— Glories of Shri Krishna’s literary incarnation, i.e. Srimad Bhagavatam —


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Srimad Bhagavatam

Glories of Srimad Bhagavatam from various Vedic texts:

Overview:

  1. Characteristics and importance of Srimad Bhagavatam
  2. Srimad Bhagavatam is the essence of all the 5 Vedas
  3. Srimad Bhagavatam is literary incarnation of Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna
  4. Srimad Bhagavatam is a Maha-Purana
  5. When Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu defeated Mayavadi Acharya Prakashananda Sarswati (who later became a pure devotee) Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu explained him..
  6. Srimad Bhagavatam is free from the contaminations of material desires or modes
  7. Predictions that have come true 
  8. Atomic theory, development of Embryo, Advanced cosmology and astronomy etc.
  9. Glorification of Srimad Bhagavatam by Srila Suta Goswami in the last chapter of last canto of Srimad Bhagavatam

After compiling the Vedic literature, Puranas, etc., Vyasadeva was still feeling unsatisfied. While thinking in this way Narada Muni reached the cottage of Vyasadeva and was asked about the cause of dissatisfaction. Narada Muni explained that because he (Vyasadeva) did not directly describe Krsna’s pastimes, and instead gave a license to enjoy sense gratification under religious principles, he was remaining unsatisfied. Narada then instructed Vyasadeva in the catur sloka (Srimad Bhagavatam 2.9.33-36) the essence of the Veda. Vyasadeva took these four verses and expanded them to compile the Srimad Bhagavatam, which is known as the ripened fruit of Vedic literature because it directly describes Krsna’s transcendental pastimes.

In Srimad Bhagavatam itself, it is said:

krsne sva-dhamopagate dharma-jnanadibhih saha kalau nasta-drsam esa puranarko ‘dhunoditah

 This Bhagavata Purana is as brilliant as the sun, and it has arisen just after the departure of Lord Krsna to His own abode, accompanied by religion, knowledge, etc. Persons who have lost their vision due to the dense darkness of ignorance in the age of Kali shall get light from this Purana. (SB 1.3.43)

1.Characteristics and importance of Srimad Bhagavatam

The characteristics of Srimad Bhagavatam are given in the Matsya Purana (53.20-22), “That which explains the topmost principles of religion, basing it on Gayatri, and which has the incident of the killing of Vrtrasura is to be known as the Srimad Bhagavatam. This Purana has eighteen thousand verses. Whoever makes a copy of the Srimad Bhagavatam and, placing it on a golden lion throne, donates it on the full moon day in the month of Bhadra (August-September), will attain the supreme goal”.

Skanda Purana, Prabhasa Khanda (7.1.2.39-42) also describes Srimad Bhagavatam: “That which gives accounts of the humans and demigods in the Sarasvata Kalpa, explains the supreme religion, basing itself on Gayatri, and narrates the slaying of Vrtrasura is to be known as the Srimad Bhagavatam. It has eighteen thousand verses. Whoever makes a copy of the Bhagavatam and donates it, on a golden lion throne, on the full moon day in the month of Bhadra, will attain the supreme destination”.

In Padma Purana, “Gautama said: O Lord of the Earth, do you recite the Bhagavata Purana in front of the Deity of Lord Hari, especially the narration of the king of the demons, Prahlada Maharaja?” (Padma Purana, Uttara Khanda 22.115)

Again, in the Padma Purana, in the section glorifying the vow of Vyanjuli Mahadvadasi, Gautama instructs King Ambarisa, “One should stay awake (on the night of Vyanjuli Mahadvadasi) and hear the scriptures that narrate the stories of Lord Visnu and His devotees, especially the Bhagavad-gita, the thousand names of Lord Visnu, and the Purana narrated by Suka (Srimad Bhagavatam). These should be recited with care since they are pleasing to Lord Hari.”

And in the same section of the Padma Purana: “O Ambarisa, if you desire an end to your material existence, then everyday hear Srimad Bhagavatam narrated by Suka, and also recite it yourself.”

In the Prahlada Samhita of the Skanda Purana, in the section describing the glory of Dvaraka is this statement, “A person who stays up (on the night of Ekadasi) and recites the Srimad Bhagavatam with devotion in front of the Deity of Lord Hari goes to the abode of Lord Hari with all his family members.”

The Padma Purana, Uttara khanda (190.3), states:

puranesu tu sarvesu srimad bhagavatam param yatra pratipadam krsnam giyate bahudarsibhih

 “Among all the Puranas, the Srimad Bhagavatam, in which Lord Krsna is glorified at every step by various great sages, is supreme.”

