. And the third-class transcendentalists are those who have barely realized the spiritual focus of the absolute person. As stated in the Bhagavad-gita and other Vedic literatures, the Supreme Person is realized by devotional service, which is backed by full knowledge and detachment from material association. We have already discussed the point that devotional service is followed by knowledge and detachment from material association.

As Brahman and Paramatma realization are imperfect realizations of the Absolute Truth, so the means of realizing Brahman and Paramatma, i.e., the paths of jnana and yoga, are also imperfect means of realizing the Absolute Truth. Devotional service, which is based on the foreground of full knowledge combined with detachment from material association and which is fixed by the aural reception of the Vedanta-shruti, is the only perfect method by which the seriously inquisitive student can realize the Absolute Truth. Devotional service is not, therefore, meant for the less intelligent class of transcendentalist. There are three classes of devotees, namely first, second, and third class. The third-class devotees, or the neophytes, who have no knowledge and are not detached from material association, but who are simply attracted by the preliminary process of worshiping the Deity in the temple, are called material devotees. Material devotees are more attached to material benefit than transcendental profit. Therefore, one has to make definite progress from the position of material devotional service to the second-class devotional position. In the second-class position, the devotee can see four principles in the devotional line, namely the Personality of Godhead, His devotees, the ignorant and the envious. One has to raise himself at least to the stage of a second-class devotee and thus become eligible to know the Absolute Truth.

A third-class devotee, therefore, has to receive the instructions of devotional service from the authoritative sources of Bhagavata. The number one Bhagavata is the established personality of devotee, and the other Bhagavatam is the message of Godhead. The third-class devotee therefore has to go to the personality of devotee in order to learn the instructions of devotional service. Such a personality of devotee is not a professional man who earns his livelihood by the business of Bhagavatam. Such a devotee must be a representative of Shukadeva Goswami, like Suta Goswami, and must preach the cult of devotional service for the all-around benefit of all people. A neophyte devotee has very little taste for hearing from the authorities. Such a neophyte devotee makes a show of hearing from the professional man to satisfy his senses. This sort of hearing and chanting has spoiled the whole thing, so one should be very careful about the faulty process.

The holy messages of Godhead, as inculcated in the Bhagavad-gita or in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, are undoubtedly transcendental subjects, but even though they are so, such transcendental matters are not to be received from the professional man, who spoils them as the serpent spoils milk simply by the touch of his tongue.

A sincere devotee must, therefore, be prepared to hear the Vedic literature like the Upanishads, Vedanta and other literatures left by the previous authorities or Goswamis, for the benefit of his progress. Without hearing such literatures, one cannot make actual progress. And without hearing and following the instructions, the show of devotional service becomes worthless and therefore a sort of disturbance in the path of devotional service. Unless, therefore, devotional service is established on the principles of shruti, smriti, purana or pancharatra authorities, the make-show of devotional service should at once be rejected. An unauthorized devotee should never be recognized as a pure devotee. By assimilation of such messages from the Vedic literatures, one can see the all-pervading localized aspect of the Personality of Godhead within his own self constantly. This is called samadhi.


O best among the twice-born, it is therefore concluded that the highest perfection one can achieve by discharging the duties prescribed for one’s own occupation according to caste divisions and orders of life is to please the Personality of Godhead.


Human society all over the world is divided into four castes and four orders of life. The four castes are the intelligent caste, the martial caste, the productive caste and the laborer caste. These castes are classified in terms of one’s work and qualification and not by birth. Then again there are four orders of life, namely the student life, the householder’s life, the retired and the devotional life. In the best interest of human society there must be such divisions of life, otherwise no social institution can grow in a healthy state.

And in each and every one of the abovementioned divisions of life, the aim must be to please the supreme authority of the Personality of Godhead. This institutional function of human society is known as the system of varnashrama-dharma, which is quite natural for the civilized life. The varnashrama institution is constructed to enable one to realize the Absolute Truth. It is not for artificial domination of one division over another. When the aim of life, i.e., realization of the Absolute Truth, is missed by too much attachment for indriya-priti, or sense gratification, as already discussed hereinbefore, the institution of the varnashrama is utilized by selfish men to pose an artificial predominance over the weaker section. In the Kali-yuga, or in the age of quarrel, this artificial predominance is already current, but the saner section of the people know it well that the divisions of castes and orders of life are meant for smooth social intercourse and high-thinking self-realization and not for any other purpose.

