bhattacarya pandita bisa trisa lana
bhagavata vicara karena sabhate vasiya
bhattacarya pandita—learned scholars known as bhattacaryas; bisa trisa—twenty or thirty; lana—taking with him; bhagavata vicara—discussion of Srimad-Bhagavatam; karena—does; sabhate vasiya—sitting in an assembly.
Sri Sanatana Gosvami used to discuss Srimad-Bhagavatam in an assembly of twenty or thirty learned brahmana scholars.
"There are two kinds of educational systems. One deals with transcendental knowledge [para vidya] and the other with material knowledge [apara vidya]. All the Vedas-Rg Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda, Atharva Veda and their corollaries known as siksa, kalpa, vyakarana, nirukta, chanda and jyotisa-belong to the inferior system of material knowledge [apara vidya]. By para vidya, one can understand the aksara, Brahman or the Absolute Truth." As far as Vedic literature is concerned, Vedanta-sutra is accepted as the para vidya. Srimad-Bhagavatam is an explanation of that para vidya. Those who aspire for liberation (mukti or moksa) and introduce themselves as vaidantika are also equal to those groups aspiring to improve religion (dharma), economic development (artha) and sense gratification (kama). Dharma, artha, kama and moksa are called catur-varga. They are all within the system of inferior material knowledge. Any literature giving information about the spiritual world, spiritual life, spiritual identity and the spirit soul is called para vidya. Srimad-Bhagavatam does not have anything to do with the materialistic way of life; it gives transcendental information to educate people in the superior system of para vidya. Sanatana Gosvami was engaged in discussing the bhagavata-vidya, which means he discussed transcendental superior knowledge. Those who are karmis, jnanis or yogis are not actually fit to discuss Srimad-Bhagavatam. Only Vaisnavas or pure devotees are fit to discuss that literature. As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam itself (12.13.18):
srimad-bhagavatam puranam amalam yad vaisnavanam priyam
yasmin paramahamsyam ekam amalam jnanam param giyate
yatra jnana-viraga-bhakti-sahitam naiskarmyam aviskrtam
tac chrnvan supathan vicarana-paro bhaktya vimucyen narah
Although Srimad-Bhagavatam is counted among the Puranas, it is called the spotless Purana. Because it does not discuss anything material, it is liked by transcendental Vaisnava devotees. The subject matter found in Srimad-Bhagavatam is meant for paramahamsas. As it is said: paramo-nirmatsaranam. A paramahamsa is one who does not live in the material world and who does not envy others. In Srimad-Bhagavatam, devotional service is discussed to arouse the living entity to the transcendental position of jnana (knowledge) and vairagya (renunciation). As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.12):
tac chraddadhanah munayo
pasyanty atmani catmanam
This is not sentiment. Knowledge and renunciation can be obtained through devotional service (bhaktya sruta-grhitaya), that is, by arousing one's dormant devotional consciousness, Krsna consciousness. When Krsna consciousness is aroused, it relieves one from fruitive activity, activity for economic improvement and material enjoyment. This relief is technically called naiskarma, and when one is relieved, he is no longer interested in working hard for sense gratification. Srimad-Bhagavatam is Srila Vyasadeva's last mature contribution, and one should read and hear it in an assembly of realized souls while engaging in devotional service. At such a time one can be liberated from all material bondage. This was the course taken by Sanatana Gosvami, who retired from government service to study Srimad-Bhagavatam with learned scholars.
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