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Books > Hindu > Puranas > Bhagavata Purana > A Bird's Eyeview of Srimad Bhagavatam
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A Bird's Eyeview of Srimad Bhagavatam
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About the Author

Swami (Devi Vasantananda, a medical graduste of Madras University, was initiated by Swami Sivananda Saraswathi of Rishikesh into Sayasa Order in 1957. Since then she has been Conducting spiritual discourse and Satsangas all over India abroad. She is learned and eloquent. She has written commentaries on the Upanishads. Bhagavadgita, Lalita Sahasranama, Bhagavatam and Patanjali Yoga Sutras.

Her father and grand father were close associates of the great Tamil poet-patriot Sri Subramania Bharati during his exile in Pondicherry. The reminiscences written by her father have been compiled and edited and published by her as a centenary tribute to the part Tamil and is titled Puduvayil Bharatiar.

She had established an Ashram in Uttarakashi in the Himalayas and has another one in Madras and a few spiritual centres at other places in India and abroad.

She is Founder President of the Lokakshema Trust devoted to spiritual, religious, cultural and social activities. *Under the auspices of the above Trust festivals like Vinayaka Chaturthi, Sri Krishna Jayanthi, Navarati, Sri Rama Navami, Vyasa Puja and Sankara Jayanti are celebrated.

Trained in Carnatic Music, she has also established a Kirtana Mandali for ladies to conduct Bhajans and Namasankirtanam.

 

Preface

My first detailed study of the sacred Purana Srimad bhagavatam happened in a very holy atmosphere in a place called "Sukartal" on the banks of river Ganga sanctified by great saints and sages. It took place suddenly and in a most unexpected manner almost like a miracle. Though I was initially reluctant, one of my devotees in Delhi virtually lifted reluctant, one of my devotes in Delhi virtually lifted me bodily and put me in her car and took me to Sukartal, probably way back in late sixties of last century, where she was to hold a bhagavata Saptaha. I was to be her main listener.

When I reached Sukartal, it immediately caused a spell on me which took me unawares for it beyond all my expectations in beauty, sanctity and inspiration with powerful spiritual vibrations for devotees of Bhagavatam. Sukaratal was them a small obscure hamlet traditionally believed to be hallowed by the eternal spiritual presence of Sage Suka, the chief exponent of Bhagavatam and saint son of Vyasa. For Sage Suka there is a lovely temple consecrated in the place. When I entered the sanctum sanctorum, I almost went into a trance of Krishna Consciousness as I stood transfixed (for how long I do no remember) in front of the idol of Sage Suka as the mellifluous notes of Musical verses of Bhagavatam recited by Him engulfed me. At once my faith was confirmed that Sukartal is the spot where Srimad Bhagavatam was first expounded by Saga Suka to king Parkshit and to the congregation of great Rishis.

When the Bhagavata Saptha proceeded I listened with intense Bhava and Bhakti in the aftermath of the earlier transc experience in the sanctorum of the temple. This automatically took notes as the Skandhas were unfolded. This was the original nucleus Manuscript (MSS) of mine on Srimad Bhagavatam. Somehow it took back seat among other MSS on scriptures like Upanisads, Gita, Patanjali Yoga, etc. for a long, long time. The latter scriptures were published one by one again at long intervals. Even when the original notes on Bhagavatam was revised in detail it took shape only as "A Bird's Eyeview" of the scripture and first appeared as a serial in journal "Light and Superlight". Later I decided to get the articles and the balance of the unpublished material printed a book form. I am quite conscious of the fact that full justice to the subject matter has not been done. But I can assure the reader that I have done my best to covey the core teachings of each Skandha in English in a narrative form for those who are not familiar with Sanskrit. This aspect of the book has been emphasized very clearly by His Holiness Sri Bharati Tirutha Mahaswamigal, the present pontiff of Sringeri Mutt in His gracious Srimukham to the publication. I am extremely thankful to him for pointing this out. Any way, I am blessed that with the Grace of Supreme Narayana, Sage Suka and the blessings of Sringeri Acharya, at last the book has seen the light of the Day.

Throughout I have followed Sri Sridhara's famous and popular commentary and clarifications on Bhagavaam. I am extremely thankful to Gita press, Gorakhpur whose publication on Srimad Bhagavatam has greatlyhelped me while finally recasting my MSS.

