The Devi Bhagavata Purana

by Swami Vijñanananda | 1921 | 545,801 words | ISBN-10: 8121505917 | ISBN-13: 9788121505918

The English translation of the Devi Bhagavata Purana. This Sanskrit work describes the Devi (Divine), the Goddess, as the foundation of the world and as identical with Brahman, the Supreme Being. The Devi Bhagavata Purana is one of the most important works in Shaktism, a branch of Hinduism focusing on the veneration of the divine feminine, along w...

Chapter 2 - On questions put by Śaunaka and other Rsis

1-5. Śrī Sūta said :-- “I am highly fortunate; I consider myself blessed and I am purified by the Mahātmās (high souled persons); inasmuch as I am questioned by them about the highly meritorious Purāṇa, famous in the Vedas. I will now speak in detail about this Purāṇa, the best of the Āgamas, approved of by all the Vedas and the secret of all the Śāstras.

O Brahmins! I bow down to the gentle lotus feet, known in the three Lokas, of the Devī Bhagavatī, praised by Brahmā and the other devas Viṣṇu, Maheśa and others, meditated always by the Munindras and which the Yogis contemplate as their source of liberation. Today I will devotedly describe, in detail and in plain language, that Purāṇa which is the best of all the Purāṇas, which gives prosperity and contains all the sentiments (Rasas) that a human being can conceive, the Śrimad Devī Bhāgavatam.

May that Highest Primal Śakti who is known as Vidyā in the Vedas; who is omniscient, who controls the innermost of all and who is skilled in cutting off the knot of the world, who cannot be realised by the wicked and the vicious, but who is visible to the Munis in their meditation, may that Bhagavatī Devī give me always the buddhi fit to describe the Purāṇa!

I call to my mind the Mother of all the worlds who creates this universe, whose nature is both real (taking  gross, practical point of view) and and unreal (taking a real point of view), preserves and destroys by Her Rājasik, Sāttvik and Tāmasik qualities and in the end resolves all these into Herself and plays alone in the period of Dissolution - at this lime, I remember my that Mother of all the worlds.

6-10. It is commonly known that Brahmā is the creator of this universe; and the knowers of the Vedas and the Purāṇas say so; but they also say that Brahmā is born of the navel-lotus of Viṣṇu. Thus it appears that Brahmā cannot create independently. Again Viṣṇu, from whose navel lotus Brahmā is born, lies in Yoga sleep on the bed of Ananta (the thousand headed serpent) in the time of Pralaya; so how can we call Bhagavān Viṣṇu who rests on the thousand headed serpent Ananta as the creator of the universe? Again the refuge of Ananta is the water of the ocean Ekārṇava; a liquid cannot rest without a vessel; so I take refuge of the Mother of all beings, who resides as the Śakti of all and thus is the supporter of all; I fly for refuge unto that Devī who was praised by Brahmā while resting on the navel lotus of Viṣṇu who was lying fast asleep in Yoga ṇidrā. O Munis! meditating on that Maya Devī who creates, preserves and destroys the universe who is kuown as composed of the three guṇas and who grants mukti, I now describe the whole of the Purāṇas; now you all better hear.

11-16. The Purāṇa Śrimad Bhāgavat (Devī Bhāgavat) is excellent and holy; eighteen thousand pure Ślokas are contained in it. Bhagavān Kṛṣṇa Dvaipāyan has divided this Purāṇa into twelve auspicious Skandhas (Books) and three hundred and eighteen chapters. Twenty chapters compose the first Skandha; twelve chapters in the second Skandha; thirty chapters in the the third Skandha; twenty-five chapters in the fourth Skandha, thirty-five, in the fifth; thirty-one, in the sixth; forty, in the seventh; twenty-four, in the eighth; fifty chapters in the ninth; thirteen, iu the tenth; twenty-four in the eleventh and fourteen chapters are contained in the twelfth Skandha, O Munis! Thus the Dvaipāyan Muni has arranged his chapters in each Skandha.

17-20. Thus the Mahātmā Veda Vyās has divided this Bhāgavata Purāṇa. into so many Skandhas and into so many chapters; and that the number of verses is eighteen thousand is already stated.

