Mango the king of fruits. A favourite fruit of Sanskrit poets for its metaphoric use. Let us see a few examples: Mango—the king of fruits. A favourite fruit of Sanskrit poets for its metaphoric use. Let us see a few examples: Srila Prabhupada once said that in its unripe stage a mango is considered a mango, and when it becomes ripe and relishable it is still a mango. So even when a newcomer begins to chant Hare Krsna his activities are within the realm of love of God and are pleasing to Krsna. But activities of karma, jnana, and yoga are not pleasing to Krsna unless they are dovetailed with bhakti.
Bhakti is more than a process leading to a result it is the constitutional nature of the living being. As Lord Caitanya states in the Caitanya caritamrta (Madhya 20.108): jivera ‘svarupa’ haya—krsnera ‘nityadasa’: “It is the living entity’s constitutional position to be an eternal servant of Krsna.” Even in the beginning stages, bhakti is both the means and the end. Another example concerns mango juice: the Sanskrit word rasa means juice, just like the juice of an orange or a mango. And the author of the Srimad Bhagavatam requests that you kindly try to taste the rasa, or juice, of the fruit of the Bhagavatam.
Why should you taste the juice of the fruit of the Bhagavatam?
Because it is the ripened fruit of the Vedic desire tree. As a desire tree, whatever you want you can have from the Vedas. Veda means knowledge. There are different branches of knowledge in the Vedic writings, including sociology, politics, medicine and military art. All these and other branches of knowledge required for human society are perfectly described in the Vedas. It is so complete that whether you want to enjoy this material world or you want to enjoy spiritual life, both kinds of knowledge are there. If you follow the Vedic principles, then you will be happy. This is like the codes of the state. If the citizens obey, then they will be happy, there will be no criminal trespassing, and they will enjoy life. And Srimad Bhagavatam is considered to be the ripened fruit of this desire fulfilling tree of the Vedas.
A tree is honoured by the production of its fruit. For example, a mango tree is considered very valuable because it produces the king of all fruits, the mango. When the mango fruit becomes ripened it is the greatest gift of that tree, and Srimad Bhagavatam is similarly held to be the ripened fruit of the Vedic tree. And as ripened fruit becomes more relishable when first touched by the beak of a parrot, or Suka, Srimad Bhagavatam has become more relishable by being delivered through the transcendental mouth of Sukadeva Gosvami.
Srimad Bhagavatam should be received in disciplic succession without any breakage. When a ripened fruit comes from the upper part of the tree onto the ground by the process of being handed down from a higher branch to a lower branch by persons in the tree, the fruit does not break. Srimad Bhagavatam, when received in the parampara system, or disciplic succession, will likewise remain unbroken. It is stated in Bhagavad gita that the disciplic succession, or parampara, is the way of receiving transcendental knowledge. Such knowledge must come down through the disciplic succession, through authorized persons who know the real purpose of the sastra. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu recommended that one learn Srimad Bhagavatam from the mouth of the self realized person called Bhagavatam. Bhagavatam means “in relationship with the Personality of Godhead [Bhagavan].” So the devotee is sometimes called Bhagavatam, and the book which is in relationship with devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead is also called Bhagavatam. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu recommended that, in order to relish the real taste of Srimad Bhagavatam, one should take instruction from the person Bhagavatam. Srimad Bhagavatam is relishable even by a liberated person. Sukadeva Gosvami admitted that although he was liberated from within the very womb of his mother, it was only after relishing Srimad Bhagavatam that he became a great devotee. Thus, one who is desirous of advancing in Krsna consciousness should relish the purport of Srimad Bhagavatam through the discussions of authorized devotees.
Here is an example where material and spiritual ways of tasting are compared: The mango fruit is different from the name of the mango. One cannot taste the mango fruit simply by chanting, “Mango, mango, mango.” But the devotee who knows that there is no difference between the name and the form of the Lord chants Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, and realizes that he is always in Krsna’s company. The speculative process of empiric philosophy is as bitter as the fruit of the nimba tree. Tasting this fruit is the business of crows. In other words, the philosophical process of realizing the Absolute Truth is a process taken up by crow like men. But the cuckoo like devotees have very sweet voices with which to chant the holy name of the Lord and taste the sweet fruit of the mango tree of love of Godhead. Such devotees relish sweet mellows with the Lord.
The unfortunate transcendentalists simply speculate on dry philosophy, whereas the transcendentalists who are in love with Radha and Krsna enjoy fruit just like the cuckoo. Thus those who are devotees of Radha and Krsna are most fortunate. The bitter nimba fruit is not at all eatable; it is simply full of dry speculation and is only fit for crow like philosophers. Mango seeds, however, are very relishable, and those in the devotional service of Radha and Krsna enjoy them.
We shall end this with a wonderful mango pastime:
One day Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu performed sankirtana with all His devotees, and when they were greatly fatigued they sat down. The Lord then sowed a mango seed in the yard, and immediately the seed fructified into a tree and began to grow.
As people looked on, the tree became fully grown, with fruits that fully ripened. Thus everyone was struck with wonder.
The Lord immediately picked about two hundred fruits, and after washing them He offered them to Krsna to eat. The fruits were all red and yellow, with no seed inside and no skin outside. They were full of nectarean juice and were so sweet that a man would be fully satisfied by eating only one.
In India a mango is considered best when it is red and yellow, its seed is very small, its skin is very thin, and it is so palatable that if a person eats one fruit he will be satisfied.
Seeing the quality of the mangoes, the Lord was greatly satisfied, and thus after eating first, He fed all the other devotees.
In this way, fruits grew on the tree every day throughout the twelve months of the year, and the Vaisnavas used to eat them, to the Lord’s great satisfaction.
In this way the Lord performed sankirtana every day, and at the end of sankirtana there was a mangoeating festival every day for twelve months.
(Syamananda Dasa)