Why not to hear from professional Bhagavatam reciters
By Gaurachandra Das
Such speakers charge money from the organizers and innocent devotees. They have spoiled the whole essence of Bhagavat Dharma by such cheap propaganda. When Sukadeva Goswami spoke this divine message to Pariksit Maharaj and assembled sages, no money was charged. When Suta Goswami repeated it to Saunak rishi and sages no money was charged. But the professional reciters have spoiled the whole show and charm by their lustful agendas and charging lakhs of rupees in name of Bhagavatam hearing. Such a proposal is a farce and no genuine satsanga can emanate from such kaitava-dharma(cheating religion).
A number of professional Bhagavatam reciters(being karma-kanda followers internally) indirecty proclaim that Krishna and other demigods as Brahma, Devi, Rudra are on equal standing and any of them can be heard and glorified. This is an offence and ignorant understanding as the pure followers of Vaishnav culture know and preach against. Srila Sanatana Goswami has taught in Hari Bhakti Vilasa :
Yas tu narayanam devam brahma rudradi daivataih
Samatvenaiva vikseta sa pasandi bhaved dhruvam
One who thinks the great demigods such as Brahma and Siva are equal to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana , is a pasandi. (HBV 1.17)
To hear Krishna-katha from such a pasandi is to fool one’s own self.
Thirdly such professiona reciters are mostly not in a parampara system or bonafide disciplic succession. As known there are four disciplic successions originating from Brahma, Rudra, Sri (Laksmi) and Kumaras. These professional reciters have generally memorized details from books after a sansrit shastri degree and they don’t follow any authentic disciplic line. According to the Padma Purāṇa, one of the eighteen main Purāṇas,the verse says:
sampradāyavihīnā ye mantrāste niṣphalā matāḥ| ataḥ kalau bhaviśyanti catvāraḥ sampradāyinaḥ|| Śrī-brahmā-rudra-sanakā vaiṣṇavā kṣitipāvanāḥ| catvāraste kalau bhāvya hyutkale puruṣottamāt|| rāmānujaṃ śrī svicakre madhvācaryaṃ caturmukhaḥ| śrīviṣṇusvāminaṃ rudro nimbādityaṃ catuḥsanāḥ||
Translation :All mantras which have not been given (to disciples) in an authorised Sampradāya are fruitless. Therefore, in Kali Yuga, there will be four bona-fide Sampradāyas. Their names are : inaugurated by Śrī Devī and known as the Śrī Sampradāya, Lord Brahmā and known as the Brahma Sampradaya,Lord Rudra and known as the Rudra Sampradaya; and the Four Kumāras and known as Sanakādi Sampradāya or Nimbarka Sampradaya. Śrī Devī(lakshmi) made Ramanujacharya the head of that lineage. So too Lord Brahmā appointed Madhvacharya, Lord Rudra appointed Viṣṇusvāmī and the four Kumaras chose Nimbarka (an epithet for Śrī Nimbārkācārya).
Fourthly, the professional Bhagavatam reciters have the tendency to jump to the pastimes of Radha and Krishna without having the qualification to discuss such esoteric pastimes. According to Srila Jiva Goswami, such pastimes can be discussed and heard only among those men who have perfectly entered the culture of sense control (dhira). If ordinary men who have not controlled the anarthas, if they delve into such discussions, they are lost in their senses . This is the practical position of professional reciters and one who hears Hari katha from such men also becomes slave of his senses. Genuine Krishna-bhakti is far away from such a pseudo arrangement.
Most importantly, Srila Prabhupada has taught that to hear Hari katha and Holy Name from Avaishnava (servant of maya) is liking drinking milk touched by the serpant. It is indeed detrimental to one’s spiritual health. Rather than gaining devotion one will loose devotion from such hearing. Srila Sanatana Goswami has mentioned the same thing in Hari Bhakti Vilasa :
Avaisnava –mukhodgirnam putam hari-kathamrtam
Sravanam naiva kartavyam sarpocchistam yatha payah.
“ One should not hear about Krishna from a non-Vaishnava. Milk touched by the lips of a serpant has poisionous effects; similarly, talks about Krishna given by a non-Vaishnava are aso poisonous.”
So, a Vaishnava devotee must carefully avoid hearing and becoming part of such a mockery in the name of Srimad Bhagavatam. Caitanya Mahaprabhu says – “ Asat sanga tyaga ei Vaishnav acara”, – To avoid non-Vaishnav association is the attitude of Vaishnav devotee of Sri Krishna.
6. Another significant thing is that Bhagavat knowledge cannot be finished in seven days. The principle is – Nityam Bhagavat sevaya (Bhagavatam 1.2.18), to do Bhagavat seva (two way through Grantha-book Bhavagat and the service of Devotee Bhagavat) – daily as taught by Srimad Bhagavatam itself. Of course, Hari katha can be done in any format but the foolish opinion of professional reciters that hearing seven days for three hours only is the culture of Bhagavat hearing and that Pariksit Maharaj heard in this way from Sukadeva Goswami is fully wrong and insane. First of all there are 18000 shlokas in Srimad Bhagavatam which cannot be finished in this way and as mentioned in Bhagavatam itself the sages heard this message for seven days continuousy, without eating and sleeping, for the authentic source of Sukadeva Goswami and Suta Goswami twenty-four hours daily. Can any professional reciter or hearer match this standard. That is impossible, that’s why Bhagavatam itself has proclaimed “Nityam Bhagavat sevaya” (serve the Bhagavat two-fold daily). Also Srila Prabhupada (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami) mentions each shloka of Srimad Bhagavatam can be explained for for as long as three months time. Even a lifetime is less to assimilate the complete knowledge of Srimad Bhagavatam. Amidst such circumstances the professional speaking of Bhagavatam for only seven days is a empty bottled show of formality and whim.
7. Finally such a program is organized by ignorant and materially attached men without perfect knowledge of Bhagavat Gita and Krishna bhakti , to serve often their lusty agendas and purposes. Nobody can become a proper devotee of Sri Krishna by such professional recitation and hearing. This must be be the standard as taught by previous Acaryas and it must be followed and preached as it is in society. Thus the work of “professional” Bhagavatam reciters must be condemned.
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