(HH Kadamba Kanana Swami, Oct 2011, Govinda Valley, Australia) Lecture: Faith retreat part I

Transcribed by Smitakrishna Devi Dasi

‘oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya’,

So these are the opening words of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. The word ‘Oṁ’ is the all inclusive – every aspect of the lord is included in ‘Oṁ’ – all His unlimited energies, His personal form and His expansions are all included. The word ‘Bhagavate’ is very important because it is referring to ‘Bhagavan’ – the Supreme Personality of Godhead. We are focusing on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, that is the focus of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and therefore, it is not interested in any other topics. Vedic literature is very vast, very extensive and it is offering many instructions about many aspects of life.

However, Bhagavad-Gita is explaining that a portion of the Vedas deals with the three modes of material nature, and within that portion of the Vedas that deals with the three modes of material nature is not of interest in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam because the purpose of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, is to give that transcendental knowledge which transports us back to the spiritual world – to the eternal realm.

There is plenty of Vedic knowledge, which improves the conditions of our life here in this world, and some of that knowledge may be of use to us, but it is not essential just like Āyur-veda that is absolutely useful because sometimes we need to keep a reasonable health. Otherwise, how can we apply ourselves to spiritual practices? It is very difficult when the health is not good and at the same time we are not so interested in Āyur-veda, then it is a secondary thing. So we use it and Prabhupada was very practical, sometimes he would use Āyur-veda or otherwise something allopathic. As Prabhupada said, ‘Whatever works’. But of course, the modern pharmaceutical industry is not our friend and well wisher, they have an agenda to make lots of money from us. And you take your pills, and the plan is that after you will take few more pills – so from one pill come many pills. One can think like that and that is called business!

So, Āyur-veda in many ways is friendlier and where it can be used then let’s use it. But when there is acute thing (well you know it may not always be a solution) then we may need to go to the hospital. So we are not sold to Āyur-veda but we are sold to Bhakti – the service of Bhagavan. So ‘Bhagavate’ is very nice word because it refers to several things. So the word ‘Bhagavan’ can be broken up in three syllables. There are various meanings as we can see in the word. ‘Bhaga’- means auspicious so it brings auspiciousness and ‘van’ means that it possesses qualities of auspiciousness, and that is one meaning of the word ‘Bhagavan’. But there is another meaning which I will give you now and I like it even more:

bhajanīya guna viśiṣṭa’ – Which means – He who is irresistible, you have to worship Him! So that is the definition of Bhagavan and it is very wonderful that Lord Krishna is like that, Krishna is naturally attractive therefore:

‘oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya’

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