The Skanda Purana (2.6.4.3) states:

srimadbhagavatasyatha srimadbhagavatah sada svarupam ekamevasti saccidanandalaksanam

“The nature of the Srimad Bhagavatam and the Personality of Godhead is always the same – full knowledge, bliss, and eternal existence.” And the Padma Purana, Uttara Khanda (198.30) has this statement, srimadbhagavatakhyo’yam pratyaksah krsna eva hi, “Without any doubt, Srimad Bhagavatam is directly Lord Krsna.”

The Skanda Purana states, “In Kali-yuga, of what value are collections of hundreds of thousands of other scriptures, if one does not keep the Srimad Bhagavatam in his house? In Kali-yuga, how can a person be considered a Vaisnava if the Srimad Bhagavatam does not find a place in his house? Even if he is a brahmana, he is to be considered lower than a dog-eater. O Vipra, Narada, wherever is the Srimad Bhagavatam in Kali-yuga, the Lord goes there along with the demigods. O muni, a person who faithfully recites a verse of Srimad Bhagavatam every day attains the fruit of reading the eighteen Puranas”. (Skanda Purana, 2.5.16.40-42,44,33)

2.Srimad Bhagavatam is the essence of all the 5 Vedas

Quote from Garuda Purana in Hari-bhakti-vilasa 10.394-395:

artho’yam brahma sutranam bharatartha-vinirnayah gayatri bhasya rupo’sau vedartha paribrmhitah purananam sama rupah saksad bhagavatoditah dvadasa skandha yukto’yam sata viccheda samyutah grantho’stadasa sahasrah srimad bhagavatabhidam

 “The Srimad Bhagavatam is the explanation of the Vedanta Sutra. It is the complete settlement of the Mahabharata. It is the complete commentary on the Gayatri mantra. It strengthens the explanation of the Vedas and is the topmost Purana, written by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It has twelve cantos, one hundred sections and eighteen thousand slokas.”

Sabe purusartha ‘bhakti’ bhagavate haya ‘premarupa Bhagavata’ carivede kaya
cari veda-dadhi Bhagavata mathilenn suke-khailenu pariksita
 
Srimad Bhagvatam speaks of the highest goal of life, devotional services, and divine love of krsna. According to all the vedas Srimad Bhagavatam is the very form of divine love. The four Vedas are like yogurts, but Srimad Bhagvatam is like butter. The churner of this butter is Sukadeva Gosvami, and the eater of this butter is Pariksita maharaja(C. Bhag. Mad., 22.15-16) krsna-tulya bhagavata vibhu, sarvasraya prati-Sloke prati-aksare nana artha kaya “Srimad-Bhagavatam is as great as Krsna, the Supreme Lord and shelter of everything. In each and every verse of Srimad-Bhagavatam and in each and every syllable, there are various meanings.(Cc. Mad 24.318) bhagavata, tulasi gangaya, bhaktajane caturdha vigraha krsna ei cari sane Srimad Bhagavatam, Tulasi-devi, the Ganges, and the devotees- wherever these four things are found, Krsna is always present. (C.Bhag. Mad. 22.B1)

3.Srimad Bhagavatam is literary incarnation of Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna:

Along with Padma Purana, Uttara Khanda (198.30): srimadbhagavatakhyo’yam pratyaksah krsna eva hi, In Srimad Bhagavatam 1/3/40, Sri Suta Goswami also describes the same:

idaṁ bhāgavataṁ nāma purāṇaṁ brahma-sammitam uttama-śloka-caritaṁ cakāra bhagavān ṛṣiḥ niḥśreyasāya lokasya dhanyaṁ svasty-ayanaṁ mahat
“This Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the literary incarnation of God, and it is compiled by Śrīla Vyāsadeva, the incarnation of God. It is meant for the ultimate good of all people, and it is all-successful, all-blissful and all-perfect.”

Also, in the Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Krishna janma khanda, 73rd chapter, 79th verse, Sri Krishna said:

param puransutreshu chaham bhagavatam varam

“Of all the Puranas, I’m the Best and Supreme Srimad Bhagavata Purana.”

Padma Purana explains:

padau yadiyau prathama dvitiyau tritiyaturyau kathitau yaduru nabhistatha pancama eva sasto bhujantaram doryugalam yathanyau mukharavindam dasamam praphullam ekadasau yasya lalatha pathakam siro pi yad dvadasa eva bati tamadidevam karuna nidhanam tamala varnam suhitavataram aparasamsara samudra setum bhajamehe bhagavata svarupam

I meditate on the most merciful Sri Krsna. Whose bodily hue is like a tamala tree. He has appeared for everyone’s benefit in the form of Srimad Bhagavatam. The srimad Bhagavatam is like a bridge for crossing over the unending ocean of birth and death. The first and second cantos are His lotus feet. The third and fourth cantos are His two thighs. The fifth canto is His navel (waist). The seventh and eighth are His mighty shoulders. The ninth canto is His throat (neck). The tenth canto is His face, which is like a fully bloomed lotus flower. The eleventh canto is His forehead. The twelfth canto is His head.

