The Bhagavata Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | ISBN-10: 8120838203 | ISBN-13: 9788120838208

This page describes Second Verse of the Bhagavata Purana of the English translation of the Bhagavata Purana, one of the eighteen major puranas containing roughly 18,000 metrical verses. Topics include ancient Indian history, religion, philosophy, geography, mythology, etc. The text has been interpreted by various schools of philosophy. This is the sixth chapter of the Appendices of the Bhagavatapurana.

Second Verse of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa

Verse 2 (extracted from the First chapter of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa):

धर्मः प्रोज्झितकैतवोऽत्र परमो निर्मत्सराणां सतां
वेद्यं वास्तवमत्र वस्तु शिवदं तापत्रयोन्मूलनम् ।
श्रीमद्‍भागवते महामुनिकृते किं वा परैरीश्वरः
सद्यो हृद्यवरुध्यतेऽत्र कृतिभिः शुश्रूषुभिः तत् क्षणात् ॥ २ ॥

dharmaḥ projjhitakaitavo'tra paramo nirmatsarāṇāṃ satāṃ
vedyaṃ vāstavamatra vastu śivadaṃ tāpatrayonmūlanam |
śrīmad‍bhāgavate mahāmunikṛte kiṃ vā parairīśvaraḥ
sadyo hṛdyavarudhyate'tra kṛtibhiḥ śuśrūṣubhiḥ tat kṣaṇāt || 2 ||

“Here, in this celebrated Bhāgavata composed by the Great Sage, is explained the highest Duty (Dharma), completely free from deceit.1 (It is the Dharma) of the righteous who are devoid of envy.2 Here the thing to be known is the absolute Reality.3 It gives the highest bliss and destroys the three kinds of misery. Can the Supreme Lord be realized in the heart immediately by the teachings of other (treatises)? No. (But in this (Bhāgavata) he can be so comprehended at once by the meritorious who have a desire to hear (and study) this (Bhāgavata Purāṇa)”

1. Viz. interest about this world and even the desire about liberation—Bhāvāratha Dīpikā

2. And hence kindly to all beings—Bhāvāratha Dīpikā.

3. Or it is the individual soul, when a part of this thing or Reality is meant; it is māyā or Cosmic Illusion, when the power of the thing is implied: it is the universe when its effects are understood—the non-difference of these all from the absolute Reality can be easily understood—Bhāvāratha Dīpikā.

The Sanskrit commentators, hold that this verse describes the four requisites of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa, viz.

  1. adhikārin—Persons qualified to read the Bhāgavata Purāṇa
  2. viṣoya [viṣaya?]—The main topic of this work.
  3. prayojana—The object or the ‘Why’ of the treatise.
  4. sambandha—The relationship of (2) and (3).

The following are the summaries of the Sanskrit commentaries of the principal schools of the Vedānta:

(1) Bhāgavata Candrikā explains:

The main subject of discussion in this Purāṇa is dharma. It is twofold: (1) siddha (established) viz. the Supreme Soul described herein ‘from Vedya... tāpatrayonmūlanam’ (ii) sādhya (to be achieved) is the ‘devotion’ described in nir-matsarāṇāṃ satām. The objective is two-fold: Direct—The revelation of the presence of God in the heart and, Indirect—destruction of three types of misery.

(i) sādhya-dharma—In this Purāṇa the highest Duty of the non- jealous saintly persons is described. It being the ‘highest’, is above exorcizing or magical practices and fruit-yielding actions prescribed in the Vedas and implies virtues like tranquillity, self-restraint, essential for aspirants to Liberation. Grace and pleasure of the Supreme Lord is its objective and achievement.

(ii) siddha-dharma—This Purāṇa is called Bhāgavata as it deals with the form, nature, inherent qualities and powers of the Lord. It is composed by Bādarāyaṇa Vyāsa. Herein is described the Thing which is the Reality, giver of the auspicious bliss of Liberation, destroyer of the three types of misery. This Reality is to be comprehended by the good, saintly persons.

Other false scriptures are of no use. People in whom the desire to hear the Bhāgavata arises become blessed immediately and the Lord at once enters their hearts as soon as they listen to this Purāṇa.

(2) Padaratnāvalī:

According to Padaratnāvalī, this verse describes the main topic of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa, the means to achieve it, the qualifications of the listener—and the objectives of this Purāṇa.

Here in the beautiful profound Bhāgavata is taught the Path which leads to the attainment of the Supreme Lord (or that which controls the ‘falling’ man or destroys the sins) and completely absolves one from hypocrisy, i.e. the ego of being the doer of acts, and makes him perform acts without any desire to enjoy their fruits. This path or Dharma is the highest due to the doer’s offering of all the acts to God (OR It destroys the enemy (para) viz. the cycle of the transmigration of the soul). Hence this Path is characterised by devotion (bhakti-yoga-lakṣaṇa [lakṣaṇaḥ]). Persons of pious actions and free from envy are eligible for this. The object of knowledge is the eternally existing flawless Reality imparting the highest bliss and uprooting three types of misery. Here, the relation characterised by the path of devotion (Bhakti-Yoga) and its object, i.e. God are expounded. There is no propriety in recounting other paths which may lead to heaven. When this treatise called the Bhāgavata composed by the great sage is properly studied by persons with disciplined intellect and adopted in serving the spiritual preceptor and such other great ones and the Lord, God is seen ‘fettered’ in their heart at once, by the ties of devotion. Persons duly equipped with sādhanā can visualize the Lord the very moment they are introduced to the Bhāgavata.

