Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī writes,
kṛṣṇa-tulya bhāgavata—vibhu, sarvāśraya
prati-śloke prati-akṣare nānā artha kaya
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is as great as Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Lord and shelter of everything. In each and every verse of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and in each and every syllable, there are various meanings. (Śrī Caitanya Caritāmṛta, Madhya-līla, 24.318)
The life of a devotee is based on the Bhāgavatam, for through each of its jewel-like verses, one is taught how to think, feel and act like a devotee. It is said that the Vedas instruct like a master, the Purāṇas instruct like a friend, and poetic works instruct like a lover, but the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam does all the three.
vedāḥ purāṇaṁ kāvyaṁ ca
prabhur mitraṁ priyeva ca
bodhayantīti hi prāhus
trivṛd bhāgavataṁ punaḥ
(Quoted in Tattva-sandarbha, From Muktā-phale, by Hemādri)
By this beautiful Bhāgavatam, we are taught in times of ignorance, reasoned with in times of doubt, and nourished at all other times, as if by our most intimate companion. It is in this mood that Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī prays:
mad-ānanda namo ’stu te
O my only friend! my companion!, my guru!, my great wealth!, my saviour!, my fortune!, my happiness!, I offer my respectsonto You. (Kṛṣṇa-līlā-stava 415)
Reciting and memorizing these jewel-like verses of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam makes Bhāgavatam our companion at all stages of life, even in times of catastrophe – when we may neither have the book Bhāgavatam, nor perhaps even the devotee Bhāgavata to guide us. It is the devotees’ practical experience that even in the most ordinary of circumstances, a verse memorized suddenly springs from the core of their consciousness, illuminating their perspective of a certain situation.
It is with the aim of aiding the devotees’ practice of seeing the world with the perspective of Bhāgavatam that the Bhaktivedānta Vidyāpīṭha mandates all of its students to memorize the 200 verses presented in this volume of Bhāgavata Ratnamāla during their course.