Herein the statement of Bhagavatam is that the highest aim of life or the highest perfection of the institution of the varnashrama-dharma is to cooperate jointly for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord. This is also confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita (4.13).


Therefore, with one-pointed attention, one should constantly hear about, glorify, remember and worship the Personality of Godhead, who is the protector of the devotees.


If realization of the Absolute Truth is the ultimate aim of life, it must be carried out by all means. In any one of the above-mentioned castes and orders of life, the four processes, namely glorifying, hearing, remembering and worshiping, are general occupations. Without these principles of life, no one can exist. Activities of the living being involve engagements in these four different principles of life. Especially in modern society, all activities are more or less dependent on hearing and glorifying.

Any man from any social status becomes a well-known man in human society within a very short time if he is simply glorified truly or falsely in the daily newspapers. Sometimes political leaders of a particular party are also advertised by newspaper propaganda, and by such a method of glorification an insignificant man becomes an important man�within no time. But such propaganda by false glorification of an unqualified person cannot bring about any good, either for the particular man or for the society. There may be some temporary reactions to such propaganda, but there are no permanent effects. Therefore such activities are a waste of time.

The actual object of glorification is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who has created everything manifested before us. We have broadly discussed this fact from the beginning of the “janmady asya” (Bhag. 1.1.1] shloka of this Bhagavatam. The tendency to glorify others or hear others must be turned to the real object of glorification-the Supreme Being. And that will bring happiness.


With sword in hand, intelligent men cut through the binding knots of reactionary work [karma] by remembering the Personality of Godhead. Therefore, who will not pay attention to His message?


The contact of the spiritual spark with material elements creates a knot which must be cut if one wants to be liberated from the actions and reactions of fruitive work. Liberation means freedom from the cycle of reactionary work. This liberation automatically follows for one who constantly remembers the transcendental pastimes of the Personality of Godhead. This is because all the activities of the Supreme Lord (His lila) are transcendental to the modes of the material energy. They are all-attractive spiritual activities, and therefore constant association with the spiritual activities of the Supreme Lord gradually spiritualizes the conditioned soul and ultimately severs the knot of material bondage.

Liberation from material bondage is, therefore, a by-product of devotional service. Attainment of spiritual knowledge is not sufficient to insure liberation. Such knowledge must be overcoated with devotional service so that ultimately the devotional service alone predominates. Then liberation is made possible. Even the reactionary work of the fruitive workers can lead one to liberation when it is overcoated with devotional service. Karma overcoated with devotional service is called karma-yoga. Similarly, empirical knowledge overcoated with devotional service is called jnana-yoga. But pure bhakti-yoga is independent of such karma and jnana because it alone can not only endow one with liberation from conditional life but also award one the transcendental loving service of the Lord.

Therefore, any sensible man who is above the average man with a poor fund of knowledge must constantly remember the Personality of Godhead by hearing about Him, by glorifying Him, by remembering Him and by worshiping Him always, without cessation. That is the perfect way of devotional service. The Goswamis of Vrindavana, who were authorized by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to preach the bhakti cult, rigidly followed this rule and made immense literatures of transcendental science for our benefit. They have chalked out ways for all classes of men in terms of the different castes and orders of life in pursuance of the teachings of Srimad-Bhagavatam and similar other authoritative scriptures.


O twice-born sages, by serving those devotees who are completely freed from all vice, great service is done. By such service, one gains affinity for hearing the messages of Vasudeva.


