Tag Archives: Bhagavata Purana

Srimad Bhagavatam as an Expansion of Rg Veda

Veda pathashala students doing sandhya vandana...

The conversation between Brahmā and Nārada presented in the Second Canto (especially the part of that conversation described in the Sixth Chapter) is directly connected to a very important section of Ṛg Veda – 10.90, the puruṣa sūkta. You can say that the Bhāgavatam’s version of this conversation is a commentary or elaboration upon puruṣa sūkta, or that the Ṛg Veda contains a poetic summary of the conversation. In either case, the direct link between the two is important for demonstrating that (a) The bhakti approach presented in Bhāgavata Purāṇa is grounded firmly in the most ancient Ṛg Veda, and (b) The Ṛg Veda is not devoid of the fundamental principles of Vaiṣṇava-bhakti.

Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 2.5.27 explains the puruṣa sūkta line that begins with, “sahasra-śīrṣā” and its three verses that start with, “brāhmaṇi ‘sya mukham asit.” (Describing the Original Person as having infinite, omnipresent heads, arms, legs, etc. and being the original source of all the elements of the universe)

SB 2.6.13-16 explain the line, “puruṣa evedaṁ sarvam” (The Original Person is certainly everything that exists), and the line, “sa bhūmiṁ sarvataḥ spṛṣṭvā atyatiṣṭhad daśāṅgulam” (pervating everything in the world, he exists ten widths beyond it).

SB 2.6.18 explains the line, “utāmṛtatvasyeśāno uad annenāti-rohati” (He enjoys the greatest nectar, far surpassing mundane pleasures), and the line, “etāvān asya mahimāto jyāyāṁś ca pūruṣaḥ” (The greatness of the original person is extreme).

SB 2.6.19 explains the line, “pādo ‘sya viśva-bhūtāni tri-pādasy āmṛtaṁ divi” (All living entities exist within this one-fourth. Those in the three-fourths are divine and eternally joyful).

SB 2.6.20 explains the line, “tripād-ūrdhva udait puruṣaḥ pādo ‘syehābhavat punaḥ” (The three-fourths is above and beyond the one-fourth, which is repeatedly manifest and unmanifest).

SB 2.6.21 explains the line, “tato viṣvaṅ vyakrāmat sāśanāśanaśane ubhe” (They wander everywhere, in two directions, towards the real and unreal).

SB 2.6.28 explains the line, “yajñena yajñam ayajanta” (They worshipped by using Sacrifice to perform sacrifice).

SB 2.6.29 explains the line, “puruṣaṁ jātam agrataḥ tena deva ayajanta” (the gods came in front of the Original Person and worshipped him).

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Creation of the Universe

The 5th chapter of Srimad Bhagavatam’s Second Canto gives a fascinating, intriguing description of how the All-Attractive creates the primordial universe. Here is a footnote from the manuscript I am currently working on:

Text [2.5.]21 explains that the All-Attractive desires to be many, because its inherent nature is bliss – which is enjoyed in the form of love, which requires relationships, which requires multiple independent beings. The All-Attractive causes many beings to manifest from itself as a result of its own “magic” or mystical power (māyā) using three tools, time, destiny, and psychology.

Text 22 elaborates on this. It states the All-Attractive becomes the Puruṣa (a.k.a. Viṣṇu) to use these tools upon our “material world.” He uses time (kāla) as a catalyst to activate (vyatikara) the three qualities (guṇa). He then uses psychology (svabhāva) to stimulate evolutions (pariṇāma) within those qualities. “Psychology” refers to the various unique predilections and preferences of the various unique living entities who will populate the world. Then, the destiny (karma) that arises from the living entities psychological interaction with the three qualities causes the world to evolve out of the abstract realm and become the primeval form of the tangible universe (mahāt-tattva).


Ensnaring The Eternally Free Soul

I am currently working on Chapter Five of Beautiful Tales of the All Attractive, Volume 2. The 19th śloka is too mind-blowing not to share immediately.