Lastly, I express my thanks to Sri S. Bhagavan Das my disciple who helped me in getting the book printed.

 

Introduction

Of the eighteen Puranas, Srimad Bhagavatam is unique in many respects and stand at the top of the spiritual books of the Hindus. It stands as a versatile colossus of effulgence like the Sun. It eclipses the other Puranas, which shed only a twinkle on God themes in the firmament of Hindu scriptures. The authority and esteem given to the Bhagavatam among books on Bhakti culture paramount.

The truths embodied in the Upanisheds, are abstruse. They talk only about the transcendental aspect of God without attributes or qualities, are an abstract, Absolute Reality technically described as 'Nirguna Brahman'. To make the difficult and terse doctrines contained in the Upanisheds easy of grasp for the generality of mankind the Bhagavatam elucidates those doctrines and truths in easy and digestible form. It brings the "Nirguna" truth to us in a "Saguna" form. That is, the Abstractis represented as Concrete. The invisible God becomes a visible "Avatara". The transcendental becomes immanent. The abstruse become tangible and palpable. The mystic beauty of Bhagavatam the Nirguna a saguna, the abstract a concrete reality, without however diminishing or tarnishing the absolute aspect of the Godhead. The fundamental philosophy according to the Bhagavatam is, Nirguna and Saguna are one and the same like the obverse and reverse sides of the same so in. That is why we find in the narratives of Lord's Lila (sport) in Bhagavatam, the Godhead being characterized as abstract and concrete Saguna and Nirguna at the same time.

Bhakti is spontaneous upsurge of intense prema or Divine Love for one's Beloved. The Beloved is a concrete form of the Lord by any selfish considerations. There is not even the motive of Mukti or liberation or asking anything from one's Beloved. It is a state of absolute surrender wherein everything is for and is the Beloved alone. This is expressed as an yearning for the Union with one's Beloved forever with surrender and self-effacemant. Bhakti is described by many similes. It is like the creeper seeking a merger or union with a tree or a chaste wife seeking oneness with her Lord, or like the rivers seeking and merging themselves with the ocean.

Bhakti in its essence is beyond definition and description. It is a thing of persona experience and strictly between the lover and the Beloved in the ultimate analysis. However, summarizing all the feelings and sentiments involved in bhakti and its ultimate consummation in "Parama-prema" or infinite upsurge of live for the Beloved, Shi Narada, the crest-jewel of the bhaktas of Sri Hari defines it in his "Bhakti-Sutras" as follows:-

Narada says, "that is of the nature of the consecration of all activities to the Lord and of extreme anguish at forgetting Him".

Intense and infinite love is of the nature of infinite supreme bliss at union with God and infinite or unbeable grief at separation from him. These two experiences are one and the sameagin, like the obverse sides of the same coin. They are best in the lives of the Gopis of Brindavan.

The Gopis of Brindavan surrendered themselves in toto to Lord Sri Krishna. The Bhagavatam says: "They surrendered their intellects and souls to the Lord; they are surrendered in Him; they regarded him as the highest goal;they always sang His glorious qualities; they forgot themselves and their houses."

Gopis had peerless devotion and pure Divine Prema or love for their Lord. It was shorn of all dress of fuman selfish love, for in human selfish love there is love for one's joy.. In devotion or parama prema the lover is centred not in one's own selfish happiness but is centred in seeking the Beloved in utter self-surrender, service and self-effacement. The Gopis knew their Sri Krishna was God and their very Being . Thus we find the very soil of Brindavan ishallowed with the vibrations of Gopis intense Krishan Prema and having been the scene of all Lord's leela (sport) to teach humanity the path of true bhakti.

Brindavan being such a blessed and hallowed place of Lord's descent and sport it is the fittest setting in which the "Bhagavata Mahatmya" or the glory of Srimad Bhagavata Purana itself is to be placed.

