Light of the Bhagavata

Light of the Bhagavata

This book is so special for me. “It was written in Vṛndāvana in 1961 in response to an invitation to attend a world conference, the Congress for Cultivating the Human Spirit, held in Japan. As most of the participants to the Conference were from the Orient, Śrīla Prabhupāda considered deeply how he could best present the timeless teachings of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam suitable to the Oriental people. Śrīla Prabhupāda knew that the Oriental people were very fond of hearing descriptions of nature and that the time of the autumn season is particularly auspicious to them. Presenting spiritual philosophy by examples from nature would be best for their understanding.” (excerpts from Preface)

Considering the situation that inspired this book, upon reading it one can feel every single verse, and purport, to be so profound and deep, describing such crucial, urgent, and important topics of our existence on the spiritual and material plane, that I am simply in awe, gratitude & adoration of such a masterpiece.

Episodes playlist 240-257


Śrīla Prabhupāda’s plan was that the organizers of the conference should find a qualified Oriental artist to illustrate each verse, and he wrote directions from which the artist could design each painting. He hoped that the paintings and their accompanying explanations would make an impressive display for visitors to the conference. If possible, he wished that there might be published a book containing the illustrations and the texts.

Due to unfortunate circumstances, Śrīla Prabhupāda was unable to attend the conference, and the whole project of Light of the Bhāgavata was postponed. In fact, at the time of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s disappearance the Light of the Bhāgavata still remained unpublished and the illustrations not yet painted.

The task of completing this great project was therefore left in the hands of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, the publishing house dedicated to keeping all of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books in print. Particularly, the work was assigned to the Hong Kong branch of the Book Trust, since Śrīla Prabhupāda had meant the book especially for the Oriental people. After much searching it was our good fortune to secure the help of the renowned artist Madame Li Yun Sheng, whose mature creative talent and sensitive brushwork alone could properly complement Prabhupāda’s beautiful descriptions of the autumn season. Thus the beautifully effulgent light of the Bhāgavata may now shine upon the world.

One of my favorite quotes

Light of the Bhagavata | Text 2, Purport

If the people themselves are dishonest, the administrative machinery must be corrupt. Although a damned government of the people may be given a good or fancy name, if the people are not good they cannot have good government, regardless of which party governs the administration. Therefore good character in the consciousness of the mass of people is the first principle necessary for a good government and equal distribution of wealth.

In ancient days the kings were taught lessons in political philosophy by ideal teachers, and the citizens from village to village were taught the principles of self-realization according to the Vedic codes for both the material and the spiritual upliftment of society. Therefore the citizens were God conscious and honest in their dealings, and the kings were responsible for the welfare of the state. The same basic principles are accepted in the democratic governments of the present day, for the irresponsible party of the people is always voted out of power and must yield to the responsible party for a better government. In the cosmic administration there is only one party, which consists of the servants of God, and the responsible deities of the various planets maintain the cosmic laws in terms of the orders of the Supreme Lord. But the people suffer on account of their own folly.

And what is that folly? In Bhagavad-gītā it is said that people should perform yajñas, or sacrifices for the satisfaction of the Supreme. The Supreme is all-pervading. Therefore people must learn to perform yajñas to satisfy the all-pervading Supreme Truth. There are different yajñas prescribed for different ages, and in the present age of iron industry the yajña that enlightens the mind of the masses for God consciousness is recommended. This process of yajña is called the saṅkīrtana-yajña, or mass agitation for invoking man’s lost spiritual consciousness. As soon as this movement is taken up through spiritual singing, dancing, and feasting, the people will automatically become obedient and honest.