ahaṁ vedmi śuko vetti
vyāso vetti na vetti vā
bhaktyā bhāgavataṁ grāhyaṁ
na buddhyā na ca ṭīkayā
aham—I (Lord Śiva); vedmi—know; śukaḥ—Śukadeva Gosvāmī; vetti—knows; vyāsaḥ—Vyāsadeva; vetti—knows; na vetti vā—or may not know; bhaktyā—by devotional service (executed in nine different processes); bhāgavatam—the Bhāgavata Purāṇa (called Paramahaṁsa-saṁhitā, the text or treatise readable by the topmost transcendentalists); grāhyam—to be accepted; na—not; buddhyā—by so-called intelligence or experimental knowledge; na—nor; ca—also; ṭīkayā—by imaginary commentary.
"[Lord Śiva said,] 'I may know; Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the son of Vyāsadeva, may know; and Vyāsadeva may know or may not know the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. On the whole, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the spotless Purāṇa, can be learned only through devotional service, not by material intelligence, speculative methods or imaginary commentaries.' "
Devotional service includes nine processes, beginning with hearing, chanting and remembering the activities of Lord Viṣṇu. Only one who has taken to devotional service can understand Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, which is the spotless Purāṇa for a transcendentalist (paramahaṁsa). So-called commentaries are useless for this purpose. According to the Vedic injunction: yasya deve parā bhaktir yathā deve tathā gurau. All Vedic literatures maintain that Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam has to be learned from the person bhāgavata, and to understand it one has to engage in pure devotional service. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam cannot be understood by so-called erudite scholars or grammarians. One who has developed pure Kṛṣṇa consciousness and has served the pure devotee, the spiritual master, can understand Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Others cannot.
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