Observing Our Progress In Devotional Service

Srimad Bhagavatam 11.02.12-13 - Observing Our Progress In Devotional Service (download mp3)
by Sahadev Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty

SB 11.2.12
sruto ’nupathito dhyata
 adrto vanumoditah
sadyah punati sad-dharmo
 deva-visva-druho ’pi hi

Pure devotional service rendered to the Supreme Lord is spiritually so potent that simply by hearing about such transcendental service, by chanting its glories in response, by meditating on it, by respectfully and faithfully accepting it, or by praising the devotional service of others, even persons who hate the demigods and all other living beings can be immediately purified.

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura has commented that the word sad-dharma refers to bhagavata-dharma. This is also confirmed by Sridhara Svami. Bhagavata-dharma is spiritually so powerful that even those who by worldly standards are implicated in various ways in sinful behavior can easily be purified by adopting any of the processes mentioned in this verse. In the practice of ordinary piety, one worships God with the expectation of receiving something in return for one’s service. Similarly, the impersonalist aspires for his own liberation, wishfully thinking that he will become equal to God. In bhagavata-dharma, however, there is no such impurity. Bhagavata-dharma is devotional service to the Lord in which the only objective is the satisfaction of the Lord. If one rejects this process and instead wants to hear about, teach or meditate upon another process, the chance for immediate purification is lost.

Neither ordinary materialistic yoga processes meant for achieving mystic powers nor impersonal processes based on speculation have the power to purify immediately those who have fallen into sinful behavior. Sad-dharma, or bhagavata-dharma, pure devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is unique in that even the most fallen souls can immediately rise to the highest perfectional stage by surrendering at the lotus feet of Krsna or His pure devotee. This was vividly demonstrated in the preaching work of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, especially in the case of the sinful brothers Jagai and Madhai.

SB 11.2.13
tvaya parama-kalyanah
smarito bhagavan adya
 devo narayano mama

Today you have made me remember my Lord, the supremely blissful Personality of Godhead, Narayana. The Supreme Lord is so auspicious that whoever hears and chants about Him becomes completely pious.

Srila Jiva Gosvami has stated, narayanas tadrsa-dharme madiya-guru-rupo narayanarsih. The word narayana in this verse refers to the incarnation of Godhead Narayana Rsi, who acted as Narada’s spiritual master in this dharma. Srila Jiva Gosvami has also pointed out, smarita iti krsnopasanavesena tasyapi vismaranat. The word smarita, “he is brought back to memory,” indicates that because of Narada’s absorption in the worship of Krsna he had forgotten Lord Nara-Narayana. In other words, if intense engagement in devotional service makes one sometimes forget the Personality of Godhead, by Krsna’s arrangement such a sincere servitor will again be reminded of the Personality of Godhead.