svayambhur naradah sambhuh
kumarah kapilo manuh
prahlado janako bhismo
balir vaiyasakir vayam
dharmam bhagavatam bhatah
guhyam visuddham durbodham
yam jnatvamrtam asnute
svayambhuh—Lord Brahma; naradah—the great saint Narada; sambhuh—Lord Siva; kumarah—the four Kumaras; kapilah—Lord Kapila; manuh—Svayambhuva Manu; prahladah—Prahlada Maharaja; janakah—Janaka Maharaja; bhismah—Grandfather Bhisma; balih—Bali Maharaja; vaiyasakih—Sukadeva, the son of Vyasadeva; vayam—we; dvadasa—twelve; ete—these; vijanimah—know; dharmam—real religious principles; bhagavatam—which teach a person how to love the Supreme Personality of Godhead; bhatah—O my dear servants; guhyam—very confidential; visuddham—transcendental, not contaminated by the material modes of nature; durbodham—not easily understood; yam—which; jnatva—understanding; amrtam—eternal life; asnute—he enjoys.
Lord Brahma, Bhagavan Narada, Lord Siva, the four Kumaras, Lord Kapila [the son of Devahuti], Svayambhuva Manu, Prahlada Maharaja, Janaka Maharaja, Grandfather Bhisma, Bali Maharaja, Sukadeva Gosvami and I myself know the real religious principle. My dear servants, this transcendental religious principle, which is known as bhagavata-dharma, or surrender unto the Supreme Lord and love for Him, is uncontaminated by the material modes of nature. It is very confidential and difficult for ordinary human beings to understand, but if by chance one fortunately understands it, he is immediately liberated, and thus he returns home, back to Godhead.
In Bhagavad-gita Lord Krsna refers to bhagavata-dharma as the most confidential religious principle (sarva-guhyatamam, guhyad guhyataram). Krsna says to Arjuna, “Because you are My very dear friend, I am explaining to you the most confidential religion.” Sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja: [Bg. 18.66] “Give up all other duties and surrender unto Me.” One may ask, “If this principle is very rarely understood, what is the use of it?” In answer, Yamaraja states herein that this religious principle is understandable if one follows the parampara system of Lord Brahma, Lord Siva, the four Kumaras and the other standard authorities. There are four lines of disciplic succession: one from Lord Brahma, one from Lord Siva, one from Laksmi, the goddess of fortune, and one from the Kumaras. The disciplic succession from Lord Brahma is called the Brahma-sampradaya, the succession from Lord Siva (Sambhu) is called the Rudra-sampradaya, the one from the goddess of fortune, Laksmiji, is called the Sri-sampradaya, and the one from the Kumaras is called the Kumara-sampradaya. One must take shelter of one of these four sampradayas in order to understand the most confidential religious system. In the Padma Purana it is said, sampradaya-vihina ye mantras te nisphala matah: if one does not follow the four recognized disciplic successions, his mantra or initiation is useless. In the present day there are many apasampradayas, or sampradayas which are not bona fide, which have no link to authorities like Lord Brahma, Lord Siva, the Kumaras or Laksmi. People are misguided by such sampradayas. The sastras say that being initiated in such a sampradaya is a useless waste of time, for it will never enable one to understand the real religious principles.
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