Srimad Bhagavata: The Holy Book of God - Volume-1

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Srimad Bhagavata: The Holy Book of God - Volume-1
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About the book

Srimad Bhagavata which comes under the category of scriptural Texts called the Puranas, consists of eighteen thousand and odd verses and is a veritable encyclopedia of spiritual philosophy put in an epic form that is both devotional and poetic. It depicts pure devotion, expressed as unmotivated service of the Divine and of all living beings considered as the tabernacle of God.

Pious Hindus consider daily reading of the Text an important spiritual discipline in life for generating devotion and the spirit of dedication to God. Any person, whatever his religion, will find himself spiritually enriched by a close study of this Text.



This English translation of Srimad Bhagavata Purana seeks to place before the ordinary reader a fairly lucid rendering of the great Text, verse by verse, without any pretension to very high standards of Sanskrit scholarship. Readability has been given precedence over meticulous accuracy throughout the translation. The Bhagavata is a difficult text, in many places too terse to yield a clear meaning, and in others, so vague that one can draw any meaning that one wants to find. It is also not very respectful to grammatical orthodoxy. It will therefore be easy to find many flaws and inaccuracies in the translation, but if it succeeds in engaging the reader's attention and in conveying the devotional spirit of the Text, it would have succeeded in its object.

The Bhagavata, according to orthodox calculations, is supposed to contain eighteen thousand verses, but on actual counting, one will find only about fourteen thousand and odd passages, including prose sections and verses. This difference is caused because the numerous long prose passages of the Text are counted as forming a verse for every thirty-eight letters in the orthodox way of calculation. The colophons are also counted. The whole Text is divided into four volumes- the first comprising Skandhas one to four; the second, five to nine; the third, ten; and the fourth, eleven and twelve. The translation is done verse by verse, and the corresponding number of the original verses is given to their English Prose translation. The Sanskrit original is given in the upper half of the page and the corresponding translation in the lower half. Diacritical marks are not used for Sanskrit expressions, except to distinguish the long 'a' in some unusual names. Quotations are also largely eliminated because there are too many interlocutors.

The translation is mainly on the lines of Sridhara's interpretation, which in itself is too terse. The translator has been immensely helped by the word-for-word split translations of the Text into Malayalam by two renowned Bhagavata scholars of Kerala-Pandit P. Gopalan Nair and Brahmasri Vaisravanam Raman Nampudiri. Their works have made it easy for one to penetrate into the difficult Text and secure a considerable measure of accuracy for the translation. Sri N. Raghunathan's excellent English translation has also been very helpful to determine the meaning of obscure passages.

In regard to the metaphysical affiliation of the Bhagavata, it seems that it is not committed to any particular system exclusively. We find in it representation of all strands of metaphysics common in Indian philosophy. The author of the Bhagavata has no objection to any of them, provided the place of Bhakti as the highest value, the fifth Purushartha attainable by man, is not jeopardised, and the God of Love is not endangered by metaphysical subtleties. The translation has kept this in view, and it is in the light of this ideas that the first verse of the Bhagavata, which is the keynote verse of the whole Text, is translated.

The Introduction seeks to provide considerable background-information required by a modern reader to grasp the methodology and the outlook of Pauranika literature in respect of space, time, Nature and man. There are many more allied themes, like the doctrines of divine love, the theology of the Bhagavata, the doctrines of Incarnations etc., that have to be kept in mind while reading the Text. As their treatment also in the Introduction would make that section too long, some of them are treated in the Prologues to each Skandha, especially in the Prologue to the tenth, and in the Appendix. A close study of them will help in a deeper understand of the Text.


