Current Yug is Kali. Our life is limited. Intellectual power is average. Involvement is absent. Bhagyam is not there. With all these disadvantages, how can we cross over this samsaram? This question was raised by sage Saunaka and others, and sage Soota [Soota Pouranika], started telling Srimad Bhagavata Puranam. Today's [2nd September 2009] lecture is from beneath the tree, under which Srimad Bhagavatam was lectured. It is one of the ancient trees of Naimisharanyam and near it, Thousands of Rishis had assembled. Soota Pouranika was seated on a platform and Saunaka and other sages were sitting below and were asking some questions. With all deficiencies mentioned above, they wanted to know how any person could cross samsaram and reach Moksham. Veda Vyasa was preaching Vedas and Puranas. His disciple Romaharshana was taught Itihasa and Puranas and he spread them all over. Soota Pouranika was Romahashana's son. In this place, once Romaharshana was preaching Puranas to his disciples. Sri Balarama, elder brother of Sri Krishna came to Naimisharanya. Romaharshana was so much involved in the Puranas, that he did not notice arrival of Sri Balarama. Thinking that he was humiliated, Sri Balarama, with his weapon, plough, killed him. All disciples were sad that such an eloqvent narrator Romaharshana was killed. They prayed the Lord, Who blessed Romaharshana's son Soota Pouranika, with the same skill. After some days, Soota Pouranika resumed preaching Puranas. That way Srimad Bhagavatam was born here. Srimad Bhagavatam was preached earlier by sage Sukha to King Parikshit. Thus, the Purana composed by Vyasa was told by Sukha to Parikshit. While he was telling, Romaharshana, with the permission of Sukha, also listened to the narration. Romaharshana taught his son Soota and now, Soota was lecturing to his disciples. Sukha is personified as a parrot. This parrot pecked a fruit. Normally, parrot pecked fruits are sweeter. This fruit was Vedas, and we are now enjoying its juice! We will now see slokas 36 and 37 together, as they convey the same. What we think sukham or happiness, is not sukham. The Lord says that He would explain what sukham was and tells sukham is also of Three types - Satvika Sukham, Rajasa Sukham and Tamasa Sukham. The Lord so far had described various entities for our conduct. Now, He is to explain the result or reward we are to recieve. He described about Gyana, Karma, Karta, Buddhi and Dhruti, in the past slokas. All of them had categories of Satvam, Rajas and Tamas. These are the means to a destination. Now we have to know what is the ultimate result of these. We work hard, so that we live happily. Similarly all our activities like getting married or going to temple or going on pilgrimage, etc., are all for happiness. Are the happiness we attain in each of our activities, real sukham or false? We do something and assume that we derive sukham; but is it real or not? Sri Krishna categorizes sukham also into Three types. We can not understand the real sukham in the first instance. We have seen that sometimes when we want to start an action to acheive lasting happiness, initially we will face difficulties. But gradually, we will realize the enduring happiness. For some diseases, the treatment would be severe and painful; but eventually, when the disease is cured, we find happiness. If we resist the initial difficulties, then the disease might not be cured, resulting in lifelong problem. Similarly, there are certain things which would delight us when starting; but, in due course, they would cause irreparable difficulties. For example, junk food are very interesting at the beginning. But, later, they cause all physical problems. These experiences are because of our habits. We do easily, what we are accustomed to. This can be seen in our routine life. A person habituated to a particular work, finds it hard to adjust to new surroundings, when he is promoted. We are habituated to materialistic pleasures in this world. We are not habituated to serving Lord and realizing that bliss. Initially, many are reluctant to try that happiness; and, only by repeated pursuations, one realizes it. Once it is started, slowly its enduring happiness would be realized. Similarly, in worldly activities, repeated cautions make us to realize the inferior and transient happiness they give. Sri Krishna tells Arjuna that he should realize that as happiness, which atman attained as everlasting, as suiting the nature of atman and as which initially might pose difficulties, but later on cause continuing happiness. That is Satvika happiness. Sloka 36:
sukhaṃ tv idānīṃ trividhaṃ śṛṇu me bharatarṣabha
abhyāsād ramate yatra duḥkhāntaṃ ca nigacchhati 18.36
We will first see the First line alone. Sukham tu = while happiness is, trividham = of Three types, srnu = listen, me = from Me [Sri Krishna], bharatarsabha = bull among men [Arjuna]. We should read the next line with the next sloka 37:
yat tadagre viṣam iva pariṇāmemṛtopamam
tat sukhaṃ sāttvikaṃ proktam ātmabuddhiprasādajam 18.37
Abhyasat = [this Satvika happiness is realized by] repeated practice, ramate = happiness is achieved, yatra = where, nigacchati = attains, dukhantam = the end of sorrows [in samsaram]. Yat = which [happiness], tadagre = in the beginning or initially, visam iva = will appear like poison, parinameva = [but] transforms [when continued and matures], amrtotpaman = [and is sweet] like Amrut or elixir. When we start Bhakti, we might find difficulties. But, with continued practice, we will find enjoyment. To go to temples in the early morning might be disturbing our sleep; but if we overcome those initial problems, then we will find enduring happiness. Tat sukham = that happiness is, proktam = called, sattvikam = Satvika [Sukham], atmabuddhiprasadajam = as a result of involving buddhi in atman itself. Here, atman could be interpreted as Jeevatman or Paramatman. Though, initially, this effort will pose problems, continued practice would create happiness and would end samsaram. This everlasting happiness was experienced by Parikshit, by listeneing to Sukha; by Soota from Romaharshana; and, by Saunaka and others from Soota Pauranika.