The Importance and the Potency of Parampara

by Radha Gopinath Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty

SB 01.03.42
sa tu saṁśrāvayām āsa
mahārājaṁ parīkṣitam
prāyopaviṣṭaṁ gaṅgāyāṁ
parītaṁ paramarṣibhiḥ

Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the son of Vyāsadeva, in his turn delivered the Bhāgavatam to the great Emperor Parīkṣit, who sat surrounded by sages on the bank of the Ganges, awaiting death without taking food or drink.

All transcendental messages are received properly in the chain of disciplic succession. This disciplic succession is called paramparā. Unless therefore Bhāgavatam or any other Vedic literatures are received through the paramparā system, the reception of knowledge is not bona fide. Vyāsadeva delivered the message to Śukadeva Gosvāmī, and from Śukadeva Gosvāmī, Sūta Gosvāmī received the message. One should therefore receive the message of Bhāgavatam from Sūta Gosvāmī or from his representative and not from any irrelevant interpreter.

Emperor Parīkṣit received the information of his death in time, and he at once left his kingdom and family and sat down on the bank of the Ganges to fast till death. All great sages, ṛṣis, philosophers, mystics, etc., went there due to his imperial position. They offered many suggestions about his immediate duty, and at last it was settled that he would hear from Śukadeva Gosvāmī about Lord Kṛṣṇa. Thus the Bhāgavatam was spoken to him.

Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya, who preached Māyāvāda philosophy and stressed the impersonal feature of the Absolute, also recommended that one must take shelter at the lotus feet of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, for there is no hope of gain from debating. Indirectly Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya admitted that what he had preached in the flowery grammatical interpretations of the Vedānta-sūtra cannot help one at the time of death. At the critical hour of death one must recite the name of Govinda. This is the recommendation of all great transcendentalists. Śukadeva Gosvāmī had long ago stated the same truth, that at the end one must remember Nārāyaṇa. That is the essence of all spiritual activities. In pursuance of this eternal truth, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam was heard by Emperor Parīkṣit, and it was recited by the able Śukadeva Gosvāmī. And both the speaker and the receiver of the messages of Bhāgavatam were duly delivered by the same medium.

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