Preface   vii
Introduction   xix
Prologue   1
Chapter 1 Sages at Naimisharanya 3-5
  Invocation-Rishis approaching Suta for Instruction-The five Questions of the Rishis  
Chapter 2 The Message of Bhakti 6-9
  Suta's Invocation-Suta's Answer: The Supreme Duty of Man-The Progress of Devotion-Why Vasudeva should be the Object of Worship  
Chapter 3 Avataras 10-14
  The Purushavatara-The twenty-three Lilavataras-There is no Limit to the Number of Avataras-The Mystery of the One and the Many-The Origin of the Bhagavata  
Chapter 4 On Veda-Vyasa and his Work 14-17
  Why Parikshit desired to die and Suka instructed him Veda - Vyasa's Re-editing of the Vedas and Composing of the Purana-vyana's Self-questioning about his own Unrest  
Chapter 5 The Story of Narada 17-23
  Narada diagnosing the Cause of Vyasa's Unrest-Supremacy of Bhakti-Antecedents of Narada-The Glory of Karma Blended with Bhakti  
Chapter 6 The Story of Narada (Continued) 23-27
  The After-story of Narada-The Divine Vision of Narada and after-Transformation of Narada  
Chapter 7 The Aftermath of the War 27-32
  Vyasa, Suka, and Bhagavan Vyasa-How and why Suka learnt the Bhagavata-The Revenge of Asvatthama-The Fate of Asvatthama  
Chapter 8 Krishna's Preparation to Depart 33-38
  The Dastardly Act of Asvatthama-The Hymn of Kunti-The Depression of Yudhishthira  
Chapter 9 The Salvation Of Bhishma 38-44
  Departure to meet Bhishma-Bhishma on the Glory of Krishna-Bhishma's Hymn to Krishna  
Chapter 10 Krishna After the Mahabharata War 44-48
  Krishna's Arrival at Dwaraka-The Hymn of the City Women  
Chapter 11 Krishna After the Mahabharata War (Continued) 48-52
  Sri Krishna's Arrival and Reception at Dwaraka-Krishna amidst his own Relatives  
Chapter 12 The Birth of Parikshit 52-55
  Protection of Parikshit in his Mother's Womb-Predictions about Parikshit  
Chapter 13 Demise of Dhritarashtra 55-61
  Vidura's Arrival at Hastinapura-Dhritarashtra's Departure-Narada's Instruction to Yudhishthira  
Chapter 14 Forebodings about Krishna's Exit 61-65
  Evil Omens seen-Arjuna's Return in utter Distress  
Chapter 15 Sri Krishna's Ascent and After 65-71
  Arjuna's Return and Report-The Great Abandonment of the Pandavas  
Chapter 16 Parikshit and the Advent o Kali 71-75
  The Digvijaya of Parikshit-Conversation between Dharma and Mother Cow  
Chapter 17 Parikshit's Subdual of Kali 75-80
  Parikshit meets Dharma and Earth in a pitiable Plight-Parikshit marks out five Places for Kali  
Chapter 18 Parikshit is Cursed 80-85
  Last Days of Parikshit-The Rishis and Suta on the Greatness of the Lord-Indiscretion of Parikshit  
Chapter 19 Parikshit's Resolve and Suta's Arrival 85-90
  Parikshit's Repentance and Resolve-Conversation with the Rishis about his (Parikshit's) Resolve-Arrival of Sri Suka  
Prologue   91-92
Chapter 1 Suka's First Sermon 93-97
  What one should do at the Approach of Death-Meditation on the Cosmic Form  
Chapter 2 Dissertation on Eschatology 97-103
  Gospel of Renunciation-Meditation on the Form-How a Yogi passes away a Yogi transcends different Spheres up to Brahmaloka-How the Yogi passes passes beyond Brahmanda  
Chapter 3 Devotion-Motivated and Unmotivated 103-105
  The Supreme Being alone is worshipped through all Deities-A Life Lived without Bhakti is useless  
Chapter 4 Suka's Hymn to the Divine 105-108
  Parikshit's Question on the Divine Mystery-Suka's Hymn to the Lord  
Chapter 5 The Universe as a Form of the Lord 108-112
  Narada's wrong Estimate of Brahma-Narada corrected: Glory of Narayana-Creation of the Universe-The fourteen Worlds as the Lord's Universal Form  
Chapter 6 The Divine and His Manifestation 113-117
  Further Details about the Universal Form-The Divine Transcendence-The Yajna Purusha-The Supreme Being: His transcendent Nature-His Manifestations  
Chapter 7 Bhagavata in Brief 117-125
  A Summary of Incarnations-Krishna Incarnation-Other Divine Manifestations-Inexhaustible Nature of the Lord's Glories  
