TEXT 131
"yaha, bhagavata pada vaisnavera sthane
ekanta asraya kara caitanya-carane
yahajust go; bhagavata padaread Srimad-Bhagavatam; vaisnavera sthanefrom a self-realized Vaisnava; ekanta asraya karafully surrender; caitanya-caraneat the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
"If you want to understand Srimad-Bhagavatam," he said, "you must approach a self-realized Vaisnava and hear from him. You can do this when you have completely taken shelter of the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu."
Herein Svarupa Damodara Gosvami instructs the poet from Bengal to hear Srimad-Bhagavatam from a pure Vaisnava and learn from him. In India especially, there is now a class of professional Bhagavatam readers whose means of livelihood is to go from village to village, town to town, reading Bhagavatam and collecting daksina, or rewards, in the form of money or goods, like umbrellas, cloth and fruit. Thus there is now a system of Bhagavata business, with recitations called Bhagavata-saptaha that continue for one week, although this is not mentioned in Srimad-Bhagavatam. Nowhere does Srimad-Bhagavatam say that the Bhagavatam should be heard for one week from professionals. Rather, Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.17) says: srnvatam sva-kathah krsnah punya-sravana-kirtanah. One should regularly hear Srimad-Bhagavatam from a self-realized Vaisnava. By such hearing, one becomes pious. Hrdy antahstho hy abhadrani vidhunoti suhrt-satam. As one thus hears the Bhagavatam regularly and sincerely, his heart is purified of all material contamination.
nasta-prayesv abhadresu
nityam bhagavata-sevaya
bhagavaty uttama-sloke
bhaktir bhavati naisthiki
"As one regularly hears the Bhagavatam or renders service unto the pure devotee, all that is troublesome to the heart is practically destroyed, and loving service unto the glorious Lord, who is praised with transcendental songs, is established as an irrevocable fact." (Bhag. 1.2.18)
This is the proper process, but people are accustomed to being misled by professional Bhagavatam reciters. Therefore Svarupa Damodara Gosvami herein advises that one should not hear Srimad-Bhagavatam from professional reciters. Instead, one must hear and learn the Bhagavatam from a self-realized Vaisnava. Sometimes it is seen that when a Mayavadi sannyasi reads the Bhagavatam, flocks of men go to hear jugglery of words that cannot awaken their dormant love for Krsna. Sometimes people go to see professional dramas and offer food and money to the players, who are expert at collecting these offerings very nicely. The result is that the members of the audience remain in the same position of grham andha-kupam, family affection, and do not awaken their love for Krsna.
In the Bhagavatam (7.5.30), it is said, matir na krsne paratah svato va mitho 'bhipadyeta grha-vratanam: the grhavratas, those who are determined to continue following the materialistic way of life, will never awaken their dormant love of Krsna, fur they hear the Bhagavatam only to solidify their position in household life and to be happy in family affairs and sex. Condemning this process of hearing the Bhagavatam from professionals, Svarupa Damodara Gosvami says, yaha, bhagavata pada vaisnavera sthane: "To understand the Srimad-Bhagavatam, you must approach a self-realized Vaisnava." One should rigidly avoid hearing the Bhagavatam from a Mayavadi or other nondevotee who simply performs a grammatical jugglery of words to twist some meaning from the text, collect money from the innocent public, and thus keep people in darkness.
Svarupa Damodara Gosvami strictly prohibits the behavior of the materialistic so-called hearers of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Instead of awakening real love for Krsna, such hearers of the Bhagavatam become more and more attached to household affairs and sex life (yan maithunadi-grhamedhi-sukham hi tuccham). One should hear Srimad-Bhagavatam from a person who has no connection with material activities, or, in other words, from a paramahamsa Vaisnava, one who has achieved the highest stage of sannyasa. This, of course, is not possible unless one takes shelter of the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. The Srimad-Bhagavatam is understandable only for one who can follow in the footsteps of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

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