||Shrimad Bhagwat Mahapuran
Shrimad Bhagwatam is the most sacred books of the Hindus. It gives a tremendous insight, a profound vision, and an entirely new perspective to the person who hears the narrative. On hearing, a person is never the same. There is a complete metamorphosis, a complete transformation, literally a new birth. Atman (soul) by it’s own nature is sovereign – it cannot by nature be bound – whatever bondages felt are sheer illusions of the mind. Shrimad Bhagwatam provides that light which enables Jeeva (human being) to experience the wonderful freedom of liberation.
One feels, "Yes, I am free!"
Shrimad Bhagwatam expresses this philosophy through
the narration of the life stories of 24 incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Amongst
these, the tenth volume of the Shrimad Bhagwatam narrates in infinite detail,
the story of Lord Krishna. Since all 24 incarnations are of Lord Vishnu, it is a
vitally important scripture for the Vaishnavas.
Written by Sage Ved Vyasa the Bhagwatam leaves no topic untouched – social,
political, and economic systems – all these have been covered and commented upon
by him. Not just issues relating to self-liberation but even our day-to-day
problems have been effectively resolved in Shrimad Bhagwatam. Hence it can be
emphatically stated that Shrimad Bhagwatam is an exposition, which explains
human life very clearly, it is a direction leading to the ultimate liberation of
the soul. It is therefore an important guide for the conduct of human beings in
all their affairs.
reading and listening to Shrimad Bhagwat Katha is a 7 days long
Anushthan (a religious commitment), but even an entire lifetime
may not be enough to understand it in depth and explain it to others. It is such
a wonderful, sublime scripture but King Parikshit had only seven days to live
and it is said that by listening to such a 7 days narration of Shrimad Bhagwat
Katha, King Parikshit attained liberation! Not by death but by emancipation from
ignorance and fear. Thus Shrimad Bhagwatam liberates us from fear, problems, and
ignorance. In essence, this is the crux of Shrimad Bhagwatam. Content wise, it
comprises three main dialogues or principal conversations – one that of
Shukadevji and King Parikshit, second between Sutji and Shaunak and other Rishis
at Naimisharanya and the third between Vidurji and Maitreya on the banks of the
river Ganga. These three principal conversations convey the voluminous Shrimad
Bhagwatam beginning and ending with the dialogue between Sutji and Shaunakji and
This four quatrain (8 verses) of Shrimad Bhagwatam was voiced by Lord Narayan
and heard by Brahmaji as narrated in the second volume. Brahmaji then narrated
the same four verses (shlokas) to Narada who in turn conveyed to Sage Ved Vyasa
but told him that this was only formularized, now expand it’s (Vyasa) purview.
The seat from where such knowledge is expounded and explained in detail is
called ‘Vyas Peetham’. For this very reason we call the narrator of Shrimad
Bhagwatam, ‘Vyas’. It is more a qualitative noun than a personal noun. Thus
Vyasa elaborated the four shlokas (verses) in 9000 verses spread over 335
chapters and 12 volumes. Then Bhagwan Ved Vyasa taught it to Shukhdeva, who then
narrated it to King Parikshit. Sutjii in Namisharanya to Shaunaka and other
Rishis conveys the same conversation. All the different periods of these
separate conversations are mentioned in Shrimad Bhagwatam.
narration of Shrimad Bhagwat Katha is arranged for many reasons; raising funds
to help medical institutions or provide medical relief to people affected by
natural calamities, to fund and raise school/colleges and help rural
development. But it is mainly arranged for the upliftment and welfare of the
people and society, who, by listening to the katha would understand God and
learn the way to reach him, helping inducing spiritual growth within themselves
and most importantly becoming righteous and virtuous human beings.
In the olden days it was primarily arranged when there was a death in the
family. Amidst the encircling gloom of sadness and acute depression, the katha
narration created a major transformation, bringing to a grief ridden family
solace, comfort, equanimity and a philosophic vision. The Bhagwat Katha drew
them out of their sorrow and removed them from their mourning. Therefore the
Bhagwat Katha is described as "Shoka Moha Bhayapaha", that which destroys
attachment and consequently removes sorrow and fear. By listening to ‘Shrimad
Bhagwat Katha’, devotion (Bhakti) pervades our heart and minds. This devotion
destroys attachment, sorrow and fear from our minds. What is this devotion or
‘Bhakti’? It is nothing but love!
Love is a sublime experience. It moves and spreads in all directions and becomes
universal. When love becomes unending, human beings attain sainthood. The body
becomes a temple – and the heart a priest! Slowly, but surely Shrimad Bhagwatam
enables one to reach that stage. When universal love and devotion is attained,
the sorrow, attachments and fear vanish. Sorrow or mourning is connected with
the past; attachment is connected with the present and fear with the future.
These are the three factors that disturb everyone. Mourning the past, attachment
for the present, and fear or worry for the future. And who does not long for
peace? Whether a person is a theist or an atheist, everyone longs for peace.
Everyone wants joy. When these three dominant influences vanish, one becomes
quiet and lucid.
It is not that Shrimad Bhagwat Katha liberates the
departed soul alone. It even frees surviving members from sorrow, attachment and
fear. Thus liberation is in a wider concept. It is not as if one is liberated
only after one dies. It can be experienced even during a person’s lifetime, now
and here also. That is the teaching of Shrimad Bhagwatam.