TEXT 113
vrddha mata-pitara yai' karaha sevana
vaisnava-pasa bhagavata kara adhyayana
SYNONYMS
vrddha—old; mata-pitara—of the mother and father; yai'-going back; karaha sevana—engage in service; vaisnava-pasa—from a pure Vaisnava; bhagavataSrimad-Bhagavatam; kara adhyayana—study.
TRANSLATION
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said to Raghunatha Bhatta, "When you return home, serve your aged father and mother, who are devotees, and try to study Srimad-Bhagavatam from a pure Vaisnava who has realized God."
PURPORT
One should note how Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, advised Raghunatha Bhattacarya to learn Srimad-Bhagavatam. He advised him to understand Srimad-Bhagavatam not from professional men but from a real bhagavata, devotee. He also advised Raghunatha Bhatta to serve his mother and father because they were both His devotees. Anyone who wishes to advance in Krsna consciousness must try to serve the devotees of Krsna. As Narottama dasa Thakura says, chadiya vaisnava-seva nistara payeche keba: "Without serving a self-realized Vaisnava, no one has ever been released from the materialistic way of life." Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu would have never advised Raghunatha Bhatta to serve ordinary parents, but since his parents were Vaisnavas, the Lord advised him to serve them.
One might ask "Why shouldn't ordinary parents be served?" As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (5.5.18):
gurur na sa syat sva-jano na sa syat
pita na sa syaj janani na sa syat
daivam na tat syan na patis ca sa syan
na mocayed yah samupeta-mrtyum
"One who cannot deliver his dependent from the path of birth and death should never become a spiritual master, a relative, a father or mother, or a worshipable demigod, nor should such a person become a husband." Everyone naturally gets a father and mother at the time of birth, but the real father and mother are they who can release their offspring from the clutches of imminent death. This is possible only for parents advanced in Krsna consciousness. Therefore any parents who cannot enlighten their offspring in Krsna consciousness cannot be accepted as a real father and mother. The following verse from the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.2.200) confirms the uselessness of serving ordinary parents:
laukiki vaidiki vapi
ya kriya kriyate mune
hari-sevanukulaiva
sa karya bhaktim icchata
"One should perform only those activities-either worldly or prescribed by Vedic rules and regulations-which are favorable for the cultivation of Krsna consciousness."
Concerning the study of Srimad-Bhagavatam, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu clearly advises that one avoid hearing from a non-Vaisnava professional reciter. In this connection Sanatana Gosvami quotes a verse from the Padma Purana:
avaisnava-mukhodgirnam
putam hari-kathamrtam
sravanam naiva kartavyam
sarpocchistam yatha payah
"No one should hear or take lessons from a person who is not a Vaisnava. Even if he speaks about Krsna, such a lesson should not be accepted, for it is like milk touched by the lips of a serpent." Nowadays it is fashionable to observe Bhagavata-saptaha and hear Srimad-Bhagavatam from persons who are anything but advanced devotees or self-realized souls. There are even many Mayavadis who read Srimad-Bhagavatam to throngs of people. Many Mayavadis have recently begun reciting Srimad-Bhagavatam in Vrndavana, and because they can present the Bhagavatam with word jugglery, twisting the meaning by grammatical tricks, materialistic persons who go to Vrndavana as a matter of spiritual fashion like to hear them. All this is clearly forbidden by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. We should note carefully that since these Mayavadis cannot personally know the meaning of Srimad-Bhagavatam, they can never deliver others by reciting it. On the other hand, an advanced devotee of the Lord is free from material bondage. He personifies the Srimad-Bhagavatam in life and action. Therefore we advise that anyone who wants to learn the Srimad-Bhagavatam must approach such a realized soul.

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