Essence of Srimad Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana)

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srimad bhagavatam bhagavata puranaSrimad Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana), also appreciated as the ripened fruit of the Vedas is a bonafide commentary on the Vedanta Sutra, presented by the author Srila Vyasadeva himself. It is one of the eighteen great Puranas that addresses a wide range of topics including cosmology, astronomy, genealogy, yoga, bhakti, etc. It is abundant with accounts of transcendental glories, name, fame, form, and pastimes of the unlimited Supreme Lord and is intended for bringing about a revolution in the impious life of a misdirected civilization. This article is a humble effort to exhibit the essence of Srimad Bhagavatam and a summary of its quintessential teachings.

#1 Teachings of the Vedic scriptures are authoritative, infallible and the highest evidence of all

sri bhagavan uvaca
kalena nasta pralaye
vaniyam veda samjnita
mayadau brahmane prokta
dharmo yasyam mad atmakah
(Srimad Bhagavatam 11.14.3)

Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead said – By the influence of time, Vedic knowledge was lost at the time of annihilation (dissolution of the world). Therefore, when the subsequent creation took place, I discoursed the Vedic knowledge to Brahma because I Myself am the religious principles pronounced in the Vedas.

yathornanabhir hridayad
urnam udvamate mukhat
akasad ghosavan prano
manasa sparsa rupina
chando mayo ’mrta mayah
sahasra padavim prabhuh
omkarad vyanjita sparsa
svarosmantastha bhusitam
vichitra bhasa vitatam
chandobhis catur uttaraih
ananta param brhatim
srjaty aksipate svayam
(Srimad Bhagavatam 11.21.38-40)

Just as a spider yields its web from its heart and releases it through its mouth, similarly, the Supreme Lord manifests Himself as the reverberating primeval life air, comprising all sacred Vedic meters and full of transcendental bliss. Thus the Lord, from the ethereal sky of His heart, produces great and endless Vedic sound by the agency of His mind, which conceives of variegated sounds such as the sparsas. The Vedic sound spreads out in thousands of directions, embellished with the different letters expanded from the syllable ‘om’ – the consonants, vowels, sibilants, and semivowels. The Veda is then elaborated by numerous verbal varieties, expressed in different meters, each having four more syllables than the previous one. Ultimately the Supreme Lord once again withdraws His manifestation of Vedic sound within Himself (during annihilation).

#2 Krishna Tattva – Krishna is the Supreme Absolute Truth

Jaya jaya jahy ajam ajita dosa grbhita gunam
Tvam asi yad atmana samavaruddha samasta bhagah
Aga jagad okasam akhila sakty avabodhaka te
Kvacid ajayatmana ca carato nucaren nigamah
(Srimad Bhagavatam 10.87.14)

The srutis said: Victory, victory to You (Krishna), O unconquerable one! By Your very nature You are perfect and full of all opulence; therefore please defeat the eternal power of illusion (aja), which gives rise to three modes of nature (sattva, raja, tamas) full of fault. O You who awaken all the energies of the moving and nonmoving embodied beings, sometimes the Vedas can recognize You as You sport with Your material (maya shakti) and spiritual energies (atma shakti).

srimad bhagavatam vyasa deva

ekas tvam atma purusah puranah
satyah svayam jyotir ananta adyah
nityo ’ksaro ’jasra sukho niranjanah
purnadvayo mukta upadhito ’mrtah
(Srimad Bhagavatam 10.14.23)

(Lord Brahma prays) You (Krishna) are the one Supreme Soul, the primeval Supreme Person, the Absolute Truth — self-manifested, endless, and without any origin. You are eternal and indestructible, perfect and complete, without any rival and free from all material designations. Your happiness can never be obstructed, nor have You any association with material contamination. Indeed, You are the nectar of immortality.

namas tubhyam bhagavate
brahmane paramatmane
na yatra sruyate maya
loka srishti vikalpana
(Srimad Bhagavatam 10.28.6)

(Lord Varuna prayed to Krishna) My obeisances unto You, the Supreme Lord. You are the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Soul, within whom there is no trace of Maya (illusory material energy), which orchestrates the creation of this material world.

