By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Prahlāda Mahārāja says that this bhāgavata-dharma means to revive our lost relationship with God. We should know what is God. We should know what we are, living entities. We should know what is this material nature. We should know what is time, and we should know what are our real activities. So Bhāgavata-dharma is scientific knowledge. It is not sentiment.
Religion without philosophical understanding is sentiment. And philosophy without understanding of God is mental speculation. So we should not be both, neither sentimentalist nor dry mental speculator. There is a class of mental speculators, they’re writing volumes of books but there is no substance. And there are some religious fanatics, but they do not know, do not understand what is religion. So these two classes of men are now very prominent at the present moment.
But if anyone is intelligent he’ll know that Srimad-Bhagavata, or Bhagavad-gita is a combination of religious sentiment plus philosophy. One should understand religion on the basis of philosophy and logic. Not blindly accepting. So this is called Bhāgavata-dharma.
So Prahlāda Mahārāja recommends that from childhood this should be instructed. Because nobody is caring to teach this science of God from childhood. Therefore the present population, Godless population is the cause of all disturbances. In the Bhagavad-gita, you’ll find that the word varna-sankara is used. Varna-sankara means unwanted population. What is the use of this population?
But actually, important population means those who are conversant with the science of God. That is important population. Otherwise, what is the use of living? Simply for living? The Bhagavata says does the tree not live? The tree also lives for thousands of years. So do you mean to say that living is very important thing? No. There are many trees that live for thousands of years. So what is the value of living? If you say, “Oh, the tree lives, but they cannot breathe.” Breathing. The Bhagavata says the bellow, it breathes very nicely. “Well, the bellow can breathe, but it cannot eat.” “Oh, the dogs and hogs, don’t they eat?” There are so many questions and answers in the Bhagavata.
Shankaracharya lived for 32 years, and Lord Jesus Christ, I think, he also lived similarly. Lord Caitanya lived for 48 years. But their philosophy and God consciousness is so important, they are still living. Kalpante sthayinā gunāh. Chanakya Pandita said, āyusah ksana vidyanti: this duration of life can be finished at any moment, but kalpante sthayinā gunāh: But if you are a qualified man then your qualities will be remembered for many, many thousands of years. Therefore live for the best qualities, to acquire the best qualities, i.e. God consciousness or Krishna consciousness.
So Prahlāda Mahārāja recommends to the world society that from the very beginning of childhood this science of Bhāgavata-dharma should be taught.
[An excerpt from a lecture delivered on the Srimad Bhagavatam 7.6.1 in Boston on May 8, 1968]