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kalim agatam ajnaya
ksetre `smin vaisnave vayam
asina dirgha-satrena
kathayam saksana hareh

„Knowing well that the age of Kali has already begun, we are assembled here in this holy place to hear at great length the transcendental message of Godhead and in this way perform sacrifice.“ SB, can'to 1, Chapter One, Text 21


This age of Kali is not at all suitable for self-realization as was Satya-yuga, the golden age, or Treta- or Dvapara-yugas, the silver and copper ages. For self-realization, the people in Satya-yuga, living a lifetime of a hundred thousand years, were able to perform prolonged meditation. And in Treta-yuga, when the duration of life was ten thousand years, self-realization was attained by performance of great sacrifice. And in the Dvapara-yuga, when the duration of life was one thousand years, self-realization was attained by worship of the Lord. But in the Kali-yuga, the maximum duration of life being one hundred years only and that combined with various difficulties, the recommended process of self-realization is that of hearing and chanting of the holy name, fame, and pastimes of the Lord. The sages of Naimisaranya began this process in a place meant specifically for the devotees of the Lord. They prepared themselves to hear the pastimes of the Lord over a period of one thousand years. By the example of these sages one should learn that regular hearing and recitation of the Bhagavatam is the only way for self-realization. Other attempts are simply a waste of time, for they do not give any tangible results. Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu preached this system of Bhagavata-dharma, and He recommended that all those who were born in India should take the responsibility of broadcasting the messages of Lord Sri Krishna, primarily the message of Bhagavad-gita. And when one is well established in the teachings of Bhagavad-gita, he can take up the study of Srimad-Bhagavatam for further enlightenment in self-realization.

Sacrifice is a key word in spiritual life. Sacrifice for a higher cause. Sacrificing means to undergo hardships for a wonderful purpose. What is the sankirtana-yajna ? The sacrifice of the congregational chanting of the holy name, so how we could consider any hardship to chant the holy names of the Lord ? Whats so hard about that ? Well if you try to, you will find out. You will find out that in Kali-yuga it is even difficult to live with your wife and children, even thats a hard job. In this age of Kali-yuga all the good qualities are gone and the people have a hard time to do anything nicely. But by the grace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the sankirtana-process we have learned so many things. We can do so many wonderful things. The spiritual world is full of transcendental varieties of services and the sankirtana-yajna is full of varieties of wonderful things you can do in the yajna. Yajna—make a beautiful temple, Yajna—to distribute prasadam, Yajna—to publish and to distribute transcendental literature. If you sit on a computer to edit a book, thats also yajna. To look at that computer screen, that is a sacrifice. Anything you do for pleasing the Supreme Lord, that is a yajna. But in this present age the yajnas of the past, they have become very difficult practices. Meditation, temple-worship, sacrifices, this is very hard to do. But to live in a Vaishnava-community and to help the goal of the spiritual master, this is also a yajna, but this is feasible, you can practice that in this present age. So therefore the sages of Naimisaranya said that they wanted to hear the Bhagavatam, they wanted to hear the substantial things which we should all know. And they were ready to hear, to find out what is the solution for every person in this world, and they heard the Srimad Bhagavatam from such a qualified person as Suta Goswami. And by listening to the Bhagavatam they became totally enlivened. Just like Parikshit Maharaja, he was so enlivened when he heard it from Shukadeva Goswami, and when we heard it from Srila Prabhupada, the Bhagavata-Purana (Srimad Bhagavatam), it was so enlivening, such a wonderful pleasant experience that now we can listen to the Bhagavatam, that we can hear about Bhagavan, Bhagavan, the holder of all the opulences. His opulence is that He loves everybody, His opulence is that everything in this existence comes from Him. Like Srila Sridhar Maharaja used to say, He is from Himself and for Himself, all the rights are reserved by Him, He is the enjoyer, He is the proprietor, all money is for Narayana, all beautiful women for Krishna and all the fame for Sri Guru. And you ? you make sure that everything in this world is going to be directed towards Krishna, that is the yajna, this is the real meaning of sankirtana-yajna. Sankirtana-yajna is not simply monotone recitation of mantras. Sankirtana-yajna is understanding the spirit of it, it is coming to the real spirit of wanting to please the senses of Sri Krishna. Srila Prabhupada always said that instead of pleasing your own senses, you do everything possible to please the senses of Krishna. In this material world there are two different paths, there is the pravriti-marg and the nivriti-marg. The pravriti-marg is the marriage path, you have wife, you have children, you have very nice dishes, you are working and you are doing all kinds of different arrangements that you are living comfortably, this is called pravriti-marg. And in pravriti-marg, if you give everything to the glorious Lord and you live in a sane way, you can also make spiritual progress, even though it is understood to be more difficult. And then there is the nivriti-marg, which is the path of brahmacarya and sannyas, in that path you do away with all the entanglement and you just say: „Ok, what is to be done, whats my job ? what is my Gurus plan for me ?, what I am supposed to do ? Where shall I sweat ?“ Some people sometimes think: „Oh, it is better the nivriti-marg, because in the pravriti-marg you have to work so hard to maintain wife and family“. If you marry, practically for the rest of your life you have to think about money every day. When you are in a total surrendered spirit of service to Sri Guru, sometimes you are pujari, sometimes you are cook, then you don't have to think anything about money. But if somebody is avoiding the pravriti-marg simply because he is lazy and he don't want to work, then he is in complete illusion. The nivriti-marg is meaning to give up more, to put more efforts for pleasing the Supreme Lord. Nivriti means that for the pleasure for the Supreme Lord you can work as if you have 10 children at least. Not that: „I am so lucky, I have no wife, I have no children, so I can be officially lazy and still get by and I will be considered a holy fellow“. No, thats not the life of nivriti-marg. Nivriti-marg means hard work for the pleasure of Sri Guru and Sri Krishna, to make everything possible that others can take shelter of the transcendental family of Sri Krishna. Therefore we are creating such nice environments, therefore we are creating such wonderful programs, temples, farms, prasadam, all this for only one reason, which is to help others, always giving help to others, that is nivriti-marg, that you are ready to give up your pleasure so others can be happy and spiritually advancing. Nivriti-marg is a great gift, it is a great encouragement. Those who are very, very spiritually inclined, they are always doing everything for the happiness of Krishna and therefore they are very advanced, because it takes many, many lifetimes of sacrifice, many, many lifetimes of efforts that a person can actually conceive that Krishna is the enjoyer, and not me.

