Srimad Bhagavatam

Srimad Bhagavatam stands unique; its origin is covered by mysticism. Thereby hangs a tale.

Srimad Bhagavatam authored by Krishna Dvaipayana, or Vyasa, a contemporary of Sri Krishna himself, is the true exposition of Sanatana Dharma, timeless in its relevance and universal in appeal. The Itihasas and the Puranas espouse righteousness and guide the individual on the moral path. We learn that God realisation can be attained even while playing our ordained role in mundane affairs.

A Mahapurana
The Bhagavatam contains not only the stories of Lord Narayana’s incarnations but also the cream of Vedanta and methods of devotion. As such, it is a Mahapurana.


The characteristics or lakshanas of a Mahapurana are that they should incorporate the origin of cosmology, creation, sustenance and dissolution of the worlds. Of even greater significance is the portrayal of the Paramatman, “the base and support of all that is, himself self-sustained.”

Sri Krishna is the main player in the Bhagavatam. He is referred to in events that happened even earlier. There is no anachronism in it if we understand that he is much more than an avatara. He is the Bhagavan himself playing different roles in time and space, remaining all the while beyond time and space. The channel through which Veda Vyasa received his enlightenment leads us straight to the Lord.

Divine Revelation
Details of the revelation of the subtler aspects of Bhagavatam by the Bhagavan to Brahma are gathered from sage Suka’s exposition to king Parikshit. The Supreme Lord revealed his divine form to Brahma in appreciation of the intensity and sincerity of the tapas he undertook seated in his abode of lotus after he had heard a disembodied voice instructing him to observe penance.

Enthralling Vision
The baffled feeling he had experienced on contemplating on the immensity of the task of Creation of the universe melted. The vision of the Lord in his own abode with his consort, Sri, and personal attendants enthralled him.

The stage could not have been more appropriate. Maya had no function there. Rajas, tamas and sattva and the compulsive power of time could not prevail there. In utter humility Brahma begged for enlightenment of the knowledge of the subtle forms of the Lord, of how by the power of Maya, he sustains the universe, constituted and developed by various powers, and destroys and again repeats the process.

Four-verse Bhagavatam
The compassionate response of the Lord in a succinct core of knowledge is contained in--the four-verse Bhagavatam.

Prior to Creation, I alone existed, Other than me there was nothing in gross or subtle state. Even after Creation, I alone am; I am the universe too. Even when the universe is dissolved, I remain. My maya makes the Atman seen as phenomenal appearance. I t is an optical illusion. The Atman is not really seen. The gross elements of earth and water may be thought to have entered physical bodies; even so, may I be said to have entered the living beings as the indwelling spirit. But still I have not.

The seeker of truth has to research and realise what it is that exists everywhere and at all times.

Meditate on this with utter concentration. You will be freed of maya when you are at your task of Creation.

The Lord withdrew, having inspired Brahma, who practised self- control and other prescribed observances and accomplished his mission. Later he imparted the Bhagavata Purana to his mind-born son, Narada, who had qualified for the privilege by his devotion, diligence and virtuous disposition. Brahma elaborated the wisdom he had gained directly from the Lord.

The Exposition
Veda Vyasa had compiled the four Vedas and added the fifth with the Puranas and the Itihasas. The monumental work appeared to offer only incomplete gratification. ‘Something’ was still lacking. The celestial sage, Narada, met him on the banks of the Sarasvati. It was no chance meeting, but one meant for a great cause.

Narada gave the cure for Vyasa’s anguish. “In spite of the narration of history, facts, truths and dharma, in the previous compilations, the glory of the Lord has not been sung adequately. Recounting his exploits would be superior to all penance, sacred knowledge and recitation.”

Vyasa got the cue and accomplished his fulfillment. Srimad Bhagavatam dawned.

Vyasa taught his son Brahmarishi Suka who, on the banks of the Ganga, made the inaugural exposition to a grand assemblage of the wise. In the audience was Suta, who was later to electrify another congregation at Naimisa.

Since then how many millions have had their solace listening to the immortal work!

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