The conditioned life of a living being is caused by his revolting against the Lord. There are men called deva, or godly living beings, and there are men called asuras, or demons, who are against the authority of the Supreme Lord. In the Bhagavad-gita (Sixteenth Chapter) a vivid description of the asuras is given in which it is said that the asuras are put into lower and lower states of ignorance life after life and so sink to the lower animal forms and have no information of the Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead. These asuras are gradually rectified to God consciousness by the mercy of the Lord’s liberated servitors in different countries according to the supreme will. Such devotees of God are very confidential associates of the Lord, and when they come to save human society from the dangers of godlessness, they are known as the powerful incarnations of the Lord, as sons of the Lord, as servants of the Lord or as associates of the Lord. But none of them falsely claim to be God themselves. This is a blasphemy declared by the asuras, and the demoniac followers of such asuras also accept pretenders as God or His incarnation. In the revealed scriptures there is definite information of the incarnation of God. No one should be accepted as God or an incarnation of God unless he is confirmed by the revealed scriptures.

The servants of God are to be respected as God by the devotees who actually want to go back to Godhead. Such servants of God are called mahatmas, or tirthas, and they preach according to particular time and place. The servants of God urge people to become devotees of the Lord. They never tolerate being called God. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was God Himself according to the indication of the revealed scriptures, but He played the part of a devotee. People who knew Him to be God addressed Him as God, but He used to block His ears with His hands and chant the name of Lord Vishnu. He strongly protested against being called God, although undoubtedly He was God Himself. The Lord behaves so to warn us against unscrupulous men who take pleasure in being addressed as God.

The servants of God come to propagate God consciousness, and intelligent people should cooperate with them in every respect. By serving the servant of God, one can please God more than by directly serving the Lord. The Lord is more pleased when He sees that His servants are properly respected because such servants risk everything for the service of the Lord and so are very dear to the Lord. The Lord declares in the Bhagavad-gita (18.69) that no one is dearer to Him than one who risks everything to preach His glory. By serving the servants of the Lord, one gradually gets the quality of such servants, and thus one becomes qualified to hear the glories of God. The eagerness to hear about God is the first qualification of a devotee eligible for entering the kingdom of God.


Sri Krishna, the Personality of Godhead, who is the Paramatma [Supersoul] in everyone’s heart and the benefactor of the truthful devotee, cleanses desire for material enjoyment from the heart of the devotee who has developed the urge to hear His messages, which are in themselves virtuous when properly heard and chanted.


Messages of the Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna are nondifferent from Him. Whenever, therefore, offenseless hearing and glorification of God are undertaken, it is to be understood that Lord Krishna is present there in the form of transcendental sound, which is as powerful as the Lord personally. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, in His Sikshashtaka, declares clearly that the holy name of the Lord has all the potencies of the Lord and that He has endowed His innumerable names with the same potency. There is no rigid fixture of time, and anyone can chant the holy name with attention and reverence at his convenience. The Lord is so kind to us that He can be present before us personally in the form of transcendental sound, but unfortunately we have no taste for hearing and glorifying the Lord’s name and activities. We have already discussed developing a taste for hearing and chanting the holy sound. It is done through the medium of service to the pure devotee of the Lord.

The Lord is reciprocally respondent to His devotees. When He sees that a devotee is completely sincere in getting admittance to the transcendental service of the Lord and has thus become eager to hear about Him, the Lord acts from within the devotee in such a way that the devotee may easily go back to Him. The Lord is more anxious to take us back into His kingdom than we can desire. Most of us do not desire at all to go back to Godhead. Only a very few men want to go back to Godhead. But anyone who desires to go back to Godhead, Sri Krishna helps in all respects.

One cannot enter into the kingdom of God unless one is perfectly cleared of all sins. The material sins are products of our desires to lord it over material nature. It is very difficult to get rid of such desires. Women and wealth are very difficult problems for the devotee making progress on the path back to Godhead. Many stalwarts in the devotional line fell victim to these allurements and thus retreated from the path of liberation. But when one is helped by the Lord Himself, the whole process becomes as easy as anything by the divine grace of the Lord.

To become restless in the contact of women and wealth is not an astonishment, because every living being is associated with such things from remote time, practically immemorial, and it takes time to recover from this foreign nature. But if one is engaged in hearing the glories of the Lord, gradually he realizes his real position. By the grace of God such a devotee gets sufficient strength to defend himself from the state of disturbances, and gradually all disturbing elements are eliminated from his mind.