 

Contents

  Preliminary Pages  
  Dedication (iii)
  Srimukham from Sri Sringeri Jagadguru (iv)-(v)
  Preface (vi)-(vii)
  Index to Contents (viii)-(xii)
  Gipkagitam (xiii)-(xvi)
  Introduction 10-Jan
  Skandha I  
Chapter 1 The frustration of Veda Vyasa 19
Chapter 2 Sage Narada - A God among devotes and a devotee among Gods 26
Chapter 3 Birth of King Parikshit 32
Chapter 4 The Last journey of the Pandavas 39
Chapter 5 The Reign and renuciation of Parikshit 41
  Skandha II  
Chapter 1 The Cosmic form of the Lord 46
Chapter 2 The Manifestations of the Lord 52
Chapter 3 The Importance of Penance and the Ten Characteristics of Bhagavata Purana 60
  Skandha III  
Chapter 1 The Dialogue between Vidura & Uddhava and the Teaching of Maitreya 64
Chapter 2 The Fall of Jaya and Vijaya The Rise of yagnavaraha 74
Chapter 3 The Advent of Lord Kapila & Hs Teaching of Paths of Yoga 78
Chapter 4 Holy Mother Devahuti's Brahmanirvana 84
  Skandha IV  
Chapter 1 Descendants of Manu's Daughters 87
Chapter 2 The Story of Sati 88
Chapter 3 Dhruva the Noble 95
Chapter 4 Raja Prithu - The Organiser of Rarth 102
Chapter 5 The Parable of Puranjana and the Story of Prachetas 109
  Skandha V  
Chapter 1 Rishabha the Perfect Preceptor 117
Chapter 2 Jadabharata the Great 124
Chapter 3 The Description of the Worlds of the Cosmos - The Imortance of Sun God 136
  Skadha VI  
Chapter 1 He Legend of Ajamila - The Redeemed Sinner 146
Chapter 2 The Death of Viswarupa and the Birth and Death of Vritra 153
Chapter 3 Chitraketu - the EalierIncarnation of Vritra 161
  Skandha VII  
Chapter 1 Prahlada - the Crest Jewel among Bhaktas 169
Chapter 2 Narasimha - the Avatara for the Asura and Child Devotee 179
Chapter 3 The Tale of Three Cities 189
Chapter 4 Norms of Conduct 191
  Skandha VIII  
Chapter 1 Liberation of the Elephant King 200
Chapter 2 The Divine Tortoise and the Divine Damsels - Lakshmi & Mohini 204
Chapter 3 The Descent of the Divine Dwarf Vamana 212
Chapter 4 The Divine Fish 220
  Skandha IX  
Chapter 1 The Glory of Ambarisha's Fast 223
Chapter 2 The Greatest among the Lkshwakus - Sri Ramachandra 229
Chapter 3 The Lunar Line - Parasurama of Invicible Might 238
  Skandha X  
Chapter 1 The Advent of Lord Krishna 248
Chapter 2 Vraja Lilas of Sri Krishna 257
Chapter 3 Brindavana Lilas of Sri Kishna 268
Chapter 4 Mathura Lilas of Sri Krishna - Death of Kamsa 296
Chapter 5 Sri Kridhan's Sacrament of Brahmacharya 306
Chapter 6 Dwaraka Lilas of Sri Krishna - Marriage with Rukmini 312
Chapter 7 Death of Jarasandha and Sisupala 323
Chapter 8 Grace on Sudama, Subhadra's Marriage 330
Chapter 9 Krishna's Grace on Srutadeva and Bahulaswa, Bhrigu's Test of Gods 336
Chapter 10 Revelation of Sri Krishna and Arjuna as Sages Narayana and Nara 341
  Skandha XI  
Chapter 1 Rishi's Cruse on Yadava Race and Dialogue between Narada and Vasudeva 344
Chapter 2 Sri Krishna's Decision to End the Yadu Race and Teachings to Uddhava 352
Chapter 3 Teachings to Uddhava (contd) 364
Chapter 4 The End of Krishnavatara 382
  Skandha XII  
Chapter 1 The Glory of Divine Name, The Panacea of Kali Age and The Death of Parikshit 389
Chapter 2 Markandeya the Deathless 397
Chapter 3 The Summing up 401
Appendix    
  Sri Krishna Stottarasatanamavali  
  Sri Krishnastakam  
  Dashavatara Stotra  

 

