idaṁ bhāgavataṁ nāma
pitur dvaipāyanād aham
idam—this; bhāgavatam—Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam; nāma—of the name; purāṇam—Vedic supplement; brahma-sammitam—approved as the essence of the Vedas; adhītavān—studied; dvāpara-ādau—at the end of the Dvāpara-yuga; pituḥ—from my father; dvaipāyanāt—Dvaipāyana Vyāsadeva; aham—myself.
At the end of the Dvāpara-yuga, I studied this great supplement of Vedic literature named Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, which is equal to all the Vedas, from my father, Śrīla Dvaipāyana Vyāsadeva.
The statement made by Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī that the topmost transcendentalist, who is beyond the jurisdiction of regulations and restrictions, mainly takes to the task of hearing about and glorifying the Personality of Godhead, is verified by his personal example. Śukadeva Gosvāmī, being a recognized liberated soul and the topmost transcendentalist, was accepted by all of the topmost sages present in the meeting during the last seven days of Mahārāja Parīkṣit. He cites from the example of his life that he himself was attracted by the transcendental activities of the Lord, and he studied Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam from his great father, Śrī Dvaipāyana Vyāsadeva. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, or, for that matter, any other scientific literature, cannot be studied at home by one's own intellectual capacity. Medical books of anatomy or physiology are available in the market, but no one can become a qualified medical practitioner simply by reading such books at home. One has to be admitted to the medical college and study the books under the guidance of learned professors. Similarly, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the postgraduate study of the science of Godhead, can only be learned by studying it at the feet of a realized soul like Śrīla Vyāsadeva. Although Śukadeva Gosvāmī was a liberated soul from the very day of his birth, he still had to take lessons of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam from his great father, Vyāsadeva, who compiled the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam under the instruction of another great soul, Śrī Nārada Muni. Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu instructed a learned brāhmaṇa to study Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam from a personal bhāgavata. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is based on the transcendental name, form, attributes, pastimes, entourage and variegatedness of the Supreme Person, and it is spoken by the incarnation of the Personality of Godhead, Śrīla Vyāsadeva. Pastimes of the Lord are executed in cooperation with His pure devotees, and consequently historical incidences are mentioned in this great literature because they are related to Kṛṣṇa. It is called brahma-sammitam because it is the sound representative of Lord Kṛṣṇa-like the Bhagavad-gītā. Bhagavad-gītā is the sound incarnation of the Lord because it is spoken by the Supreme Lord, and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the sound representative of the Lord because it was spoken by the incarnation of the Lord about the activities of the Lord. As stated in the beginning of this book, it is the essence of the Vedic desire tree and the natural commentation on the Brahma-sūtras, the topmost philosophical thesis on the subject matter of Brahman. Vyāsadeva appeared at the end of Dvāpara-yuga as the son of Satyavatī, and therefore the word dvāpara-ādau, or "the beginning of Dvāpara-yuga," in this context means just prior to the beginning of the Kali-yuga. The logic of this statement, according to Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, is comparable to that of calling the upper portion of the tree the beginning. The root of the tree is the beginning of the tree, but in common knowledge the upper portion of the tree is first seen. In that way the end of the tree is accepted as its beginning.
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