SB 1.3 - Seeing Kṛṣṇa in the pages of Bhāgavatam

Sūta said that when Śuka recited Bhāgavatam, he heard him with rapt attention and thus learned it from the great sage. Sūta said that now he would make the sages of Naimiṣāraṇya hear the same message as he learned it and as he realized it (yathādhītaṁ yathā-mati). One can see Kṛṣṇa directly in the pages of Bhāgavatam if one has heard it from a self realized soul like Śuka. One cannot learn Bhāgavatam from a bogus person who engages in sex indulgence. Nor can one learn from one who interprets the text by mundane scholarship. Sūta is a bona fide representative of Śuka because he wants to present the message which he received from the great brāhmaṇa. Sūta says he did not concoct anything but followed Śuka who understood everything, grasping its full extent with his intelligence. So Viśvanātha Cakravartī says here that Sūta would speak the scripture as he learned it according to Śuka’s realization (yathā matiḥ).

Simply hearing is not all; one must realize the text with proper attention (yathā-mati). By drinking the juice of Bhāgavatam thru the ears, and hearing it with rapt attention from a real person, one can realize the presence of Kṛṣṇa in every page. No one can give rapt attention who is not pure in mind. No one can be pure in mind who is not pure in action. No one can be pure in action who is not pure in eating, sleeping, fearing and mating. But somehow if one hears with rapt attention from the right person, at the very beginning one can assuredly see Kṛṣṇa in person in the pages of Bhāgavatam.

These are the qualifications needed to understand scripture. Mundane scholars and sense enjoyers have no access to the real meaning of scriptures. And by reading Bhāgavatam if one finds himself attracted to Kṛṣṇa, then it must be understood the real interpretation of Bhāgavatam. Also some scholars translate or explain scripture without realization. But Śrīla Prabhupāda presents realized knowledge in his translations and purports, and so sometimes they may not be a literal interpretation. Sūta says he was going to explain Bhāgavatam according to what he learned and as he realized it, and not simply parrot like repetition. That is how Prabhupāda wrote his books.