Narada Muni Holds a Mirror to our Times
Srimad Bhagavatam, Mahatmyam, Chapter One Sloka 54:
Naradouvacha…With compassion, Narada says: hey pure one, through my knowledge, I am able to find the reasons for your weakness, old age of your sons and logic-defying opposite things happening in your life. Do not worry. Lord Vishnu will be able to liberate you.
Interpretation: After listening to the woeful story of Bhakti, Narada Muni is able to arrive at the crux of her problem and the reasons for her plight. In the coming slokas, he gives his explanation.
Srimad Bhagavatam, Mahatmyam, Chapter One Sloka 55:
Suthaouvacha..Suthan says that in a minute Narada could diagnose the problem of her sadness and this is what the sage said:
Sloka 56-57: Thenalupthaha..Said Narada, hey young lady, listen to me carefully. You are now in Kali yuga which creates fear. Due to the times in which you live, holy acts like tapas, yagnas etc have got destroyed. As people in this yuga cheat and sin, they are equal to asuras. This is the period when pious people suffer and cruel men enjoy. Whoever, through his thoughts, conquers fear, is called a brave soul and a pundit.
Interpretation: In Kali yuga, cruel people and unholy men gain strength. That is the trait of the yuga in which we live. Those who are able to come out of this murky waters are people who have bhakti. Like a lotus that stands resplendent and untouched by the muck in which it is born, people with bhakti are able to realize the Supreme. Tapas, yagnas, gnyana or wisdom in scriptures do not have strength; they will also not yield the desired result because of the overwhelming shadow of Kali Yuga.
Srimad Bhagavatam, Mahatmyam, Chapter One Sloka 58:
Asprishya.This earth is deteriorating every year and is becoming useless. Because of this, it is becoming a burden on the head of Adiseshan. There is no good fortune in sight anywhere.
Interpretation: In the scriptures, it is believed that the Earth is held on the head of Adishesha or a massive serpent. Probably the reference is to the Milky Way Galaxy which is coiled like a serpent and the Earth is held in one of its spiraling arms.
Srimad Bhagavatam, Mahatmyam, Chapter One Sloka 59: Na twamapi..Nobody is caring for you and your children – Gnana and Vairagya. This is because people have lost their wisdom as they are immersed in transient joys of the materialistic world. That is why you looked old and weak.
Interpretation: In Kali-yuga, people would only be interested in materialistic pleasures. They will also pursue religion for materialistic gains.
All that Narada Muni had said long ago is true even today. We see deterioration in moral values everywhere. Religion is getting commercialised. Spiritualty is being ‘sold’ by people.
Srimad Bhagawatham, Mahatmyam, Chapter One Sloka 60:
Brindavanasya..But on reaching Brindavan, you once again regained your youthfulness. Brindavanam is a holy place where Bhakti is dancing with joy.
Interpretation: Brindavan in Uttar Pradesh is a town. But it should be noted that wherever Bhakti is dancing or present, that place is Brindavanam. You can create a Brindavan around you through Bhakti – in your daily life, in your house…just anywhere. Wherever Bhakti is there, Lord Krishna would also be there; that then becomes Brindavan. Meerabhai, the great devotee of Lord Krishna, proved that; Chaitanya Mahaprabhu too created a Briandavan wherever he went.
Srimad Bhagavatam, Mahatmyam, Chapter One Sloka 61:
Athremo..In Brindavanam, there is no `demand’ for your sons – Gnyana and Vairagya. That is why they still look old and weak. However, they are able to get some peace of mind and therefore they are able to sleep well.