That is denominated as Purāṇa which contains the following five characteristics :-- (1) Creation of the universe, (2) Secondary creation, (3) Dynasties (4) Manvantaras and (5) The description of Manus and other kings.

Śiva is beyond Prākritic attributes, eternal and ever omnipresent; She is without any change, immutable, unattainable but by yoga; She is the refuge of the universe and Her nature is Turīya Caitanya. Mahā Lakshmi is Her Sattvikī Śakti; Sarasvati is Her Rājasik Śakti and Mahā Kālī is Her Tāmasik Śakti; these are all of feminine forms.

21-25. The assuming of bodies by these three Śaktis for the creation of this universe is denominated as "Sarga" (creation) by the high souled persona (Mahārpuruṣa), skilled in Śastras. And the further resolution of these three Śaktis into Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśa for the creation, preservation, and destruction of this universe is denominated (in this Purāṇa) as Pratisarga (secondary ereation.) The description of the kings of the solar and lunar dynasties and the families of Hiraṇya Kasipu and others is known as the description of the lineages of kings and their dynasties. The description of Svāyambhūva and, other Manus and their ruling periods is known as Manvantaras. And the description of their descendants is known as the description of their families. (Thus these are the five characteristics in the Purāṇas.) O best of Munis! all the Purāṇas are endowed with these five characteristics.

26-32. So is Mahābhārata writen by Vedavyāsa, characterised by these five things. This is known as the fifth Veda and Itihāsa (history.) In this are something more than one lakh slokas.

Śaunaka said :-- “O Sūta! What are those Purāṇas and how many verses are contained in each? Speak all those in detail in this holy Kṣettra; we, the residents of Naimisāranya are all very eager to hear this.

(Why we call ourselves as the residents of Naimisāranya, hear; you will realise then that no other place exists in this Kali age for hearing the holy discourses on religion) :-- When we were afraid of the Kali age, Brahmā gave us a Manomaya Cakra (wheel) and I said to all of us :-- Follow this wheel, go after it and the spot where the felly of the wheel will become thin (so as to break) and will not roll further, that country is the holy place; Kali will never be able to enter there; you all better remain there until the Satya age comes back. Thus, acording to the saying of Brahmā, we have got orders to stay here. On hearing the words of Brahmā, wo went out quickly keeping the wheel go on, our object being to determine which place is best and holiest. When we came here, the felly of the wheel become thin and shorn before my eyes; hence this Kṣettra is called Naimis; it is the most sanctifying place.

Kali cannot enter here; hence the Mahatmas, Munis and Siddhas, terrified by the Kali age, have followed me and resorted to this place. We have performed yajñas with Purodāsa (clarified butter as is offered in oblations to fire) where no animals are sacrificed; now we have no other important work to do except to pass our time here until the arrival of Satyayuga. O Śūta! we are extremely fortunate in all respects that you have come here; purify us to-day by narrating to us the names of the Purāṇas equivalent to the Vedas. O Śūta! you are also a learned orator; we, too, are ardent listeners, with no other works to bother our heads; narrate to us to-day the auspicious holy Bhāgavata Purāṇa. O Śūta! Long live you; and no ailings, internal, external, or from the Devas torment you. (this is our blessing to you). We have heard that in the most sanctifying Purāṇa, narrated by Maharṣi Dvaipāyan, all about Dharma (religion), Artha (Wealth) and Kama (desires) are duly described as well the acquiring of Tattvajñan and liberation are also spoken of. O Śūta! our desires are not satisfied the more we hear of those beautiful holy words. Now describe to us the highly pure Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam where all the Lilas (the dramatic acts) of the Mother of the three worlds purifying the sins, adorned with all the qualifications are described as yielding all the desires like the Kalpa Vrikṣa (the celestial tree yielding all desires).

Thus ends the second chapter of the first Skandha on the description of the Purāṇa (the text) in Mahā Purāṇa Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam of 18,000 verses by Maharṣi Veda Vyās.

Here ends the Second Chapter of Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam on questions put by Saunaka and other Ṛṣis.

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