Shaunaka and the other rishis, who were engaged in a sacrificial offerings into fire for a very long period, asked pertinent questions to Ugrasrava, also called the Suta who was well-versed in the tales of the times. The Suta is pleased to answer their questions as each question is asked for the welfare of the people and with a view to elevating the masses into higher planes of existence in this world and hereafter. The Suta begins with salutations to Sukha Brahma Maharshi who first told this story to Parikshit and his father Veda Vyasa who composed it; Narayana, the creator of the universe; and Goddess Saraswati who rules over speech.
The Suta highlights that the supreme dharma of an individual living in this earth is to have devotion to the Lord. The being of the person is completely happy if that devotion has no motives attached to it and it has nothing to block its flow. What does such a devotion to this unmanifest supreme being bestow upon an individual? Well, even the subtlest of science has not come up with such an answer. The Suta says that with such a pure devotion, the mind will withdraw its hold from the objects of the world that can give only fleeting joy. The intellect of the individual will attain the right knowledge of what is the true self and all that which is ephemeral, so we can invest our energies in that which is permanent.
Even if a person may be doing all his duties, if he does not develop a love for listening to the stories of the supreme, then his life lived is just a wasteful effort. Whether we practice good actions, we are running in search of security, we are trying to fulfil our desires or want to be liberated, the goal of life is to know the truth of existence. It is the special privilege of human beings to pursue this enquiry. A cat, a dog or a tiger cannot engage in such a search to know, “Who I am”.
Even to get an opportunity to listen to the stories of Sri Krishna and the Bhagavatam, a person must have gone to many places of pilgrimage, he must have served great masters. Listening to these stories are cleansing. The more the taste develops for listening to the Srimad Bhagavatam, the negative imprints of the person caused by desire, anger, jealousy, confusion, arrogance, greed, fear and selfishness are gradually wiped away. The story removes completely all traces of agitation in the mind called Rajas, and dullness and inertia called Tamas. It completely washes the mind to leave it clean with the shining and calm quality of Sattva, which is the capital for success of an individual.
The writer is Acharya, Chinmaya Mission, Tiruchi.