Book excerptsAcarya KesariStatements About Śrī Bhāgavata-patrikā

Statements About Śrī Bhāgavata-patrikā

History

Jagad-guru oṁ viṣṇupāda aṣṭottara-śata Śrīmad Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Yatirāja (the king of the sannyāsīs) is the crown jewel of the dynasty of paramahaṁsas. On 9 November 1931, at Śrī Paramahaṁsa Maṭha at Naimiṣāraṇya, he inaugurated the publication of the Hindi fortnightly journal, Bhāgavata, in order to unleash the flow of the teachings of the topmost dharma. The day on which he started the publication was the Kṛṣṇa-amāvasyā, the new moon, of Kārtika, and thereafter this fortnightly journal was published on the day of each full moon and each new moon. Publication of this journal continued regularly for a few years and then stopped.

Following in jagad-guru Śrīla Prabhupāda’s footsteps, Śrī Gauḍīya Vedānta Samiti vowed to serve this journal; and Śrī Keśavajī Gauḍīya Maṭha, Mathurā, published Śrī Bhāgavata-patrikā in Hindi every month from June 1955 to May 1974. Then it disappeared again by the desire of providence. Fortunately, however, it has manifested itself once again to promote the flow of dharma as practised and propagated by the most merciful Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who advented to purify the age of Kali. We humbly request intelligent readers to make their lives successful by bathing in this Gaṅgā of prema.

Śrīla Gurudeva has presented the following thoughts regarding the purpose of the Patrikā (5 June 1955):

Eternality

Bhāgavata is an eternal reality. There is no obstruction to its eternality, whether it appears fortnightly, monthly, yearly or even daily, hourly or at every blink of an eye (anupalika). These are just divisions of endless time. For those who do not have a conception of endlessness (ananta) and completeness (pūrṇatā), a part brings them towards the whole. Still, an aṁśa (part) is forever a part and pūrṇa (whole) is eternally the complete whole. An aṁśa never becomes the whole or attains equality with it. Those who cannot comprehend the eternal truth perceive it as appearing and disappearing, and as being subject to birth and death, but this perception is simply false and imaginary. Vṛndāvana and Mathurā-dhāma, for instance, are eternal, but they seem to appear and disappear. Only the Gauḍīyas, the followers of Śrīman Mahāprabhu, can understand the truth of the appearance and disappearance of the eternal abode. Vaiṣṇavas who belong to other sampradāyas or to no sampradāya at all cannot understand these subject matters. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the only source of evidence for this, and the fortnightly or monthly appearance of the eternal Bhāgavata is the spreading of the unlimited and eternal beauty of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
For this reason, the crown jewel of the Gauḍīya dynasty and the emperor of the kings of renunciants, jagad-guru Śrīla Prabhupāda published Śrī Bhāgavata-patrikā in the gaura-pakṣa (the waxing of the moon) and the kṛṣṇa-pakṣa (the waning, or dark phase, of the moon). The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is explained, discussed, practised, honoured and supported in both lunar phases. In other words, Śrī Bhāgavata-patrikā is particularly essential to convey the purport of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam to the sampradāyas who lack faith and conviction in the topmost viṣṇu-tattva, i.e., bhagavat-tattva, in the form of Śrī Gaurahari.

‘Śrī’ and ‘Patrikā’

The use of the word Śrī before the word Bhāgavata implies its eternality. Thus, eternality is the śrī, or beauty, of Bhāgavata. The word patrikā means ‘the carrier of the message or the discussion’, so the use of the word patrikā after Bhāgavata means that this journal is the bearer of the conduct‚ conceptions and discussion based on the doctrines of Bhāgavata. Śrī Bhāgavata-patrikā therefore presents itself to the readers as the carrier of the eternal message of the Bhāgavata. It will not entertain any temporary, perishable, changing and false conceptions or articles. There will never be a place in Śrī Patrikā for any subject matter that gives rise to absurd and useless talk about eating, sleeping, mating, defending and so on.

Compositions, philosophy, poems and articles that assist or enhance the happiness derived from sense enjoyment cannot be given the title of Śrī Patrikā. Thus, vi-śrī, that which is without śrī, is not worthy of respect. Śrī alone is a transcendental reality. We will distribute the transcendental tidings that are endowed with the śrī (beauty) of the Vaikuṇṭha world, and we will oppose the material conceptions of the present world which are devoid of śrī. This patrikā has adopted the national language Hindi as the vehicle for the distribution of the eternal message.