By regular attendance in classes on the Bhagavatam and by rendering of service to the pure devotee, all that is troublesome to the heart is almost completely destroyed, and loving service unto the Personality of Godhead, who is praised with transcendental songs, is established as an irrevocable fact.


Here is the remedy for eliminating all inauspicious things within the heart which are considered to be obstacles in the path of self-realization. The remedy is the association of the Bhagavatas. There are two types of Bhagavatas, namely the book Bhagavata and the devotee Bhagavata. Both the Bhagavatas are competent remedies, and both of them or either of them can be good enough to eliminate the obstacles. A devotee Bhagavata is as good as the book Bhagavata because the devotee Bhagavata leads his life in terms of the book Bhagavata and the book Bhagavata is full of information about the Personality of Godhead and His pure devotees, who are also Bhagavatas. Bhagavata book and person are identical.

The devotee Bhagavata is a direct representative of Bhagavan, the Personality of Godhead. So by pleasing the devotee Bhagavata one can receive the benefit of the book Bhagavata. Human reason fails to understand how by serving the devotee Bhagavata or the book Bhagavata one gets gradual promotion on the path of devotion. But actually these are facts explained by Srila Naradadeva, who happened to be a maidservant’s son in his previous life. The maidservant was engaged in the menial service of the sages, and thus he also came into contact with them. And simply by associating with them and accepting the remnants of foodstuff left by the sages, the son of the maidservant got the chance to become the great devotee and personality Srila Naradadeva. These are the miraculous effects of the association of Bhagavatas. And to understand these effects practically, it should be noted that by such sincere association of the Bhagavatas one is sure to receive transcendental knowledge very easily, with the result that he becomes fixed in the devotional service of the Lord. The more progress is made in devotional service under the guidance of the Bhagavatas, the more one becomes fixed in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. The messages of the book Bhagavata, therefore, have to be received from the devotee Bhagavata, and the combination of these two Bhagavatas will help the neophyte devotee to make progress on and on.


As soon as irrevocable loving service is established in the heart, the effects of nature’s modes of passion and ignorance, such as lust, desire and hankering, disappear from the heart. Then the devotee is established in goodness, and he becomes completely happy.


A living being in his normal constitutional position is fully satisfied in spiritual bliss. This state of existence is called brahma-bhuta (Bhag. 4.30.20) or atmanandi, or the state of self-satisfaction. This self-satisfaction is not like the satisfaction of the inactive fool. The inactive fool is in the state of foolish ignorance, whereas the self-satisfied atmanandi is transcendental to the material state of existence. This stage of perfection is attained as soon as one is fixed in irrevocable devotional service. Devotional service is not inactivity, but the unalloyed activity of the soul.

The soul’s activity becomes adulterated in contact with matter, and as such the diseased activities are expressed in the form of lust, desire, hankering, inactivity, foolishness and sleep. The effect of devotional service becomes manifest by complete elimination of these effects of passion and ignorance. The devotee is fixed at once in the mode of goodness, and he makes further progress to rise to the position of Vasudeva, or the state of unmixed sattva, or shuddha-sattva. Only in this shuddha-sattva state can one always see Krishna eye to eye by dint of pure affection for the Lord.

A devotee is always in the mode of unalloyed goodness; therefore he harms no one. But the nondevotee, however educated he may be, is always harmful. A devotee is neither foolish nor passionate. The harmful, foolish and passionate cannot be devotees of the Lord, however they may advertise themselves as devotees by outward dress. A devotee is always qualified with all the good qualities of God. Quantitatively such qualifications may be different, but qualitatively both the Lord and His devotee are one and the same.


Thus established in the mode of unalloyed goodness, the man whose mind has been enlivened by contact with devotional service to the Lord gains positive scientific knowledge of the Personality of Godhead in the stage of liberation from all material association.


