The all-sweet tonic cum medicine of Srimad Bhagavatam
Shyamananda dasa: The conditioned soul being in the diseased condition of material life is in dire need of medicine that can heal his long acquired malady of forgetfulness of Sri Krishna. To cure this root cause of all misery the Vedic literature provides the transcendental sound vibration sabda-brahma which when adhered to provide relief to living entity by gradually reviving his lost relationship with the Supreme Lord by faithful hearing and practical application. The karma-khanda section is like the sweet coating of the pill over the bitter medicine of the jnana-khanda section. Therefore the sugar coated bitter pill of the Vedic literature are therefore another form of cheating of the conditioned soul. As Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura sings jnana karma thaga dui… Neither are these literature pleasing to the liberated souls who are beyond the modes of material nature since their subject matter mostly deals with these very modes as stated by the Lord traigunya visaya veda… (Gita 2.45). Therefore the only real remedy in this hour of crisis is the all-sweet Srimad Bhagavatam. As on the a medicine bottle the contents are described, Srimad Bhagavatam contains it’s own description
nigama-kalpa-taror galitam phalam
pibata bhägavatam rasam älayam
muhur aho rasikä bhuvi bhävukäh
“O expert and thoughtful men, relish Srimad-Bhägavatam, the mature fruit of the desire tree of Vedic literatures. It emanated from the lips of Sri Sukadeva Gosvämi. Therefore this fruit has become even more tasteful, although its nectarean juice was already relishable for all, including liberated souls.”(Bhagavatam 1.1.3)
In the form of liquid nectar this Bhagavatam is bereft of any form of adulteration of the modes of material nature and is also in a form palatable to one and all. The all-sweet pulp without any bitter seed or skin of jnana or karma makes love of God instantly appear in the heart and thereby permanently cures the malady of material life. This nectar has to be drunk pibata repeatedly muhur and upto the point and beyond the time of annihilation alayam by those who have become connoisseurs of this very wonderful mellow of love of Krishna the rasika devotees endowed with transcendental emotions bhavuka.
But it is not that only the diseased materialists that need to hear Srimad Bhagavatam it is equally necessary for the liberated souls as it relieves them of the intense separation they feel from Krishna being non-different from Him. Therefore as Srila Prabhupada said Bhagavatam acts as the medicine for the “diseased” conditioned souls and the tonic for the “healthy” liberated souls. Just as the sweet sugar candy tastes bitter to the jaundice afflicted tongue but is the medicine for that very same disease, the Srimad Bhagavatam though unappealing to the illusioned jiva, is it’s only cure indeed and is moreover supremely attractive. To be able to relish the real taste of this elixir one has to drink it in the association of its great connoisseurs. Therefore Srila Rupa Goswami has instructed srimad bhagavata arthanam asvado rasikaih saha (B.R.S. 1.2.238)
As explained by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu speaking on the verse
atmaramas ca munayo
nirgrantha iti urukrame
kurvanty ahaitukim bhaktim
ittham bhuta guno hareh
“All different varieties of persons taking pleasure in the soul, especially those fixed in the path of self-realisation, though freed from all kinds of material bondage desire to render devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such are the wonderful qualities of the Lord that attract everyone, even the liberated souls.”
All one’s attempts in religiosity, sense-control, charity etc. are futile if one does not attain attraction to hearing this crest-jewel of all Vedic literature. Therefore Sriman Mahaprabhu has given greatest reverence to the process of hearing Srimad Bhagavatam by placing it among the five most important limbs of devotional service along with chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. How this is so, is only experienced and understood by one with implicit faith and surrender in the words of the spiritual master, the saintly persons and the scripture itself.
Shyamananda dasa brahmacari