Chapter 8 The Greatness of Bhakti - Parikshit's Questions for Elucidation 125-128
  The Greatness of Bhakti - Parikshit's Questions for Elucidation  
Chapter 9 The Inspiration of Brahma 128-134
  Brahma commanded to do Tapas-The Vision of Brahma Brahma's Request to the Lord-Instruction on Supreme Knowledge-Origin of the Bhagavata from Brahma  
Chapter 10 The Cosmic Form of the Lord 134-139
  The ten Characteristics of the Bhagavata-Narayana or Garbhodakasayi-The Adhidaivika, the Adhyatmika and Adhibhautika Aspects-Other Aspects of the Gross From-Manifestations from other Points of View-Conclusion of the Canto  
Prologue   140-143
Chapter 1 Vidura and Uddhava: Their Meeting 144-149
  Vidura's Exit-Conversation between Vidura and Uddhava  
Chapter 2 Uddhava's Narration o Krishna's Life 150-153
  Uddhava reminisces about Krishna-Early Life of Krishna  
Chapter 3 Uddhava's Narration of Krishna's Life (Continued) 153-156
  The latter part of Krishna's Life  
Chapter 4 Uddhava on the Last Day of Krishna 157-160
  Destruction of the Yadus-Uddhava's Submission and Krishna's Reply-Parting of Uddhava and Vidura  
Chapter 5 First Stage of Creation 161-167
  The Questions of Vidura-Creation of Categories-The Hymn of the Deities  
Chapter 6 The Virat Purusha, The Cosmic Being 167-170
  The Origin of the Virat-Diversification of the Limbs of the Virat-The Limbs of the Virat as the Universe-Unlimitedness of the Lord's Glory  
Chapter 7 Visarga or Secondary Creation 171-175
  Functioning of Divine Maya-Visarga or Secondary Creation  
Chapter 8 The Dawn of Creation 175-179
  Another Version about the Origin of the Bhagavata-The Universe in Chaos-The Quest of Brahma Brahma's Vision of the Lord  
Chapter 9 Brahma Commissioned to Create 179-185
  Brahma's Hymn-Mahavishnu blessing Brahma  
Chapter 10 Visarga or the Creation of Brahma (Continued) 185-188
  Brahma at the Commencement of Creation-What is Time The Ninefold Form of Visarga-Vaikrita Creation; the Creation of Brahma  
Chapter 11 Time in all its Dimensions 188-192
  The Division of Time-The four Yugas-The Age of Brahma and others-Pralaya or Dissolution-The Parardha  
Chapter 12 Brahma's Creation 193-197
  Brahma's Dissatisfaction with the Creation of Evil-Creation of Sanaka and others-Creation of Rudra-Creation of Marichi and the nine other Rishis-Brahma's incestuous Urge-Creation of the Vedas and the various means of Life-Creation of the Sexes  
Chapter 13 Incarnation as the Causal Boar 198-203
  Swayambhuva Manu and Satarupa-Incarnation as Cosmic Boar-Hymn of the Rishis-The Glory of the Boar Incarnation  
Chapter 14 Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakasipu: Their Origin 204-208
  Introduction-Diti approaching Kasyapa for Progeny-diti's Persistence and her later Repentance-Prajapati on the Nature of his Progeny  
Chapter 15 Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakasipu: The Curse of the Kumaras 209-215
  Representation of the Devas to Brahma-The Kumaras at Vaikuntha-The Obstruction of the Kumaras by the Gatekeepers-The Curse by the Kumaras-Description of Mahavishnu's From-The Hymn of the Kumaras  
Chapter 16 Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakasipu: Final Settlement of their Fate 216-223
  Relationship with Holy Men-The Kumaras apologising to the Lord-Final Settlement of the Fate of the Attendants  
Chapter 17 Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakasipu: Their Birth 220-223
  Evil Portents at the Birth of the Asuras-The Adventures of the Asuras-Challenge to Varuna  
Chapter 18 Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakasipu: The Fight of the Former with Vishnu 223-227
  The Asura's Challenge to the Incarnate Boar-The Lord's mocking Response-The Fight between the Asura and the Lord  
Chapter 19 Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakasipu: Destruction of the Former 227-230
  The further Development of the Fight-Fight with the magical Devices-Death of Hiranyaksha-In Praise of the Episode  