Sample Pages
















A Bird's Eyeview of Srimad Bhagavatam

Item Code:
NAM425
Cover:
Hardcover
Edition:
2006
Language:
English
Size:
8.5 inch X 5.5 inch
Pages:
430 (24 B/W Illustrations)
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 620 gms
Price:
$30.00   Shipping Free
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About the Author

Swami (Devi Vasantananda, a medical graduste of Madras University, was initiated by Swami Sivananda Saraswathi of Rishikesh into Sayasa Order in 1957. Since then she has been Conducting spiritual discourse and Satsangas all over India abroad. She is learned and eloquent. She has written commentaries on the Upanishads. Bhagavadgita, Lalita Sahasranama, Bhagavatam and Patanjali Yoga Sutras.

Her father and grand father were close associates of the great Tamil poet-patriot Sri Subramania Bharati during his exile in Pondicherry. The reminiscences written by her father have been compiled and edited and published by her as a centenary tribute to the part Tamil and is titled Puduvayil Bharatiar.

She had established an Ashram in Uttarakashi in the Himalayas and has another one in Madras and a few spiritual centres at other places in India and abroad.

She is Founder President of the Lokakshema Trust devoted to spiritual, religious, cultural and social activities. *Under the auspices of the above Trust festivals like Vinayaka Chaturthi, Sri Krishna Jayanthi, Navarati, Sri Rama Navami, Vyasa Puja and Sankara Jayanti are celebrated.

Trained in Carnatic Music, she has also established a Kirtana Mandali for ladies to conduct Bhajans and Namasankirtanam.

 

Preface

My first detailed study of the sacred Purana Srimad bhagavatam happened in a very holy atmosphere in a place called "Sukartal" on the banks of river Ganga sanctified by great saints and sages. It took place suddenly and in a most unexpected manner almost like a miracle. Though I was initially reluctant, one of my devotees in Delhi virtually lifted reluctant, one of my devotes in Delhi virtually lifted me bodily and put me in her car and took me to Sukartal, probably way back in late sixties of last century, where she was to hold a bhagavata Saptaha. I was to be her main listener.

When I reached Sukartal, it immediately caused a spell on me which took me unawares for it beyond all my expectations in beauty, sanctity and inspiration with powerful spiritual vibrations for devotees of Bhagavatam. Sukaratal was them a small obscure hamlet traditionally believed to be hallowed by the eternal spiritual presence of Sage Suka, the chief exponent of Bhagavatam and saint son of Vyasa. For Sage Suka there is a lovely temple consecrated in the place. When I entered the sanctum sanctorum, I almost went into a trance of Krishna Consciousness as I stood transfixed (for how long I do no remember) in front of the idol of Sage Suka as the mellifluous notes of Musical verses of Bhagavatam recited by Him engulfed me. At once my faith was confirmed that Sukartal is the spot where Srimad Bhagavatam was first expounded by Saga Suka to king Parkshit and to the congregation of great Rishis.

When the Bhagavata Saptha proceeded I listened with intense Bhava and Bhakti in the aftermath of the earlier transc experience in the sanctorum of the temple. This automatically took notes as the Skandhas were unfolded. This was the original nucleus Manuscript (MSS) of mine on Srimad Bhagavatam. Somehow it took back seat among other MSS on scriptures like Upanisads, Gita, Patanjali Yoga, etc. for a long, long time. The latter scriptures were published one by one again at long intervals. Even when the original notes on Bhagavatam was revised in detail it took shape only as "A Bird's Eyeview" of the scripture and first appeared as a serial in journal "Light and Superlight". Later I decided to get the articles and the balance of the unpublished material printed a book form. I am quite conscious of the fact that full justice to the subject matter has not been done. But I can assure the reader that I have done my best to covey the core teachings of each Skandha in English in a narrative form for those who are not familiar with Sanskrit. This aspect of the book has been emphasized very clearly by His Holiness Sri Bharati Tirutha Mahaswamigal, the present pontiff of Sringeri Mutt in His gracious Srimukham to the publication. I am extremely thankful to him for pointing this out. Any way, I am blessed that with the Grace of Supreme Narayana, Sage Suka and the blessings of Sringeri Acharya, at last the book has seen the light of the Day.