In the Bhagavad-gita (7.3) it is said that out of many thousands of ordinary men, one fortunate man endeavors for perfection in life. Mostly men are conducted by the modes of passion and ignorance, and thus they are engaged always in lust, desire, hankerings, ignorance and sleep. Out of many such manlike animals, there is actually a man who knows the responsibility of human life and thus tries to make life perfect by following the prescribed duties. And out of many thousands of such persons who have thus attained success in human life, one may know scientifically about the Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna. In the same Bhagavad-gita (18.55) it is also said that scientific knowledge of Sri Krishna is understood only by the process of devotional service (bhakti-yoga).

The very same thing is confirmed herein in the above words. No ordinary man, or even one who has attained success in human life, can know scientifically or perfectly the Personality of Godhead. Perfection of human life is attained when one can understand that he is not the product of matter but is in fact spirit. And as soon as one understands that he has nothing to do with matter, he at once ceases his material hankerings and becomes enlivened as a spiritual being.

This attainment of success is possible when one is above the modes of passion and ignorance, or, in other words, when one is actually a brahmana by qualification. A brahmana is the symbol of sattva-guna, or the mode of goodness. And others, who are not in the mode of goodness, are either kshatriyas, vaishyas, shudras or less than the shudras. The brahminical stage is the highest stage of human life because of its good qualities. So one cannot be a devotee unless one at least qualifies as a brahmana. The devotee is already a brahmana by action. But that is not the end of it. As referred to above, such a brahmana has to become a Vaishnava in fact to be actually in the transcendental stage. A pure Vaishnava is a liberated soul and is transcendental even to the position of a brahmana.

In the material stage even a brahmana is also a conditioned soul because although in the brahminical stage the conception of Brahman or transcendence is realized, scientific knowledge of the Supreme Lord is lacking. One has to surpass the brahminical stage and reach the vasudeva stage to understand the Personality of Godhead Krishna. The science of the Personality of Godhead is the subject matter for study by the postgraduate students in the spiritual line. Foolish men, or men with a poor fund of knowledge, do not understand the Supreme Lord, and they interpret Krishna according to their respective whims. The fact is, however, that one cannot understand the science of the Personality of Godhead unless one is freed from the contamination of the material modes, even up to the stage of a brahmana. When a qualified brahmana factually becomes a Vaishnava, in the enlivened state of liberation he can know what is actually the Personality of Godhead.


Thus the knot in the heart is pierced, and all misgivings are cut to pieces. The chain of fruitive actions is terminated when one sees the self as master.


Attaining scientific knowledge of the Personality of Godhead means seeing one’s own self simultaneously. As far as the identity of the living being as spirit self is concerned, there are a number of speculations and misgivings. The materialist does not believe in the existence of the spirit self, and empiric philosophers believe in the impersonal feature of the whole spirit without individuality of the living beings. But the transcendentalists affirm that the soul and the Supersoul are two different identities, qualitatively one but quantitatively different. There are many other theories, but all these different speculations are at once cleared off as soon as Sri Krishna is realized in truth by the process of bhakti-yoga. Sri Krishna is like the sun, and the materialistic speculations about the Absolute Truth are like the darkest midnight. As soon as the Krishna sun is arisen within one’s heart, the darkness of materialistic speculations about the Absolute Truth and the living beings is at once cleared off. In the presence of the sun, the darkness cannot stand, and the relative truths that were hidden within the dense darkness of ignorance become clearly manifested by the mercy of Krishna, who is residing in everyone’s heart as the Supersoul.

In the Bhagavad-gita (10.11) the Lord says that in order to show special favor to His pure devotees, He personally eradicates the dense darkness of all misgivings by switching on the light of pure knowledge within the heart of a devotee. Therefore, because of the Personality of Godhead’s taking charge of illuminating the heart of His devotee, certainly a devotee, engaged in His service in transcendental love, cannot remain in darkness. He comes to know everything of the absolute and the relative truths. The devotee cannot remain in darkness, and because a devotee is enlightened by the Personality of Godhead, his knowledge is certainly perfect.

This is not the case for those who speculate on the Absolute Truth by dint of their own limited power of approach. Perfect knowledge is called parampara or deductive knowledge coming down from the authority to the submissive aural receiver who is bona fide by service and surrender. One cannot challenge the authority of the Supreme and know Him also at the same time. He reserves the right of not being exposed to such a challenging spirit of an insignificant spark of the whole, a spark subjected to the control of illusory energy. The devotees are submissive, and therefore the transcendental knowledge descends from the Personality of Godhead to Brahma and from Brahma to his sons and disciples in succession. This process is helped by the Supersoul within such devotees. That is the perfect way of learning transcendental knowledge.

