“Shri Narada said: You have not actually broadcast the sublime and spotless glories of the Personality of Godhead. That philosophy which does not satisfy the transcendental senses of the Lord is considered worthless.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.5.8)
Friend1: The Bhagavad-gita is timeless wisdom.
Friend2: Describing principles applicable to any time period.
Friend1: Also to any type of person.
Friend2: The religion inherited from the ancestors does not matter. The occupation, the stage in life, the gender, and not even the age in year. Though discussing complex subjects, Krishna’s words to Arjuna can benefit even a child.
Friend1: Really beautiful. It is a pastime, in fact. One of Krishna’s many lilas. He is the Supreme Lord, after all, which means that He can do things. He is not limited to some abstract understanding. He is more than a concept.
Friend2: For sure. That is one of the benefits to worshiping in the Vedic tradition. The mystery about the Divine gets removed.
Friend1: We know that the Bhagavad-gita is found within a much larger work, known as the Mahabharata. The author, so to speak, is Vyasadeva.
Friend2: The son of Parashara Muni. The island-born one, also known as Vedavyasa since he divided the original Veda into four so that man could better understand.
Friend1: To match the general decline in the population’s brainpower and adherence to dharma.
Friend2: The bulk of important Vedic literature is attributed to him. He is considered the literary incarnation of the Supreme Lord.
Friend1: Here is my question. In the Shrimad Bhagavatam we find the instruction from Narada Muni to write more. Vyasadeva was still unsatisfied, despite so many important works to his name. Narada revealed to the disciple why he felt that way. The spiritual master gave guidance on how to benefit both the writer and future audiences.
Friend2: It should be noted that Vyasa is more a compiler than an author. He puts the verses together but he is not making anything up. He simply reports on what happens in real life.
Friend1: Yes, but why was he unsatisfied? The Bhagavad-gita can be remembered simply for Krishna’s role in it. He was Partha-sarathi, the chariot driver to Arjuna, the son of Queen Kunti. I know there was a brahmana who felt tremendous ecstasy from just holding the Bhagavad-gita, as he was not able to read. The reason was that the book reminded him of God’s kindness towards His devotees.
Friend2: And Lord Chaitanya said that this man’s understanding of the work was perfect.
Friend1: Exactly! And Vyasadeva is part of the chain of credit. He gets some of the benefits to liberating that person.
Friend2: The idea is that there wasn’t yet a full presentation of Krishna’s position only. With nothing else mixed in, such as guidance on how to prosper materially and the like. Narada knew that Vyasa would feel much better after having focused only on the Supreme Lord, His position with respect to the living entities, the history of some of His most important appearances, and especially His time on earth as the all-attractive one, Shri Krishna.
Friend1: But aren’t bits and pieces of that knowledge found in other Puranas and the like? Doesn’t the Mahabharata describe Krishna? What about the Hari-vamsha, which is considered the appendix to the Mahabharata?
Friend2: Again, the idea is to get the full presentation in a single work. No more need to jump from place to place. Saving a lot of time for everyone involved. The Vedas are compared to a tree with many branches, and Vyasadeva would compose a work to be known as the ripened fruit coming from that tree.
Friend1: I get all that, but still, I don’t know why he wasn’t satisfied already.
Friend2: That is the way of bhakti. There is never a final destination where you think that nothing else needs to be done. The occupation is eternal, sanatana-dharma. This is actually a benefit, since it means that the bliss experienced can continue to increase. This is another area where the difference between spiritual and material is marked.
Vyasa with so much to his name,
Yet left unsatisfied the same.
Narada the cause pointing out,
A single work, material without.
Focusing on Vasudeva alone,
With His pastimes brilliantly shown.
In bhakti always further inspiration,
For those serving with determination.