Throughout I have followed Sri Sridhara's famous and popular commentary and clarifications on Bhagavaam. I am extremely thankful to Gita press, Gorakhpur whose publication on Srimad Bhagavatam has greatlyhelped me while finally recasting my MSS.

Lastly, I express my thanks to Sri S. Bhagavan Das my disciple who helped me in getting the book printed.

 

Introduction

Of the eighteen Puranas, Srimad Bhagavatam is unique in many respects and stand at the top of the spiritual books of the Hindus. It stands as a versatile colossus of effulgence like the Sun. It eclipses the other Puranas, which shed only a twinkle on God themes in the firmament of Hindu scriptures. The authority and esteem given to the Bhagavatam among books on Bhakti culture paramount.

The truths embodied in the Upanisheds, are abstruse. They talk only about the transcendental aspect of God without attributes or qualities, are an abstract, Absolute Reality technically described as 'Nirguna Brahman'. To make the difficult and terse doctrines contained in the Upanisheds easy of grasp for the generality of mankind the Bhagavatam elucidates those doctrines and truths in easy and digestible form. It brings the "Nirguna" truth to us in a "Saguna" form. That is, the Abstractis represented as Concrete. The invisible God becomes a visible "Avatara". The transcendental becomes immanent. The abstruse become tangible and palpable. The mystic beauty of Bhagavatam the Nirguna a saguna, the abstract a concrete reality, without however diminishing or tarnishing the absolute aspect of the Godhead. The fundamental philosophy according to the Bhagavatam is, Nirguna and Saguna are one and the same like the obverse and reverse sides of the same so in. That is why we find in the narratives of Lord's Lila (sport) in Bhagavatam, the Godhead being characterized as abstract and concrete Saguna and Nirguna at the same time.

Bhakti is spontaneous upsurge of intense prema or Divine Love for one's Beloved. The Beloved is a concrete form of the Lord by any selfish considerations. There is not even the motive of Mukti or liberation or asking anything from one's Beloved. It is a state of absolute surrender wherein everything is for and is the Beloved alone. This is expressed as an yearning for the Union with one's Beloved forever with surrender and self-effacemant. Bhakti is described by many similes. It is like the creeper seeking a merger or union with a tree or a chaste wife seeking oneness with her Lord, or like the rivers seeking and merging themselves with the ocean.

Bhakti in its essence is beyond definition and description. It is a thing of persona experience and strictly between the lover and the Beloved in the ultimate analysis. However, summarizing all the feelings and sentiments involved in bhakti and its ultimate consummation in "Parama-prema" or infinite upsurge of live for the Beloved, Shi Narada, the crest-jewel of the bhaktas of Sri Hari defines it in his "Bhakti-Sutras" as follows:-

Narada says, "that is of the nature of the consecration of all activities to the Lord and of extreme anguish at forgetting Him".

Intense and infinite love is of the nature of infinite supreme bliss at union with God and infinite or unbeable grief at separation from him. These two experiences are one and the sameagin, like the obverse sides of the same coin. They are best in the lives of the Gopis of Brindavan.

The Gopis of Brindavan surrendered themselves in toto to Lord Sri Krishna. The Bhagavatam says: "They surrendered their intellects and souls to the Lord; they are surrendered in Him; they regarded him as the highest goal;they always sang His glorious qualities; they forgot themselves and their houses."

Gopis had peerless devotion and pure Divine Prema or love for their Lord. It was shorn of all dress of fuman selfish love, for in human selfish love there is love for one's joy.. In devotion or parama prema the lover is centred not in one's own selfish happiness but is centred in seeking the Beloved in utter self-surrender, service and self-effacement. The Gopis knew their Sri Krishna was God and their very Being . Thus we find the very soil of Brindavan ishallowed with the vibrations of Gopis intense Krishan Prema and having been the scene of all Lord's leela (sport) to teach humanity the path of true bhakti.

Brindavan being such a blessed and hallowed place of Lord's descent and sport it is the fittest setting in which the "Bhagavata Mahatmya" or the glory of Srimad Bhagavata Purana itself is to be placed.