(3) Jīva Gosvāmi’s Kramasandarbha:

Kramasandarbha states that this verse establishes the superiority of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa to other treatises dealing with (religious) acts, knowledge and devotion. The repetition of the word ‘here-in’ (atra) is for emphasizing this speciality of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa over other scriptures.

The Bhāgavata Purāṇa teaches about the great religion viz. devotion to the Supreme Lord. This devotion is so motiveless that the devotee does not hanker after liberation also. The envylessness of the devotees implies kindly feelings to all beings so that the devotees refrain from animal-sacrifices. The Reality described herein is so powerful that it destroys three types of misery caused by Māyā (illusion) and nescience and gives the highest bliss. The adjective ‘Śrīmad’ in ‘Śrīmad Bhāgavata’ implies its great potentiality. Its author is the great sage Nārāyaṇa who composed it originally in 4 verses. The greatness of the author establishes the superiority of this work. By Following other scriptures men may attain liberation with difficulty but the superiority of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa lies in its power to put its listeners in immediate communion with God. Thus this being the science of immediate God-realization, the Bhāgavata Purāṇa is the greatest of all scriptures.

(4) Siddhāntapradīpa explains:

This verse establishes the superiority of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa over other scriptures from the point of its anubandhas (viz. the main topic, objective, the relation between the two and the qualifications of the listener of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa). The Bhāgavata Purāṇa is qualified by the adjective ‘Śrīmad’ as it contains the beautiful description of the person, qualities etc. of the Supreme Lord. This is composed by the great sage Vyāsa (the son of Parāśara), the knower of the Vedas and an incarnation of the Supreme Lord. The greatness of the authorship shows the superiority of this scripture over others. Herein is to be known the great religion of devotion (Bhakti) which is selfless (motiveless) and which is adopted by pious person free from jealousy. The Thing (the Reality) the principle called Śrīkṛṣṇa which uproots the three kinds of misery and blesses with liberation, is to be understood here. The Reality consisting of the three principles, viz Brahma, the sentient individual soul and the non-sentient are to be comprehended. Thus this scripture is superior to others due to its authorship, topic of discussion and the qualification of its listeners. The meritorious who have a desire to listen to the Bhāgavata Purāṇa at once find Śrīkṛṣṇa ‘stabilised’ (present) in their heart.

This verse gives the five objectives:

  1. The Thing (Reality, Śrī-kṛṣṇa)—object of devotion.
  2. The Sentient, individual soul, the devotee.
  3. Liberation—the fruit of the grace of the Lord.
  4. The sentiment of devotion (bhakti-rasa).
  5. ‘Opposition’ suggested by the word (para).

The other scriptures, their injunctions, the eligibility of their followers etc. are different or opposite to those of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa

The envyless devotee is the eligible person (adhikārī) and liberation is the objective (prayojana).

(6) Bālaprabodhini (Giridhara):

Giridhara, a descendant of Subodhinī and an exponent of pure non-dualistic (Śuddhādvaita) school of Vedānta lucidly explains as follows:

As there are number of works dealing with paths of Knowledge, Action and Devotion, the superiority of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa over all other works and from the points of four anubandhas is given. Here in the Śrīmad Bhāgavata is taught the best path of Duty, of all those described in other scriptures. It is free from deception and is of the nature of nine-fold devotion. The singular dharma is used as all these varieties of devotion result in one—viz. attainment of Liberation. The adhikārin of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa, being jealousy-less, kindly disposed, pious person, it is superior to Karma-kāṇḍa which gives scope to jealousy. Reality, the object to be known, is a bestower of the highest bliss and destroyer of three kinds of misery. That this pure principle called Vāsudeva who liberates all, is understood by women and Śūdras (i.e. by persons not eligible for Vedic rites) and by all irrespective of their intellectual equipment, shows the superiority of this treatise to others. The author—Bādarāyaṇa Vyāsa or the Supreme Lord—is also the most authoritative one. This shows the greatness of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa among treatises of Jñāna Kāṇḍa.

The desire to listen to the Bhāgavata Purāṇa does not arise without meritorious action. Lord Vāsudeva described in the 1st verse gets instantaneously bound in the heart of those who desire to listen to the Bhāgavata Purāṇa What of those who are intent on hearing (and studying) it? The repetition of the words showing instantaneousness (viz. sadyaḥ and tatkṣaṇam) shows how very quickly His presence is established in the heart. This immediate fulfilment of the objective proves that the Bhāgavata Purāṇa is superior to other scriptures. Hence its superiority to other treatises dealing with upāsanā kāṇḍa.

Bālaprabodhini repeats the four anubandhas of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa like other Commentators.

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