by Sweety Vyas

The great sage and poet Vyasadeva knew that the age of Kali was coming. He realized that in this age of conflict, the good qualities in men would diminish. People would be distracted, intolerant, and have short lives. Irreligion would rise. Out of compassion for mankind, he composed many spiritual texts to guide people during this difficult time. He edited the Vedas and divided it into four parts and taught it to his disciples who in turn, disseminated this knowledge to their disciples and so on. In this way, this sacred knowledge was spread to others. He compiled many of the Puranas. To help people, especially women, laborers, and others who could not study or were not allowed to study the Vedas, he wrote the Mahabharata. This comprised several stories and discourses on right conduct. In this way, the lessons of the Vedas were taught and made accessible to all. The events described have been described in Srimad Bhagavatam 1.4.15 – 1.5.40.

Even after working for the welfare of people in this way, Vyasadeva was not satisfied. He contemplated whether his feeling of incompleteness was caused because he did not explain the devotional service to the Supreme Lord, which alone satisfies the Lord and pure devotees completely.

While he was reflecting on this, his spiritual master, Narada reached there. He addressed Vyasadeva, the son of Parasara. He asked him the reason why he was despondent. Vyasadeva explained the situation to Narada Muni. He asked him to explain the deficiency in his writings. Narada explained that even though you have described the four religious principles (religious performance, economic development, sense gratification, and salvation), you have not emphasized the activities and glories of the Supreme Lord, Vasudeva. You need to write about devotional service to the Lord. True transcendental literature should glorify the name, fame, activities, and pastimes of the Supreme Lord. Such literature liberates men and transforms even the impious and misguided. Those who are entangled in material attachment also should be shown realization by describing the activities of the Supreme Lord. The easiest way in which the Lord can be reached is through bhakti. 

Narada then described how he had become fixed in bhakti in his previous life. His mother was a maidservant at his previous birth. She was engaged in the service of some Brahmanas during Chaturmasya. These elevated brahmanas were very well-versed in the Vedas. Narada also served them. By their permission, once he ate the remnants of their food. This eradicated his sins. Narada attentively listened to their discourses which described the glorious activities of Lord Krishna. In their association, his consciousness became purified and he became fixed in devotion. The sages departed at the end of the rainy season. They gave Narada knowledge of confidential subjects instructed by the Supreme Lord Himself. Narada’s heart overflowed with divine love. Over time, he wandered from place to place. He was exhausted. One day, after having a bath, he sat beneath a tree. He began to meditate on the Supersoul situated within. His heart was filled with transcendental love and tears flowed from his eyes. Suddenly Lord Krishna appeared in his heart. Narada was filled with ecstasy. After appearing, the Lord immediately left. Narada was aggrieved. He tried to search for the Lord by concentrating again. The Lord, seeing his despondency appeared once more and told him that in this life you will not see me again. He had appeared before Narada just to increase his desire for Him for that alone would free him from material desires. The Lord explained that by serving Him, a devotee becomes firm in the faith. He then becomes His associate in the spiritual world after giving up the material world. Devotional service never goes to waste. It continues by the remembrance of birth after birth until it reaches maturity. The Lord then departed. Narada began to repeat the fame and holy name of the Lord repeatedly. After quitting the material world, he was given a transcendental body as an associate of the Supreme Lord. Now with the grace of Lord Vishnu, he travels everywhere singing the glories of the Lord both in the spiritual and material worlds because he is fixed in devotion to the Lord.

After describing his previous life and activities for self-realization, Narada left.

After his departure, Vyasadeva meditated on the Supreme Lord and His activities. He compiled the Srimad Bhagavatam which is described as the “ripened fruit of Vedic literature.” It is the literary incarnation of Lord Krishna. Just by hearing this literature, devotion to Lord Krishna arises and anxiety, grief, and illusion are destroyed. One can attain the perfection of life by developing faith and attraction for the Supreme Lord.

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