This enlightenment perfectly enables the devotee to distinguish spirit from matter because the knot of spirit and matter is untied by the Lord. This knot is called ahankara, and it falsely obliges a living being to become identified with matter. As soon as this knot is loosened, therefore, all the clouds of doubt are at once cleared off. One sees his master and fully engages himself in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, making a full termination of the chain of fruitive action. In material existence, a living being creates his own chain of fruitive work and enjoys the good and bad effects of those actions life after life. But as soon as he engages himself in the loving service of the Lord, he at once becomes free from the chain of karma. His actions no longer create any reaction.


Certainly, therefore, since time immemorial, all transcendentalists have been rendering devotional service to Lord Krishna, the Personality of Godhead, with great delight, because such devotional service is enlivening to the self.


The speciality of devotional service unto the Personality of Godhead Lord Sri Krishna is specifically mentioned herein. Lord Sri Krishna is the svayam-rupa Personality of Godhead, and all other forms of Godhead, beginning from Sri Baladeva, Sankarshana, Vasudeva, Aniruddha, Pradyumna and Narayana and extending to the purusha-avataras, guna-avataras, lila-avataras, yuga-avataras and many other thousands of manifestations of the Personality of Godhead, are Lord Sri Krishna’s plenary portions and integrated parts. The living entities are separated parts and parcels of the Personality of Godhead. Therefore Lord Sri Krishna is the original form of Godhead, and He is the last word in the Transcendence. Thus He is more attractive to the higher transcendentalists who participate in the eternal pastimes of the Lord. In forms of the Personality of Godhead other than Sri Krishna and Baladeva, there is no facility for intimate personal contact as in the transcendental pastimes of the Lord at Vrajabhumi. The transcendental pastimes of Lord Sri Krishna are not newly accepted, as argued by some less intelligent persons; His pastimes are eternal and are manifested in due course once in a day of Brahmaji, as the sun rises on the eastern horizon at the end of every twenty-four hours.

From the Introduction

The conception of God and the conception of Absolute Truth are not on the same level. The Srimad-Bhagavatam hits on the target of the Absolute Truth. The conception of God indicates the controller, whereas the conception of the Absolute Truth indicates the summum bonum or the ultimate source of all energies.

There is no difference of opinion about the personal feature of God as the controller because a controller cannot be impersonal. Of course modern government, especially democratic government, is impersonal to some extent, but ultimately the chief executive head is a person, and the impersonal feature of government is subordinate to the personal feature. So without a doubt whenever we refer to control over others we must admit the existence of a personal feature. Because there are different controllers for different managerial positions, there may be many small gods. According to the Bhagavad-gita any controller who has some specific extraordinary power is called a vibhutimat sattva, or controller empowered by the Lord. There are many vibhutimat sattvas, controllers or gods with various specific powers, but the Absolute Truth is one without a second. This Srimad-Bhagavatam designates the Absolute Truth or the summum bonum as the parah satyam.

The words janmady asya (Bhag. 1.1.1) suggest that the source of all production, maintenance or destruction is the same supreme conscious person. Even in our present experience we can know that nothing is generated from inert matter, but inert matter can be generated from the living entity. For instance, by contact with the living entity, the material body develops into a working machine. Men with a poor fund of knowledge mistake the bodily machinery to be the living being, but the fact is that the living being is the basis of the bodily machine. The bodily machine is useless as soon as the living spark is away from it. Similarly, the original source of all material energy is the Supreme Person.

In the modern age Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu preached the Srimad-Bhagavatam by practical demonstration. It is easier to penetrate into the topics of the Srimad-Bhagavatam through the medium of Sri Chaitanya’s causeless mercy. Therefore a short sketch of His life and precepts is inserted herein to help the reader understand the real merit of Srimad-Bhagavatam.