 

Contents

  Preliminary Pages  
  Dedication (iii)
  Srimukham from Sri Sringeri Jagadguru (iv)-(v)
  Preface (vi)-(vii)
  Index to Contents (viii)-(xii)
  Gipkagitam (xiii)-(xvi)
  Introduction 10-Jan
  Skandha I  
Chapter 1 The frustration of Veda Vyasa 19
Chapter 2 Sage Narada - A God among devotes and a devotee among Gods 26
Chapter 3 Birth of King Parikshit 32
Chapter 4 The Last journey of the Pandavas 39
Chapter 5 The Reign and renuciation of Parikshit 41
  Skandha II  
Chapter 1 The Cosmic form of the Lord 46
Chapter 2 The Manifestations of the Lord 52
Chapter 3 The Importance of Penance and the Ten Characteristics of Bhagavata Purana 60
  Skandha III  
Chapter 1 The Dialogue between Vidura & Uddhava and the Teaching of Maitreya 64
Chapter 2 The Fall of Jaya and Vijaya The Rise of yagnavaraha 74
Chapter 3 The Advent of Lord Kapila & Hs Teaching of Paths of Yoga 78
Chapter 4 Holy Mother Devahuti's Brahmanirvana 84
  Skandha IV  
Chapter 1 Descendants of Manu's Daughters 87
Chapter 2 The Story of Sati 88
Chapter 3 Dhruva the Noble 95
Chapter 4 Raja Prithu - The Organiser of Rarth 102
Chapter 5 The Parable of Puranjana and the Story of Prachetas 109
  Skandha V  
Chapter 1 Rishabha the Perfect Preceptor 117
Chapter 2 Jadabharata the Great 124
Chapter 3 The Description of the Worlds of the Cosmos - The Imortance of Sun God 136
  Skadha VI  
Chapter 1 He Legend of Ajamila - The Redeemed Sinner 146
Chapter 2 The Death of Viswarupa and the Birth and Death of Vritra 153
Chapter 3 Chitraketu - the EalierIncarnation of Vritra 161
  Skandha VII  
Chapter 1 Prahlada - the Crest Jewel among Bhaktas 169
Chapter 2 Narasimha - the Avatara for the Asura and Child Devotee 179
Chapter 3 The Tale of Three Cities 189
Chapter 4 Norms of Conduct 191
  Skandha VIII  
Chapter 1 Liberation of the Elephant King 200
Chapter 2 The Divine Tortoise and the Divine Damsels - Lakshmi & Mohini 204
Chapter 3 The Descent of the Divine Dwarf Vamana 212
Chapter 4 The Divine Fish 220
  Skandha IX  
Chapter 1 The Glory of Ambarisha's Fast 223
Chapter 2 The Greatest among the Lkshwakus - Sri Ramachandra 229
Chapter 3 The Lunar Line - Parasurama of Invicible Might 238
  Skandha X  
Chapter 1 The Advent of Lord Krishna 248
Chapter 2 Vraja Lilas of Sri Krishna 257
Chapter 3 Brindavana Lilas of Sri Kishna 268
Chapter 4 Mathura Lilas of Sri Krishna - Death of Kamsa 296
Chapter 5 Sri Kridhan's Sacrament of Brahmacharya 306
Chapter 6 Dwaraka Lilas of Sri Krishna - Marriage with Rukmini 312
Chapter 7 Death of Jarasandha and Sisupala 323
Chapter 8 Grace on Sudama, Subhadra's Marriage 330
Chapter 9 Krishna's Grace on Srutadeva and Bahulaswa, Bhrigu's Test of Gods 336
Chapter 10 Revelation of Sri Krishna and Arjuna as Sages Narayana and Nara 341
  Skandha XI  
Chapter 1 Rishi's Cruse on Yadava Race and Dialogue between Narada and Vasudeva 344
Chapter 2 Sri Krishna's Decision to End the Yadu Race and Teachings to Uddhava 352
Chapter 3 Teachings to Uddhava (contd) 364
Chapter 4 The End of Krishnavatara 382
  Skandha XII  
Chapter 1 The Glory of Divine Name, The Panacea of Kali Age and The Death of Parikshit 389
Chapter 2 Markandeya the Deathless 397
Chapter 3 The Summing up 401
Appendix    
  Sri Krishna Stottarasatanamavali  
  Sri Krishnastakam  
  Dashavatara Stotra  

 

Sample Pages
















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