#3 Krishna is endowed with all energies

satyam jnanam anantam yad
brahma jyotih sanatanam
yad dhi pasyanti munayo
gunapaye samahitah
(Srimad Bhagavatam 10.28.15)

Lord Krishna revealed the indestructible spiritual effulgence, which is infinite, conscious, and eternal. Sages behold that spiritual existence while they are absorbed in trance, when their consciousness is freed from the modes of material nature.

srimad bhagavatam bhagavata purana

 

namas tubhyam bhagavate
brahmane paramatmane
na yatra sruyate maya
loka srishti vikalpana
(Srimad Bhagavatam 10.28.6)

(Lord Varuna prayed to Krishna) My obeisances unto You, the Supreme Lord. You are the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Soul, within whom there is no trace of Maya (illusory material energy), which orchestrates the creation of this material world.

atraiva maya dhamanavatare
hy asya prapancasya bahih sphutasya
kritsnasya cantar jathare jananya
mayatvam eva prakati krtam te
(Srimad Bhagavatam 10.14.16)

(Lord Brahma prayed) My dear Lord, in this incarnation You have demonstrated that You are the supreme controller of Maya. Although You are now within this universe, the whole universal creation is within Your transcendental body – a fact You exhibited by manifesting the universe within Your abdomen before Your mother, Yashoda.

#4 Krishna is an ocean of Rasa – He is the reservoir of pleasure

tad asma saram hrdayam batedam
yad grhyamanair hari nama dheyaih
na vikriyetatha yada vikaro
netre jalam gatra ruhesu harsah
(Srimad Bhagavatam 2.3.24)

Certainly, that heart is made of steel which, despite one’s attentive chanting of the holy names of Lord Hari, does not transform resulting in spiritual ecstasy, tear filled eyes or the hairs standing on their ends.

kalau janisyamananam
duhkha soka tamo nudam
anugrahaya bhaktanam
supunyam vyatanod yasah
(Srimad Bhagavatam 9.24.61)

To shower His causeless mercy upon the devotees who would take birth in this Age of Kali, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, acted in such a way that simply by remembering Him and His transcendental activities one will be freed from their unlimited unhappiness and lamentation of material existence.

yad anucharita lila karna piyusa viprut
sakrd adana vidhuta dvandva dharma vinastah
sapadi grha kutumbam dinam utsrjya dina
bahava iha vihanga bhikshu caryam caranti
(Srimad Bhagavatam 10.47.18)

Hearing about the daily pastimes of Krishna (asta kaliya Lila) is nectar for the ears. Those who have relished a single drop of this nectar, even once, their allegiance to material duality is destroyed. As a consequence, many such persons have given up their wretched homes and families and, themselves becoming wretched, have traveled here to Vrindavan to wander about like birds, begging for their livelihood.

#5 Jivas (living entities) are all separated parts of the Supreme Lord

sa va idam visvam amogha lilah
srjaty avaty atti na sajjate ’smin
bhutesu cantarhita atma tantrah
sad vargikam jighrati sad gunesah
(Srimad Bhagavatam 1.3.36)

The Supreme Lord, whose activities are always spotless, is the master of the six senses, fully omnipotent, and is endowed with six opulences. He creates the material world, maintains and annihilates them without being least affected. He is within every living being and is always independent.

srimad bhagavatam bhagavata

etan nanavataranam
nidhanam bijam avyayam
yasyamsamsena srjyante
deva tiryan naradayah
(Srimad Bhagavatam 1.3.5)

This form (the second manifestation of the Supreme Lord) is the origin and indestructible seed of various incarnations within the material world. From the particles and portions of this form, different living entities, like demigods, human beings and others, are created.

#6 Baddha jiva (conditioned soul) functions under the influence of matter

kama esa narendranam
moghah syad vidusam api
yena phenopame pinde
ye ’ti visrambhita nrpah
(Srimad Bhagavatam 12.3.2)

(Mother earth said) Great rulers of men, even those who are learned, meet disappointment and failure because of lust. Driven by lust, these kings place great hope and faith on the dead lump of flesh called ‘body’, even though the material frame is as ephemeral as bubbles of foam on the water.

kama esa narendranam
moghah syad vidusam api
yena phenopame pinde
ye ’ti visrambhita nrpah
(Srimad Bhagavatam 3.30.7)

Although he is always burning with anxiety, such a fool (misguided materialist) always performs all kinds of sinful activities, with a hope which is never to be fulfilled, to maintain his so-called family and society.

