|Canto 1: Creation||Chapter 1: Questions by the Sages|
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 1.1.11
ataḥ sādho 'tra yat sāraḿ
brūhi bhadrāya bhūtānāḿ
bhūrīṇi — multifarious; bhūri — many; karmāṇi — duties; śrotavyāni — to be learned; vibhāgaśaḥ — by divisions of subject matter; ataḥ — therefore; sādho — O sage; atra — herein; yat — whatever; sāram — essence; samuddhṛtya — by selection; manīṣayā — best to your knowledge; brūhi — please tell us; bhadrāya — for the good of; bhūtānām — the living beings; yena — by which; ātmā — the self; suprasīdati — becomes fully satisfied.
There are many varieties of scriptures, and in all of them there are many prescribed duties, which can be learned only after many years of study in their various divisions. Therefore, O sage, please select the essence of all these scriptures and explain it for the good of all living beings, that by such instruction their hearts may be fully satisfied.
Ātmā, or self, is distinguished from matter and material elements. It is spiritual in constitution, and thus it is never satisfied by any amount of material planning. All scriptures and spiritual instructions are meant for the satisfaction of this self, or ātmā. There are many varieties of approaches which are recommended for different types of living beings in different times and at different places. Consequently, the numbers of revealed scriptures are innumerable. There are different methods and prescribed duties recommended in these various scriptures. Taking into consideration the fallen condition of the people in general in this age of Kali, the sages of Naimiṣāraṇya suggested that Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī relate the essence of all such scriptures because in this age it is not possible for the fallen souls to understand and undergo all the lessons of all these various scriptures in a varṇa and āśrama system.
The varṇa and āśrama society was considered to be the best institution for lifting the human being to the spiritual platform, but due to Kali-yuga it is not possible to execute the rules and regulations of these institutions. Nor is it possible for the people in general to completely sever relations with their families as the varṇāśrama institution prescribes. The whole atmosphere is surcharged with opposition. And considering this, one can see that spiritual emancipation for the common man in this age is very difficult. The reason the sages presented this matter to Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī is explained in the following verses.
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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness