Srila Prabhupada’s Beautifully Poetic Preface to the Srimad Bhagavatam (Pre-USA Edition)

vata-vasana rsayah sramanah urdhva-manthinah
brahmakhyam dhama te yanti santah samnyasino ‘malah
vayam tv iha maha-yogin bhramantah karma-vartmasu
tvad-vartaya tarisyamas tavakair dustaram tamah
(bha. 11.6.47-48)

“Great sages labouring hard under stringent regulative principles for salvation by suspending semina onwards and thus remaining naked, as well as successful mendicants who have attained complete satisfaction by purificatory practices,-do achieve the transcendental sky of the name Brahman. But so far we are concerned, oh the Great Mystic! we shall transcend this world of abject nescience simply by vibrating the message of your activities as duty bound devotees of Your Lordship, although we are moving seemingly on the path of fruitive actions.”

The path of fruitive activities i.e. to say the path of earn money and enjoy life as it is going on generally,-appears to have become also our profession although we have renounced the order of worldly life! They see that we are moving in the cities, in the Government offices, banks and other business places for promoting the publication of Srimad Bhagwatam. They also see that we are moving in the press, paper market and amongst the book binders also away from our residence at Vrindaban and thus they conclude sometimes mistakenly that we are also doing the same business in the dress of a mendicant!

But actually there is a gulf of difference between the two kinds of activities. This is not a business for maintaining an establishment of material enjoyment. On the contrary it is an humble attempt to broadcast the glories of the Lord at a time when the people need it very badly.

An unbeliever friend became astonished to learn that we have taken up a mighty project for presenting sixty volumes of 400 pages each,-simply for the matter of glorifying the Lord. But we should not forget to remember that the Lord is unlimited. This material world is a fragmental portion of His unfathomable glories out of which this tiny earth is a particle only. And on the surface of the earth there are numberless cities and in each and everyone of them there are hundreds of printing houses all engaged in the matter of broadcasting the message of this limited space. We can just imagine how many hundreds of thousand volumes we may need to glorify the activities of the unlimited Lord. Therefore, sixty volumes of just the sample distribution of His glories presented in a manner understandable by the stagnant brain of the residents of this insignificant globe. Otherwise the residents of higher planets who have got superior brains than the man, do go through thousands and millions volumes of Srimad Bhagwatam to know about the glories of the Lord.

Formerly even fifty years before, rich and well to do members of the society used to get Srimad Bhagwatam imprinted or hand written, along with authoritative commentaries, by learned Pandits and then distribute them amongst the devotees of the Lord specially and the people in general casually. At the present moment, the time is so changed that we had to request one of the biggest Industrialists of India, to purchase 100 (one hundred) copies and distribute them but the poor fellow expressed his inability. We wished that somebody may come forward to pay for the actual cost of publiction of this Srimad Bhagwatam and let them be distributed free to all the leading gentlemen of the world. But nobody is so far prepared to do this social uplifting work.

Of course we are grateful to the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Central Government of India for purchasing some copies and then distribute them to the great institution, universities etc. both in India and abroad. The Director of Education has also recommended this publication as Library copies in educational institutions and they are also purchasing the copies. The problem is that we must get some money for completing the work which is admittedly a mighty project. The sales proceeds are being employed in the promotional work and not in sense-gratification. Herein lies the difference from the fruitive activities. And all for this we have to approach everyone concerned just like a businessman. There is no harm to become a businessman if it is done on account of the Lord as much as there was no harm to become a violent warrior like Arjuna or Hanumanji if such belligerent activities are executed to satisfy the desires of the Supreme Lord.

So even though we are not in the Himalayas, even though we talk of business, even though we deal in rupees and n.P still, simply because we are 100 per cent servants of the Lord and are engaged in the service of broadcasting the message of His glories,-certainly we shall transcend and get through the invincible impasse of Maya and reach the effulgent kingdom of God to render Him face to face eternal service, in full bliss and knowledge. We are confident of this factual position and we may also assure to our numerous readers that they will also achieve the same result simply by hearing the glories of the Lord. (Jannama sruti matrena puman bhavati nirmala.)

As we belong to the chain of disciplic succession from Prahlad Maharaj we may try to follow his footprints. He said before his Lord Nrisinghadeva as follows:-

(In Devanagari:)

prayena deva munayah sva-vimukta-kama maunam caranti vijane na parartha-nisthah
naitan vihaya krpanan vimumuksa eko nanyam tvad asya saranam bhramato ‘nupasye

(bha. 7.6.44)

“My Lord, generally all the Munis (saints and philosophers) are interested in their personal salvation. They are mostly silent and travel in lonely places without any desire for other’s benefit. But I am not like them. I do not wish to go to the kingdom of God alone leaving these poor misguided people in general who have no other alternative than to surrender unto You and this I see by my practical experience.”

We are more interested, therefore, in the mission of reclaiming the conditioned souls for the Kingdom of God by all means, than to seek our personal salvation performed rigidly in a secluded place.

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