Chapter 20 Creation as Expression of Brahma's Moods 231-235
  Questions on the further Propagation of Creatures-A Review of the earlier Stages of Creation-The creative Moods of Brahma-Asuras-Gandharvas, Pitris and the Kinnaras-Creation of Manu or Man  
Chapter 21 Kardama Prajapati's Creative Role 236-241
  Kardama's Tapas-Kardama's Vision of the Lord and his Prayer-The Lord's Commandment to Kardama-Manu Swayambhuva's Visit to Kardama's Ashrama  
Chapter 22 Kardama's Marriage with Devahuti 241-245
  The Manu's Offer of Devahuti in Marriage-Kardama's Acceptance-Swayambuva's Return  
Chapter 23 Devahuti and Kardama in the Aerial Mansion 245-250
  Devahuti's Service of Kardama-The magical aerial Mansion-Life of Devahuti and Kardama in the aerial Mansion-Devahuti's Prayer to Kardama to stay on  
Chapter 24 Birth of Kapila and Kardama's Departure 250-254
  Kapila's Birth-Kardama's Hymn to Kapila-Kardama's Departure  
Chapter 26 Kapilopadesa: The Categories 260-267
  Purusha and Prakriti-Evolutes of Prakriti and Time-Mahattattwa or Hiranyagarbha-Ahankara-Evolutes of Ahankara-Tanmatras, Indriyas and Bhutas-Virat Purusha-Rousing of the Virat Purusha  
Chapter 27 Kapilopadesa: The Way of Release 268-271
  The Purusha's Bondage and Liberation-The Finality of Release  
Chapter 28 Kapilopadesa: Discipline for Realisation 271-277
  Ways of Self Purification-Meditation on the Divine From-Realisation of the Divine  
Chapter 29 Kapilopadesa: Some Details of the path of Devotion 277-281
  Bheda Bhakti contrasted with Nirguna Bhakti-Some devotional Disciplines-Image Worship vs. Seeing God in al-A Spiritual View of Evolution-Time, what it is  
Chapter 30 Kapilopadesa: The Destiny of the Sinful 281-284
  Life and Death of the Wordling-The Sufferings of Purgatory  
Chapter 31 Kapilopadesa: The Jiva's Cycle of Births and Deaths 284-290
  The Foetus in the Womb-The Foetus in Praise of the Lord-The Failure of Jiva to learn by Experience of Spiritual Degradation-The Meaning of Death  
Chapter 32 Kapilopadesa: The Spiritual Goal 290-295
  Attainment of perishable Worlds-The Attainment of Brahmaloka-Fruits of the Life of Attachment-The Bhagavan as the one Goal of all Aspirants-Stages of Spiritual Development  
Chapter 33 Kapilopadesa: Conclusion 295-299
  Devahuti's Hymn to Kapila-The After-life of Devahuti  
Prologue   300-302
Chapter 1 The Lines of Swayambhuva's other Daughters 303-308
  Yajna and Dakshina-The Line of Kardama Prajapati Atri's Issue-The Line of Angiras-Daksha Prajapati's Line-Nara-Narayana Incarnation-Some other Lines of Rishis  
Chapter 2 Confrontation between Rudra and Daksha 309-312
  The Satra of the Prajapatis-Bhrigu's Curse  
Chapter 3 Sati Devi's Desire to Visit Daksha's Sacrifice 312-315
  Sati Devi's Address to Sri Rudra-Rudra advising her not to attend the Yajna  
Chapter 4 The Death of Sati Devi 315-320
  Insult of Sati at Daksha's Sacrifice-Sati Devi's Criticism of Daksha's Conduct-Sati declares her Decision to die-Sati consumes her Body in Yogic Fire  
Chapter 5 The Destruction of Daksha 320-323
  The Emergence of Virabhadra-The Evil Portents at the Site of the Yajna-The Destruction of the Yajna  
Chapter 6 Propitiation of Sri Rudra 323-328
  Deva's resorting to Brahma-Description of Kailasa-Description of Alakapuri and Saugandhika Forest-Rudra under the Banyan Tree-Hymn to Rudra  
Chapter 7 The Completion of Daksha's Sacrifice 329-337
  Rudra placated by the Efforts of the Devas-Daksha's Repentance; Sri Hari's Appearance-Hymns in Praise of Sri Hari-The Conclusion of the Yajna  
Chapter 8 The Story of Dhruva 237-345
  The Progeny of Adharma-Dhruva's Discomfiture at the Hands of Surichi-Suniti's Advice to Dhruva-Narada's first Advice to Dhruva, dissuading him-Narada sympathizes with Dhruva and advises him on Meditation-Uttanapada's Repentance-Dhruva's Tapas  
Chapter 9 Dhruva's Return and Installation 345-352
  Dhruva's divine Vision-Dhruva's Hymn to Mahavishnu-Granting of Boons to Dhruva-Dhruva's Repentance over the Boons-Dhruva's Reception by his parents and People-Dhruva at the Palace and his Installation  
