SB 1.3 - The essence of all spiritual activities
In the Bhāgavatam historical facts of different planets have been depicted. The special significance of these histories is that they are all connected with the activities of the Lord in a different time and atmosphere. Vyāsa, being a great authority, delivered the message first to his son Śukadeva Gosvāmī, who is the topmost of all self realized souls. One should accept it from a representative of Śuka and not from a professional man who makes a living out of reciting Bhāgavatam. The purpose of all the Vedas is to know Lord Kṛṣṇa. Śrīmad Bhāgavatam is Kṛṣṇa Himself in the form of recorded knowledge. Therefore it is the cream of all the Vedas, and the essence of all histories.
Śuka delivered the Bhāgavatam to the great emperor Parīkṣit, who sat surrounded by sages on the bank of Ganges, awaiting death without taking food or drink. Parīkṣit received information of his death in time, and he at once left his kingdom and family and sat down on the bank of the Ganges to fast till death. All great sages went there and offered many suggestions about his immediate duty, and at last it was settled that he would hear from Śuka about Lord Kṛṣṇa. Thus the Bhāgavatam was spoken to him. Śaṅkara, who preached Māyāvāda, also recommended that one should take shelter of Govinda because the flowery grammatical interpretation of the Vedānta-sūtra cannot help one at the time of death. Śuka stated the same truth long time ago, that at the end one must remember Nārāyaṇa. That is the essence of all spiritual activities. By reciting Bhāgavatam to Parīkṣit, both the speaker and the listener were duly delivered.