So the sages of Naimisaranya, they accepted Krishna as the enjoyer, and we should do everything and anything that He will be pleased. And that was the beginning of the preaching of the Bhagavata-dharma, from thereon, all the rishis, all the sages did everything possible so that everybody in this world can hear this Bhagavat-dharma. And when our Maharishi, Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada went to the west, he said: „Oh my God, what I am going to do here so that these people will become self-realized ?“, and then he remembered that the system in this age is that they have to listen to the message of the Bhagavatam.

nasta-prayesv abhadresu
nityam bhagavata-sevaya
bhagavaty uttama-sloke
bhaktir bhavati naisthiki

„By regular attendance in classes on the Bhagavatam and by rendering of service to the pure devotees, 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.“ SB, can'to 1, Chapter Two, Text 18

We are so eager to listen to the Bhagavatam, we are so thankful to our spiritual masters that they have given us this message of the Bhagavatam, Prabhupada gave it in English and now the Bhagavatam is translated into Spanish, Portuguese, German, Swedish, into every language in this world. By the grace of Srila Prabhupada we got the mercy of being able to listen to this Srimad Bhagavatam. This is the amazing wonderful thing of Lord Caitanya. Lord Caitanya is very kind to all of us, and He has made sure that we will be supplied with all ingredients, so He inspired His devotees to come and to give this Bhagavatam to the whole world. And if you want to have anything to do with preaching, I don't care if you have marbled buildings or any type of other facilities, if you don't teach the Bhagavatam systematically with a total voluntary decision to modify your life according to the standards given by the Srimad Bhagavatam, then all this effort is useless, it will all go in vain. The Bhagavatam is the key to get any spiritual accomplishment. The Bhagavatam is the only hope for the people in this dark age.