Srimad Bhagavatam 2.5.19

Ensnaring the Eternally Free Soul

[kārya-kāraṇa-kartṛtve dravya-jñāna-kriyāśrayāḥ | badhnanti nityadā muktaḿ māyinaḿ puruṣaḿ guṇāḥ ]

Nārada: Earlier you said that the universe is composed of five things, the root of which is “projected consciousness.” Now you are saying that the universe begins from three qualities of Nārāyaṇa’s energy. Are these two statements compatible?

Brahmā: Yes. These three qualities attract beings to project their consciousness into the universe. Thus consciousness, which has the capacity for eternal transcendence, binds itself to an illusory world.

Nārada: How do the three qualities attract the attention of conscious away from its potential eternal freedom?

Brahmā: By manifesting the five things I previously mentioned: objects of pleasure and the means for enjoying those objects.

Nārada: What are those means?

Brahmā: Senses, the ability to use the senses, and the intellectual inclination to do so.


Enlightened by Krishna’s Kiss

I have finished the first draft of Chapter Four of Beautiful Tales of the All Attractive, Volume 2. I will celebrate by explaining a little bit about this chapter, and quoting you one of my favorite ślokas from it.

radha_and_krishna_love_and_longing_be53The Fourth Chapter of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam’s Second “Canto” is mainly about this:

King Parīkṣit asked Śukadeva Goswāmī to answer a question, “What is the most important thing to do, especially since I am about to die?” Śuka answered that in the first three chapters in such a complete and thorough manner that Parīkṣit and all who were listening were astonished. Parīkṣit did not want the discussion to end, even though his question had been completely satisfied, so he asked more questions.

Since Śuka had told him that he had enough time left in his life to be systematic and sequential in his approach to hearing about Krishna, Parīkṣit began by asking questions that are not inherently “intimate” or “advanced” yet nonetheless are fascinating, delightful, and essential for properly understanding the essential nature of Krishna. He asked several specific questions about how the universe exists, and admitted that it is basically impossible for anyone to answer such questions.

Śuka would then ask how he could be expected to reply properly, so Parikṣit explained that those who are intimately connected with the All-Attractive by the link of heartfelt devotion can comprehend the incomprehensible due to their direct proximity to the Divine.

Accepting this, Śuka set out to answer Parikṣit’s questions. He began by evoking his proximity to the Divine by glorifying Krishna and confirming that divine knowledge comes from his favor alone. One śloka he spoke towards the very end of the chapter (śloka 24) is a particular favorite of mine. I would like to share it with you.

My respects to the All-Attractive Son of Vasudeva. The affectionate souls who drink the delicate taste emanating from his lotus-like lips become full of knowledge and can create the Veda.

Śrīla Prabhupāda quotes Viśvanātha Cakravartī when explaining this śloka: On one level it refers to Vyāsa, Śuka’s father. On another level it can refer to Brahmā. On still another level it refers to the Gopīs, who become full of all artistic excellence and knowledge simply by receiving the kiss of Krishna.

Knowledge comes from the divine. It emanates from the mouth of the All-Attractive. Generally we think of words emanating from the mouth – and this is how Brahmā and Vyāsa received comprehension of the incomprehensible: by hearing the words spoken from the mouth of the All-Attractive. They then became capable of creating books of true knowledge: the Veda. But words are not all that emanates from the mouth. Kisses also come from there. The gopīs enjoy Krishna’s kisses, and thus they become infinitely surcharged with extremely powerful and abundant knowledge and expertise in all subjects – from philosophy to sciences to arts such as dance, music, cooking, poetry, cosmetics, fashion, etc.

We who are very low and ordinary souls also have the chance to taste Krishna’s kisses and become thus surcharged. But, in our thick stupidity we tend to ignore this opportunity or not pay much attention to it. How can we fools taste Krishna’s kisses? It is very simple – chant Krishna’s names, and Krishna then comes in contact with your lips. You are kissing Krishna!

Be aware of this intimatcy and you will become fully enlightened, like Vyāsa, Brahmā and the Gopīs.

