Archive for January, 2011

Nam Kirtan: The Essence of The Bhagavatam

January 20th, 2011

Nam Kirtan: The Essence of The Bhagavatam

Sri Caitanya sat attentively at the feet of His divine master, Sri Isvara Puri, who had just promised to disclose to Him the verse that is the essence of the Bhagavatam. Emphatically, but devotionally, Isvara Puri recited:

“One who chants the names of one's beloved Lord without material attachment or inhibition awakens deep attachment to his Lord. As his hearts melts with ecstatic love, he laughs very loudly or cries or shouts. Sometimes he sings and dances like a madman oblivious to public opinion.” [1]

No serious student of the Bhagavatam questions that nam kirtan is stressed in the text as the best means for realizing the Absolute Reality. [2] How does that, however, make it the fundamental ingredient of everything spoken, the topic that weaves together the myriad subjects found within the text that are geared to establishing Krishna as the full manifestation of Godhead? [3]

To decipher the actual theme of any book the first place to look is the history of its composition, specifically the intention of the author in writing the text. That account is told in the Bhagavatam itself:

Sri Vyasa, the empowered editor of the eternal Vedas, had just failed in his attempt to present the Vedas in a relevant way for this present age of discord. Seeing his despondency, Sri Narada, his spiritual master, confirmed what Sri Vyasa had already suspected, that he had not sufficiently glorified Krishna. Shaken by his teacher's mild rebuke, Sri Vyasa entered a deep meditation to attain greater realization. The result was the Bhagavatam, a text systematically and directly glorifying Krishna in 18,000 beautiful verses meant to be read and sung in various melodies. The Bhagavatam is therefore kirtan itself.

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