Who is your favorite devotee in Srimad Bhagvatam and why?
Just one-and-a-half years back the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) came crashing down and news began to pour in of a global stock meltdown and recession. Everyday, newspapers started reporting suicides due to sudden loss of all one’s wealth, fights, murders and litigations between the indebted and debtors. Harsh words of recovery agents drove people to commit either suicide or heinous crimes.
All along my spiritual life I learnt that the Srimad-Bhagavatam has answers to all real life situations and tells us how to deal with such crises. I started browsing through the pages of Srimad-Bhagavatam looking for some solution, as I was going through a similar situation in my life though not entirely attributed to global meltdown.
In Canto 11, Lord Krishna, narrates the story of a brahmana of Avantidesa, who had faced a similar situation. He was a wealthy but miserly agriculturist and banker. In due course of time he lost all his wealth some taken away by his relatives, some by the effects of time, and some by government authorities. Suddenly, a realization dawned upon him that only one’s previous karma is responsible for one’s present miseries. He became a sannyasi and wherever he roamed, he was insulted and tormented, but he tolerated his grief.
My favorite character is undoubtedly Avanti Brahmana, as his story enlightens us about the following: 1) ill effects of money, 2) failure to be charitable, 3) tolerance and 4) the ability to see the Lord’s loving hands in unfavorable circumstances and to go ahead with our lives positively in Krishnaconsciousness.
(Jagannatha Vallabha Dasa,Mumbai)
Dhruva has inspired me the most. His life is exemplary. At just five years old he undertook severe penance in search of Lord Krishna. The penance yielded the appearance of Lord Krishna before him, the benediction of ruling the kingdom for 36,000 years, a planet for himself called the polestar, and remembering the Lord at the time of death to sail into Goloka Vrindavana. Dhruva’s life shows that by the process of bhakti-yoga anyone of any age, including a child, can be purified.
So many people complain about the troubles in life and are confused about the role of God in mitigating those miseries. But in Kunti Devi we find glorious character who welcomed miseries. Despite being born in and married into a kingly family and being the aunt of the Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna, she had to undergo tremendous miseries in her life, but the prayers she offered to the Lord are still a source of inspiration. She recounted all the troubles of her life, but instead of complaining about them, she thanked Krishna for protecting them from all those dangerous situations. Not only that, she begged the Lord that such miseries should repeatedly come in her life so that she would be able to remember Lord Krishna, the darshana of whom frees one from the darshana of repeated birth and death.
This incident teaches us that the miseries in life are inevitable. Even Kunti Maharani had to suffer despite being the aunt of the Supreme Lord, who is the ultimate shelter of everybody. What to speak of all of us who are millions of light years away from the Lord. We have to learn to tolerate the sufferings of this world and be grateful to the Lord for whatever He has given to us. Krishna becomes pleased with this attitude.
Druva Maharaja is my favorite devotee from Srimad-Bhagavatam. Though he was initially having material desires, since he went to Lord Visnu, he became completely purified. Also, the lesson we learn is that if we simply follow the instruction of the spiritual master, as Druva Maharaja did, we can surely attain the mercy of the Lord. It is said that by the mercy of the spiritual master we get Krishna and by Krishna’s mercy we can get a spiritual master.
Prahlada Maharaja is my favorite devotee because he gives us the very nice teaching not to leave devotional service for old age, but accept it very early in our life. He was fully dependent on Krishna and had very strong faith that Krishna definitely would save him.
My favourite character is Mother Yashoda. She stayed with Krishna all throughout His childhood and we can learn from her how to love Krishna in parental affection.
(Paramananda Puri Dasa,Mumbai)
Narada Muni the eternal space man who holds a vina in his hands and chants the holy names of the Lord is my favorite personality in Srimad-Bhagavatam.
Narada Muni is famous as a great devotee of the Lord because of his ability to elevate many materially conditioned living entities to the platform of a mahatma a great soul. Hence he is the spiritual master of many famous devotees of the Lord. He is the deliverer of many like Prahlada Maharaja one born in a demoniac family, Druva Maharaja a five year old boy who was highly materially ambitious, Mrgari a cruel animal hunter. Therefore Narada Muni’s only business is to turn everyone to the loving service of the Supreme Lord.
Thus Narada Muni’s compassion, his quality of being friend of all living beings, and above all he himself being a first class devotee of the Lord makes him my favorite personality in Srimad-Bhagavatam.
(Brajaswamini Devi Dasi,Mumbai)
It will always be Maharaja Nabhi. It was he who taught me how I could practice devotional service even in this age of Kali. The king performed sacrifice for begetting a son like the Supreme Personality of Godhead and out of supreme mercy the Lord became his son Rsabhadeva. As Rsabhadeva grew up and was very popular among his citizens and ministers, the king enthroned Him. This was after consulting the learned brahmanas and according to the Vedic principles. Then, Maharaja Nabhi retired from family life and, along with his wife, went to Badrikasrama and accepted all kinds of austerities. And thus being fully absorbed in Krishna consciousness attained success at the end of his life and went back home, back to Godhead. He gives me the faith and confidence that even material desire when dovetailed with Krishna consciousness helps one to attain the ultimate goal the Lord’s abode.
(Vraja Vijaya Devi Dasi)
Giriraja Govardhana inspires me the most. To protect Vrajavasis, Krishna held Govardhan for one week. Giriraja tolerated all the thunders, storms, and heavy rain caused by Indradeva. All the while Vrajavasis were very happy looking at the lotus face of Krishna. Although Giriraja did not get the chance to see Krishna face to face during Govardhan-lila, he was the most fortunate devotee, because he enjoyed Krishna’s personal touch and also got a chance to serve the Vrajavasis by giving them shelter.
That is why Sri Caitanaya Mahaprabhu glorifies him as “Haridasavarya”, the best devotee of the Lord Hari, .
(Ananga Mohini Devi Dasi,Chennai)
My favorite devotee is Maharaja Ambarisa. He is an eminent emperor of the world and a pure devotee of Lord Krishna who controlled all his senses. He fixed his mind on the lotus feet of Lord Krishna engaging his body, mind and words in the service of the Lord.