• Sri Gurvastakam

    Sri Gurvastakam

    I want to give an explanation of Sri Guru – what are the symptoms of a bona fide guru – and to show you examples that have been given in the epics [Vedic scriptures]. You can apply this to your own guru. Our Sri Guru is akhanda-guru-tattva, Sri Baladeva Prabhu or Sri Nityananda Prabhu, so all teachings should be applied to him and to others who are following this... Read More
  • 1
bhakti discourses
  • Our Master - His Life

    A most endearing hallmark of his preaching was the heart-stealing affection he showed to all. As an uttama-bhāgavata, he entered the deepest recesses of the heart to give the unmistakable reassurance that he is one's eternal well-wisher. The depth of his affection is a tangible reality for all who have experienced it, and this in itself bears subjective testimony to the fact that he was a true emissary of the Supreme Lord.

    Read More
  • Namah

    As long as Śrīla Gurudeva, the beloved of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, is physically manifest, it is wise to render intimate service to him, and thereby attain perfection. But if we are not able to attain perfection because we have failed to develop attachment to him, attachment wherein we consider him to be the lord of our heart; if we have failed to serve him by giving him our full heart in complete sincerity and selflessness, then we have certainly been deprived...

    Read More
  • The Most Compassionate

    Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is certainly more intelligent than each and every one of us, and He knows how to make the fallen souls of Kali-yuga best understand His high-level teachings. Indeed, His teachings are comprehensible by all. Still, our misfortune prevails. First, we do not accept His teachings. Second, to impress others with our prowess we mix something of our own with them...

    Read More

Rays of The Harmonist

  • Sri Caitanya’s Grace Leaves No Evil in its Wake - Part 3 of 3
  • Sri Caitanya’s Grace Leaves No Evil in its Wake Part 2 of 3
  • Lovers of God, not politicians, will save the world

tn srila bhakitsiddhantaby Śrīla Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda

The grace of Śrī Caitanyadeva causes no evil. In His grace, there is no indulgence in karma-kāṇḍa. His endeavour was to induce people to remain aloof from worldly and heavenly enjoyments...

Read More

tn srila bhakitsiddhantaby Śrīla Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda

In the Chāndogya Upaniṣad (Dahar section) there is a list of many desires and the special resolution one must make to attain each. As long as someone indulges in these desires, their demands will be fulfilled accordingly...

Read More

tn srivp kesavaby Śrīla Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja

Only the prema-dharma of Śrīman Mahāprabhu will bring peace, friendship and love to the whole world. No country as of yet has attained peace through political means...

Read More

Featured: Jaiva-dharma

JaivaDharma 200

This compelling narrative, based on spiritually developed personalities in cultured Bengali life a few hundred years ago, serves as the basis of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura's presentation of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava philosophy, from its basic tenets to its esoteric pinnacle. Woven into the story are penetrating philosophical questions that are commonly pondered and eternally relevant. The depth of the answers gives clarity and direction to the quest to establish ourselves in our jaiva-dharma, our soul's constitutional function.



śrī śrī guru gaurāṅga jayataḥ!

Rays of The Harmonist On-Line Edition

Year 10, Issue 6
Posted: 17 June 2017

Dedicated to
nitya-līlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda

Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja

Inspired by and under the guidance of
nitya-līlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda

Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja

Can Only Be Read by a True Bhāgavata

by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda



[All of the footnotes in this presentation originally appeared within the body of the text (as parenthetical editor’s notes). Some have been edited or adapted.]

In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.25.25) God has said: “By becoming close to true saints and listening, with a serving mood, to their accounts of My glories, which please the heart and the ear, one successively develops firm faith, then attachment and finally pure devotion to the path of liberation.” Special attention should be paid to the phrase “close to true saints.” Aside from this, it should be understood that pleasure for the heart and the ear does not refer to sense gratification for those apathetic towards serving God. Rather it refers to satisfaction of the transcendental senses of one who has a tendency for serving; it means busily endeavoring to offer service.

About sixty years ago (circa 1860 AD), there lived an Oriya paṇḍita, Gopinātha Miśra by name. He acquired a deep penetration into Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. There was a bhāgavata, or natural devotee of God, among those who heard Bhāgavatam from him. That bhāgavata, by turning away the current of wrong or mixed devotion, went on to become the source of the propagation of pure devotion [in this world].* It was he who laid the foundation of the true culture of the Bhāgavatam under the ‘Bhakti Maṇḍapam’ near the foot-print table of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu at the Temple of Śrī Jagannātha. It is under his following alone that true discourses on the Bhāgavatam and the pure chanting of the names of Hari have become possible in the present world. Hypocrites or insincere men cannot be his followers with evil intentions.

* The reference here is apparently to Ṭhākura Śrīla Bhaktivinoda.

The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam must be read in the company of true Vaiṣṇavas. Śrīla Svarūpa Gosvāmī Prabhupāda said, “Go and read the Bhāgavatam with a Vaiṣṇava.” The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam cannot be chanted through the mouth of a person who is not himself a bhāgavata, or true devotee of God. Such a person shall only thereby maintain an illusion in the mind of some others that Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is actually being chanted through his mouth. He is self-deceived and as such, he deceives others.

There are many who eat fish, who are wrongly attached to women according to the precepts of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, who do many things wrong in their household conduct and are attached to continuing to do those things; yet they introduce themselves as discoursers on Bhāgavatam. How can the Bhāgavatam, which is non-distinct from God Himself, dance upon their tongues? He who is of bad character, who is powerfully influenced by lust, and who hankers for fame and wealth, never actually reads the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, but rather, he simply gratifies his senses in a show of doing so. And this type of person recommends stopping any help from being given towards service to God that is being performed by those who always, authentically, read Bhāgavatam. He even recommends depriving the same of their railway fare*.

* Referring to railway fares meant for traveling in order to propagate God’s names and glories.

On the contrary, all should reverently serve the bhāgavatas (true devotees of God). The afore-mentioned pseudo-Bhāgavata readers often think, “Why should we not strangle and suppress those who censure our practice of satisfying our belly with Bhāgavata discourses, giving people initiations for money and keeping the deity forms standing*? And who are the true Bhāgavata readers, who serve God’s vigraha and convert people into true devotees?” When they find no proper reply to their derisive remarks made in support of their abominable practices, they say, “The true Bhāgavata readers, also, beg for money, which they rely on.”

* That is, the deities are there to earn money for them.

Rather, the truth is that every help is to be given to those who are genuine expositors of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and who serve the deity form of God. Everything is theirs, for they are not after enjoyment, they do not deceive themselves and others on the plea of offering service to God’s image, nor do they acquire the material fame of the phalgu-vairāgīs (shallow abnegators) who throw away the articles meant for serving God as no more than worldly.

If I am afraid to propagate the Absolute Truth because I think, if I were to do so without regard for a person’s tastes or for the current circumstances, I may fail to please people, then I shall be guilty of accepting non-Vedic principles while discarding the Vedic ones, and I shall become bereft of faith in God, an atheist and against the Vedas.

Adapted from The Gaudiya Volume 5, Number 6
by the Rays of The Harmonist team

Rays of The Harmonist On-line, Year 10, Issue 6, "Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam Can Only Be Read by a True Bhāgavata", is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License to ensure that it is always freely available. You may redistribute this article if you include this license and attribute it to Rays of The Harmonist. Please ask for permission before using the Rays of The Harmonist banner-logo.