National language

Language is the expression of our sentiments, which are the distinctive tendency of the heart. Hence, since its quality determines the quality of the expression, the communication of sentiment is not completely achieved if the vehicle is weak. The thoughts of the heart will be perceived clearly, and will influence society only to the degree that the language is pure, exalted and advanced. We propose to broadcast the sentiments of Vaikuṇṭha in the national language, in the hope that the present national language will prosper and fully express the sentiments of all living entities.

The Hindi language

The majority of ancient Indian languages are derived from the Vedic Sanskrit language, which is the original written word of the Vedas. Distorted forms of Sanskrit are found in various languages according to time, place and people. The native people of Hindustan speak in Hindi to exchange the sentiments of their hearts. The words ‘Hindu’ or ‘Hindi’ are not original Vedic words, nor are they found in Sanskrit. The word ‘Hindu’, instead of ‘Sindhu’, was used by the residents of Persia (Phārasa) to address the people who lived near the banks of the river Sindhu.

Although everyone accepts that the Vedic, or ancient scriptural, Sanskrit is our root vehicle for communication, still Hindi in its current form has been adopted as our national language.

The usage of language

Since language expresses sentiment, the moods of the people will influence the language. Previously, the only language used in our country was the Vedic language, and the manifestations of viṣṇu-tattva were the only worshipful objects for every living entity. Sanskrit was used to exchange sentiments as recently as the medieval period. Today, in the same country, Hindi has been established as the vehicle for administration. In any case, we will adopt whatever system is presently manifest and whatever becomes manifest in the course of time and in the ceaseless flow of change if it is favourable for bhagavat-sevā.

laukikī vaidikī vāpi
yā kriyā kriyate mune
hari-sevānukūlaiva
sā kāryā bhaktim icchatā
Nārada-pañcarātra, quoted in
Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.2.198)
Any activity, whether it is spiritual or mundane, must be performed in a manner favourable for bhakti.

This is the proper perspective on the changes of the material world that occur with the passage of time, and it is only found in the Vedic system of thought. No situation past, present or future can possibly exist beyond the scope of the Vedas or śāstras. Therefore, we consider all situations to be transformations of the Vedic stage, and in a favourable mood we propose to discuss the eternal vaikuṇṭha-tattva in the Hindi language.

Jurisdiction of the national language

Śrī Bhāgavata-patrikā will publish a message that will free from māyā the jīvas of that section of the world which is governed by the Hindi-speaking nation. Which part of the creation is ruled over by a nation? Only a small part of the body and mind, because the activities of the nation affect only the body and mind. But Śrī Bhāgavata-patrikā will not even glance upon issues that are maintained, administered or protected by the body and mind. The nation will only be concerned with its own terrene, that is, things related to body and mind. Śrī Bhāgavata-patrikā goes beyond the activities of the perishable and ceaselessly changing body and mind, and will publish in Hindi, the present national language, descriptions of the dominion and constitution of the Vaikuṇṭha world. This is why Śrī Bhāgavata-patrikā is heralded as the exclusive carrier of the transcendental message of Vaikuṇṭha.

Request

We humbly submit a request at the feet of our readers that they should benefit themselves by eagerly studying the subject matter of this patrikā. The language and conceptions of the Vaikuṇṭha world differ from the ordinary language born from the stream of worldly consciousness, and are far more profound. Consequently, some parts of the Patrikā may not be easily understood at first. Still, it will become sweeter and sweeter upon repeated reading, just as the tongue afflicted by jaundice gradually tastes the sweetness of sugar candy. Your sympathy with our bona fide endeavour and your assistance in our undertaking will make us feel successful. To achieve this great purpose, we will publish in this patrikā the writings of previous mahājanas, or spiritual authorities, and living mahāpuruṣas, great souls. We will always beware the writings of modern conditioned souls, which are riddled with faults, errors and negligence. This is the unique speciality and pride of Śrī Bhāgavata-patrikā. What need is there to say more?

[CC-by-ND GVP]

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