krsne sva-dhamopagate
dharma-jnanadibhih saha
kalau nasta-drsam esa
puranarko `dhunoditah

„This Bhagavata Purana is as brilliant as the sun, and it has arisen just after the departure of Lord Krishna to His own abode, accompanied by religion, knowledge, etc. Persons who have lost their vision due to the dense darkness of ignorance in the age of Kali shall get light from this Purana.“ SB can'to 1, Chapter Three, Text 43

This is the fact of this transcendental process. Everybody who is so fortunate to listen to the Bhagavatam, he will certainly be able to see life from a different point of view, he will certainly be able to understand what was the message of the sages of Naimisaranya. The Srimad Bhagavatam is such a great transcendental literature that you can read it and read it and read it for all your life and you always discover again and again things about your necessities, about what you have to develop. Just like when you are talking about psychology, it is an ever fresh subject because it deals with our intricate conditions of mind, how we are entangled in our different desires, in our frustrations and in all that. Every day thats fresh, just like everyday we can talk about eating and about prime necessities of life, because they are necessities, they are part of our existence. So the Bhagavatam is part of our existence. Without the Bhagavatam you cannot understand Sri Krishna. The Bhagavat-Purana, or Vaishnava-vedanta darshan, the teachings of Lord Caitanya, the bhagavat-dharma philosophy, that is really the substance. Like we always see in our indian culture sanatan-dharma, the eternal religion. What is this eternal religion ? The glories of God is the eternal religion, the constitutional relationship with God, that is the eternal religion. Eternal religion is not something made by man invented for his temporary pleasures. No, the Bhagavatam is something completely pure, it is based on the sweet will of the Supreme. The Supreme Lord, He is the creator of nature, and nature is above everyone, because nature is supplying the ingredients for all of our activities, for all our existence. So if we worship nature, then we would be already quite close to God. But the secrets of God are explained and exposed in the Bhagavatam, not in nature. You cannot worship a tree, or a flower, or a river and in this way understand who is Bhagavan, this is not possible. You can be greatful to the earth, grateful to the sun, but still you cannot understand what is the underlying principle of every jiva in search for love. This is so high, when you read the Bhagavatam, when you hear the story of Radha and Krishna, then you can understand so many things, then you can understand what is your duty. So Srila Prabhupada is the deliverer of the Srimad Bhagavatam to the world, he undertook this great work to translate the Bhagavatam into English and thats not all, he gave the Bhaktivedanta purports, and the Bhaktivedanta purports are the most expert descriptions of how life should run under the present conditions of time, place and circumstances. What is the present time, place and circumstances ? Please consider, consider this, it is the most wonderful thing to understand. Time, place and circumstance of the Bhagavatam teaches us that we are always, nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam eko bahunam yo vidadhati kaman, that we are always the servant of the Supreme Lord, there will never be any circumstance in future were this relationship will change, we are always depending on the Supreme Lord, like we are always depending on nature, we are always depending on food, we are always depending on air, we are always depending on sunlight, so why don't recognize that we are depending on the mercy of the Supreme Creator of everything, whose only wish is to fill your heart with happiness. Will you please try to understand that, and then you will see that life is a great opportunity to do something to awaken the dormant relationship of love to the Supreme. Loving Krishna, loving God, giving God what he deserves, what does God deserve my friend ? Can you tell me ? You think He wants your ear ? or your arm ? or your throat ? or your leg ? or your house ? or your bank-balance ? No, God only wants your heart, this is a process from heart to heart, God wants your heart, so please be ready to give it to Him, if you are anxious to have a personal private relationship with the Supreme Lord then be ready to give Him your heart. don't make any deal with God and tell Him: „Is it not enough that I just give my hand, or an arm“, no, forget it. He will only pay attention for your heart. Unless you are ready to give your heart to God, He will not be very keen. He will send you to the world of illusion so you can find out if there is somebody else you want to give your heart to. don't forget, in the material world people also want your heart, if you want to get married then you have to tell somebody: „I love you more than anyone, I am yours, I will give my heart to you“, Isnt it like this ? If you are going to tell any girl: „You look quite nice, I like to be with you once every month, that would be nice, we could have a nice time“, then immediately she will ask you: „What about the other 29 days ?“ then you say: „Oh, the other 29 days I have so many other good friends, you know I can't be all the time with you“, then immediately she will say: „Get away you shameless person, if you want me then you have to give yourself to me totally, otherwise I will not accept you, you are a nonsense for me“.