Chapter 10 Dhruva's War with the Guhyakas 353-355
  His initial Success in Battle-The magical Battle  
Chapter 11 Swayambhuva's Counsel to Dhruva 355-359
  Dhruva releases Narayanastra-Swayambhuva's Advice to Dhruva  
Chapter 12 Reconciliation with Kubera and After 359-364
  Kubera meets Dhruva Dhruva's Rule and Abandonment Arrival of Mahavishnu's Emissaries to take Dhruva-Ascension of Dhruva-Glory of Dhruva  
Chapter 13 From Dhruva to Vena 364-369
  The Descendants of Dhruva-Circumstances leading to Vena's Birth-Anga's Flight  
Chapter 14 Vena's Misrule and Death 369-373
  The Vagaries of Vena-The Rishis in Consultation The Conciliatory Words of the Rishis-Vena's Insolent Reply and Death-The Churning of Vena's Body  
Chapter 15 Prithu's Advent and Coronation 373-375
  The Birth of Prithu-Various Devas offer Presents to Prithu-Prithu's Modesty  
Chapter 16 Panegyric of Prithu 376-378
  Many-sided Greatness of Prithu  
Chapter 17 Punishment of the Earth-goddess 379-382
  The Call of the Hungry to Prithu-The Earth-goddess is threatened to Prithu by the Earth-goddess  
Chapter 18 The Milking of the Earth-goddess as a Cow 383-385
  The Self-justification of the Earth-goddess-The Milking of Various Resources  
Chapter 19 The Story of Prithu's Horse Sacrifice 385-389
  The Scene of Prithu's Horse Sacrifice-Indra's Attempt to obstruct the Sacrifice-Brahma affects a Reconciliation between Prithu and Indra  
Chapter 20 The Lord Blesses Prithu 389-394
  The Reconciliation of Prithu and Indra by the Lord-Prithu's Hymn to the Lord-The Lord's Departure  
Chapter 21 Prithu's Exhortation to His Subjects 394-399
  Prithu's Entry into his City-Performance of a Satra by Prithu-Prithu's Address to his People Greatness of Prithu.  
Chapter 22 The Sermon of the Kumaras 400-406
  The Arrival of the Kumaras-Their Reception by Prithu-Sanatkumara's Sermon-Prithu's Worship of the Kumaras-Greatness of Prithu  
Chapter 23 The Salvation of Prithu 407-411
  Prithu's Asceticism as a Vanaprastha-How Prithu left the Body-The Greatness of the wife of Prithu-The Greatness of Prithu's Story  
Chapter 24 Instruction of Prachetas in Rudra Gita 411-418
  Antardhana to Prachinabarhis-The Prachetas' Meeting with Sri Rudra-Unity of Siva and Vishnu-Rudra Gita  
Chapter 258 The Allegory of Puranjana 419-424
  Narada meeting Prachinabarhis-Narada's Tirade against Ritualism-The City of Puranjana-Puranjana falling in Love with a Lady-The Lady's Reply to Puranjana's Advances-The Nine Gates of Puranjana's City-Puranjana in Bondage  
Chapter 26 Puranjana's Hunting Expedition 424-427
  The Metaphor of Puranjana's Chariot-Puranjana's Reckless Hunt-Puranjana's angry Wife-Purnajana pacifying his Wife  
Chapter 27 The Story of the Daughter of Time 427-430
  Puranjana in the Company of his Wife-The Attack of Old Age-Grey-haired Old Age, the Daughter of Time  
Chapter 28 Puranjana's Next Birth and Liberation 430-436
  Attack by Bhaya on Puranjana's City-Puranjana's last Reflection-Puranjana's Death and After-Puranjana's Rebirth as a Woman-Malayadhwaja's Retirement to the Forest and his Demise-Interpretations of the Allegory  
Chapter 29 The Meaning of the Allegory 436-445
  Puranjana as the Jiva in the nine-gated city of the Body-The Dream as the Hunt-The Enemies of Puranjana-The woes of the Jiva in Samsara-Devotion as the Panacea for Suffering-The Limitation of Vedic Ritualism-The Allegory of the Deer-Linga Sarira as the Link between Rebirths A Clue from Dram to the Nature of Linga Sarira and Rebirth-Devotion as a Panacea for Samsara  
Chapter 30 The Story of the Prachetas (Continued) 446-451
  The Tapas and the Vision of the Prachetas-The Hymn of the Prachetas-Daksha reborn  
Chapter 31 The End of the Prachetas 451-455
  Narada at the Brahmaputra of the Prachetas-Narada's Discourse on Bhakti-Vidura parts from Maitreya  

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