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Introduction to Srimad Bhagavatam


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  • 1. Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 1 Creation
  • 2. What is Srimad-Bhagavatam?
    • “ 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.” (SB1.3.40)
  • 3.
    • “ This Bhāgavata Purāṇa is as brilliant as the sun, and it has arisen just after the departure of Lord Kṛṣṇa 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 Purāṇa.” (SB 1.3.43)
  • 4. “ Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the transcendental science not only for knowing the ultimate source of everything but also for knowing our relation with Him and our duty toward perfection of the human society on the basis of this perfect knowledge. It is powerful reading matter in the Sanskrit language, and it is now rendered into English elaborately so that simply by a careful reading one will know God perfectly well, so much so that the reader will be sufficiently educated to defend himself from the onslaught of atheists. Over and above this, the reader will be able to convert others to accepting God as a concrete principle.”
  • 5. The Bhagavatam is a Revolution! Human society, at the present moment, is not in the darkness of oblivion. It has made rapid progress in the field of material comforts, education and economic development throughout the entire world. But there is a pinprick somewhere in the social body at large, and therefore there are large-scale quarrels, even over less important issues. There is need of a clue as to how humanity can become one in peace, friendship and prosperity with a common cause. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam will fill this need, for it is a cultural presentation for the respiritualization of the entire human society…Disparity in human society is due to lack of principles in a godless civilization.
  • 6. Bhagavatam is for Spiritual Revolutionaries! tad-vāg-visargo janatāgha-viplavo yasmin prati-ślokam abaddhavaty api nāmāny anantasya yaśo 'ńkitāni yac chṛṇvanti gāyanti gṛṇanti sādhavaḥ SB 1.5.17 "On the other hand, that literature which is full with descriptions of the transcendental glories of the name, fame, form and pastimes of the unlimited Supreme Lord is a transcendental creation meant to bring about a revolution in the impious life of a misdirected civilization. Such transcendental literatures, even though irregularly composed, are heard, sung and accepted by purified men who are thoroughly honest."
  • 7. History of the Bhagavatam
    • 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.
  • 8. Brahmā then spoke it to the sage Nārada (SB 12.13.19)
  • 9. who narrated it to Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana Vyāsa
  • 10. Śrīla Vyāsa revealed this Bhāgavatam to the greatest of sages, Śukadeva Gosvāmī
  • 11. and Śukadeva mercifully spoke it to Mahārāja Parīkṣit.
  • 12. What’s described inside the Bhagavatam
    • “ 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 12.13.11-12)
  • 13. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam there are ten divisions of statements regarding the following: the creation of the universe
  • 14. subcreation
  • 15. planetary systems
  • 16. protection by the Lord
  • 17. the creative impetus
  • 18. the change of Manus
  • 19. the science of God
  • 20. returning home, back to Godhead, liberation
  • 21. and the summum bonum.
  • 22.
    • “ That Purana is known as Srimad-Bhagavatam which explains the topmost principles of religion with reference to the Gayatri mantra and which tells of the killing of the demon Vrtra. This Purana has eighteen thousand verses.” –Matsya Purana
  • 23. Bhagavatam is the essence of All Vedas
    • “ This Srimad-Bhagavatam is the most perfect Purana. It is the natural commentary on the Vedanta-Sutra, it establishes the meaning of the Mahabharata, it is a commentary on Gayatri, it explains and expands the meaning of the Vedas…it was spoken by the Supreme Lord Himself. It has twelve cantos, hundreds of chapters, and eighteen thousand verses”-Garuda Purana
  • 24. Bharatartha-vinirnayah: Bhagavatam establishes the meaning of the Mahabharata
    • “ The Mahabharata is glorified because it contains the conclusions of all scriptures. Long ago, on the request of Srila Vyasa, Lord Brahma and the other demigods came together with all the great sages and placed the Mahabharata on one side of a scale and the entire Vedas on the other. The Mahabharata, it turned out, weighed more because of its greatness and heaviness. For this reason it is called Maha-Bharata.”- Mahabharata Adi-Parva 1.272-274
  • 25.
    • “ Thus the great sage Vyāsadeva, who is very kind to the ignorant masses, edited the Vedas so they might be assimilated by less intellectual men. Out of compassion, the great sage thought it wise that this would enable men to achieve the ultimate goal of life. Thus he compiled the great historical narration called the Mahābhārata…”
  • 26. Vedartha-paribrmhitah: Bhagavatam expands the Vedas
    • “ In Kali-Yuga what is the value of collecting hundreds of thousands of other scriptures if one does not keep Srimad-Bhagavatam at home.”-Skanda Purana, Visnu Khanda, 5.16.40
    • A Person who faithfully recites one verse of Srimad-Bhagavatam every day, O sage, attains the fruit of reading the eighteen Puranas”-Skanda Purana, Visnu-Khanda, 5.16.33
  • 27. How to Study Bhagavatam?
    • “ The only qualification one needs to study this great book of transcendental knowledge is to proceed step by step cautiously and not jump forward haphazardly like with an ordinary book. It should be gone through chapter by chapter, one after another. The reading matter is so arranged with its original Sanskrit text, its English transliteration, synonyms, translation and purports so that one is sure to become a God-realized soul at the end of finishing the first nine cantos.”