So even in the material world they are reclaiming your heart. Even the companies sometimes say to their workers: „Now you have to give your heart to this company“. In Japan, specifically, they have a whole ceremony about that. In the morning you do the company-puja. You really have to claim loyality and pledge loyality: „My entire life I will devote to Hyundai Company, and I will never leave, and I will never give any secrets to anybody else“, then they have the company retreat, the company retirement, the company pleasure-grounds. We in the spirit of Krishna-consciousness always want to go to Vrindavan, in the same way they want to go to the company-retreat and to the company-festivals. The day the company was founded they have some Janmastami-festival, where everybody gets drunk. When you want to get an artificial, perverted reflection of the divinity, in the material world you will find so much of that. You will find so much, you can find people worshipping images, you can find people worshipping filmstars, you go to the children-rooms and you find the children, maybe only 12 years old, with the big Michael Jackson poster, and they worship their star. One day I went to Bengal to a small village, and I went into a house, mud-house, and who was the hero ? Maradonna, the football-player from Argentina, he was the star in Bengal in some village, I said: „Oh my God“. Everybody wants to have a star, so we have a star, He is not only a five-star, He is the creator of all stars, He is the Supreme Lord Bhagavan, and He is beloved to all and His devotees are the most kind. And His Lordship is always accompanied by His beloved Srimati Radharani, who is so kind that She wants to drag everybody to the lotus feet of Her beloved Lord. So why not worship Krishna from your heart, some people will say: „How do I know that His name is Krishna ?“, what do you worry what His name is ? Think that you are worshipping Him. Like when you say Krishna, what do you mean, black ? One translation of the word Krishna is black. Somebody may say: „Pass me this krishna-bucket, and he may mean black-bucket“, is he Krishna-consciouss ? Well he is doing some nama-bhasa, at least. If you are saying Krishna and you mean God, then God will listen, or you think that God does not know how to understand your heart ? You think God is listening to your lips ? Therefore there is nothing to worry about, you worship Krishna, you worship the Supreme, you give your heart to Him, you do some sacrifice, you read the Bhagavatam, you make your sacrifice, you make your offering. If you from your heart do that for the Supreme, then the Supreme will accept it, because the Supreme, all-knowing, all-powerful, loving being, He is only looking into your heart, what is going on in your heart. Do you worship Him ? Do you want to serve Him ? You want to be His eternal servant ? Or you have some other program, or you have some program where He is not so important, that is the question in our approach to divinity. How important is divinity to us, really ? So when you call Krishna, Rama, Jehova, Allah, it depends whom are you really calling. Are you a ritualist, are you a dogmatist, are you a karmi, or a jnani who wants to get improvements by his thinking, or are you a yogi who wants to get improvements by his exercises, or are you a bhakta who just wants to offer your heart and soul to the lotus feet of Krishna and Guru, it all depends on you. It depends what you contain in your heart when you pray, when you cry, when you express your heartfelt concern, then God will see who you are. There is a saying: „A man puts his money where he puts his heart“, when the rich people hear that they get frightened: „Oh my God, I have to put my money where my heart is ? Oh God, this is very dangerous, I may be loosing all my money“, and they do. They get married to some stupid person, and the next thing you know is divorce, and the women kept 50% of his wealth.

So when you give your heart to Krishna, you will never going to be cheated, because Krishna is the only one who loves each and everyone of us. Otherwise in this world you don't know where you are going and you don't know what you are getting. So I appreciate very much that you gave me chance today, on Ekadasi, to say something about the Srimad Bhagavatam, because whoever speaks on Ekadasi about the Srimad Bhagavatam, he is a very lucky fellow, and whoever listens to it he is lucky as well, so we give each other this opportunity of thinking about the Bhagavatam and about thinking to give pleasure to the senses of Krishna and in this way our life will be quite fortunate.

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