SB 1.5 - Nārada chastises Vyāsa

Nārada chastises Vyāsa saying that he had encouraged people to enjoy in the name of religion. Being guided by Vyāsa, people would accept activities in the name of religion without caring for prohibitions. Vyāsa had created a great disturbance by teaching a condemned subject to people attached to material enjoyment in order to make them accept dharma. Thinking what Vyāsa had taught is real dharma, they do not consider giving it up. The humans due to long association with material nature have a tendency to lord it over material energy. The human life is a chance to go back to Godhead, and that is the purpose of the Vedas. But in the name of religious functions, human beings plan for sense enjoyment. Vyāsa is the authority in Vedas, and his encouragement in sense enjoyment in some form or the other is a great barrier for spiritual advancement. When people indulged in animal sacrifice in the name of religion, the Lord advented as Buddha and decried the authority of the Vedas to stop killing of animals. Still the flesh eaters continue to sacrifice animals before some demigod in the name of religion, without understanding such sacrifices are recommended to discourage flesh eating.

In Mahābhārata there are spiritual subjects along with material topics. Vyāsa’s intention was to promote scriptures to materialistic persons who do not want bhakti, and so he first presented material happiness in his works so that people could hear the glories of the Lord. Vidura confirms the true intentions of Vyāsa when he says in Mahābhārata, Vyāsa attracted men’s attention to topics of the Lord thru topics about material happiness. But this has caused a great disturbance for materialistic people who are attached to enjoy from impressions arising from sense objects because Vyāsa had taught material dharma. The materially minded men ascertaining what Vyāsa had explained to be the correct path – thinking it is not a fault to offer meat to the devatās and pitṛs – do not consider giving up that path. They do not consider what is to be actually done as explained by Kṛṣṇa in BG 18.66.

The Bhagavad gītā is there in the Mahābhārata. But materialistic men are more attracted to the politics, economics and philanthropic activities in the Mahābhārata than to the principal topic, namely the Bhagavad gītā. Even in the gītā it is said that a man attached to fruitive work should not be discouraged, for gradually he may be elevated to the position of self realization. This is applicable to the dry empiric philosophers but not to the devotees. Nārada advises Vyāsa to directly proclaim that the prime necessity of human life is to realize one’s eternal relation with the Lord and thus surrender to Him without delay.