  • 28. First Chapter Outline
    • Prelude (Text 1-3)
    • Text 1: Defining God
    • Text 2: Defining Religion
    • Text 3: Invitation to Taste the Bhagavatam’s Nectar
    • Setting the Scene: Sages of Naimisaranya Inquire from Suta Gosvami (4-8)
    • Question One and Two (Text 9-11)
    • Question Three (Text12-16)
    • Question Four and Five (Text 17-18)
    • Question Six (Text 19-23)
  • 29.
    • Summary of the Questions asked by Saunaka
    • 1 . “Please…explain to us, in an easily understandable way, what
    • you have ascertained to be the absolute and ultimate good for the people in general.” (Text 1.1.9) Answer: (Text 1.2.6)
    • 2 . “There are many variety of scriptures…Therefore, O Sage, please select the essence of all these scriptures and explain it for the good of all living beings, by such instructions their hearts may be fully satisfied.” (Text 1.1.11) Answer: (1.2.7)
    • 3 . “You know for what purpose the Personality of Godhead appeared in the womb of Devaki as the son of Vasudeva.” (Text 1.1.12) Answer: (1.2.34 and Tenth Canto)
    • 4 . “[The Lords] transcendental acts are magnificent and gracious, and great learned sages like Narada sing of them. Please, therefore, speak to us, who are eager to hear about the adventures He performs in his various incarnations.” (Text 1.1.17) Answer: (1.2.30)
    • 5 . “O wise Suta, please narrate to us the transcendental pastimes of the Supreme Godhead’s multi-incarnations. Such auspicious adventures and pastimes of the Lord, the Supreme Controller, are performed by His internal powers.” (Text 1.1.18) Answer: First Canto, Third Chapter.
    • 6 . “Since, Sri Krishna, the Absolute Truth, the master of all mystic powers, has departed for His own abode, please tell us to whom the religious principles have now gone for shelter.” (Text 1.1.23) Answer: (1.3.43)
  • 30.  
  • 31.
    • SB 1.1.4 : Once, in a holy place in the forest of Naimiṣāraṇya, great sages headed by the sage Śaunaka assembled to perform a great thousand-year sacrifice for the satisfaction of the Lord and His devotees.
    • SB 1.1.5 : One day, after finishing their morning duties by burning a sacrificial fire and offering a seat of esteem to Śrīla Sūta Gosvāmī, the great sages made inquiries, with great respect, about the following matters.
    Opening Scene The Mood in which Bhagavatam Should be Received
  • 32. “ The great sages are [1] always anxious to do good to the people in general, and as such the sages headed by Śaunaka and others [2] assembled at this holy place of Naimiṣāraṇya with [3] a program of performing a great and continuous chain of sacrificial ceremonies. Forgetful men do not know the right path for peace and prosperity. However, the sages know it well, and therefore for the good of all men they are always anxious to perform acts which may bring about peace in the world. They are [4] sincere friends to all living entities, and at the [5] risk of great personal inconvenience they are [6] always engaged in the service of the Lord for the good of all people.” (Purport SB 1.1.4)
  • 33.  
  • 34.  
  • 35.  
  • 36.  
  • 37.  
  • 38.  
  • 39. “ Lord Viṣṇu is just like a great tree, and all others, including the demigods, men, Siddhas, Cāraṇas, Vidyādharas and other living entities, are like branches, twigs and leaves of that tree. By pouring water on the root of the tree, all the parts of the tree are automatically nourished. Only those branches and leaves which are detached cannot be so satisfied. Detached branches and leaves dry up gradually despite all watering attempts. Similarly, human society, when it is detached from the Personality of Godhead like detached branches and leaves, is not capable of being watered, and one attempting to do so is simply wasting his energy and resources.” (Purport SB 1.14)
  • 40.  
  • 41. Vṛtrāsura said: All living entities who have taken birth in this material world must die. Surely, no one in this world has found any means to be saved from death. Even providence has not provided a means to escape it. Under the circumstances, death being inevitable, if one can gain promotion to the higher planetary systems and be always celebrated here by dying a suitable death, what man will not accept such a glorious death?
  • 42. Vrtrasura Encouragement
    • There are two ways to meet a glorious death, and both are very rare. One is to die after performing mystic yoga , especially bhakti - yoga , by which one can control the mind and living force and die absorbed in thought of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The second is to die on the battlefield, leading the army and never showing one's back. These two kinds of death are recommended in the śāstra as glorious.
  • 43. But if in this battle you cut off my head with your thunderbolt and kill my soldiers, O Indra , O great hero, I shall take great pleasure in offering my body to other living entities [such as jackals and vultures]. I shall thus be relieved of my obligations to the reactions of my karma , and my fortune will be to receive the dust from the lotus feet of great devotees like Nārada Muni . O my Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, will I again be; able to be a servant of Your eternal servants who find shelter only at Your lotus feet? O Lord of my life, may I again become their servant so that my mind may always think of Your transcendental attributes, my words always glorify those attributes, and my body always engage in the loving service of Your Lordship?
  • 44. O my enemy, just look at me. I have already been defeated, for my weapon and arm have been cut to pieces. You have already overwhelmed me, but nonetheless, with a desire to kill you, I am trying my best to fight. I am not at all morose, even under such adverse conditions. Therefore you should give up your moroseness and continue fighting.
  • 45. Vrtrasura Encouragement
    • O my enemy, consider this battle a gambling match in which our lives are the stakes, the arrows are the dice, and the animals acting as carriers are the game board. No one can understand who will be defeated and who will be victorious. It all depends on providence.