It is imperative that one learn the Srimad-Bhagavatam from the person Bhagavatam. The person Bhagavatam is one whose very life is Srimad-Bhagavatam in practice. Since Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the Absolute Personality of Godhead, He is both Bhagavan and Bhagavatam in person and in sound. Therefore His process of approaching the Srimad-Bhagavatam is practical for all people of the world. It was His wish that the Srimad-Bhagavatam be preached in every nook and corner of the world by those who happened to take their birth in India.

The Srimad-Bhagavatam is the science of Krishna, the Absolute Personality of Godhead of whom we have preliminary information from the text of the Bhagavad-gita. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has said that anyone, regardless of what he is, who is well versed in the science of Krishna (Srimad-Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita) can become an authorized preacher or preceptor in the science of Krishna.

There is a need for the science of Krishna in human society for the good of all suffering humanity of the world, and we simply request the leaders of all nations to pick up this science of Krishna for their own good, for the good of society and for the good of all the world’s people.

From the Preface

We must know the present need of human society. And what is that need? Human society is no longer bounded by geographical limits to particular countries or communities. Human society is broader than in the Middle Ages, and the world tendency is toward one state or one human society. The ideals of spiritual communism, according to Srimad-Bhagavatam, are based more or less on the oneness of the entire human society, nay, of the entire energy of living beings. The need is felt by great thinkers to make this a successful ideology. Srimad-Bhagavatam will fill this need in human society. It begins, therefore, with the aphorism of Vedanta philosophy janmady asya yatah (Bhag. 1.1.1) to establish the ideal of a common cause.

Human society, at the present moment, is not in the darkness of oblivion. It has made rapid progress in the field of material comforts, education and economic development throughout the entire world. But there is a pinprick somewhere in the social body at large, and therefore there are large-scale quarrels, even over less important issues. There is need of a clue as to how humanity can become one in peace, friendship and prosperity with a common cause. Srimad-Bhagavatam will fill this need, for it is a cultural presentation for the respiritualization of the entire human society.

Srimad-Bhagavatam should be introduced also in the schools and colleges, for it is recommended by the great student-devotee Prahlada Maharaja in order to change the demoniac face of society.

kaumara acaret prajno

dharman bhagavatan iha

durlabhah manushah janma

tad apy adhruvam arthadam

—Bhag. 7.6.1

Disparity in human society is due to lack of principles in a godless civilization. There is God, or the Almighty One, from whom everything emanates, by whom everything is maintained and in whom everything is merged to rest. Material science has tried to find the ultimate source of creation very insufficiently, but it is a fact that there is one ultimate source of everything that be. This ultimate source is explained rationally and authoritatively in the beautiful Bhagavatam, or Srimad-Bhagavatam.

Srimad-Bhagavatam is the transcendental science not only for knowing the ultimate source of everything but also for knowing our relation with Him and our duty toward perfection of the human society on the basis of this perfect knowledge. It is powerful reading matter in the Sanskrit language, and it is now rendered into English elaborately so that simply by a careful reading one will know God perfectly well, so much so that the reader will be sufficiently educated to defend himself from the onslaught of atheists. Over and above this, the reader will be able to convert others to accepting God as a concrete principle.

Srimad-Bhagavatam begins with the definition of the ultimate source. It is a bona fide commentary on the Vedanta-sutra by the same author, Srila Vyasadeva, and gradually it develops into nine cantos up to the highest state of God realization. The only qualification one needs to study this great book of transcendental knowledge is to proceed step by step cautiously and not jump forward haphazardly like with an ordinary book. It should be gone through chapter by chapter, one after another. The reading matter is so arranged with its original Sanskrit text, its English transliteration, synonyms, translation and purports so that one is sure to become a God-realized soul at the end of finishing the first nine cantos.

The Tenth Canto is distinct from the first nine cantos because it deals directly with the transcendental activities of the Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna. One will be unable to capture the effects of the Tenth Canto without going through the first nine cantos. The book is complete in twelve cantos, each independent, but it is good for all to read them in small installments one after another.