4.Srimad Bhagavatam is a Maha-Purana

Enumeration of the subjects in the Srimad Bhagavatam (SB 2.10.1)

By Sri Sukadeva Gosvami

  1. Sarga (primary creation)
  2. Visarga (secondary creation)
  3. Sthanam (maintenance)
  4. Posana (nourishment)
  5. Uti (material desires)
  6. Manvantara (reign of a Manu)
  7. Isanukatha (activities of Lord and His devotees)
  8. Nirodha (annihilation)
  9. Mukti (liberation)
  10. Asraya (supreme shelter) 

These ten characteristics are found in a Maha Purana but a Purana has only five characteristics (Amarakosa dictionary): sargas ca pratisarga ca vamsa manvantarani ca vamsanu caritam capi puranam panca laksanam: Sarga, or creation; pratisarga, or dissolution; vamsa, or the genealogies of kings or sages; manvantaras, a duration of a reign of a Manu; vamsanucarita, the description of various sages, kings, and incarnations.

These five include the ten characteristics of a Maha Purana, but in a Purana more stress is laid on these five topics and this gives the distinction between a Purana and a Maha Purana. How the ten characteristics of a Maha Purana is included in the five found in a lesser Purana is as follows:

  1. Sarga
  2. Pratisarga
  3. Vamsa
  4. Manvantara
  5. Vamsanucaritam

Sarga, Visarga, Asraya

Nirodha, Mukti

Isanukatha

Manvantara, Sthanam

Isanukatha, Posana, Uti, Asraya

In Sarvasamvadini Srila Jiva Gosvami gives the following breakdown of the topics covered in each canto:

Topic Discussed

  1. Sarga (Second and Third)
  2. Visarga (Second, Third, Fourth)
  3. Vrtti (Third, Seventh, Eleventh)
  4. Raksa (Throughout)
  5. Manvantara (Eighth)
  6. Vamsa (Fourth, Ninth)
  7. Vamsanucarita (Fourth, Ninth)
  8. Samstha (Eleventh, Twelfth)
  9. Hetu (Third, Eleventh)
  10. Apasraya (Tenth )

The ultimate purpose of the Srimad Bhagavatam is to explain the tenth item, Asraya, who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Reference: Glories of Srimad Bhagavatam in Puranas (BBT)

5.When Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu defeated Mayavadi Acharya Prakashananda Sarswati (who later became a pure devotee) Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu explained him:

[IN CONVERSATION BETWEEN CAITANYA MAHAPRABHU AND PRAKASHANANDA SARASWATI.]
gayatrira arthe ei granta-arambhana “satyam param” -sambandha, “dhimahi” -sadhana-prayojana

“In the beginning of Srimad-Bhagavatam there is an explanation of the Brahna-gayatri mantra. ‘The Absolute truth [satyam param]’ indicates the relationship, and ‘we meditate [dhimahi] on him’ indicates the execution of devotional service and the ultimate goal of life. (CC. Mad.25.147)

cari-veda-upanisade yata kichu haya tara artha lana vyasa karila sancaya yei sutre yei rk-vsaya-vacana bhagavate sei rk sloke nibandhana ataeva brahma-sutrera bhasya-sri-bhagavata bhagavata-sloka, upanisat kahe ‘eka’ mata

“Vyasadevaa collected whatever Vedic conclusions were in the four Vedas and 108 Upanisads and placed them in the aphorisms of the Vedanta-sutra. “In the Vedanta-sutra, the purport of all Vedic knowledge is explained, and in Srimad-Bhagavatam the same purport has been explained in eighteen thousand verses. “Therefore it is to be concluded that the Brahma-sutra is explained vividly in Srimad-Bhagavatam. Also, what is explained in the verses of Srimad-Bhagavatam has the same purport as what is explained in the Upanisads . (Cc. Mad. 25.9B-100)

ataeva bhagavata-sutrera ‘artha ‘-rupa nija-krta sutrera nija-‘bhasya’-svarupa

“Srimad-Bhagavatam gives the actual meaning of the Vedanta-sutra. The author of the Vedanta-sutra is Vyasadevaa, and he himself has explained those aphorisms in the form of Srimad-Bhagavatam. (Ce. Mad. 25.1434)

ataeva bhagavata karaha vicara iha haite pabe sutra-srutira artha-sara
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu advised Prakasananda Sarasvati, “Study Srimad – Bhagvatam very scrutinizingly. Then you will understand the actual meaning of the Brahma-sutra.” (Cc. Mad. 25.153)

6.Srimad Bhagavatam is free from the contaminations of material desires or modes

For example, Srimad Bhagavatam 5.5.18 says:

gurur na sa syāt sva-jano na sa syāt pitā na sa syāj jananī na sā syāt daivaṁ na tat syān na patiś ca sa syān na mocayed yaḥ samupeta-mṛtyum

“One who cannot deliver his dependents from the path of repeated birth and death should never become a spiritual master, a father, a husband, a mother or a worshipable demigod.”

