Chapters 9 – 25 are Work In Progress
What if one does not accept the authority of Srimad-Bhagavatam?
The provision found in Vedic scriptures for determining caste by birth is superior to what is commonly accepted by Hindu societies in India; caste is determined by birth only. By birth only is a recent practice, which has led to the degradation of the caste system in India, and thus the degradation of varnashrama system of society. This is very unfortunate for the majority of humans born in India. This one aspect of current Indian society has degraded Indian society to the lowest level in its history.
India’s potential is so great due to its Vedic literatures; however, this potential is stifled due to the heave burden of the caste system in place in Indian society today. India will not advance until it straightens out this miss-conception. The proof of this is right there in their own Vedic scriptures. Thus, a reason that Lord Caitanya started the vaisnava sankirtana movement, which is now being spread throughout the world. Srila Prabhupada, one said that in time, the world will recognize that the Glory of India is in its literatures.
What should the jiva do to attain this type of sraddha (faith).
Sraddha is the jiva’s eternal nature, but faith in the performance of varnasrama duties does not arise from this eternal nature; rather it arises from the circumstantial or temporary nature. It is said in the Chandogya Upanisad (7.19.1):
“When a person develops sraddha, he thinks about a subject and understand it, whereas one cannot do so without sraddha. Indeed, only a person who has sraddha can reflect upon anything. Therefore, you must inquire very specifically about sraddha.A”
Some people who are learned in the conclusions of the scriptures have explained that the word sraddha means to have faith in the Vedas and in the words of sri-guru. This meaning is not wrong, but it is not entirely clear.
In vaisnava disciplic succession, the meaning of the word sraddha is given as follows:
“Sraddha is the characteristic function of the heart that strives toward bhakti alone, which is totally devoid of karma, jnana, and which desires nothing other than the exclusive pleasure of Krishna.” (Amnaya-sutra 57)
When the sadhaka regularly hears the instructions of sadhus in the association of suddha-bhaktas, a conviction arises in his heart that he cannot obtain his eternal welfare by the methods of karma, jnana, yoga, and so on, and that he has no means of success unless he takes exclusive shelter at the lotus feet of Sri Hari. When this conviction appears, it may be understood that sraddha has arisen in the sadhaka’s heart. The nature of sraddha is described as follows:
“Sraddha is characterized by its external symptom known as saranagati, surrender to Sri Hari.” (Amnaya-sutra 58)
Saranagati is described in these words. (Hari-bhakti-vilasa 11.47):
There are six symptoms of self-surrender.
The first two comprise as a solemn vow and are:
“I will only do that which is favorable for unalloyed bhakti, and I will reject all that is unfavorable.”
The third symptom is faith in Bhagavan as one’s protector; this is an expression of trust:
“Bhagavan is my only protector. I can derive absolutely no benefit from jnana, yoga, and other such practices.”
The fourth symptom is deliberate acceptance of Bhagavan as one’s maintainer; this is what is meant by dependence:
“I cannot obtain anything, or even maintain myself, by my own endeavor. I will serve Bhagavan as far as I am able, and He will take care of me.”
The fifth symptom is surrender; this is called submission of the self:
“Who am I? I am His. My duty is to fulfill His desire.”
The sixth symptom is meekness; this is what is meant by humility:
“I am wretched, insignificant, and materially destitute.”
When these moods become established in the heart, a disposition arises that is called sraddha. A jiva who has this sraddha is eligible for bhakti, and this is the first stage in the development of the svabhava (the true nature) like that of those pure jivas who are eternally liberated. Therefore, this is the nitya-svabhava (eternal true nature) of the jivas, and all other natures are temporary and circumstantial.