I must admit my frailties in presenting Srimad-Bhagavatam, but still I am hopeful of its good reception by the thinkers and leaders of society on the strength of the following statement of Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.5.11):

tad-vag-visargo janatagha-viplavo

yasmin prati-slokam abaddhavaty api

namany anantasya yaso ’nkitani yac

chrinvanti gayanti grinanti sadhavah

“On the other hand, that literature which is full with descriptions of the transcendental glories of the name, fame, form and pastimes of the unlimited Supreme Lord is a transcendental creation meant to bring about a revolution in the impious life of a misdirected civilization. Such transcendental literatures, even though irregularly composed, are heard, sung and accepted by purified men who are thoroughly honest.”

Om tat sat

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

Dated at Delhi

December 15, 1962

Srimad-Bhagavatam, an epic philosophical and literary classic, holds a prominent position in India’s voluminous written wisdom. The timeless wisdom of India is expressed in the Vedas, ancient Sanskrit texts that touches upon all fields of human knowledge. Originally preserved through oral tradition, the Vedas were first put into writing by Srila Vyasadeva, the “literary incarnation of God.” After compiling the Vedas, Srila Vyasadeva was inspired by his spiritual master to present their profound essence in the form of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Known as “the ripened fruit of the tree of Vedic literature,” Srimad-Bhagavatam is the most complete and authoritative exposition of Vedic knowledge.

After writing the Bhagavatam, Vyasa taught it to his son, Shukadeva Goswami, who later spoke the Bhagavatam to Maharaja Parikshit in an assembly of sages on the bank of the sacred Ganges River. Although Maharaja Parikshit was a great rajarshi (saintly king) and the emperor of the world, when he received notice of his death seven days in advance, he renounced his entire kingdom and retired to the bank of the Ganges to seek spiritual enlightenment. The questions of King Parikshit and Shukadeva Goswami’s illuminating answers, concerning everything from the nature of the self to the origin of the universe, are the basis of Srimad-Bhagavatam.

This edition of Bhagavatam is the only complete English translation with an elaborate and scholarly commentary, and it is the first edition widely available to the English-reading public. This work is the product of the scholarly and devotional effort of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the world’s most distinguished teacher of Indian religious and philosophical thought. His Sanskrit scholarship and intimate familiarity with Vedic culture combine to reveal to the West a magnificent exposition of this important classic.

With its comprehensive system of providing the original Sanskrit text, Roman transliteration, precise word-for-word equivalents, a lucid English translation and a comprehensive commentary, it will appeal to scholars, students and laymen alike. The entire multivolume text, presented by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, promises to occupy a significant place in the intellectual, cultural and spiritual life of modern man for a long time to come.


“It has been my great pleasure recently to have read the Srimad-Bhagavatam in the superb edition authorized by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. I am sure this monumental work will go far to bring the sublime message of the Bhagavatam to numerous Westerners who otherwise would miss this opportunity.”

—Dr. Alex Wayman
Professor of Sanskrit, Columbia University

“The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust editions of famous religious classics of India with new translation and commentaries are an important addition to our expanding knowledge of spiritual India. The new edition of Srimad-Bhagavatam is particularly welcome.”

—Dr. John L. Mish
Chief, Oriental Division, New York Public Library

“The Srimad-Bhagavatam is widely acclaimed as the bible of Indian devotionalism par excellence. His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada has produced an exquisite edition of the Bhagavatam with English translation and commentary. Through his lucid commentary, the author reveals the real spirit of the text. The profound essence of bhakti, divine love, radiates from every page. The physical layout of these volumes and the many beautiful illustrations are pleasing to the eye as well as to the mind.”

—Dr. T.M.P. Mahadevan
Director, Center of Advanced Study of Philosophy, University of Madras, India

“Srimad-Bhagavatam is a valuable source material for several categories of readers. With its exhaustive plan of providing the original Sanskrit text, its Roman transliteration, English synonyms, English translation and elaborate commentary by a scholar and practitioner of philosophy, it cannot but be attractive to serious students and scholars of religion and philosophy. I recommend this series to anyone as an important and useful reference work.”

—Professor C. P. Agarwal
Chairman, Department of Humanities, University of Michigan

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