#7 Mukta Jiva – The Liberated souls

namany anantasya hata trapah pathan
guhyani bhadrani kritani ca smaran
gam paryatams tusta mana gata sprhah
kalam pratiksan vimado vimatsarah
(Srimad Bhagavatam 1.6.26)

Thus I began chanting the holy name and glories of the Supreme Lord by repeated recitation, disregarding all the formalities of the material world. Such chanting and remembering of the transcendental pastimes of the Lord are benedictory. Doing so, I traveled all over the earth, fully satisfied, humble, and without envy.

evam Krishna mater brahman
nasaktasyamalatmanah
kalah pradurabhut kale
tadit saudamani yatha
(Srimad Bhagavatam 1.627)

And so, O Brahmana (Vyasadeva), in due course of time, I, being fully absorbed in thinking of Krishna became freed from all material contamination and having no material attachments, met with death, as lightning and illumination occur simultaneously.

prayujyamane mayi tam
suddham bhagavatim tanum
arabdha karma nirvano
nyapatat panca bhautikah
(Srimad Bhagavatam 1.6.28)

Having been awarded a transcendental body befitting an associate of the Supreme Lord, I quit the body made of five material elements (earth, water, air, fire, ether), and thus all my acquired fruitive results of work (karma) became nullified.

#8 The Living entity (jiva), and the material world are both identical and different from the Lord

yasmad andam virad jajne
bhutendriya gunatmakah
tad dravyam atyagad visvam
gobhih surya ivatapan
(Srimad Bhagavatam 2.6.22)

From that Personality of Godhead, all the universal globes and the universal form with all material elements, qualities, and senses are created. Yet He is aloof from all material creations, just like the sun, which is separate from its rays and heat.

#9 Abhidheya – Process of attaining the Supreme Lord

etad dhy atura cittanam
matra sparsecchaya muhuh
bhava sindhu plavo dristo
hari caryanuvarnanam
(Srimad Bhagavatam 1.6.34)

It is personally experienced by me that those who are always full of cares and concerns due to desiring contact with objects of sense enjoyment can cross over the material ocean of nescience by the constant recitation of the transcendental activities of Hari, the Supreme Lord.

krishna sudama cowherd friends bhagavata

 

narayana paro yogo
narayana param tapah
narayana param jnanam
narayana para gatih
(Srimad Bhagavatam 2.5.16)

(Lord Brahma said) All different types of meditation or mysticism are means for realizing Narayana. All austerities are aimed at attaining the shelter of Narayana. Transcendental knowledge is for catching a glimpse of Narayana, and ultimately liberation is entering the kingdom of Narayana.

jnane prayasam udapasya namanta eva
jivanti san mukharitam bhavadiya vartam
sthane sthitah sruti gatam tanu van manobhir
ye prayaso ’jita jito ’py asi tais tri lokyam
(Srimad Bhagavatam 10.14.3)

Those who, even while continuing in their established social positions, completely give up the process of speculative knowledge and with their body, words and mind offer all respects to descriptions of Your personality and activities, dedicating their lives to these pastimes, which are echoed by You personally and by Your pure devotees, certainly win over Your Lordship, although You are otherwise unconquerable by anyone within these three worlds.

#10 Prayojana – Attaining the ultimate fruit of ecstatic love of God

yad anucharita lila karna piyusa viprut
sakrd adana vidhuta dvandva dharma vinastah
sapadi grha kutumbam dinam utsrjya dina
bahava iha vihanga bhikshu caryam caranti
(Srimad Bhagavatam 10.47.18)

Hearing about the daily pastimes of Krishna (asta kaliya Lila) is nectar for the ears. Those who have relished a single drop of this nectar, even once, their allegiance to material duality is destroyed. As a consequence, many such persons have given up their wretched homes and families and, themselves becoming wretched, have traveled here to Vrindavan to wander about like birds, begging for their livelihood.

asam aho charana renu jusam aham syam
vrindavane kim api gulma latausadhinam
ya dustyajam sva janam arya patham ca hitva
bhejur mukunda padavim srutibhir vimrgyam
(Srimad Bhagavatam 10.47.61)

The gopis of Vrindavan have given up their husbands, sons, and other family members, who are very painful to give up, and they have deserted the path of chastity only to worship the lotus feet of Mukunda, Krishna, which one should search for by Vedic knowledge. Oh, let me be favored enough to be one of the bushes, creepers, or herbs in Vrindavan because the gopis trample them and bless them with the dust of their lotus feet.

manaso vrttayo nah syuh
Krishna padambujasrayah
vaco ’bhidhayinir namnam
kayas tat prahvanadisu
(Srimad Bhagavatam 10.47.66)

(Nanda Maharaj and the other cowherds said) May our minds and its faculty always take shelter of Krishna’s lotus feet, may our words always chant His names, and may our bodies be always engaged in bowing down to Him and serving Him.

 

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