MISCELLANEOUS

Greatness of Bhagavatham

CHENNAI OCT. 14 . It may be possible for a person to get rid of the consequences of his sinful deeds by taking bath in holy rivers like the Ganga, may hope to soothe his nerves after toiling and becoming tired by enjoying the cool rays of the moon and may come to enjoy prosperity by sitting under the legendary "wish-fulfilling" tree (in heaven). However all the three advantages can be secured at one and the same time when he welcomes a distinguished man of piety and purity and honours him.

Scriptural texts point out how the very presence of such God-men will have a chastening influence on others who are associated with them. Divine grace filters through such saintly persons and a sense of devotion to God will brim in one's heart. Many instances are provided in the Bhagavatham of the benefits obtained by mingling with such enlightened men.

The duty of a devotee is to revere such divine deputies and prostrate at their feet like a baton thrown on the ground. Women should offer their respects with folded palms. The study of the Bhagavatham will result in the generation of absolute devotion. Tradition holds that people should read the story relating to "gambling" in the forenoon (referring to the Mahabharatam), about the "outcome of passion" (the narration in the Ramayana) in the afternoon and about the "activities of a thief" (the Bhagavatham, which deals especially with the Lord's incarnation as Krishna) in the evening.

In his Harikatha, Sri M.V. Simhachala Sastrigaru explained how a mighty emperor committed a mistake unwittingly and was cursed to die within seven days. Utilising this short period he listened to the exposition of this sacred text. A brilliant adaptation and translation of this work in Telugu by the Andhra poet, Pothana, occupies a prime place in Bhakti literature. The scriptural authority shows how Krishna made the only scion of the Pandavas, who was injured in his mother's womb by the dastardly act of revenge by a person inimical to them, survive.

The book reveals through the marriage of Krishna with Rukmini how a soul deeply yearns to reach the Lord, how the blessings of saints will fetch success in any endeavour and how if a devotee takes one step forward towards God, the latter will rush to him. Rukmini sent an epistle to Krishna pleading with Him to reach her in time and rescue her from being given in marriage to an arrogant prince. Total confidence in God's protection will surely be duly rewarded.

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