However, other Vedic texts (many mostly) talks about the material desires or how to attain the material benifits.

Lord Chaitanya also explains: 

śrīmad-bhāgavataṁ purāṇam amalam
“Srimad-Bhagavatam is a spotless Purana.”

7.Predictions that have come true

Buddha (Shrimad Bhagavatam 1.3.24)
Chanakya (Shrimad Bhagavatam 12.1.11)
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (Mahabharata 127.92.75,
Shrimad Bhagavatam 11.5.32)
Chandragupta and Emperor Ashoka (Shrimad Bhagavatam 12.1.12)

Vivid predictions about the degradations that occur in Kali Yuga (the current age)

8.Atomic theory, development of Embryo, Advanced cosmology and astronomy etc. are also described in Srimad Bhagavatam:

Advanced cosmology and Astronomy related things in Srimad Bhagavatam:

  1. Origin of the universe: Srimad Bhagavatam vs Big bang theory
  2. Vedic Cosmography and Astronomy By Richard L. Thompson
Atomic theory:
Development of embryo:
or https://www.vedabase.com/en/sb/3/31

9.Glorification of Srimad Bhagavatam by Srila Suta Goswami in the last chapter of last canto of Srimad Bhagavatam:

SB 12.13.10 It was to Lord Brahmā that the Supreme Personality of Godhead first revealed the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in full. At the time, Brahmā, frightened by material existence, was sitting on the lotus flower that had grown from the Lord’s navel.

SB 12.13.11-12 From beginning to end, the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is full of narrations that encourage renunciation of material life, as well as nectarean accounts of Lord Hari’s transcendental pastimes, which give ecstasy to the saintly devotees and demigods. This Bhāgavatam is the essence of all Vedānta philosophy because its subject matter is the Absolute Truth, which, while nondifferent from the spirit soul, is the ultimate reality, one without a second. The goal of this literature is exclusive devotional service unto that Supreme Truth.

SB 12.13.13 If on the full moon day of the month of Bhādra one places Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam on a golden throne and gives it as a gift, he will attain the supreme transcendental destination.

SB 12.13.14 All other Purāṇic scriptures shine forth in the assembly of saintly devotees only as long as that great ocean of nectar, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, is not heard.

SB 12.13.15 Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is declared to be the essence of all Vedānta philosophy. One who has felt satisfaction from its nectarean mellow will never be attracted to any other literature.

SB 12.13.16 Just as the Gaṅgā is the greatest of all rivers, Lord Acyuta the supreme among deities and Lord Śambhu [Śiva] the greatest of Vaiṣṇavas, so Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the greatest of all Purāṇas.

SB 12.13.17 O brāhmaṇas, in the same way that the city of Kāśī is unexcelled among holy places, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is supreme among all the Purāṇas.

SB 12.13.18 Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the spotless Purāṇa. It is most dear to the Vaiṣṇavas because it describes the pure and supreme knowledge of the paramahaṁsas. This Bhāgavatam reveals the means for becoming free from all material work, together with the processes of transcendental knowledge, renunciation and devotion. Anyone who seriously tries to understand Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, who properly hears and chants it with devotion, becomes completely liberated.

SB 12.13.19 I meditate upon that pure and spotless Supreme Absolute Truth, who is free from suffering and death and who in the beginning personally revealed this incomparable torchlight of knowledge to Brahmā. Brahmā then spoke it to the sage Nārada, who narrated it to Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana Vyāsa. Śrīla Vyāsa revealed this Bhāgavatam to the greatest of sages, Śukadeva Gosvāmī, and Śukadeva mercifully spoke it to Mahārāja Parīkṣit.

SB 12.13.20 We offer our obeisances to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Vāsudeva, the all-pervading witness, who mercifully explained this science to Brahmā when he anxiously desired salvation.

SB 12.13.21 I offer my humble obeisances to Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the best of mystic sages and a personal manifestation of the Absolute Truth. He saved Mahārāja Parīkṣit, who was bitten by the snake of material existence.

SB 12.13.22 O Lord of lords, O master, please grant us pure devotional service at Your lotus feet, life after life.

SB 12.13.23 I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Lord, Hari, the congregational chanting of whose holy names destroys all sinful reactions, and the offering of obeisances unto whom relieves all material suffering.

Reference: Vedabase.com/en/sb

 Hare Krishna 

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