Lecture on Srimad Bhagavatam, Canto 10, Chapter 2, Text 17 titled “Meaning of dham” given by Madhavendra Puri Prabhu.
This series of lectures was given during the 2011 TP/GBC Meetings held here in Dallas.
While carrying the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead within the core of his heart, Vasudeva bore the Lord’s transcendentally illuminating effulgence, and thus he became as bright as the sun. He was therefore very difficult to see or approach through sensory perception. Indeed, he was unapproachable and unperceivable even for such formidable men as Kamsa, and not only for Kamsa but for all living entities.
The word dhama is significant. Dhama refers to the place where the Supreme Personality of Godhead resides. In the beginning of Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.1.1) it is said, dhamna svena sada nirasta-kuhakam satyam param dhimahi. In the abode of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, there is no influence of material energy (dhamna svena sada nirasta-kuhakam). Any place where the Supreme Personality of Godhead is present by His name, form, qualities or paraphernalia immediately becomes a dhama. For example, we speak of Vrindavana-dhama, Dvaraka-dhama and Mathura-dhama because in these places the name, fame, qualities and paraphernalia of the Supreme Godhead are always present. Similarly, if one is empowered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead to do something, the core of his heart becomes a dhama, and thus he becomes so extraordinarily powerful that not only his enemies but also people in general are astonished to observe his activities. Because he is unapproachable, his enemies are simply struck with wonder, as explained here by the words durasado ‘tidurdharsah.
The words paurusham dhama have been explained by various acaryas. Sri Viraraghava Acarya says that these words refer to the effulgence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Vijayadhvaja says that they signify vishnu-tejas, and Sukadeva says bhagavat-svarupa. The Vaishnava-toshani says that these words indicate the influence of the Supreme Lord’s effulgence, and Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura says that they signify the appearance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.