“Hare Krishna”


Second Chapter, Second Canto – Finished

To celebrate finishing the presentation of the Second Chapter of the Second Canto – here is an excerpt, one of my favorite śloka from this chapter

35

Parīkṣit: These yogīs you described, how do they love the All-Attractive?

Śuka: They experience All-Attractive Hari by his qualities present within the core of all living beings.

Parīkṣit: What qualities?

Śuka: The qualities of consciousness. Yogīs know that they are conscious – they can see, experience, and comprehend. Everything they see, experience and comprehend also has this divine quality, consciousness. Thus they inferentially experience the All-Attractive divine everywhere.

krishna - the all attractive one


History of the Vedas

History of the Vedas

The Rig Veda is one of the oldest religious te...

The Rig Veda is one of the oldest religious texts. This Rig Veda manuscript is in Devanagari (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Bhāgavatam clearly states (1.4.14) that the Vedas as we know them are not ahistorical. It says that Vyāsa’s efforts to organize the Veda into its current form began “when Age Two was in its third phase.”

Translating this into years is complicated because there are many types of “ages.” Ṛg Veda’s Vedāṁga Jyotiṣa, for example, defines a five-year age. Manu Smṛti and some sections of the Purāṇas define four ages as multiples of 1,000 years. While other places in the Purāṇas, and the Surya Siddhānta, define four ages as multiples of 360,000 years. It seems that the duration of an “age” is relative to the context. The five-year age is used in calendric contexts. 1,000 year ages are used in historical context. 360,000 year ages are used in astronomical context. It appears that the correct definition to use in this case is the historical age.

Ages are numbered in reference to their multiple, which is the reverse of their numeric order, and can therefore be confusing: “Age One” is the “Fourth Age” in successive order.

Each age has three parts. The main part of an age lasts for its ordinal (1-4) multiplied by 1,000 years, or 360,000 if the context is astronomical. The two other parts are the “dawn” and “dusk” transitions, each of which lasts 10% as long as the main part.

Scholars and scientists know with significant confidence that Age One began very near 3,100 BCE (and it seems that the historical and astrological ages were synchronous at this point). The age before it, “Age Two,” lasts for 2,000 years, with an additional dawn of 200 years and a dusk of the same duration. Vyāsa’s efforts began in the third part of Age Two, its dusk: roughly 3,300 BCE. This means that the history of the Vedas as we know them begins about 5,300 years ago.

From that date, over a period spanning many generations (ŚB 1.4.23), Vyāsa oversaw the evolution of the vast Vedic library. Towards the end of this process he decided to write Mahābhārata. After this, still unsatisfied after about 200 years of work, Vyāsa conceived of the seed of inspiration to write the Beautiful Tales of the All-Attractive (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam). This was during the very early dawn of Age One.

The modern rational mind raises several questions, among which are, “How can Vyāsa have lived for more than 200 years?” and “How could there have been well developed human culture 5,300 years ago.” The second question is easy considering that the currently accepted archeological model has observed human culture existing about 10,000 years ago, and in India from about 8,000 years ago. As for the first question, I can reply in two ways: (1), the “religious” way: Vyāsa was an incarnation of God, and had an unusual lifespan. (2), the “scholastic” way: Vyāsa was the founder of a school, and successors and students took his name as a title and attributed their works to him.

Our current copy of the oldest Veda, Ṛg, contains astronomical information that dates it in the vicinity of 5,000 years ago, consistent with the statement of Bhāgavatam itself.  The astronomical information found in our current version of Bhāgavatam dates it in the vicinity of 300 AD, this is about three thousand years short of when Bhāgavatam says it was conceived by Vyāsa and first given form by Śuka. In this regard one can conclude: (a) there can be a great deal of time between the original concept and the final version; (b) the scribes of Bhāgavatam may have set the story into a distant past via present tense; and (c) the scribes may add or revise information in their copies, over time.


Canto 1 Second Draft Complete!!!

Today the blessings and shakti of Sri Guru Parampara enabled an unqualified soul to complete the second draft of Srimad Bhagavatam Canto One in a novel-like format. I will now make a third draft, but I am hopeful that it will not take long. I think the book may be in print before the end of 2012, if that is what Mahaprabhu’s followers desire. Here are the closing notes:

Our efforts to describe and comprehend Krishna are like the effort of a bird to fly in the sky. It is natural for the bird, and delightful – but still it is impossible for a bird to reach the limit of the sky.

The Beautiful Tales of the All-Attractive are sublime. They are the intimate realized visions of the most highly elevated souls. Although it is impossible to fully define the Unlimited, these tales will point our attention directly towards Krishna. With our hearts thus turned, we will absorb an eternal downpour of blissful, enlightened energy radiating from Śrī Krishna and thus become empowered to directly and impossibly comprehend the tangible divine reality.

As a lightning rod attracts lightning without creating or containing it, these tales attract our consciousness to the All-Attractive. May we dive into them with unabashed joy and abandon.


The Flaws of the Vedas (II)

After directly and indirectly compiling the four Vedas, the histories, their expansions, the Upanishads, the Mahabharata, and the Vedanta Sutra Vyasa still felt incomplete. The divine sage Narada Muni arrived to help him understand why. (This story is told in the Srimad Bhagavata Purana 1.5)

Nārada answered with the same direct honesty as before: “Basically, you neglected to voice the spotless fame of the All-Attractive. I think any such philosophical system is inferior, and cannot really satisfy anyone!”

Vyāsa would think, “But I did glorify the all-attractive throughout all my works!”

So Nārada continues, “O Best of Scholars, again and again you lauded morality and the like as being the true goals of life. Comparatively speaking, how much attention did you give to the greatness of Vasudeva’s son?”

Vyāsa was silent in the face of this truth.

Seeing his acceptance of the facts, Nārada spoke out even more strongly. “What is the use of all the words you have written!? No matter how wondrous or poetic such words might be, since they do not pronounce the fame of Hari – who purifies everything – I think your words are trash; playgrounds for the crows. Beautiful spiritual swans take no delight in them!

“If you would have given your words instead to pronouncing his all-attractive names and limitless fame you would have truly revolutionized the miseries of humanity! Even if each and every line would have been full of flaws, great souls would embrace them, listen to them, and sing them!”


Status

Dear Friends,

I consider what I’ve completed so far a good place to break “Part 1” of the book I am hoping to write. It’s not exactly identical to the end of Canto 1, but very close. What I am doing now is assembling everything I’ve posted so far and editing it into a book / novel format. That will take a few months, during which time I will not likely be posting much new material here on the blog.

I hope you will feel that the book is more than worth the wait! I’ll keep you informed as it gets close to being available. If someone is interested in publishing or finding a publisher, or in donating to printing, please contact me right away! =) You can use this page to contact me www.vicdicara.com/contact.php – please don’t mind that it’s via my astrology website.

Meanwhile, I tend to be posting small snippets of the book on the facebook page for Bhagavatam by Braja. So you may enjoy subscribing to that page: http://www.facebook.com/BhagavatamByBraja

Thank you,

Vic / Vraja Kishor das


Narayanam Namaskrtya

The supreme Godhead: Nārāyaṇa,
the best of humans: Nara,
the goddess of learning: Sarasvatī,
and the great author: Vyāsa…

After respecting them
our words can be successful

Sri Suta recites this verse at the beginning of his presentation of Srimad Bhagavatam. He quotes it from a previous source. Vyasa also speaks this verse at the beginning of every major division of Mahabharata.

In sanskrit:

नारायणं नमस्कृत्य नरं चैव नरोत्तमम् |
देवीं सरस्वतीं व्यासं ततो जयमुदीरयेत् ||

nārāyaṇaṁ namaskṛtya naraṁ caiva narottamam
devīṁ sarasvatīṁ vyāsaṁ tato jayam udīrayet

Considering that Vyasa himself is mentioned honorificly in the verse, it seems unlikely that he composed it himself. It was probably a composed by Ganesha during his task of scribing the dictations of Vyasa. Hence it is particularly appropriate for Suta to quote, as his task is similar to Ganesh’s: he wishes to represent the dictations of Suka (Vyasa’s son).